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July 3, 2023
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I got a comment from a reader arguing that one reason young people fall prey to socialism (aside from being brainwashed by their teachers) is that they feel the capitalist system is failing them. They were told they had to get college degrees if they wanted good jobs, and encouraged to take out huge student loans. Now, they’re saddled with crippling debt, and those degrees aren’t opening the doors to jobs that pay enough to ever get out of the hole.

I admit that’s a serious problem, but it won't be solved by electing people who will expand the very policies that raise taxes, kill jobs and wages, and encourage making college even more ridiculously expensive and pursuing useless degrees. And promising to “forgive” student loan debt is just a bait-and-switch. Your student loan debt might disappear, but your tax bill will double or triple, while colleges will raise tuition to take advantage of the new government subsidy. Will that solve your problem? And talk about redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich! Working people who never attended college will pay higher taxes to pay off the college loan debts of lawyers, doctors, lobbyists and Ivy League grads.

We need action on a number of fronts for young people to be able to access the American dream. I’ll lay out a few proposals, knowing there’s no chance of them being put into effect until after the next two elections.

First, we do need to restructure student loans, so that rates are lowered and terms easier to handle. It would also help if states that control the colleges’ purse strings would make them pull back on the leftist indoctrination, speech policing, racial discrimination and propaganda about things like logic and productivity being “white surpremacy,” and instead go back to teaching things that can help students get decent jobs.

Government policies need to be aimed at helping grow the economy and encourage private sector expansion and business creation instead of punishing it, so that jobs are plentiful and wages keep rising. We need to stop using our tax code and unemployment system to disincentivize work and success. Future generations need to be taught to be more judicious in choosing majors, or that maybe college isn’t the only alternative. Just as the pandemic sped up evolution of the work-from-home movement, it also introduced many people to learning from home. Did you know that you can now watch all of MIT’s classes on YouTube for free?

https://www.youtube.com/user/MIT

There are also many good-paying jobs in skilled trades that employers desperately need to fill (just ask Mike Rowe.) Trade school is faster and cheaper than college, and doesn’t come with a heaping side order of communism. There’s dignity in all work, and it’s a heck of a lot better to be a busy, well-paid plumber or mechanic than an angry, underemployed gender studies major (they obviously have way too much free time on their hands these days.)

Besides, as our current political leaders have proven beyond a doubt, having an Ivy League degree is no guarantee of superior intelligence, ability or even basic competence. It might just mean that your parents bought the school a gym. Academic credentials are fine, but they don’t mean as much to me as native intelligence, a strong work ethic and an eagerness to learn.

Before I entered politics, I worked with a fellow named Gary Underwood to build a community TV station on a shoestring budget. Gary had no formal education in television production, but he figured out things, like how to make work lights from Sam’s Club do as studio lights, and how to run lights and a camera off a car battery so we could do remotes. If he’d had formal training, he might’ve told me it was impossible on our budget and given up. But since he wasn’t a "trained expert," he found ways to do the impossible. Later on, he ran media operations for the Arkansas Governor’s Office for me.

There are people with more education than others, and who certainly think they’re smarter than the rest of us. But you’d be hard pressed to find people with more “smarts” than someone like Gary. Have you ever heard it said that someone was “educated beyond their intelligence”? We’ve got plenty of people like that these days. Washington is crawling with so many Harvard and Yale alums that if they could all get a tuition refund, they could probably pay off the national debt. And frankly, based on their competence and intelligence, many of them should demand a tuition refund.

As both a Governor and a business owner, I’ve hired a lot of employees over the years. Some would figure out how to get something done, while others would spend more time explaining why it couldn’t be done than it would’ve taken to do it! Give me a smart person with a can-do attitude any day over one with an expensive “education” who lacks the resourcefulness to solve problems with whatever is available.

Remember the story of the eminent scientist who proved through incontrovertible laws of physics, gravity and aerodynamics that it was impossible for a bumblebee to fly? The bumblebee ignored all his arguments about how flying was impossible and flew anyway. The moral: If you want to succeed, be like a bumblebee and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t fly.

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Comments 1-10 of 34

  • Becky Jantzen

    05/30/2023 10:09 AM

    Agree 100% about trade school. Both my dad and one nephew went to trade school and not only had good paying jobs, but also had DIY skills that saved lots of money! Too many people can't fathom encouraging their kid to train for a job where you get your hands dirty and in fact look down on people who work on their car, fix the plumbing in their house, etc. My question to them is how would you manage without those highly skilled workers who keep your white-collar lifestyle functioning?

  • Donna Weimer

    05/30/2023 08:52 AM

    Love this piece

  • Ed Thompson

    05/29/2023 02:49 PM

    Got a student loan—went to college—graduated— no job— why? My advice to anyone whose thinking about college is do yourself a huge favor and do some serious research on the job market! Right now the streets are full of social activists who went to college and learned how to yell at people and what they got in their education for the money they borrowed will never get them anywhere in life as a real paycheck earning job. Unfortunately most if not all universities don’t care what you choose as your major as long as they get your money, you can go for four years and graduate with a degree in finger painting and then you can proclaim to the world that you’re a college graduate who cannot find a job! Had fun partying there though right? Easy study! No one is hiring finger painting people! Darn! Maybe beer drinkers?? Party animals?? NO?? Gezzze! If you’re a parent talk with your children about what they want to do in their lives and guide them towards a career that they can be successful in AND have financial security with. And please include a few examples of trades that are needed by everyone that if they are successful in , their financial lives will be successful! Absolutely nothing wrong with a blue collar job. The world needs them.

