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Quotations of the day: Venezuela’s socialist collapse, the left’s hate for referendums, and affirmative action fraud
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Here’s the CD version of the WSJ‘s daily Notable and Quotable items:
1. “When Socialism Collapses” by the editorial board of the Augusta Chronicle:
Venezuela is seeing mass hunger, food riots and chaos. Yet, many on the American left are pining for the same brand of socialism.
And that’s exactly what Democrats – who very nearly nominated an avowed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union – are feeding their constituents: class envy, big government, talk of free education, free child care and more, all paid for by – well, someone else. Those rich people who are holding you back and denying you.
Venezuelan socialism is collapsing. Yet, how much are you seeing about this in the media? It just might provide Bernie Sanders supporters and other North Americans with a cautionary tale about socialism.
The movement toward socialism isn’t about reason. It’s about emotion: anger, frustration, envy.
Increasingly Americans are drawn not to what works, but to what makes them feel good: putting it to “the man,” blaming others for their lot in life, and using the bludgeon of government coercion to redistribute wealth and create a social-justice utopia when none ever has been.
Have you ever noticed, though, that they’re always comparing capitalism’s warts to socialism’s pie-in-the-sky theories? Ask a Venezuelan: It’s hard to eat theory for lunch.
2.”Why the Left Hates Referendums” by Dennis Prager:
Why does the left hate referendums? Doesn’t it claim to represent “the people”? Isn’t “power to the people” one of the most popular sayings of the left? Isn’t the American left trying to abolish the Electoral College precisely because it isn’t directly representative of “the people’s” will?
One would imagine, therefore, that if anyone would welcome referendums it would be the left. So, what gives?
The answers explain a great deal about the left. First, the left cares about “the people” as much as the Soviet Communist Party cared about the workers. For the left, real people are either political fodder or, when they support the left, useful idiots.
The left loves power, not people. Repeat: The left loves power, not people. If that is not understood, the left is not understood.
The European Union is a perfect example. It is a left-wing exercise in controlling people — in this case, entire nations. That great source of societal damage — the faceless and nameless bureaucrat, in this instance located in Brussels, Belgium — seeks to control as much of every individual European’s life as possible. There is no limit to the number and extent of rules the EU passes.
3. “The Fraud Goes On” by Thomas Sowell:
Supreme Court decisions in affirmative action cases are the longest running fraud since the 1896 decision upholding racial segregation laws in the Jim Crow South, on grounds that “separate but equal” facilities were consistent witah the Constitution. While the 1896 “separate but equal” decision lasted 58 years, the Supreme Court’s affirmative action cases have now had 42 years of evasion, sophistry and fraud, with no end in sight.
The human tragedy, amid all the legal evasions and frauds is that, while many laws and policies sacrifice some people for the sake of other people, affirmative action manages to harm blacks, whites, Asians and others, even if in different ways. Students who are kept out of a college because other students are admitted instead, under racial quotas, obviously lose opportunities they would otherwise have had.
Minority students admitted to institutions whose academic standards they do not meet are all too often needlessly turned into failures, even when they have the prerequisites for success in some other institution whose normal standards they do meet.
When racial preferences in student admissions in the University of California system were banned, the number of black and Hispanic students in the system declined slightly, but the number actually graduating rose substantially. So did the number graduating with degrees in tough subjects like math, science and engineering.
But hard facts carry no such weight among politicians as magic words like “diversity” — a word repeated endlessly, without one speck of evidence to back up its sweeping claims of benefits.
It too is part of the Supreme Court fraud, going back to a 1978 decision that seemingly banned racial quotas — unless the word “diversity” was used instead of “quotas.” Seeming to ban racial preferences, while letting them continue under another name, was clever politically. But the last thing we need in Washington are nine more politicians, wearing judicial robes.
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Here are some recent news reports and blog posts that provide some valid reasons that the UK might be better off without being under the sclerotic, anti-consumer, anti-small business, anti-entrepreneur, pro-big business/big bank regulatory thumb of the EU and its many pro-regulatory, anti-consumer big members like France:
1. EU to launch kettle and toaster crackdown after Brexit vote, from the UK’s The Telegraph:
The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as tea kettles, toasters, and hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite senior officials admitting the plan has brought them “ridicule.” The European Commission plans to unveil long-delayed ‘ecodesign’ restrictions on small household appliances in the autumn.
