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July 3, 2023

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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The problem with Socialism

Comments 11-20 of 34

  • AL Page

    05/27/2023 04:08 PM

    This may be your best commentary ever Mike! Mike Rowe will get "Goose Bumps"!
    I met you in Mountain Home, AR in 2001. Have supported and prayed for you in all endeavors since. Stay strong, brother in the Lord, AL Page

  • Shelley Hoelz

    05/27/2023 03:41 PM

    In the 1960's, we were told that you couldn't get a good time if you didn't go to a university. Well the majority of my family opted NOT to attend a university. Instead we attended trade schools or learned on our own. My husband is a great computer programmer, self-taught. The college grads that work in the same company come to him for answers. They just can't seem to problem solve.
    A university education is great for some jobs. But for most, trade schools, community colleges, on-the-job experience, and internships can do much better to prepare you for the real world. You get a good education in the field you need and don't end up with a mountain of debt. You start working earlier, too!
    We need to stop pushing universities as the only means to get ahead. It is a failing model intended to indoctrinate the masses while crippling them with debt equivalent to a mortgage, while not preparing them for a real job (at least in most cases). Trade jobs are often looked down upon but the elite in society. Believe me, they are important! Currently we are dealing with the aftermath of a tornado, and those tradesmen and tradeswomen are in high demand! Yet there are far too few of them.
    You also referenced television production. My granddaughter right now has been volunteering her time at her church, doing the sound board. She is still in high school, but as her skills have improved, she now has some paying gigs. While she plans on attending college after her Senior year, she is already gaining real life experience in the field she is interested in.
    On student loans - the government needs to stay OUT of the lending businesses! This goes for student loans and mortgages. When the government gets involved, everything falls apart!

  • Larry W. Perkins

    05/27/2023 03:33 PM

    Governor, I could not agree with you more. I am 72 years old, retired, and, by the elitist's judgement, uneducated. I was a freshman in our state's flagship university when I realized that I wanted to work with my hands and my intellect, as well as, serve in the USAF. I took the enlistment tests and decided I would pursue my desires. I quit school, enlisted, began technical training, and, ultimately, have had a wonderfully productive and blessed life. We have educated our two grown children and they are happy and productive patriots.

  • Monica Bellini

    05/27/2023 03:22 PM

    I agree with your assessment in addition I would like to recommend to all young people who think socialism and redistribution of wealth is that to go, be required to read or watch the movie Dr. Zhivago. It shows how long socialism lasted and what transpired afterwards. A true story with an unhappy ending.

  • Paul Kern

    05/27/2023 03:21 PM

    We must always stand for the Truth. Remember the Hall of Fame in Hebrews!

  • Patrick Canan

    05/27/2023 12:25 PM

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.
    I still ponder what your administration would have accomplished had your 2008 campaign succeeded.

  • Robert Berger

    02/25/2023 08:23 PM

    Governor Huckabee, you obviously don't even know what socialism is . No, young people all over America aren't falling for the conservative straw man of "socialism ".
    Conservatives like you mistake the existence of a social security net with socialism . But a strong safety net is absolutely essential in any civilized nation . And our own American safety net is unfortunately appallingly weak and inadequate , and the. Republicans are trying to make it even weaker and ultimately to destroy it .
    The only way we can create lots of jobs, help the poor and middle class , stop people from falling into poverty , help the poor in America out of poverty etc is to strengthen our safety net .
    We must get rid of supply side "trickle down " economics , because prosperity does not trickle down . It never has and never will . Our government just keeps giving more tax breaks to the richest Americans and. defunds essential programs to help those in need .
    The Republicans have kept wages stagnant for decades while allowing the cost of living to rise steadily . This has been catastrophic for the American people . Food, housing , health care , the cost of a college education etc are just too expensive for too many Americans .
    Millions of Americans are struggling to earn enough to stay afloat , and no matter how hard they work and how many jobs they work at , they can barely afford anything .
    The Democrats , who are NOT socialists let alone communists , have been struggling to improve our economy and make life affordable in America , but the. Republicans have. stubbornly blocked their efforts . The only Americans hwo now benefit from the Republican party are the wealthy .

  • 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