Brandon Minster

I suspect that most of us have heard that education is vital to success, be it from parents or former teachers.

“Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide. … And no matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it,” said President Barack Obama to Arlington, Va. high school students in September 2009.

But it is not just individual success that requires an education.

According to the president, “This isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.”
It was at this point that the government-education complex messed their pants with joy.

Because when you are selling an overpriced and marginally useless product, you need as many strident endorsements from the president as you can get.
If education was truly important, then any increase in education would be rewarded.

A student one credit shy of graduating with a bachelor’s degree should be able to make almost as much money as the student who has finished all the degree requirements.

Empirically, that is not what we find to be true.

Nearly all the rewards of education are held for those who complete their degrees.

It is not the education, but the sheepskin, that is drawing the higher salary.

Yet the president continues to shill for schools.

The only reason your hyperbole meter didn’t explode a few paragraphs ago when you read his statement that “the future of this country” depends on staying in school was because you’ve heard so many similar statements in the past.

Hyperbole is the new objectiveness.

Millions of American students are entering college for no reason other than because they have been told that they should; they are ill-prepared for what they find there.

They personify the old adage about the pig in singing lessons: They are merely wasting time and becoming annoyed.

American Institutes for Research recently attempted to find just how many resources are spent each year on college freshmen who do not return for further schooling.

Ignoring community colleges, which have higher attrition rates, they found that 30 percent of first-year college students don’t come back. Those students use $9.1 billion in grants and appropriations.

These students are receiving very little benefit from all this educational spending.

Their salaries are virtually identical to those of workers who didn’t attend any college at all.

In pure efficiency terms, everyone would be better off if we just divided the $9.1 billion among them and cut checks to keep them away from college.

At least then parking spaces and computer lab spots would not be so scarce.

Like a good bureaucrat, the president wants to solve the problem of wasted money by wasting more.

His proposal to make federal education grants an entitlement program flies in the face of economic reasoning.

Further subsidizing education will result in more consumption, not less.

Government spending is projected to reach Greek-crisis levels in the next two years.

Throwing money at students, who use one year of college as the best party ever, should be curtailed, not increased.

That is something the future of America actually does depend on.