They are expected to ban the most energy-inefficient devices from sale in order to cut carbon emissions. The plans have been ready for many months, but were shelved for fear of undermining the referendum campaign if they were perceived as an assault on the British staples of tea and toast.
A sales ban on high-powered vacuum cleaners and inefficient electric ovens in 2014 sparked a public outcry in Britain. Internet routers, hand-dryers, mobile phones and patio jet-washers are also being examined by commission experts as candidates for new ecodesign rules.
2. Steven Hayward on the Powerline Blog, referring to the news report above, says that should help us understand why Brexit passed and why more revolts from us peasants are likely ahead. Steven then adapts the famous Niemoller quote for our time, which goes something like this:
First they came for my toilet, mandating only 1.6 gallons per flush, and I did not speak out, because I could flush twice. . .
Then they came for my shower head, but I did not speak out, because I could just run the water longer. . .
Then they came for my light bulbs, but I did not speak out, because I have a whole basement full of the good old incandescent ones. . .
Then they came for my toaster, but I did not speak out, because I am on a low-carb diet. .
3. Paris isn’t happy about Amazon’s one-hour Prime Now delivery service, from The Verge:
The mayor of Paris this week issued a stern warning to Amazon over its express delivery service, raising concerns over its impact on local businesses and criticizing the US company for informing authorities “only a few days” before it launched. Amazon launched its Prime Now service in Paris last week, offering one-hour delivery of more than 18,000 items to Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon is charging €5.90 ($6.50)for one-hour delivery, or free two-hour delivery on orders of at least €20 ($22).
In an interview with FranceInfo, Olivia Polski, City Hall’s adjoint for artisanal and independent businesses, described Prime Now as a form of “unfair competition” that will harm local merchants, noting that it will not face the same taxes and regulatory requirements as other vendors.
4. Don Boudreaux on the Cafe Hayek blog, referring to the news report above, explains why we should “Pity the French Consumer and Worker“:
A true free market is at its core pro-consumer. In a genuinely free-market economy, businesses are valued only insofar as they serve consumers. The performance of a genuinely free-market economy is assessed by how well it satisfies, over time, the demands of consumers spending their own money and not by how well it satisfies the demands of business owners and managers.
For all of its faults, American culture and policy are actually much less pro-business than are the culture and policy of France. If you’re really looking for a government that is deeply pro-business – one that regards the protection of existing businesses as a worthy end in and of itself – one that forcibly transfers resources from taxpayers, consumers, and other non-businesses in order to promote the material interests of existing businesses – look at France. You’ll find there what you seek. In France you’ll find one of the most business-friendly policy regimes on the face of the earth.
5. Small UK businesses rejoice as they see a bright future for Britain after Brexit, from The Sun:
Entrepreneurs ‘never felt brighter’ about Britain’s economic future as the Leave vote brings opportunity.
Traders spoke of the harmful EU tariffs that have forced them to buy lower quality goods from the Eurozone, rather than being free to cut deals worldwide. Award-winning baker Geoff Champs has run Champs Bakery for 29 years in Whitstable, Kent. He said business was already booming in the wake of Thursday’s vote.
The 50-year-old told The Sun on Sunday: “I think there are great opportunities. For years British bakers have been forced by EU tariffs to buy European wheat instead of looking to the wider world. Any master baker will tell you that the best baking wheat in the world is Canadian wheat. But we aren’t free to buy it because the EU punishes you if you do. And why should we be giving Spain money to grow sugar? What’s wrong with looking to the West Indies and doing trade there? Now when we leave the EU, hopefully we can shop around.”
6. 15 EU laws and regulations the UK will miss in post-Brexit Britain from The Independent:
The EU has too many rules and regulations, according to those who campaigned for a Brexit vote. “Outside the EU we wouldn’t have all the EU regulations which cost our economy £600 million a week,” Michael Gove claimed during the campaign. Whether EU regulations are really that expensive is disputed, but there is no doubt that the volume of EU directives and rules is vast – and they all have legal force in the UK until the Brexit negotiations are complete. After the UK is out, it will be for Parliament to decide whether to keep them or scrap them.
The article then outlines 15 examples of EU laws or rules that govern the lives of Brits….
….some that a post-Brexit government may choose to abolish…. including: a VAT on energy bills, renewable energy directives, banking regulations, strict regulations on the size and shape of bananas outlined in a 56-page EC-wide banana import regime document, regulations on vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, tea kettles and toasters (see Item #1 above).
