GUEST COLUMN/Biden makes us pay for it twice

GUEST COLUMN/Biden makes us pay for it twice


Government waste fact of the day: Mississippi sends as much taxpayer money to our universities to educate students in worthless fields, like gender studies, as we do for mechanical engineers. Now the Biden administration is going to make you pay for it twice: President Biden recently announced student debt for many students will be paid for by the rest of us.

Taxpayers should not be paying for degrees where you can take classes like “Gender and Zombies” or deep explorations of slavery reparations, which are real parts of the syllabus at Mississippi universities.

Instead, Mississippi should be dedicating taxpayer dollars to majors that actually fit our economy, not degree fields examining the history of sexuality and hip hop (also the subject of a real class in our state).

Often the kids that graduate with these nonsense degrees can’t find work in Mississippi and move away, based on data we’ve gathered in my office.  In fact, in April of 2022 my office released a report showing that nearly half of Mississippi’s recent college graduates no longer work in the state after completing an undergraduate degree. Some, like gender studies majors, are even worse, where the vast majority leave, and if they stay, they earn very low salaries. This is because there aren’t a ton of jobs needing this sort of training in Mississippi. The taxpayers get nothing back for paying for their education.

Moreover, some of these programs are little more than liberal indoctrination factories. If a student wants to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans so that they can get a degree in a field like gender studies, then paying back that loan should be their responsibility, not the taxpayer’s.

Degrees in these fields are not only terrible for the taxpayer; they’re also terrible for students. They produce graduates with no real skills that could contribute to the state’s economic output, leaving these students with no meaningful way to earn an income needed to pay back their debt.

These facts make the recent proposal from the Biden administration all the more infuriating. There is no reason why a tax-paying plumber should have to pay—twice! —for a graduate that cannot find work here and is likely to immediately leave.

I’ve heard some say the government forgave PPP loans during COVID, so it should forgive student loans, too. This is nonsense. The government literally shut down the economy during COVID. It had to give a lifeline to businesses in order to keep them out of a government-created bankruptcy. The government has never forced someone to major in gender studies. Taxpayers should not be bailing students out for a bad decision.

Lawmakers in Mississippi should conduct a study of which majors fit our economy, and our money should be going to those majors. We should also encourage more students to pursue the trades, where they can earn a decent living without taking on big debt, and to be smart about their choice of major if they go to college.

Mississippi would also be wise to follow the lead of Texas lawmakers. In Texas, community colleges get additional state funding for producing more graduates that majored in degree programs that best prepare them for the workforce, such as STEM related fields. Mississippi should implement something similar so we can stop wasting tax dollars on degrees that don’t help these students get good paying jobs.

Shad White has been State Auditor of Mississippi since 2018.

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