Education vs. Capital

A few of the liberal blogs (Blog for Arizona / Random Musings) are all over a recent comment made by Representative Andy Biggs when he said,

“Education does not create jobs,” he said. “Entrepreneurs and businesses create jobs.”

Maybe this is a good time to chime in and remind our liberal bloggers that there are many highly educated Ph.D’s employed by our fine university system who could only find jobs within the university system. They have created no jobs.  Simply put, having an excellent education does not guarantee you a job.

There are many many unemployed individuals who possess graduate degrees and are having difficulty landing even blue-collar positions due to their over-qualification.

Yes, having a good education helps, but having access to liquid capital is critical to creating wealth and jobs.

I would love to hear their response regarding this correlation.


  1. Entrpreneurs without education don’t create jobs.

    Businesses without educated workers don’t create jobs.

    We realize Republicans are doing badly in the Diploma Belt — in New England, with its high graduation rates, there are no more GOP members of Congress and Republicans do best in states like Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi and others where the dropout rate is highest — so you are trying to flatter the ignorant.

    Namely your conservative readers.

    But the statement itself is simplistic, just like everything on this blog.

    Why not rename it “Arizona Politics for Dummies”?

  2. Q: Who’s the wealthiest man in the world?
    A: William H. Gates III, college dropout.

    Education is highly valuable, but it’s not the only determinant of future success.

    Hmmmm – I’m curious how many jobs were created by that “entrepreneur without education” Bill Gates . . .

  3. Please, though, for the sake of us Democratic liberals, keep writing more along these lines. Attacks on education redound to our benefit at the polls, as Charlie Cook wrote last fall at The Cook Report:

    “Republicans have lost an enormous amount of support among upscale voters, basically just breaking even among those with household incomes above $50,000 a year, a traditional GOP stronghold. Similarly, McCain’s losing to Obama among college graduates and voters who have attended some college underscores how much the GOP franchise is in trouble. My hunch is that the Republican Party’s focus on social, cultural, and religious issues — most notably, fights over embryonic-stem-cell research and Terri Schiavo — cost its candidates dearly among upscale voters.

    The question now is whether Republicans will quickly learn from their mistakes — retooling and rebranding their party soon, putting themselves in a position to capitalize on the missteps of the Obama administration and the rest of the Democratic Party — or will languish, reduced to waiting for the Democrats to collapse and for GOP candidates to win simply because they aren’t Democrats.

    Those who write off the 2008 election by saying that Republican candidates weren’t conservative enough are in denial. They are political ostriches, refusing to acknowledge that the country and the electorate are changing and that old recipes don’t work any more.”

    Psst, Sonoran Alliance folks: don’t listen to this! Just keep doing what you’re doing!

    Spelling mistakes and all.

    Thank you so much for continuing to make your party and conservative philosophy so unpopular by all but the ignorant.

  4. DSW, You wrote, “Yes, having a good education helps, but having access to liquid capital is critical to creating wealth and jobs.”


    College dropout Bill Gates was the son of one of the most successful patent attorneys in U.S.(who build his case for Microsoft in its fights with patent rights over the years) and of a Interstate Bank director (his mother) and the grandson of a bank president.

    Hmmm, I wonder where Bill Gates got his ‘liquid capital’ from?

  5. The way things are going, y’all are going to be on the same scale…b flat…and it looks like all those great parchment carriers are going to put us there.

  6. Funny, I don’t see it as education vs. capital. An advanced society has both. (And Rep. Biggs is working on his fourth degree, so he’s certainly been enjoying affordable public education…)

  7. nightcrawler says

    The simple truth is that both capital and intelligence are required to succeed in business. Business IQ is not necessarily correlated with a degree, but a degree can be beneficial especially with respect to the more technical professions.

    During my professional travels I have seen and known successful businessman/women with a simple high school educations and others with several advanced degrees.

    There is no magic formula. It comes down to risk taking, vision and leadership. No guts no glory as they say.

    The Gates example is not altogether on point. Gates went to Harvard, he attended a expensive private school in Seattle and had a powerful father who as an attorney protected his start up venture. Gates did not invent MS/DOS, he bought the operating system (for a very small sum) from someone else . What Gates did do was to take an idea to the next level (or stratosphere). It was his ability to find practical applications and marketing solutions to his product that set him apart. He is above all else, a fine businessman who had access to capital that many during that time did not.

    Whether we speak of junk bonds, investment banks or private debt/equity clubs, capital is the fertilizer that makes the economy grow. Take away capital and the business world shrinks.

