Phi Beta Cons

Another Pol Who Thinks HIgher Ed Boosts the Economy

This one is Ohio governor Ted Strickland. According to a story in the Chronicle, Strickland “sees higher education as key to reinventing the state’s flagging economy.”

Strickland looks at the statistic that only about one in three Ohio adults has at least an associates degree and jumps to the conclusion that the state’s economic fortunes would improve if that percentage were increased.
This is another of those political gimmicks that sounds good to most people and pays off a significant support constituency, but won’t matter in the least. Luring more mediocre to weak students into college won’t make Ohio a bit more attractive to investors.
Britain has been trying the “let’s boost the economy by producing more college grads” for more than a decade, with the result that they now have lots of degreed people doing work previously done by non-degreed people.
If Governor Strickland wants to improve Ohio’s economy, he should think about emulating Hong Kong with its low taxes and regulations rather than Great Britain. But low taxes and deregulation would upset a lot of his voting constituencies. So I’d bet on the flagging economy to keep on flagging.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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