Monday, December 11, 2006

Your Tuition for Your Body

Easily one of the dumbest ideas I've seen this calendar year:

Would you agree to live and work in Wisconsin for 10 years after college if the state offered to pay your tuition costs for all four years?

The commission is considering recommending free tuition for all students who agree to remain in the Dairy State after getting their degrees, reversing an exodus of college graduates and potentially transforming the state's economy.

"I have yet to find a group that does not see the benefit," said O'Connell, who is executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association.

O'Connell literally makes a living because there's too much government, and it shows.

As the theory goes, a captive work force of college graduates would attract new industry to Wisconsin, along with higher-paying jobs. Those workers, in turn, would pay more income taxes and sales taxes, providing the state with the millions of dollars needed to offer free tuition.

When one has indentured servants, one does NOT "increase the pay level." That's proven by the following:

John Torinus, always in favor of minimizing his expenses, signs on. It's about time that the "business community" send this guy a "You're Crazy!!" card.

John Torinus, a West Bend business owner who is co-chairman of the commission, said he believes the 16-member panel has tentatively reached a consensus to back the idea. Torinus is also a business columnist for the Journal Sentinel.

Just for fun, imagine that Procter & Gamble hires Susie WhitewaterGraduate in sales. It so happens that Susie must leave Wisconsin after 4 years of stellar performance, in order to take a promotion. Unless she leaves the State, she doesn't get the new position. (And it so happens that that is P&G's policy--they never promote someone to Unit Manager from within the unit.)

Susie's career is stopped.

Just for fun, imagine that 70% of UW-System grads take degrees in English. These folks are useful as....what? Welders? Carpenters? Nuclear Engineers? RN's? Computer Software Engineers?

An auditor's report discloses that the Commission's expense-report included several thousand dollars spent on marijuana.


J said...

Nope. I'd rather pay for it and keep my options open. Short term cost is much easier to swallow than being forced to spend 10 years in one certain area. Although, if they offered to pay for it up front and if I left before the 10 years were up and all I had to do was pay it back plus inflation, I would consider it...but it wouldn't keep me in the state if I saw something I wanted more somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how it serves the public good. Are we to believe that there are talented scholars not going to college due to cost? Are we to believe that those who take advantage of the highly subsidized UW education are leaving the State predominately for non-economic reasons?

As far as attaining a bachelor's degree, I don't see the cost being a large impediment. When we start talking about Master's or Doctorates, then we start getting into cost issues, because the bang for the buck is significantly lower. (A person with a Master's would probably be in the same position as a person with a bachelor's and one year experience, at least in the technical fields.)

I would hazard that everywhere in the Midwest, we are witnessing the same phenomena. The only jobs are in government towns: Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, Madison. The only outlier would be Chicago.

Dad29 said...

Well, there ARE jobs outside of Gummint towns. Milwaukee has a few (aside from welders.)

But this idea turns supply/demand upside down and hopes to push demand by increasing supply.

Only problem (Econ 101) is that if demand remains constant or declines, increases in supply have a deleterious effect on prices--that is, wages.


Anonymous said...


I think you touched on an important element lost in this whole debate: tech. school training vs. univ. "education".

When young people graduate from tech schools as carpenters, mechanics, electricians, welders, bricklayers, nurse's aides, etc., they STAY here. And jobs in most of those fields are in high demand. As you wrote, why would we want to give a free-ride to a bunch of English and Philosophy and Fine Arts majors through the UW system? They are useless!

The only way I could go for this would be if we subsidize the tuition for those who choose to go into a trade, but even then these tech. schools have got to cut out the "liberal education" crap, by which I mean they seem to be always adding general classes that are meant to "broaden" students and make them more "well-rounded" citizens instead of just teaching them how to put an engine together, weld I-beams so they don't fall down, and keep our homes and businesses electrified.

But those extra "general" classes mean more money for the tech. schools and more job security for teachers. That'll be tough interests to deal with.