    So in summary both education and capital are important. If you had to choose one over the other to start a new venture, take the money.

  8. I think everyone on this thread has misread Biggs’ point. It is NOT that education as a personal quality does not help one achieve success or get a job. It is that the INDUSTRY of education does not create jobs, at least not those that are not directly subsidized by the taxpayers.

    Biggs is right, “Entrepreneurs and businesses create jobs.” Better still and more specifically, they create private sector jobs, which means they are contributing to the public trough instead of simply feeding from it.

    It is not about the worth of having an education, there is no argument there.

    Unless you come back to the actual point Biggs was making, you’re wasting your time here.

  9. nightcrawler, you wrote, “He is above all else, a fine businessman who had access to capital that many during that time did not.”

    My point exactly – thank you for reinforcing it.

  10. nightcrawler says


    We agree on the capital part. His family was wealthy before Microsoft. He did however need a fair amount of intelligence to take the company foreward and keep it a going concern.

    Tim S,

    Actually the industry of education does provide jobs. Not all institutions of higher learning are publicly held. Those private institutions provide jobs in all sectors of the economy: Real Estate. Construction, Administrative, Food Service, Janitorial and ofcourse a place for Philosophy and Art professors to hang out.

  11. Yeah, who needs education? We had plenty of jobs in the construction and service industries that didn’t require an educated workforce at all and just look at how many uneducated workers came over the border to fill them.

  12. James Davidson says

    Y’all (since I’m from a red state)don’t get it. Education is capital investment. It is the result of investment of capital to teach and train people to work at higher skills. It pays off enormously if it is invested wisely.

    What Biggs was onto, and did not articulate very well, is that states and local governments allocate most of that human capital, and they have done a poor job of investing it. Look at the skills of our high school graduates. I have some experience with that, having hired several of them over the last three years.

    May I give you a classic example of the failure to allocate capital wisely in education: Why does ASU need a journalism school in a cratering industry?

    If someone wants to spend his or her own money on a Ph.D. in English literature, more power to him or her. Does it pay for society to invest a lot of capital in English literature Ph.D.s? Not if the goal is to maximize the return to society on capital investment.

    Teachers make more on the salary scale as they increase their post-graduate education. How much good does that investment do? Does one get any better at teaching fifth-grade with a Ph.D. than with a B.A.? Does a teacher become more effective at teaching Algebra if she gets a masters than if she has her bachelors. Ever hear of the term over-qualified?

    There is no conflict between having low taxes and a highly educated work force. Utah has a very highly educated work force, and it keeps its taxes low, as do Iowa and North Dakota. In contrast, D.C. spends an enormous amount per capita on education, and has little to show for it.

    What helps New England so much with human-capital investment is not its public-school systems. It is its private schools, particularly its private universities. Name one New England public university in the top ten among public universities. Betcha can’t. Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, M.I.T., Wesleyan, B.U., B.C., Holy Cross, Bowden, Bennington, etc., are all private. Four of the top ten public universities, as ranked by US News, are southern. The University of Arizona is ranked higher than the University of Massachussets.

    An aside to smarty-pants Richard Grayson:
    There are GOP members of Congress from New England. Try Senators Snowe, Collins, and Gregg. True, there are no GOP members of the House of Representatives from New England. Yet isn’t the Senate part of Congress? At least that’s what I learned in my red-state grammar-school education.

  13. James Davidson –

    Perhaps you might want to rethink your number of GOPers from New England.

    After the stimulus vote, I’m pretty sure that most Republican “true believers” don’t consider Sens. Snowe and Collins to be “real” Republicans.

    As for the quality of public ed in New England, well, I grew up there. All of the public U’s in New England are solid, and the entire public higher ed system in MA is great. Perhaps U of A is ranked higher than UMass, but the system as a whole (state U campuses, med school, state colleges, and community colleges) is head-and-shoulders above AZ’s.

    Their system does a far better job of serving the state than Arizona’s does. Of course, their lege gives them the tools and resources to work with, where ours looks for ways to cripple AZ’s higher ed system.

  14. James Davidson says


    I do consider Sens. Snowe and Collins to be real Republicans, but I would contrast their treatment in the GOP with Sen. Lieberman’s or former Sen. Miller’s in the Democrat Party.

    I went to college in Massachusetts, though not to a public university, and thus have some familiarity with it. I did not dis the public universities in New England. They’re fine institutions, but not above public universities in other parts of the country, including Arizona. Arizona’s system of higher education does quite well. As for the Arizona’s community college system, it’s one of the best in the U.S.

