Thursday, November 13, 2014

Does everyone need to go to college?...

which, in most cases, is just a four year extension of high school.

This obsession with the notion that everyone deserves, or has a "right", to a college education is harming way more people than it's helping.

Yesterday, I finally had my washing machine repaired.  For several years, I could only access cold water (I'm not known for rushing into things - obviously!)  in the machine.  I was pretty convinced it needed a new solenoid.

Since the temperature dropped, I decided that washing our sheets and towels in ice cold water was no longer an option.

After careful research, I decided to call a small independent appliance repair company.  Whoa!  Did I ever get lucky!

  Most of us are so used to dealing with big companies that the down home approach I encountered when making the appointment was a bit nervous making.  However, the wife of the service man set the appointment for Wednesday (this was Monday), and said she would call on Tuesday evening with a more specific time for his arrival.  She did.

He showed up exactly when expected.  I answered the door and the service man, Bill, a friendly man in his early 70's, got right to work.  Keep in mind that all service people charge for a service call, and so when I opened the door and said hello, he had already earned $60.00, which is $5.00 lower than the going rate.

In record time he had the washing machine torn down, found the offending culprit which was a burnt out wire and not the solenoid, spliced it back together, and I now have a fully functioning washing machine.

He also reset the temperature on my water heater at no extra charge and the entire bill came to $60.00

What's my point?

Glad you asked.

I sat down and did a bit of math; always painful.  Now, these figures are rounded out and not scientific by any means, but will still provide a nice overview and give you something to think about.

Suppose Bill makes only 6 calls a day.   Using the base service charge figure of $60.00, he's already made his first $360.00 for the day just for showing up.

Let's also assume that half of the calls are going to be a bit more complicated than my repair, and will take an extra hour. I'm figuring half the calls are going to be under an hour and the other half will be longer.  That would be an additional $180.00.  He's worked approximately 6 hours and I'll throw in a few hours for travel, which is very high considering our smallish area and his wife's careful scheduling, bringing it to 8 hours.  That brings his hourly earnings up to almost  $70.00.

Further suppose that he does this 6 days a week.  His earnings for the week would be $3,240.00 and just shy of $13,000.00 for the month.  Since there's actually 4 1/3 weeks in every month, it would actually be a bit higher.

Since Bill is in his 70's, he probably does not work 50 weeks a year.  Let's say he takes four two-week vacations every year, which means he works 44 weeks.  13,000.00 x 44 = $57,200.00.  He's an independent business man and, no doubt, has lots of deductions, so his tax bill is not going to be too high. Remember that operating expenses like insurance on his truck, which he needs to have anyway, has now become a deduction, as well as gasoline, and part of his home as office space.  Due to his age, there is no social security penalty either, so we'll add another $2000.00 per month for he and his wife's social security.  Now we're over $81,000.00 yearly income.

So, here's a guy who answers to no one for his daily bread.  He's doing what he likes, when he likes.  Does it compare to some high priced attorney in some high-end firm?  Nope.  But, I have news for you.  Most attorneys do not earn all that much money, and they probably invested a hundred grand toward their education.

According to US News:
Lawyers earned a median salary of $113,530 in 2012, according to the BLS. The best-paid earned more than $187,999, while the lowest-paid made approximately $54,310. The highest earners worked in the metropolitan areas of San Jose, Calif., Dothan, Ala., and San Francisco. source
Notice that in order to earn that $187,000.00, the attorney had to be living in a very expensive city like San Francisco or San Jose, so that $187K is chump change.

Our Bill, however, lives on 22 lovely acres in a 3000 plus square foot home valued at over $400,000.00 - which around here is a palace.  And guess what else?  Bill has never, ever been on a computer.  Never.

We also need our furnace serviced.  My future furnace person will be Bill's grandson, who owns and operates his own HVAC company.  Obviously, he's learned how to get ahead from his grandpa.

Think about the untold number of people saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loan debt, while having gained a degree in women's studies (isn't that done in the frat house?), or interior design (you need a degree for this?) Add to that the fact that colleges are no longer about education, but indoctrination.

When you hear deadbeats like Odumbo, someone who has never held a real job in his entire life, tout the party line of how everyone deserves a college education, think about Bill. 

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