What is the value of an education?

An education is valuable. We all know that. Statistics tell us those with higher levels of education earn more over a lifetime.

But why?

In an interview with book author and college professor Bryan Caplan, Wall Street Journal editorial features editor James Taranto elicits an apt analogy. Caplan’s book is titled “The Case Against Education.”

In answer to the question as to why employers are willing to pay more for the more highly — or all too often really just longer — educated, Caplan explains the answer is “signaling.”

Caplan’s analogy:

“There’s two ways to raise the value of a diamond. One of them is, you get an expert gemsmith to cut the diamond perfectly, to make it a wonderful diamond.” That adds value by making the stone objectively better — like human capital in the education context. The other way: “You get a guy with an eyepiece to look at it and go, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, this is great — it’s wonderful, flawless.’ Then he puts a little sticker on it saying ‘triple-A diamond.’” That’s signaling. The jewel is the same, but it’s certified.

So, a higher level of education signals to the employer that the job candidate is capable of spending long hours doing stultifying menial tasks and conforming to expectations.

That’s why we have $1.49 trillion in outstanding student loans, not because anyone is really leaning any job-related skills.



Still another reason Trump is not presidential timber

Reason No. 1,730 why Donald Trump should not be president.

As James Taranto points out in his morning screed for The Wall Street Journal, Hillary Clinton is accusing Trump of having a “penchant for sexism.” 

Of course, twit Trump tweeted about Hillary using Bill to campaign for her: “If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!”

But what should be disturbing to everyone with a lick of propriety is the quote another columnist turned up from Trump’s 2000 book “The America We Deserve.”

Hypocrite Trump called critics of Bill Clinton’s philandering and sexual assaults hypocrites, writing:

“I got a chuckle out of all the moralists in Congress and in the media who expressed public outrage at the president’s immoral behavior. I happen to know that one U.S. senator leading the pack of attackers spent more than a few nights with his twenty-something girlfriend at a hotel I own. There’s also a conservative columnist, married, who was particularly rough on Clinton in this regard. He also brought his girlfriend to my resorts for the weekend. Their hypocrisy is amazing.”

That is on the penultimate page of the introduction.

If Trump will so readily and cavalierly violate the sanctity of the hotel registry, what do you think he will do with classified national security information? Swap gossip with his pal Putin?

Trump will do and say anything to accomplish his ambitions and the consequences be damned.


Editing mistakes were made?

Hillary Clinton campaigning. (NY Times photo)

The New York Times has been caught going passive on its scoop news story about Hillary Clinton’s email.

According to NewsDiff, the original hed read: “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Clinton’s Use of Email,” but an hour later the hed was changed to: “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Use.” The hed now reads: “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account.”

Perhaps the editors of the Times should read their own columnists. In 2012 Times opinion writer Constance Hale penned a piece under the headline: “The Pleasures and Perils of the Passive.”

Among the passive voice phrases she cited this classic:
The most pilloried use of the passive voice might be that famous expression of presidents and press secretaries, “mistakes were made.” From Ronald Ziegler, President Richard M. Nixon’s press aide, through Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — not to mention Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — pols have used the passive voice to spin the news, avoid responsibility or hide the truth. One political guru even dubbed this usage “the past exonerative.”
According to James Taranto’s Wall Street Journal column, the change to passive voice followed a complaint by the Clinton campaign.
Taranto also quotes WSJ’s Byron Tau as writing: “An internal government review found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent at least four emails from her personal account containing classified information during her time heading the State Department.”
Tau said the inspector general reviewed only 40 of Clinton’s 30,000 emails. He also wrote that the Justice Department has backed off calling the request a criminal matter.
Past exonerative?

ObamaCare promise: It was all just a big lie and they knew it

That was then:

This is now:

On Monday The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed by a San Diego woman who is a seven-year survivor of gall bladder cancer. She liked her health care plan and her doctors, but she was being summarily dropped.

Later that day the paper’s James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today online screed carried the headline: “How Low Can They Go? The White House attacks a cancer patient.”

It seems presidential assistant Dan Pfeiffer sent out a tweet saying, “The Real Reason That The Cancer Patient Writing In Today’s Wall Street Journal Lost Her Insurance http://thkpr.gs/1hHgZjp  via @TPHealth. The link is to an article at ThinkProgress.org with the same headline, blaming California health insurance competition for the cancellation. It claims the cancer patient can buy other insurance — though she liked her plan and wanted to keep it — and ignores the fact she is unable keep her doctors, specifically the ones in another state.

No matter how you parse the language and backtrack, the administration knew it was lying and did so repeatedly.

NBC reports:

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.” …

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

As one former administration official explained to the WSJ:

“You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that,” the former official said.

The former official added that in the midst of a hard-fought political debate “if you like your plan, you can probably keep it” isn’t a salable point.

Have Obama and Dan Pfieffer no shame? (AP photo via WSJ)