    What does stand out in New England are its private universities, which are among the best in the world.

    As for crippling Arizona’s universities, hardly. Their problem does not lay at the feet of the Legislature. We have two public universities constantly competing with each other. That’s wasteful. The model to follow is California’s: The University of California system, the Cal-State system, and the community colleges. Neither ASU nor UA wants to be the Cal-State.

  15. When valley companies advertise open positions for highly skilled workers, and they can’t find someone who is qualified that is local, then they have to spend more money to recruit on a national, or international basis. We can’t afford bad education; we desperately need well prepared, educated people to fill jobs that do exist but can’t be filled with our current population.

  16. Kenny Jacobs says

    James Davidson, Sen. Lieberman was defeated in a Democratic primary and chose to run without the nomination. To compare him to the remaining Republican Senators in the north east is apples to oranges. Perhaps a Private School degree in Political Science would have been a good investment for you?

  17. James Davidson says


    The degree was not in political science. What could I have done with that? Poor investment.

    The reason Sen. Lieberman got beat in the 2006 Connecticut primary is that Democrats despised him for his support of the Iraq war and decided to punish him for it. While Sens. Collins and Snowe did not support the GOP, I don’t see anyone trying to punish them for voting the way they thought they had to vote. That’s the difference, and it is relevant to the discussion.

  18. I stand corrected about “Congress.” Yes, the Senate is part of Congress, and you can add Judd Gregg to the list of New England GOP senators. I appreciate the correction and thank you for it.

    I would like to see someone respond to this, as I think it indicates Bill Gates did benefit from government funding of education.

    On Bill Gates being a Harvard dropout:

    I haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling Outliers, but from reading reviews and articles, I know that he stresses that Gates achieved success in good part because, well, here’s an excerpt from David Leonhardt’s review in the New York Times:

    “Bill Gates is introduced as a young computer programmer from Seattle whose brilliance and ambition outshine the brilliance and ambition of the thousands of other young programmers. But then Gladwell takes us back to Seattle, and we discover that Gates’s high school happened to have a computer club when almost no other high schools did. He then lucked into the opportunity to use the computers at the University of Washington, for hours on end. By the time he turned 20, he had spent well more than 10,000 hours as a programmer.

    At the end of this revisionist tale, Gladwell asks Gates himself how many other teenagers in the world had as much experience as he had by the early 1970s. “If there were 50 in the world, I’d be stunned,” Gates says. “I had a better exposure to software development at a young age than I think anyone did in that period of time, and all because of an incredibly lucky series of events.” Gates’s talent and drive were surely unusual. But Gladwell suggests that his opportunities may have been even more so.”

    Sounds like government funding to me!

    Feel free to correct me again if I’m mistaken.

  19. Steve Calabrese says

    Hey, Richard Grayson:

    Is Maine no longer part of New England? Last I checked, they had two Republican Senators (admittedly not very good ones.)

    Also, seeing as how you enjoy insulting both Republicans and your own party with your appalling intolerance and elitism, I am taking the liberty to repost something I posted on an earlier thread where you were being rude and insulting. I received no answer from you last time; perhaps you didn’t see it. Suffice to say, you are doing a disservice to many of the fine and patriotic people in the Democratic party – I may disagree with the party as a whole, but I can respect the motivations and idealism of many of its members.

    Here’s what I wrote to you on an earlier occasion, where once again you were bragging about the supposed superior intelligence of anyone who isn’t Republican:

    Richard Grayson, I find your comment:

    “…I understand that you, like most Republicans, are among the less educated Americans”

    somewhat distressing.

    Yeah, Iris made some typos and grammatical mistakes. Still, such a broad generalization of “most Republicans” as being uneducated shows a degree of arrogance and short-sightedness that serves no purpose other than to inflame emotions.

    Quite frankly, there are stupid Republicans out there, and stupid Democrats. For every idiot Republican it is possible to trot out an equally moronic Democrat.

    I am certainly no supporter of Barack Obama. I worry about the policies he will push, and feel that he has a poorly defined idea of exactly what the purpose of government is. I believe that he is preying on fear, uncertainty and doubt in order to pass a gigantic “stimulus” package that no one truly understands. And yet, I can recognize that he is trying to elevate the level of civil discourse in this country. I don’t know if it’s an act or not for the camera, but I am willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and believe that he truly wants more intelligent discussion of the issues in this country.

