The American Enterprise Institute recently published a study indicating that for many students, the answer is no. Looking a pay data for graduates of a wide array of schools, author Mark Schneider finds that at quite a few non-selective schools, the average grad doesn't earn enough to cover the cost of borrowing the necessary funds. In North Carolina, Shaw and Campbell make the list of low-performance schools. Of course, that doesn't mean that no students do well enough to make the cost worthwhile, but that quite a few students are getting credentials that aren't worth the price.
This study supports the argument I've been making for years: we have a glut of people with college degrees working in low-pay jobs either because they don't have much in the way of marketable skill or because there simply aren't enough "good jobs" to go around.
Will the groups pushing the "we've got to get more people through college" idea pay any attention?
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Anthony Greco's CarolinaJournal.tv report on the N.C. House District 10 race between incumbent Democrat Van Braxton and Republican challenger Stephen LaRoque.
The hard copy of the N&O today included an article about a report issued by Mark Schneider of the American Institutes for Research which says that the states appropriate about $1.54 billion annually to educate college freshman who don't return for their second year. North Carolina spent $63 million per year between 2003 and 2008 on freshman drop-outs, fifth highest in the country and among the highest per capita (For instance, California spends just shy of $100 million, with 4 times the population).
A quick thumbnail calculation, looking at the rate students drop out in later years, suggests that North Carolina is spending between $200 and $250 million per year to educate students who don't complete their degrees (This doesn't even consider students who get meaningless degrees).
Success in college is highly predictable. Savvy admissions counselors, particularly at the schools with the abysmal graduation rates (less than 45 percent), probably can identify who is going to make it and who is not with 80-90 percent accuracy. The failure to do so means that there is probably $50 to $100 million that is being squandered each year by the UNC system to keep enrollments high and to appease various political constituencies.
The four causes of what’s likely to be a landslide defeat for Democrats in the midterm election are now locked in place. All that’s left for Democrats in the final three weeks of the campaign is to trash Republicans, stir their base to vote, and pray.
The last cause of the Democratic downslide to be cooked in the election cake was the economy. The Labor Department last week reported the jobs picture for September: 95,000 jobs lost and the unemployment rate mired at 9.6 percent.
These gloomy numbers are important because there won’t be another jobs report until after November 2. So any hope by Democrats for a dramatic uptick in employment – or even a small increase – before Election Day is gone. They’re stuck with the ultimate albatross in politics – a bad economy.
Two of the other causes – liberal overreach and disappointment with President Obama – began to surface last year. By early 2010, they had become overriding issues in the campaign. Now they’re such a drag that Democratic candidates would rather not talk about them.
The fourth cause is one Democrats couldn’t do anything about – or not much anyway. That’s the historical tendency of the party that doesn’t hold the White House to gain in the first midterm election after a new president is inaugurated. There have only been two exceptions, 1934 and 2002.
At one point, Democrats thought they might escape the midterm curse or at least mitigate its impact. When the economic recovery proved to be painfully weak and both Obama and his policies lost favor, that dream died. What’s ahead now for Democrats is a nightmare.
Last night I attended a debate between the UNC-Chapel Hill College Republicans and Young Democrats. It was a fairly high-excitement event, as far as campus politics go. Here are a few thoughts, observations, and one-liners from the event.
-Anthony Dent opened for the Republicans, calling Obama's first two years a failure and expounding on the left's flawed view of human nature. He may not yet be Demosthenes as far as rhetoric, but it was nonetheless a pretty high-brow speech for a student group.
-David Murray fired the first Democrat volley, rather loudly yelling and pointing at the Republicans, calling them xenophobes and, if I remember correctly, corporate shills. Interestingly, none of the Republicans felt inclined to respond to these charges, preferring to talk about issues instead.
-Both sides seemed almost exclusively focused on addressing the Democrats in the audience. The Republicans tried to persuade them while the Democrat debaters seemed more focused on winning approbation from their fellows.
-“I’m glad to see that someone who actually deserved the peace prize won it this year.” -Anthony Dent, responding to a question about this year's Nobel Prize for peace.
-“Are you going to blame President Bush for the NCAA investigation, too?” -Jason Sutton, Republican, referring to the ongoing investigation of UNC-CH football players.
I don't know if any hearts or minds were changed last night one way or the other, but I was certainly impressed with the command of facts from both sides. The CR-YD debate is usually one of the highlights of the semester, and last night's showdown didn't disappoint.
