I enjoy reading Thomas Friedman’s NY Times columns, even though our domestic politics differ. This week, he had a point that caused me to break out the spackle to fix the hole in the wall made by my head.
Mr. Friedman presented this analogy for the U.S.’s current economic situation:
More than ever, America today reminds me of a working couple where the husband has just lost his job, they have two kids in junior high school, a mortgage and they’re maxed out on their credit cards.
Agreed. Our books are not exactly in order. What does Mr. Friedman propose?
[The family should] tell themselves: “You know, we’re in a totally new situation. Dad’s job isn’t coming back. If we want a better future, we need a plan to cut, save and invest all at the same time, and as wisely as we possibly can, because we’ve got no more cushion. Instead of Disney World this year, we’ll go camping in the state park and use those savings so that dad can go back and get a master’s degree. After all, unemployment among the college-educated is only around 5 percent.”
Question #1: So Dad spends five figures for an MBA to sit in a classroom full of inexperienced credential-seeking students. He is taught by a professor with minimal business experience. How exactly will he magically get the family back in the black?
Question #2: If Dad’s next educational degree is a masters degree, isn’t he already college educated and thus more employable? Why does he need the masters?
At least going to Disney World gets money moving in the economy. I’d rather have seen a proposal for Dad to get ASE certified so that he can become an expert in fixing the batteries on all the electric cars that Mr. Friedman would love to see on the road.