Monday, April 30, 2012

College Education: Goals, Objectives and Costs

Unlike many pure libertarians, I believe that the Government can provide for positive incentives that will benefit all. Take College education. The US needs more engineers and scientists, and not to mention physicians.

In contrast to the all negative bantering of Krugman, the Petulant Princeton Professor, I believe that the Government can be a positive contributor. In fact it has shown in the past how to do this. In the later 1950s after Sputnik the US had a great demand for scientists and engineers, and it created undergraduate and graduate scholarships for those who could achieve at the higher levels. Namely it rewarded success, and in a sense punished failure, if the Draft could be called such, by providing scholarships to US citizens who majored in the engineering and science areas. You also got a Draft deferment.

Now the inimitable Krugman states:

College graduates, then, are taking it on the chin thanks to the weak economy. And research tells us that the price isn’t temporary: students who graduate into a bad economy never recover the lost ground. Instead, their earnings are depressed for life. 

What the young need most of all, then, is a better job market. People like Mr. Romney claim that they have the recipe for job creation: slash taxes on corporations and the rich, slash spending on public services and the poor. But we now have plenty of evidence on how these policies actually work in a depressed economy — and they clearly destroy jobs rather than create them. 

 Perhaps what the young need more than anything else is a dose of reality. Getting a BA in Fine Arts is perfectly fine if you have a billion dollar trust fund and you want to prepare for your Grand Tour. Or a degree in Ancient History is great if you also have that Trust Fund. But if you want a job then perhaps you do what anyone else would or should do, look at who is hiring, look at the costs and see if you will ever get a return on your investment, Just going to college often does not help. I have hired many High School grads over the years because they can work. The MBA type may very well have excessive expectations and no competence.

At eighteen, and it really has changed little in sixty plus years, one must make a decision based upon facts and reality. If you really do not like math, and you really just want to coast through an easy college, think of all those Hispanic immigrants I see at 6 AM on a January morning on the corner in Morristown seeking some pay for the day ... for they are your competition, not some Chinese laborer in Harbin.

Thus perhaps it would be helpful for the Government to renew those Science and Engineering scholarships, national tests, best performers win, no other requirement, no sex, no race, just how well one does. Just smart motivated US citizens. And yes, there is no funding for the arts or any other area not strategic to our national success, including economics. The Chinese and Indians do this, we should do it as well. Bring back the fifties!