I'll start to take Republican promises of fiscal prudence seriously if they push for repeal of the monopoly the USPS enjoys on first-class mail. AEI's Kevin Hassett makes the case against this wasteful, inefficient operation here.
Of course, the head of the Postal union sees things differently. He demands more for his members.
Why not pay them more? They would no doubt spend the money, thereby "stimulating" the economy, right? I'd like to see Obama explain his position on the union's demands.
Thomas Sowell's latest column — posted at Human Events — examines the facts within the rhetoric uttered at a recent debate between incumbent Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and Republican challenger Ron Johnson.
Feingold was clearly smoother and more glib-- and his arguments may have sounded more plausible to those unfamiliar with the facts. But what Ron Johnson said would have resonated better with those who did know the facts. How many people are in which category may determine the outcome of this election.
Senator Feingold wants Social Security kept pretty much the way it is. That would mean that there is not enough money to pay what is owed to the baby boomers who retire. Ron Johnson wants to keep Social Security as is for those who have already retired and for those approaching retirement years, but would not make it mandatory for younger people to join, if they don't want to.
Russ Feingold was on it in an instant, accusing his opponent of denying the benefits of Social Security to young workers and forcing them into the risky stock market for their retirement.
Although Senator Feingold cast himself in the role of a defender of Social Security, Ron Johnson pointed out that members of Congress like Senator Feingold had in fact undermined Social Security financially, by spending its money on other things.
In 2007 the General Assembly decided to give counties the chance to seek voter approval for higher sales or land-transfer taxes. Since then, voters have rejected the higher taxes 68 times in 85 tries.
In the upcoming elections, several counties have tax-hike proposals before their voters. The research staff at the John Locke Foundation are carefully evaluating each one of them and publishing our analyses in Regional Briefs so that county voters are better informed:
One of the main issues this year is "tax cuts for the rich." Democrats are overwhelmingly against them and want to increase taxes on people who make too much money. The question is what impact that would have on such individuals.
None at all say the class warriors.
Yes, it will reduce work effort argue others, including Harvard professor Greg Mankiw in this piece.
Mankiw is right, but I don't think work effort is the crucial point to make against tax increases. The question is whether the individual who earned the money will do more useful things with it than the federal government will. Individuals spend and invest money with considerable thought as to relative costs and benefits. On the other hand, politicians just spend (yes, sometimes they call their spending "investing" but that's deceptive) and often do so in ways that are useless (pork barrel projects for the home district that no one would voluntarily back) or even harmful (such as hiring more IRS enforcers). The more resources that are directed by politics, the poorer we become overall, even though a few individuals and organizations profit handsomely from government spending.
I'll leave it to Joe Coletti to dissect the details of a News & Observer opinion column from the N.C. Justice Center's Adam Searing.
But one aspect of the column struck me as particularly troubling. Searing uses the recent news of a $335,000 pay raise for a UNC Hospitals heart transplant surgeon to make a larger point:
be fair though, this isn't about UNC Hospitals. It's how we've set up
the game of health care in our country. The heart surgeon's raise just
highlights the major problems we face with the price of care.
Start with the way we train specialty physicians such as cardiac surgeons.
First we make it make it much more lucrative to go into speciality [sic] care than we do primary care. So people want to become specialists.
- unlike in most other countries - we expect our would-be doctors to go
into debt, often hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth, just to get a
Finally we set up a reimbursement system that
pays so much for speciality care and so much less for primary care and
everyday care that large hospitals feel they must be able to deliver
these speciality services in order to compete and stay in business.
After reading that passage, I asked myself, "Who's this 'we' Adam is talking about?" I certainly haven't had anything to do with setting up the health system. Since Adam works for a left-of-center public policy group, I don't think he is part of this "we," either.
In fact, there is no "we" responsible for all of the various aspects of the health care system that Adam delineates.
The only "we" to which he possibly could be referring is the collective "we" of society. In practical terms, this means the government. And if "we" have allowed all of these arguably negative elements of the health-care system to develop, it must be up to "us" — actually the government — to do something about it.
If you think the government should exercise even more control over our health care — and that's the basic point of ObamaCare, isn't it? — then say so. But "we" fans of limited government, personal responsibility, and free markets take a different view.
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Karen McMahan's report on the potential impact of proposed federal dust regulations, including the threat to the traditional North Carolina "pig pickin.'"
John Hood's Daily Journal examines the role of public polling in North Carolina.