March 15, 2011
INFLATE THAT HIGHER-ED BUBBLE: “The best economic policy is one that produces more college graduates.”
Another violation of Reynolds’ Law, which reads: “Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.”
Here’s the original passage:
The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.
I don’t think Obama grasps this.