In Government, It Pays to be a Dropout

Here’s the good news: High school dropouts get paid more money. Here’s the bad news: you get to foot the bill. The Congressional Research Service conducted a study recently that found that the higher the education level, the less money an individual will make working for the federal government than they would in a comparable private-sector job. Apparently in government work, it pays to be uneducated—literally.

However, before you get too down on the fed for subsidizing inefficiency and rewarding sloth, consider what Dr. Gary North—aka The Tea Party Economist—has to say about the issue:

This is good news for defenders of liberty. It means that the Federal government will absorb these short-sighted people who had no academic abilities. This removes them from the private sector. So, the federal government will be even less efficient than it was before it hired these people. This is good. It costs a little more, but it pays. Compared to the general waste of the federal government, this is chump change.

In other words, according to North, it is money well-spent to keep these individuals on the public dole and far away from private enterprise. This not only keeps the talent pool for the private sector at a higher level, it also increases government inefficiency. If you can’t beat ‘em, make ‘em so bloated with inefficiency that they can’t move without great difficulty. There’s always a silver lining, you just have to look real hard for it sometimes.

As I pointed out above though, it certainly appears that government doesn’t value higher education, because the pay structure reverses when the individual has a professional degree or higher. That is, federal government doesn’t seem to value doctorates nearly as much as the private sector; and for this, says Dr. North, they are to commended:

The better your formal education, the less you are appreciated by the FedGov. This shows an awareness of economic value that surprises me. Conclusion: when hiring inefficient people, the FedGov goes after the less expensive ones. Governing philosophy: “If we are going to pay people to get nothing done, let’s hire them cheap.” I can’t argue with that!

And neither can I. Score one for the Feds. As they say, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally. This appears to be one of those instances where even the private sector can learn a lesson from the federal government.

I would also remind readers that the vast majority of these Ph.D. holders have more than likely acquired loans and grants through the federal government, which only goes to show what the Fed really thinks about education. They are more than happy to earn money off of you while you are paying back years and years of compounding interest, but they are not particularly inclined to consider you for employment. Remember that the next time somebody tells you that “Education pays”!