7. More on How Pro-Consumer Amazon Poses a Threat to the French Way of Life from Vanity Fair:
If nothing else, technology in the 21st century has given us the gift of convenience. No longer do you have to stand on a street corner to flag down a cab; billions of dollars have been poured into a start-up called Uber to let you tap a button and summon a ride to your doorstep. You likewise don’t have to exert much effort to get a meal, a housekeeper, a bouquet of flowers, or your washed and folded laundry delivered to your door.
This convenient new way of life has been embraced by most Americans, but tech companies have found a chillier reception in Europe, where entrenched interests have fought Silicon Valley’s “disruptive” incursions tooth and nail. The start-up ethos has been particularly unwelcome in France, where it is perceived as a practically existential threat to the laid-back, 35-hour-workweek way of life enjoyed by Parisians. So much so, in fact, that the city of Paris has vowed to fight off Amazon’s same-day delivery service, Prime Now, which has launched in France’s capital city with less than a week’s notice.
MP: Who knew that you were supposed to give Eurocrats plenty of notice, or ask for a permission slip, before implementing new services or products that bestow significant benefits on thousands or millions of consumers?
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It’s already time for my fifth “quarterly” spelling/punctuation/grammar rant of 2016 (see previous rants here, here, here and here, maybe I’ll have to switch to monthly rants) on what I think is the most common spelling/punctuation/grammar/orthographic mistake in the English language — the misuse of it’s (or its’) for its — illustrated by the 12 new examples below collected from CD comments and other sources on the Web:
1. What separates Uber from taxi cartels is it’s ride-hailing and payment features…
2. Check out what the School of Management has to offer for it’s graduate programs!
3. You buying a car through an agent is nothing like what a union does for it’s members because of one simple, very important fact.
4. …have explicitly, affirmatively agreed to safeguard it in a manner befitting it’s gravity and value..
5. This sentence truly turns my stomach. I know it’s origin. I know it’s purpose.
6. The Libertarian Party does it’s very best to make it hard to take them seriously.
7. The LP vinyl record has some scratching, cover is in it’s original shrink wrap.
8. …should also recognize Jefferson did not experience the Great Depression with it’s WWII solution that saved capitalism from self destruction.
9. My local fox family made it’s first appearance last night.
10. At this point it seems unlikely that the Calvert House will have it’s water restored early.
11. … is like looking at the direction of a car, not it’s speed….
12. What’s racist about the UK controlling it’s own borders without outside intervention?
Who’d a-thunk it? Government subsidizes inefficient light rail and penalizes efficient free-market alternatives?
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From the article “North Carolina’s Light Rail System a New Poster Boy for Cronyism” by Greg Pulscher (emphasis mine)
Say you need to get from point A to point B. Taking the shortest distance between the two is typically the one most traveled and most desired. Google Maps tends to think so too, though the app does sometimes offer nonsensical routes. Sometimes I find myself asking Google Maps, “Why would you ask me to drive 30 min out of my way?” Perhaps you have done the same. Which is the reason you and I should be asking the North Carolina legislature why they want to waste our time and money by suggesting slower alternate means of transportation. Unlike Google simply suggesting other routes, the legislature is subsidizing slower routes while preventing faster routes from even existing.
North Carolinians’ taxes are subsidizing “light rail” — billion-dollar alternate routes in Charlotte, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The legislature is embracing mass-transit subsidies while at the same time pushing new rules to charge ride-sharing companies such as Uber $5,000 annual fees just to operate.
The contrast is striking: legislators on one hand force taxpayers to subsidize wildly expensive and inefficient light rail lines while imposing charges on wildly popular, affordable, and efficient transportation alternatives developed by free-market entrepreneurs.
Just last week, a story out of Charlotte highlighted how consumers are choosing ride sharing over light rail due to speed, affordability, and convenience. It should come as no surprise that a service offering freedom from walking along dangerous routes, waiting in the rain, figuring out connectors, and finding your stop is outperforming a behemoth billion-dollar state project that provides none of that.
