Paula Hawks’ theory of economics. Why did her classes get the magic job fairy, and mine didn’t?

I was poking around to see if Paula Hawks’ invisible campaign had bubbled up and shown any signs of life this month, and I was pointed back to something I’d written about earlier, where announced she was going to introduce a “Bernie Sanders-eque” resolution this next legislative session on college debt.

What has me revisiting the topic was one of the damndest misconceptions I think I’ve ever heard uttered from an elected official. I’ve been around 27 years, so that says it’s pretty darned goofy.  From SDPB Radio’s website, the Paula Hawks theory of economics:

“Those kids who are choosing not to go to college because they can’t handle the debt or because they can’t secure the loans are stymied in their approach to economic development for themselves, and that slows down the process of economic development for everybody,” Hawks says. “And those kids who are finishing college and are saddled with that debt are not contributing to economic growth in South Dakota, because they can’t buy houses, they can’t buy cars, they can’t pursue their dreams and their ideals and what they hoped for having gone through college and being promised a great job with a great pay.”

Read that here.

I think there’s a lot wrong with that statement we can examine. but first and foremost, her claim of college students “having gone through college and being promised a great job with a great pay.”

Who promised anyone “great jobs?” I mean, seriously?  I had previously known of no one at SDSU when I attended who walked into my classroom and said “Here’s a great job for you, and here’s a great job for you, and so on.”   Clearly, I should have gone to Paula’s classes, because hers came with the magic job fairy who skipped over the political science department.

Paula’s theory of economics ignores the fact that in the real world, going to a school generally doesn’t promise you anything. Anything at all.  Attending a college or university is not a guarantee of a darned thing.  What does it mean? It means that on average, your economic opportunities are greater. As you can see from this chart…


… on average, the more education you have, the less likely you are to suffer from unemployment, and the more likely you are able to attain a higher salary.  But, again, I don’t see anywhere where it promises anyone anything, despite her claims of people “being promised a great job with a great pay.

Attending College provides an education, which is never a bad thing. And it opens up doors for opportunity. There may be jobs here and there. Or not, and to take a job, you have to travel away from your home, or across the country.

There is no societal responsibility on whether you take a certain kind of job. Whether to take an opportunity is up to the individual. You might take a mediocre job and try to move up in pay and responsibility. Or you do something until you can find something better. Or you can’t find a darn thing in your area, and you’re delivering pizza because you want to live in the area. That’s kind of up to you.

Paula Hawks may believe as she’d stated that people were promised things. But those of us who live in the real world know generally, no one has promised anyone anything. And it’s up to each of us to take opportunities, or to make our own.

That’s what people used to believe in America.  Maybe it’s time they – including Paula – need to start considering the concept again.

18 thoughts on “Paula Hawks’ theory of economics. Why did her classes get the magic job fairy, and mine didn’t?”

  1. Giving everyone free college WOULD stifle my economic growth, Paula; the money comes from somewhere, and if my taxes go up to support everybody else with another freebie, I suffer. I am still paying for my education, but I incurred the debt with my eyes open and with a goal. If you give away college to everybody, they have no skin in the game (have you ever heard that term before, Paula?), and they may be going simply to get a taxpayer sponsored party for four years.

    Also, there are some people who would be better off not going to college because they will find that they are more interested, in the end, in starting out on their own or in getting an on-the-job education by gaining actual experience.

    I think Hawks should stop trying to buy votes with the typical socialist promise of free everything because there is a price to everything, and somebody will have to pay.

    I think part of Hawks’ desire is to ensure that the masses are indoctrinated by the socialists in academia so they will stop thinking for themselves and relying on themselves and look to the borg for support in every aspect of their life.

    Pat, I do take exception to your statement that getting an education is never a bad thing, but if you are majoring in one of the countless worthless liberal majors that are now out there, is it really a good thing?

    1. Respectfully, we can agree to disagree on education never being a bad thing. 🙂

      Acquiring knowledge in a field of study is never a bad thing. It’s how you put it to use.

  2. Why should people who choose not to attend college pay for those who do?
    Why doesn’t she address the costs of college instead of “who pays”?
    If unlimited funds are provided by the government to pay for college, what does economics tell you to the inflation and costs associated with college? Hint, it will go up even faster because there is no restraint on the entity to hold costs down. College will sky-rocket in costs. Paula needs to take a entry level economics course then speak with some knowledge of what she claims to understand. The middle class and poor would be furious with having to pay for college kids schooling.

    1. There’s always someone who acts as if the sky is falling because they disagree with an idea. Say, Ymous, would you recommend Farmer’s Insurance?

