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.