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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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JimMtnViewCaUSA | June 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

This would appear to be much-needed basic info for liberals.

Executive summary:
To be clear, jobs get created in private enterprise when additional labor is required to produce goods or services that will increase the profit of the enterprise.

Jobs don’t get created:
A: because people are trained to do them.
B: because people have higher educational attainment.
C: by raising taxes on those who we hope will create the jobs.

Pasadena Phil | June 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

Instead of putting MORE taxpayer money into loans and non-merit-based scholarships, let’s eliminate their being available for non-productive areas of study (like political “science” and sociology) and redirect that money into engineering, science (real science, not earth science or poli-sci), and other areas that actually help society and make people employable.

There is too much educational paper being bandied about by useless people and not enough education.

The Arroyo Seco Kid has a point. Truth-in-advertising protocols should at least cause higher education to relabel the classes he mentioned, and their ilk, “Public Teat Engorgement 101”, etc.

Professor, Bush II adopted the “compassionate” conservative mantilla for one reason: Ann Richards. Richards was a popular Democrat (Texas being a blue state at the time, in spite of what Obama says) in a party that was rapidly moving left with over reach of federal authority (i.e. Waco). To appeal to those Texas Dems who basically allowed their emotions to rule their politics, Bush had to come up with the mantra that he was just as “compassionate” as they were.

The problem came when Bush ran for POTUS, after being governor in a Democrat controlled state, when he started believing his own rhetoric.

Rich Lowry’s article is not very flattering to a man who has consistantly increased jobs in Texas. But then, Lowry sold his soul a long time ago and became just another Beltway insider who has put much distance between him and the American public.

I guess the best book I ever read on how the liberal policies are anything but compassionate was written by Star Parker. Parker told how the largess provided her by the federal government facilitated the ruin of her life, including multiple abortions. It was only when she found a pastor, who didn’t play the race card, that she realized she, and only she, was responsible for her life.

BAs working as plumber, and Master degree holders unemployed is all too common. It used to be that a college education meant something, now you can major in “women’s” studies, or so other meaningless liberal arts degree that does not make you employable. When, if Obama gets his way, everyone has a college degree, what value will it hold then? Or will we see college graduates going to trade schools to learn to do the things the rest of their class cannot do because they are tired of being one of the unemployed herd?

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

I ask myself the same question every time the local utility is browbeat by our liberal city and county commissioners to devote resources encouraging consumers to conserve. Both water and electricity (the utilities in question) are metered…you pay only for what you use. Like gasoline it is a straightforward logical progression to assume that the less you use, the lower your bills.

But the over-reaching nannys in government assume that people are too stupid to make the connection themselves (maybe they’re right…look at the new scaaaary cigarette warnings) and so we’re inundated by advertisements encouraging conservation. Advertisements paid for by our utility bills.

That quote in the title is good in or out of context.

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

When people are isolated from the negative consequences of their own behavior, they become developmentally stunted and they never develop to their fullest potential. This is why the Democrats are causing wide-spread suffering in the lower class communities. They take away all the negative consequences of unwise behaviors in the name of compassion only to continually feed the cycle of poverty.

Our educational system today is totally broken. When they start giving ALL kids real grades based upon the quality of their homework and the extent to which they reached the clearly stated learning objectives, only then will we see any change. When kids who underperform are kept back, watch their motivation soar. There is also another fact that is often ignored. The same curriculum is used in all the schools, if middle class kids can learn from it, what’s the problem? Hint: it ain’t the teachers and it ain’t the amount of money spent.

The deal is:”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Pursue or not; it’s up to you.

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.

It’s the SECOND sentence that I have a problem with in this quote. The problem is that the path of higher education no longer leads to high-paying jobs because of the over-saturation in the market. Let’s take the legal field as an example: The AVERAGE pay for a lawyer coming out of law school today is roughly 40-45 Thousand annually. This, after spending roughly somewhere north of 150K on Undergraduate Study, and another 150K to 200K on Law School (plus Bar Study) and being unable to work more than 20 hours per week for roughly 3 years (if a full time Law student per ABA regs).

The 200+ law schools, each churning out between 100 and 150 students annually has flooded the market with degrees, thus lowering the “value” of a law degree, and causing individuals with one to have to fight for the higher paying jobs. Some might argue that this is economics (more people see potential for a higher wage and take the risk). It’s NOT. What it IS is an outgrowth of cheap loans made available by government subsidization. By making it cheaper for individuals to get higher education, it reduces the outcomes for ALL the individuals because there is higher competition. Is it good for the economy and general public? Usually, as they get a less-expensive service through the increased competition. But it is NOT so much in the individual’s self interest anymore because that education does NOT create a high probability (let alone a guarantee) of a high-paying job.

[…] 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.