        1. Ymous, plan is a synonym of idea. Yes, it’s clear you’re not sure what anyone is talking about. No wonder your daughter runs your insurance business.

  3. Wow. What nonsense. I never thought “running a campaign” can be worse than not doing so but now I am not so sure. She is going to make Corrine and Rick look like electoral juggernauts.

  4. Basically, if a person wants a certain type job, then investigate the cost of that education, investigate how you are willing to pay for it, investigate how many opportunities for a job in that field and the advancement possibilities, and investigate if the pay will actually be what you expect vs what you will have to pay to get that degree. Do some job shadowing or internship in that field to see if it truly is what you think you want; many students find after one or two years that their field of study is not what they want but they have invested money and time already into getting it. And finally, realize that nobody owes you an education. You want it; you can get it but you have to realize that it is your responsibility to do so, not mine and not the government’s. For many young people, four years of college is not the answer; they would be much happier with a hands-on type of job and thus a technical education or apprenticeship. There is as much job fulfillment and honor in a job as an electrician, plumber, welder, etc as in a four year college degree, and that fact is sometimes lost in the mantra of “everyone has a right to a free education.” I am once again reminded of Margaret Thatcher’s epic words, “Socialism (i.e. everyone is entitled to a free ______ – my words here) works fine until you run out of other people’s money!

  5. The stability of a republican form of government depending on the morality and intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature to establish and maintain a general and uniform system of public schools wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all; and to adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.

    Bunch o’ hooey?

    1. Sounds like it applies to our K-12 system to me, general in nature and uniform.

      Post-secondary education is specialized and comes with a cost. It took me 8 years to pay off my student loans, and I’d like to think I’ve contributed plenty to the economy, during that period and since.

  6. This bothers me on so many levels….

    1. Free schooling for all (or whatever Sanders is peddling) is a farce. Get a useable degree and do something productive. Obviously some people would take great advantage of an offer like this, they aren’t part of the problem.

    2. So people aren’t getting the “promised” jobs….and her response is to put even more people into this “broken” system? She’s arguing with herself….

    3. People with student debt can’t buy the American dream right away…Who ever promised a timeline on that? How about working toward a dream and making it happen? We’ve all seen friends from high school jump right into jobs instead of furthering an education, buying vehicles, and having spending money. Some are successful and happy, many are still in those jobs and topped out before we even paid off our student loans. Does she believe those that worked right away are better for the economy in the long run?

    This race will be a non-event, just like the one in 2014. Total landslide.

    1. I agree she will be defeated in a landslide along with this pie in the sky idea and her joke of a state party.

  7. I grew up in a Democrat household and was a Democrat until about the time of Reagan’s term. But, my Democrat party was not the one that is passing for Democrat today which is actually more socialist than anything else. I grew up without a sense of entitlement, without thinking that the world owed me free health care, education, subsidies for housing etc, and did this while being a Democrat. What happened to the old ideals of the Democrat party? If the Dems in SD want to win another election, they had better re-evaluate their party and get back to some common sense.

    1. Springer I agree. Those most vocal in South Dakota’s Democratic party really should move to Portland or San Francisco. They would feel more at home there.

  8. The number one factor in party registration is family history. Many think it “tradition” but I have always said it was more about values/culture.

    Here is the reality of my family:

    Grand parents hardcore Catholic Democrats.

    My Mom’s generation: Four Democrats and one Republican.

    My generation: Seven Democrats (many who I am pretty sure are only Democrat in name to mollify parents) and eleven Republicans.

    We haven’t changed our family values but our party registration and voting inclinations has. This is emblematic of the problem of the SD Democrat Party.

  9. ‘We haven’t changed our family values but our party registration and voting inclinations has. This is emblematic of the problem of the SD Democrat Party.’

    Actually Troy, those two sentences are emblematic of a confused train of thought. If I were your editor, I would make you rewrite the first sentence at a minimum, and then, depending on what you come up with, reconsider the validity of your conclusion. As it reads now, what you are saying is that your party registration and voting inclination has changed your family values, and that fact is what’s wrong with SD Democrats. Far from being coherent as you usually are, your statement seems to indicate that you wanted to write something clearly but forgot to clear your mind first. 😉

  10. Bill,

    Communicating succinctly and with clarity isn’t my strong point.

    What I’m trying to say the core of the values of my Grandfather are still imbedded in his grandchildren. However, we are finding those same values are better represented by the GOP and its candidates and the migration of people who hold the values similar to my family have left the Democratic Party.

    1. In broad general strokes then, what you are saying Troy is that in your family most who were once Democrats have joined the Republican party, and brought their family values along with them. Correct?

      That seems to suggest that in South Dakota, Republicans are the new Democrats. Interesting thought.

Comments are closed.