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December 27, 2022

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?

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 17

  • Robert J Miller (Bob, please)

    12/28/2022 02:40 PM

    Dear Mike, I really enjoy your newsletters, and, of course like everyone else I have opinions. When I graduated from High School in Southport Indiana, I had no ideqa what I wanted to do with my life. After trying and failing at several entry level jobs, I finally listened to my future mother-in-law and applied at the local RCA factory. They hired me as a receiver. After about six months i decided to marry my sweetheart. We went to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky on our honeymoon. When we arrived at our apartment, I, on a whim, looked in the mailbox. one of the letters inside was from RCA offering me the chance to enter an apprenticeship. I applied and after four and a half years (with time out for serving in the Army National Guard), I became a certified Maintenance Electrician. The really sweet part about this was that after that my employers funded my college education. Various employers paid for my Bachelor's degree and on to my MBA. Unfortunately, or perhaps not, I never put this to use because I was already making more money as an electrician than I could have started at a job that required a college education. I got the education because it was available to me as a part of my compensation. More valuable to me was proving that I could finish whatever I started! God bless you for speaking out for all of us.

  • Mark Bullock

    12/27/2022 10:02 PM

    Hi Governor,
    The government has no business in guaranteeing loans for students. They’re funding the destruction of this country!

  • stephen russell

    12/27/2022 10:22 AM

    How about they "sample" socialist life in Cuba?
    Hear from guest speakers
    Watch TV & movies on issue
    Or they learn Nothing

  • Ken Vestal

    11/28/2022 01:26 PM

    Raise Voting age to 30 years, Yeshua started his ministry when he turned 30.

    You only begin to reach maturity for mere mortals. Before I reached age 30 I voted for George McGovern. a pinko commie liberal. Then I did another strange thing I voted for Jimmy because I thought he was a born again christian. All potential voters should have to take a civics test before they are allowed to vote. If you fail you shouldn't be allowed to vote. I asked all my neighbors if they knew who our representative in congress is and the names of California Senators. Two could name the senators and none could could name our congressman, or what party he was. Pitiful but they all voted.

  • Horst Mehler

    09/06/2022 07:56 PM

    Great article.
    Please contact me, Sir, I can contribute to this very important message.

  • Charles Edward Gant

    09/06/2022 04:07 AM

    The stark contrast between your utterly rational comments and the current insanity of modern politics, defines so clearly how mentally ill we are as a society. Thankyou again for providing a beacon of hope, like a lighthouse guiding us home on a dark and stormy night.
    Charles Gant MD

  • Kimberly B Carland

    09/05/2022 07:33 PM

    Wow great article. I wish I could get my 29 year old daughter to read this. We have been trying to discuss this student debt forgiveness thing. Not much success. And I never miss your Sat. Huckabee show. Thanks for all you do.

  • Deborah Farrell

    09/05/2022 06:54 PM

    To help college debts, how about no interest? I’ve had hospital bills without interest.

  • Darrell Parks

    09/05/2022 06:03 PM

    Where I live, I am so thankful many of our teachers are still down-to-earth people are still Christians going to church and actually teaching the course they are supposed to teach.

  • Peter Donaldson Dyke

    09/05/2022 03:53 PM

    The far-left socialist Democrats have been working for decades to brainwash our kids in school and take over our country. They have made a lot of progress with the green new deal, so called peaceful protesting, defunding the police, woke education, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if they were responsible for the program to borrow money in order to go to college. The biggest problem for the country after the 2024 election will be to educate the brainwashed.

    There are a number of organizations that are working to convert liberal Democrats to vote for the Republicans. They include the College Republicans, Young Republicans, Walkaway Campaign, PragerU, Hillsdale College, Huck Pac, etc. I don't know if there is any contact between the groups about what is working and what is not.

    I Think that it would be a good idea, and maybe a necessary idea, to have a committee with the purpose of collecting and developing ideas of ways to educate the brain washed liberals including corporate executives and media executives. The committee could include representatives from the above organizations, conservative professors, and others. I am sure that there are a number of people who could lead such a committee. I think that you would be an excellent choice or maybe someone from PragerU or one of the other above organizations.