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    “Why should we devote resources begging people to act in their own self interest?”

    “Why should we devote resources begging people to act in their own self interest?”

    That’s the question asked by Justin Katz at Anchor Rising, a Rhode Island based conservative blog, in the context of handwringing over the “skills gap” and plan to pump more money into motivating people to get educated:

    They’ll seek to pour additional money into secondary and post secondary education, taking money out of the economy in order to make it as easy as possible for young adults to stumble into the jobs that they want to fill. But the underlying problem is much deeper, as one can begin to see in this quotation:

    “State leaders have long known of a skills gap in Rhode Island and have been working to find solutions, said Ray Di Pasquale, CCRI president and state commissioner of higher education. But, he acknowledged, the state needs to do more to cater to student needs to keep them in school. ”

    Why should we devote resources begging people to act in their own self interest? They ought to want to pursue a path that leads them to high-paying jobs. If the route to a comfortable life is to stay in school, all that ought to be needed is for young Americans to be made to understand that — and to understand that hard work, dedication, and sacrifice on their own part is going to be required.

     Interestingly, Rich Lowry has a column up today about The Rise of Uncompassionate Conservatism, focusing on Rick Perry and generalized Republican rejection of the Bush-era of big goverment:

    As the press clues into the new anti-Bush drift of the GOP, we can expect a revival in Bush’s reputation. He will be portrayed as more reasonable, more internationalist, and altogether more statesmanlike than his benighted compatriots. If only it were still the party of George W. Bush will be the lament. And it will make the party even more glad that it’s not.

    I never liked the phrase “compassionate conservative” because it suggests that conservatives are not generally compassionate.

    Allowing people to find their own way in life, to succeed through their own efforts, to become all they are able to achieve, while maintaining a safety net which is not so expansive that it entangles those who it seeks to save.  That’s pretty compassionate to me.


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    […] as true now as it was then, which brings us (via Legal Insurrection) to Anchor Rising, where Justin Katz talks about one of the problems at which politicians love to […]

    Agree with Pasadena Phil: the problems with education and the skills gap is caused by too much spending, not too little.

    If there were less money in education, people would go if wealthy and able to afford it as a hobby, or if using it to acquire the skill sets for a high-paying job. Either way, they would not be languishing in high-priced, time-consuming finishing school for the sake of appealing to someone’s snobbery.

    Likewise, those who currently spend four or five years learning about gender studies and peace movements would spend that time, and less of their and our money, acquiring skills and work experience. Taking up people’s time exacts a cost on the economy and to individuals. There is the opportunity cost to each person: the four or five years of college could have been spent earning money and developing job experience, and those years represent about 10% of a high school graduate’s potential working years, the loss of which exacts a toll on the economy.

    I did engineering in college because I wanted a job when I graduated, and I took “fun” courses (poetry, ancient Greek, etc) as fifth and sixth classes, not as a replacement for my professional degree. I also laugh at people who tell me to go for a master’s or a LLM; my response is that there comes a point at which you have enough education and really just need to start working. “More education” is a fine answer to problems facing an illiterate society or a group of high school drop-outs, but is hardly the solution for a generation of Peace and Justice Studies majors.

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