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There has been a lot of media and pundit commentary about Brexit, here’s a roundup of some comments that I think are especially interesting and illuminating:
1. John Bolton writing in the Boston Globe, “Brexit Victory Is a True Populist Revolt” (emphasis mine):
During 43 years of British EU membership, UK citizens came increasingly to believe they were losing control over those governing them. Decisions were made in an utterly opaque EU bureaucracy, with British interests routinely overwhelmed by those of other EU members, especially Germany. Nonpartisan analyses concluded that approximately 60 percent of all legislation enacted by Britain’s Parliament was dictated, in whole or in part, by decisions already breached by Brussels bureaucrats or EU diplomats.
The outcome was a true populist revolt. Only a few members of the elite supported Brexit, but the middle class was overwhelmingly in favor. The dispositive margin of victory, however, came not from the ranks of “the nation of shopkeepers,” but from blue collar, trade union members.
Immediately, the United States should do everything we can, politically and economically, to come to the side of our strongest ally in the world. Contrary to President Obama’s threat during his recent visit to London, Washington should put a bilateral US-UK free trade agreement at the very front of our diplomatic agenda. But most of all, we should welcome Britain’s departure from the EU. Happy Independence Day!
2. Megan McArdle writing in Bloomberg “‘Citizens of the World’? Nice Thought, But …“:
The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told.
Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.
In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit. Well, here’s one journalist who is not having a meltdown.
3. Matt Ridley writing in the Wall Street Journal, “The Business Case for Brexit” (emphasis mine):
The EU is also against free trade. It says it isn’t, but its actions speak louder. The EU has an external tariff that deters African farmers from exporting their produce to us, helping to perpetuate poverty there, while raising prices in Europe. The EU confiscated Britain’s right to sign trade agreements—though we were the nation that pioneered the idea of unilateral free trade in the 1840s. All the trade agreements that the EU has signed are smaller, as measured by the trading partners’ GDP, than the agreements made by Chile, Singapore or Switzerland. Those the EU has signed usually exclude services, Britain’s strongest sector, and are more about regulations to suit big companies than the dismantling of barriers.
Even worse than in Westminster or Washington, the corridors of Brussels are crawling with lobbyists for big companies, big banks and big environmental pressure groups seeking rules that work as barriers to entry for smaller firms and newer ideas.
4. Brian Wesbury writing for First Trust Portfolios “Brexit is Freedom“:
The bottom line is that investors should ignore scare stories about what would happen if Brexit wins. Great Britain runs consistent trade deficits with the rest of Europe.Regardless of what foreign leaders say before the vote, if the British vote to leave, the rest of the EU is going to chase them to the ends of the earth. No way will they allow one of their biggest export markets to become more distant. They will beg the UK to sign a free trade deal. In addition, and this is actually great economic news, it would free the US and UK to sign a free trade deal that the EU is now holding up. Any market volatility would be short – lived and any swing to the downside would be a buying opportunity. Brexit is not a reason to sell. In fact, freedom is a good thing.
5. Tim Carney, writing in the Washington Examiner, “In the U.K.’s Tribal Battle, the Cosmopolitan Elite Tribe Just Lost“:
The EU moved political power further away from home. More power, more concentrated, benefited the tribes of cosmopolitan elites — whose tribal bonds were Twitter, Facebook, journalism and education.
The EU took power from the tribes that were more based on place and language and history. These latter tribes had been largely deprived of their ability to shape the world around them. The elite tribes, on the other hand, had actually seen their political capacities multiplied.
Now the elites of the continent have lost some power to change the UK, and the elites of the UK have lost some power to shape the continent. Meanwhile, the populace, by bringing power closer to home, has regained some of the power it naturally ought to have.
6. Michael Goodwin writing in the New York Post, “Britain’s Vote for Freedom Proves Power is with the People“:
The world is coming full circle because now it’s the Brits who are free. It took them a while, but they finally had their own Tea Party and their own revolution. I salute them for their courage. And I raise a glass to freedom.
This is Western democracy in all its grandeur. It refreshes itself not with the blood of innocents, but with the peaceful passion of ordinary people.
That’s the beauty of Brexit, and of grand old England. The people spoke, they were heard, and the wheel of history is turning. Let’s get on with it. Raise another glass to freedom.
7. Steven Hayward writing on The Powerline Blog “Brexit: The Gift That Will Keep on Giving“:
Odd, isn’t it, that liberals suddenly care more about Wall Street than they do about the workers in the union halls?