    Your comments on a conservative board trumpeting your belief that Democratic party principles are superior because some concerned person doesn’t have the best writing skills in the world reflect poorly on both yourself and the Democratic party, of which I presume you are a member. As a Barack Obama supporter, you should ask yourself what he would think of the tone of your message to Iris. Next time you decide to attempt to demonstrate your “superiority” on a political discussion board, I would ask you to remember the words of Robert F. Kennedy:

    “The task of leadership, the first task of concerned people, is not to condemn, castigate and deplore; it is seek out the reason for disillusionment and and alienation, the rationale for protest and dissent – perhaps, indeed, to learn from it.”

    There’s a lot of scared and pissed-off conservatives out there right now. I’m one of them. We have back-to-back Presidnets – Bush and Obama – who have done their best Chicken Little imitations and have basically given the keys to the treasury to giant corporations. You don’t have to agree with us, but if you’re going to post, you may as well be civil and maybe you’ll actually learn something.


  20. Steve Calabrese says

    Oh, Richard, one more thing:

    You need to accept that the two parties NEED each other. Checks and balances are a good thing. The past eight years show that without a strong Democratic Party to counteract the Republican Party we run the danger of corruption; some of us Republicans forget that there is a difference between being favorable towards business and giving business everything it wants. Without a strong, intelligent Democratic party, we Republicans trampled on civil rights – implementing odious laws that contribute to the expansion of government power. We forgot that we were there to protect the people from the government and instead voted to turn government into our master.

    And you, you Democrats – you misinterpreted the results of the 2006 election horribly. You thought it was a mandate to do what you want, and did not realize it was merely a warning shot across the bows of the Republican party, a sign that people were fed up with corruption – business scandals, Larry Craig, hypocrisies and so fourth – and fed up with incompetence – the horrible bungling of the Iraq war, where we ignored the advice of most of our military and went in there with too few soldiers, refused to admit it, and then tried to outsource many functions out to private industry at great expense.

    Yeah, we Republicans screwed up. We, the party of Barry Goldwater, the man who said, “I come to Washington not to pass laws but to repeal them”, we presided over the greatest expansion of government in history. We were able to do it because you Democrats were running around like chickens with your heads cut off.

    Now you Democrats are in power. The economy is heading towards some unknown that could make the Depression look like a picnic. We Republicans are weak, betrayed by three turncoat, corrupt Senators and crippled by one of the most poorly run Presidential campaigns in history. Yup, you Democrats can do anything you want now. There’s nothing standing in your way.

    The problem is that you’re not trying to govern. You’re trying to experiment. An unprecedented grab-bag of socialist claptrap is on the table. Thirty years of pent-up Democratic frustration is producing more varied and complex legislation than ever before. But this time, America may be too far gone to recover. Despite the idealistic proclamations made by generations of American politicians, we are not invincible. America can fall apart. Just ask any former Soviet citizen who was around in 1988 if they thought it could happen to their country. And then, maybe, just maybe, sit back, pause your absurd spending spree and race to pass new and complex laws, and think, “perhaps we should listen to our Republican friends about a few things before we try to remake a country in crisis.”

    Gloat while you can, if you must, Richard. The truth is a Democratic party unchecked by the Republicans is just as prone to corruption and disaster as we were. To many Americans, it seems as if the crazies have taken hold of the Democratic agenda. Maybe we’re wrong. But, as you rejoice in the troubles of our party, I hope the back of your mind is remembering what they say about absolute power.

    That being said, I agree with what you said here:

    Those who write off the 2008 election by saying that Republican candidates weren’t conservative enough are in denial.

    However, I think we have different interpretations of that. Our big problem was George Bush – and our failure, as conservatives, to admit that Bush was no conservative. We had a massive failure to communicate, we allowed too much corruption, too many givaways to big business, and not enough emphasis on minimizing government. We also did a disservice to ourselves and the Democrats by trying to position ourselves as the party of national defense – ignoring the fact that some Democrats have been excellent on that issue. Ironically, as a result, we strengthened the more virulent anti-war wing of the Democrat party. And, it didn’t help that John McCain waited far too long to realize that Obama wasn’t running against John McCain, but rather against Bush. There’s a lot of reasons we lost, but being conservative isn’t one of them. A failure to actually ACT conservative and a failure to communicate the dangers of massive government expansion is closer to the mark.

  21. Dorian Brooks says

    Huge bank profit. Does that seem right to you? Last week a veteran trader showed his insiders how the big banks made a huge power grab that allowed them to grow unchecked.

    Joining the banks trades: Now I could understand why we never have the freedom to do what we want to do.It is sure the big banks dont want us to see this.

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