  • Robert Janovick

    05/28/2023 07:27 PM

    I think that I close the tab instead of sending this:

    Close, but here's another facet.
    The government has all of the records: Who borrowed the money. What colleges got the tuition. What majors / courses were pursued. What the jobs in that category pay and whether the borrower has been enriched sufficiently to pay the loan back in a reasonable time. The progress on repayment.
    I would propose: If a fraud has been served on a student, the government invoice the college for 30% of the tuition and credit the proceeds to the student's loan. (I define a fraud to be the inclusion of non-income enhancing courses in required courses for a major or minor.) The invoice not limited to said courses - but the WHOLE tuition (as a punishment).
    Colleges, that serve THEIR agenda rather than the student's, should not be rewarded, but deserve to go out of business.

  • Wilbur L. Brewer

    05/28/2023 10:35 AM

    I was raised just North of Batesville, AR., and graduated from Cave City HS in 1954. We finally got electricity when I was in the 8th grade and we had no motorized equipment on the farm that I was born on. Two horses did all the work of the tractor and the fuel for them was raised on the farm. All the buildings were built with timbers from the land that we owned which was in the family from the time it was homesteaded. My education was basic but my work ethic on the farm helped to keep us fed quiet well. Large gardens, chickens (eggs), cows (milk), horses for the plows and other farm equipment. I couldn't see a future here as there wasn't enough money to better the farming so I entered the Army which I retired from some 25 years later. As an enlisted man in the Army, I ensured I occupied a position that would be promotable the next higher grade. After a tour in Vietnam with Special Forces and at the grade of Sergeant Firs Class E7, I decided it was time for me to see if I could find a specialty that I could use after I completed the Army stint. Helicopter flight school was completed in September 1967 with just enough time to make another year in Vietnam. This was used as a stepping stone to complete Instructor pilot school, Aviation Safety Officer School (USC) and Standardization Instructor Pilot i.e., I taught the instructors. After the Army, I flew in the Gulf of Mexico for 10 years, became a base manager, quit flying and became a Human Resource Manager and finally a Director of Marketing all with a civilian helicopter company. I finally retired a the ripe age of 71.5 years. Some college but a lot of hard work and looking ahead to improvement of my skill set and making a living for my spouse of 66 years, 6 children, 22 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren. I am not in the best of health but am thankful for what God has made available to me and by giving me the opportunity to excel in my profession(s). May God continue to bless you and the new Governor (Sarah) of Arkansas. W. Lee Brewer

  • Mary Jo Vergara

    05/27/2023 09:47 PM

    I totally agree with you. I was born in South America 75 Septembers ago. When I graduated from High school women in that part of the world didn’t go to College, we were educated to be wives and mothers and socialites. I met an American from Texas in my hometown. He was there as the director of the only school that everything was taught in English. I heard that the school was looking for an assistant for the Kindergarten teacher. So I got an appointment, and I was the last person he interviewed. I got that job. For him it was love at first sight, not so for me, but we got married. We came to live in Texas six years after we got married. I wanted to work and I got a job at Montgomery Ward. I was their Decorator without a degree, just a test that I took from somewhere that they paid for the test which I passed. I worked for more than ten years as a Decorator, not only at Montgomery Ward but at other stores also, all without a degree. I worked hard and I loved what I was doing. I didn’t get to be a millionaire but today I get a Social Security check that is not huge, but I am happy. Our Wonderful God YEHOVAH has been great to me, so I am very grateful to my King of kings.
    Thank you for your newsletter, I enjoy it daily, and I receive all the blessings from you and your staff.

    With blessings of Shalom,
    Mary Jo Vergara.

  • MATTHEW R TANK

    05/27/2023 09:10 PM

    Tell young people to study real hard for that spelling test, so they can get a 10 out of 10. Then the teacher takes 3 of their points and gives them to someone who didn’t study and got a 4. That way the “authorities” can ensure everyone has a 7. Encourages mediocrity and reliance on the state for outcomes. There, now that’s “equity/socialism” in a nutshell.

  • Ger Wieman

    05/27/2023 09:10 PM

    When I went to college the goal was to become a better educated person..a person who would be better at any job. Later on, it seems that the goal of college was to get that piece of paper so that one could get a high paying job...never mind improving the person.

  • Gary Stilwell

    05/27/2023 08:57 PM

    The one thing you did NOT mention was the pulling off of the leather belt by the father--Seems strange this worked for over 200 years

  • Steven Lechtenberg

    05/27/2023 08:07 PM

    Thank you for your common sense approach to this education problem. I barely graduated high school, went to the Army from high school. After four years of service and HONORABLY DISCHARGED, i went into construction, pipe crews, bridges, paving etc etc. In the mid 70’s I started running heavy equipment, from their it was all good jobs and making a decent wage. I wound working on pipe lines and in the oil fields. I made more in 8 to 9 months of working than most college grads made at their full time jobs. The opportunities are there if these young people realize that good old honest work does pay off. I am comfortably retired now with two pensions and social security. I also invested a portion of my hard earned wages and have a very comfortable reserve account to cover any unforeseen expense's.