The great and constant plaint from Hispanics or Latinos is and has been education. Their grievances have as their origins actual discrimination that kept many of them out of school or condemned as many or more to schools through the years with insufficient resources to maximize their community’s talents and potential – much to the nation’s detriment. Were the average household incomes of HispanicLatinos to equal overnight that of the average white, non-HispanicLatino household, the nation’s fiscal condition and outlook would be quite different.
It should be evident that the wrong foot on which HispanicLatinos began their journey through the American Experience left them economically behind and in a bind, given the demands that the future is placing on them to become one if not the main pillar of the country’s survival. So advancing as quickly as possible the educations of HispanicLatinos is critical. The greater their incomes the more taxes they will pay to help stave off, if possible, the fiscal collapse of the nation in the immediate years ahead.
So often forgotten, too, is the other, powerful, fiscal impact that education nurtures: The elimination of costs and expenses abetted by wrong personal decisions. Preventable diseases and conditions that afflict so many of the poor and less-educated and that seem to be less prevalent in those who acquired more than high school educations are a potent source of power to help fix the nation’s financial ailments. HispanicLatinos with higher-than-average educational attainment have lower rates of violence-induced costs, lower rates of diabetes, lower incidences of heart disease. The list is almost endless and represents billions of dollars in costs and expenditures that the nation otherwise would save.
Pressing for investments in education that have greater benefits than merely generating more tax income by which HispanicLatinos will be able to sustain today’s retiring populations is a no-brainer. Yet those who vote against local school bond packages or against more spending on education probably do not factor in the greater costs of not having an increasingly educated HispanicLatino population.
It does not help that in today’s economy so many college-educated individuals are unemployed. Yet, in a global economy that will continue to press America’s for the years to come, individuals will have to start off thinking about entrepreneurial endeavors, not resorting to them as man of today’s unemployed are being forced to do to survive after losing traditional forms of employment. Individuals with college educations and environments have a better shot at making their ideas work. The chances are better.
Education, then, is not just about individual wealth, success and increased social standing. Neither is it just about learning. It is about balancing the books. Having people making the right life choices could help close the country’s fiscal gap in the future.
It is an assumption to think that everyone understands the relationship when making fiscal and public policy decisions involving taxation and educational spending whether as a school board member or legislator or as a citizen in the voting booth.