8. Larry Kudlow, writing on the CNBC website “The UK’s Magna Carta 2.0: Good for Freedom, Good for Growth“:
Britain will regain its political freedom, its autonomous self-government, and its independence from an European Union that is spinning out of control under the power of establishment elites, unelected and unaccountable socialist bureaucrats, and a court that is increasingly making legal decisions that replace Britain’s powerful common law.
The EU’s tax and regulatory policies, climate-change and welfare spending, and free immigration even in wartime are gradually ruining Europe. That’s why I believe Brexit is good for British freedom, political autonomy, and the survival of democratic capitalism.
The business elites told British voters that leaving the EU would lead to economic catastrophe. Well, in England, Main Street defeated the establishment elites by sending a populist message.
The law of unintended consequences strikes again: Academic tenure policies intended to help women have helped men
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Here’s the abstract (emphasis added) from a recent research paper titled “Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?” by three economists Heather Antecol (Claremont McKenna College), Kelly Bedard (UC-Santa Barbara), Jenna Stearns (UC-Santa Barbara):
Abstract: Many skilled professional occupations are characterized by an early period of intensive skill accumulation and career establishment. Examples include law firm associates, surgical residents, and untenured faculty at research-intensive universities. High female exit rates are sometimes blamed on the inability of new mothers to survive the sustained negative productivity shock associated with childbearing and early childrearing in these environments. Gender-neutral family policies have been adopted in some professions in an attempt to “level the playing field.” The gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies adopted by the majority of research-intensive universities in the United States in recent decades are an excellent example. But to date, there is no empirical evidence showing that these policies help women. Using a unique data set on the universe of assistant professor hires at top-50 economics departments from 1985-2004, we show that the adoption of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies substantially reduced female tenure rates while substantially increasing male tenure rates.
Here’s from the paper’s conclusion (emphasis added):
By combining two original datasets – one on assistant professors hired at the top-50 economics departments from 1985-2004 and the other on tenure clock stopping policies at these universities – we study the impact of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies on tenure rates for men and women. While the objective of these policies might be to increase family-friendliness and level the playing field for women, our results show that, at least for economics, they accomplished the opposite. After the implementation of a gender-neutral clock stopping policy, the probability that a female assistant professor gets tenure at that university decreases by 22 percentage points while male tenure rates rise by 19 percentage points. We further show that the primary mechanism driving the tenure results appears to be that men publish more in top-5 journals after the policies are implemented, but women do not. This suggests that these policies cause within-university tenure standards to rise. Because women do not similarly increase their productivity, fewer are granted tenure in top-50 departments.
These results imply that gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies do not adequately reflect the true gender-specific productivity losses associated with having children. Men are more likely to be productive while their tenure clock is stopped and women are much less able to do so, yet they are treated equally under these policies. As a result, the policies actually increase the family gap in economics at research intensive universities.
In theory, gender-neutral policies that attempt to level the playing field by adjusting measures of productivity to account for early childrearing sound promising. However, at least in economics, such policies have unintended consequences that actually hurt women. It therefore seems likely that these types of policies may have unintended consequences in other high skill occupations as well.
HT: University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers, who wrote about the research above in his recent New York Times op-ed titled “A Family-Friendly Policy That’s Friendliest to Male Professors.” Here are the opening and closing paragraphs of Justin’s op-ed (emphasis added):
The under-representation of women among the senior ranks of scholars has led dozens of universities to adopt family-friendly employment policies. But a recent study of economists in the United States finds that some of these gender-neutral policies have had an unintended consequence: They have advanced the careers of male economists, often at women’s expense.
Economics remains a male-dominated field, and the research shows that policies fueled by the best intentions of universities have made an imbalance worse. Three female economists have shown that the tools of economics — which enable a careful assessment of incentives and constraints informed by real-world data — suggest that a more nuanced policy would lead to better outcomes. It leaves me wondering how many other policy mistakes we could avoid, if only we had more female economists.
Q1: Going back before gender-neutral policies were adopted by some universities, doesn’t the fact that the original policies giving female assistant professors one extra year per child on their tenure clock acknowledge the reality that men and women are not perfectly interchangeable participants in the labor market? In some cases like intense academic research during a six-year probationary period at top universities, it’s an accepted reality that childbirth, nursing, and child care responsibilities make women less productive than men during that period, thus the need for an extension on tenure.
