Thoughts from the ammo line


ONE: People do not value things that are free. We have a strong cultural belief that “what you pay is what it’s worth.” I offer as just one case in point, how free entertainers are treated. I offer the example with sadness and vast experience. Trust me when I tell you that all entertainers could fill their calendars every day with nothing but free gigs. People who would never dream of approaching a carpenter or a dermatologist and asking them to work for free think nothing of hounding an entertainer to work free for every charity, disease, battered women’s shelter and political candidate. I mean, these are all worthwhile causes, are you some kind of heartless profiteer, Mr. Musician, Ms. Comic?

The first time I agreed to do a freebie was for a gala for heart disease. I foolishly expected that doing this favor would get us standups treated like kings and queens from gratitude. What a naif! The beautifully-dressed, bejeweled audience in the ballroom didn’t even stop talking to listen to us. Who works for free but nobodies? And who needs to stop yakking about her trip to the Bahamas in order to listen to a nobody? Lesson learned.

TWO: Nothing should be free, but for sure not higher education. The students have no skin in the game; the colleges have no skin in the game; and the taxpayers who are skinned alive have no say at all. If free education were valued, then all students would graduate high school and community college would not be necessary as a kind of do-over high school.

Many college students do not attend class or study very hard when Mommy and Daddy are paying. It is possible that even your intrepid columnist fell into this category on the rare occasion, such as days that ended in “y.” Imagine, then, the incentive to really exert oneself when the money is coming from “Obama’s stash” as one woman famously described where government handouts come from. When I went to college, the students who were most serious about their education were the ones who were putting themselves through. No binge drinking for them – just work, class, work, and study.

Ah, but you say, that was then, this is now. Once upon a time, the University of Minnesota cost $38 a quarter. It’s a tad bit more than that now. True. Then let the colleges themselves offer scholarships based on a combination of need and merit. They all have endowments larger than the GDP of several countries. Spend it to send the deserving poor to school rather than on more white-privilege training and layer after layer of bureaucrats and lay-about professors who teach a couple of classes a week from previously-canned lectures.

THREE: Anything “free” that is funded by the bottomless pit that is fleeced taxpayers will have no cost controls in place at all. Why should they? Whatever pretend “estimate” is bandied about, it will exceed it by trillions. And when the money runs low, just vote for the Democrats to raise taxes, raise the debt ceiling, and hand out more freebies.

FOUR: Let us stipulate that not everyone is college material. Even for such ludicrous majors as Gender Studies or pretty much anything ending in “Studies.” What this country desperately needs is more technical and vocational training, preparation to become tax-paying workers. I read twenty years ago that the average age of a tool and die maker was 55. Carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, cooking, pharmacy tech, caregivers. Preparing young people not only for useful employment, but also for entrepreneurial ventures. You know, the “you didn’t build that” kind of folks that used to be the backbone of this country. Scholarships should go first to STEM majors and vocational training. Anyone wanting to major in Advanced Feminist Claptrap with a minor in Rape Hoaxes should be welcome to foot that bill themselves.

FIVE: If everyone goes to community college for free, you will end up with a yuge pool of semi-literate, but “credentialed” people. You are setting these people up for enraging disappointment from having to compete with the fancy-school graduates for a shrinking pool of idiotic, make-work jobs like Diversity Drone and Eco-Scold. It will not end well.