Patrice over at Rural Revolution has put together a great World Net Daily column about why young people should seriously consider getting a vocational education rather than going into debt for a college degree. Her points are very valid and I happen to fully agree with her. College isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of jobs out there that don’t require a college education and they pay well enough to support a family.
But there are some folks who don’t agree. In fact, there was a comment from “twosidedtruth” that caught my eye. I was going to respond to his/her comment but it got rather lengthy and decided to make it a blog post (The first in over a month).
2-Sided, three points that I'd like you to consider. First, if you look back at the history of the Great Depression you should note that when FDR put in place those high tax brackets on the rich an economy that was showing signs of recovery hit the skids once again. In 1937 the top rate was raised to 79% and the economy plunged as investments dried up in 1938. It took a war to bring about a recovery (although that was artificial as proven by the severe dip after the war).
Secondly, why do you think the USA has been the world’s leading economy for the past century? It certainly isn’t because we govern and tax like our European friends. Our economy has been so strong and led the world because we didn’t punish achiever with huge tax burdens. As a nation we succeeded because we let and encouraged investors to invest. Sure, people made tons of money. But I think we all know that it takes money to make money. The economies of Europe are stagnant because often there is little money left to invest after the governments take their (huge) cuts. If a government takes the money from those who invest, it just begins a vicious cycle. Taking the money discourages investment, and with little to no investment, there is no money to tax.
Third, I don't know why people keep harping on the level of taxes that Mitt Romney has paid. Sure he paid about 14.5% on his income over the past couple of years while many paid at a higher rate. But you do realize that nearly all of Romney's income is investment income which is taxed at a different rate than earned income. And keep this in mind: Romney has already paid earned income taxes on the money that went into those investment accounts. In essence, he is paying taxes twice on the same pool of money. The investment tax rate is lower than earned-income for one reason: to encourage people to invest money. When people invest money, an economy grows. What do you think would happen if folks had to pay a tax rate in the high end? Investment would dry up. Just like Europe.
And I would like to ask you one question. Why is it that folks who talk about paying the fair share don't mention that nearly half of all Americans earning an income DON'T pay any taxes? Even at 14.5% Romney paid more taxes than 50 million (give or take a few million) people in the USA. As someone who pays little to no taxes each year, even I think this is crazy.
Why shouldn't I pay more in taxes? Heck, I use (will use) government services more than Mitt Romney does (will). In some areas we are equal. I drive on the same roads, use the same sewer systems, go to the same National Parks, and many other local, state, and federal programs and projects. But Mitt Romney is not going to need Social Security (although I am sure he will be eligible someday). He certainly won't need to use Medicare or Obama care. But I will use those things as I get older and so will most of us. So why should Romney pay for things he isn't going to need or use? And why should you expect him to pay for things you are going to need and use? Do you ask him to pay for your groceries, or pay for your gas, or pick up your bar tab?
One last thing: I just don't think that the taxpayer picking up the tab for a college education is really going to solve anything (other than the individual debt). If everyone went to school the lack of jobs for graduates is not going to change a thing. I'd be willing to say that it would only make the job prospects for graduates even worse as there would be even more graduates competing for the limited number of jobs. Just because we create more college graduates doesn’t mean there will be a corresponding increase in jobs requiring those degrees. While on the surface, all those countries paying for all college education might seem like a utopian dream, but the reality isn’t as nice as one might think. Young college educated unemployment/underemployment in many European countries is staggering, even worse than the US. In some cases, such as Greece, it is as high as 49% and 46% in Spain. (Source)
Please don’t misunderstand me; a college education is a great thing for many. The unemployment rate for those college educated is around 4.5%. But this too is misleading. I know first-hand of several people who have received college degrees (and not women’s studies, French Lit or other worthless degrees) and cannot find employment that matches their degreed area. Many are working retail. But there are many vocational fields that are always understaffed. While driving a truck might not seem light the best lifestyle a person could have, if you have your Commercial Driver’s License, you are not going to be without a job. And these jobs pay well especially for those with experience. Some companies will pay experienced drivers upwards of $23.00 an hour plus overtime, which is nearly always available. I happen to know some drivers who make over $60,000 a year. Not bad and no college debt.