Q2: Stated differently, if female and male assistant professors were perfect substitutes, with no gender differences in productivity, hours worked and work effort, why would there be a need for the one-year per child extension for women?
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What would happen if “Based Mom” sat down with “Based Goddess” for an hour to discuss modern-day feminism? No need to speculate—here’s the full one-hour interview (with bonus content!) featuring Factual Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia, professor at The University of the Arts. In the video above, Christina and Camille discuss the state of contemporary feminism and how it has evolved (or worsened?) over the last three decades, and they break down various issues including #Gamergate, intersectional feminism, trigger warnings, safe spaces, the “male gaze,” the demonization of men and much, much more.
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…. is from Thomas Sowell writing in 2012:
The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. Among the biggest lies of the welfare states is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.
There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.
What’s the value of a college degree? A new interactive website provides some answers and much needed transparency
There’s a new website called “Launch My Career Colorado” that went live on June 10 and is a first-in-the-nation, interactive web tool that allows students and parents to determine the estimated “Return on Investment (ROI)” from various post-secondary college degrees and certificates. ROI is defined here not as a percent return, but rather as the estimated additional income during the next 20 years earned by a college graduate over and above the earnings of a high school graduate. The website is endorsed by the state of Colorado (Gov. John Hickenlooper helped introduce the website) and was partly funded by the US Chamber of Commerce. It will eventually be expanded to 12 other states “to help students and their families, policymakers, and post-secondary institutions make more informed decisions about the training and skills that provide the greatest value to students and their communities.” According to a US Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman:
At a time when student debt is mounting and employers are struggling to find the right people with the right skills, it is imperative that students make informed decisions about the best way to prepare for in-demand jobs. This tool will allow consumers to easily identify careers, majors, and institutions of interest and compare the value of each program.
Funding for the multi-state initiative was also provided by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, College Measures, USA Funds and Gallup. Various news outlets have reported on the innovative interactive website including the Denver Post, Denver Business Journal, and Inside Higher Ed.
Based on data obtained from the website, the table above (click to enlarge) displays a sample of various 2-year and 4-year college degrees from colleges in Colorado, along with the average number of years to complete the degree, the ROI (from highest to lowest), the starting post-graduate salary, and the total student cost to earn the degree. A few comments:
1. As might be expected, there is probably no other 4-year college degree with a greater financial payoff than petroleum engineering, which is amazingly expected to generate more than $2 million of earnings over the next 20 years in excess of what a high school graduate would earn. Making it well worth the hefty tuition charges of more than $100,000 (highest among the degrees listed)…
2. It’s also not surprising that degrees in computer science and other engineering fields (electrical and mechanical) have pretty high ROIs, in excess of $700,000. And of course it’s also no shock that degrees in fields like African-American studies, women’s studies, communication, history and psychology have pretty low starting salaries (less than $24,000 for women’s studies and psychology) and pretty low ROIs ($131-$185,000 over 20 years), especially considering that students at the state’s flagship public university (UC-Boulder) pay nearly $100,000 for tuition, fees, textbooks, and room and board over 4.5 to 5 years to earn those degrees.
3. What is most surprising perhaps is the financial attractiveness (in terms of starting salaries and ROIs) and relatively low cost (both in terms of money and time to complete the degree) of many 2-year, community college degrees in Colorado (highlighted in bold above). For example:
a. Two-year degrees at the Community College of Denver in both nursing and dental hygiene have ROIs (above $600,000) and starting salaries (above $55,000) that far exceed the ROIs and starting salaries of many 4-year college degrees, including even accounting, business, economics and chemistry. And the cost to students of less than $16,000 get those 2-year degrees is significantly more affordable than any 4-year college degree at UC-Boulder that cost students (and their parents) nearly $100,000. Further, students can complete a 2-year degree in two years and start working at well-paying jobs several years ahead of their counterparts in programs for bachelor’s degrees that sometimes require 5 years or more (African-American studies, political science, chemistry and accounting).
b. Two-year degrees from community colleges in fields like computer science and emergency medical technology have starting salaries ($45,056 and $43,662) that are nearly twice as high as starting salaries for 4-year degrees in fields like psychology ($23,963), women’s studies ($23,461), and history ($23,963). And the ROI for EMTs of nearly $400,000 is more than two times greater than the ROIs for 4-year degrees in many fields including women’s studies, communications, history and psychology. Even a 2-year degree in automotive mechanics has a higher ROI ($319,224) than many 4-year degrees in liberal arts fields like political science, biology and sociology.
MP: As the Denver Post editorial board wrote:
If colleges are going to boast about how much a degree is worth to graduates, then they shouldn’t be irritated when someone takes them at their word and examines the actual data. And then publishes the findings for all to see. That’s what Launch My Career Colorado has done, and the result is a valuable contribution to transparency in higher education.
Especially now that student loan debt has reached an all-time record high of $1.3 trillion and burdened the average graduating student in the Class of 2016 with $37,172 in debt (and monthly payments of nearly $400 for ten years), the transparency in higher education from the Colorado web tool couldn’t come at a better time. Kudos to Colorado for taking the lead on this much-needed effort for transparency, and let’s hope that similar interactive websites spread to other states as soon as possible. Let’s also hope that information about the ROI on college degrees causes some serious re-thinking about: a) the over-selling and over-emphasis of pushing too many high school graduates into 4-year college degree programs, b) the under-selling of 2-year degrees to high school students, especially considering that many community college graduates have higher starting salaries and higher ROIs than many students with 4-year degrees at a significantly lower monetary and time cost and with much lower (or no) student debt, and c) the value of many 4-year degrees in fields that have limited demand and very low salaries that often come at a very high cost (both monetary and time) and with the crushing financial burden of unaffordable student loan debt.
Update/Related: From the May 26, 2016 WSJ op-ed “College Isn’t Always the Answer” by Jeffrey Salingo:
During this particularly rancorous election season, at least one bipartisan consensus persists: More Americans, we are told, need to earn undergraduate degrees. The political debate tends to focus on the best way to graduate more people with less debt. But it makes little sense to send more students to college when nearly half of new graduates are working jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to a 2014 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
It would be better to reconsider the entire issue. There’s a disconnect between supply (what the education system produces) and demand (what employers seek). Rather than trying to shuffle young people off to college three months after they graduate from high school, policy makers should support alternative routes to the education and training required for high-quality jobs. Plenty of successful examples have sprung up around the country.
Siemens and other manufacturers, for example, developed a high-school apprenticeship program in North Carolina when they couldn’t find enough workers with advanced skills. After completing a three-year apprenticeship, the students leave with an associate degree and a $55,000 starting salary.
John Deere runs a similar program at Walla Walla Community College in Washington state. Students are trained to fix million-dollar farm equipment, which allows them to use their hands and advanced math and mechanical skills. High-school guidance counselors, who are evaluated on the proportion of students they send to four-year universities, may discourage such choices.
Who’d a-thunk it? People voting to leave California with their feet because of high taxes and housing costs?
View related content: Carpe Diem
The title of this San Jose Mercury News article sums it pretty well — “California’s skyrocketing housing costs, taxes prompt exodus of residents,” here’s more:
Living in San Jose, Kathleen Eaton seemingly had it all: a well-paying job, a home in a gated community, even the Bay Area’s temperate weather. But enduring a daily grind that made her feel like a “gerbil on a wheel,” Eaton reached her limit.
Skyrocketing costs for housing, food and gasoline, along with the area’s insufferable gridlock, prompted the four-decade Bay Area resident to seek greener pastures — 2,000 miles away in Ohio. “It was a struggle in California,” Eaton said. “It’s a vicious circle. You can’t get ahead. It’s more than the cost of living; it’s the high taxes.”
Eaton is far from alone.
A growing number of Bay Area residents — besieged by home prices, worsening traffic, high taxes and a generally more expensive cost of living — believe life would be better just about anywhere else but here.
During the 12 months ending June 30, the number of people leaving California for another state exceeded by 61,100 the number who moved here from elsewhere in the U.S., according to state Finance Department statistics. The so-called “net outward migration” was the largest since 2011, when 63,300 more people fled California than entered. California has seen negative outward migration to other states for 22 of the last 25 years.”
MP: A quick check of U-Haul’s one-way 26-foot truck rental rates for July reveals the following:
San Francisco/San Jose to Cleveland: $3,250
Cleveland to San Francisco/San Jose: $2,019
Assuming that the differences in U-Haul’s prices/rental rates accurately reflect differences in relative demand for one-way truck rentals, the $1,231 premium for trucks leaving California suggests that there are a lot more people leaving San Francisco for Ohio than vice-versa.