Bryan Caplan is Not Like Warren Buffett
By David Henderson
In his critique of education–I have been urging Bryan to call it schooling, but have had no apparent effect on his wording–Bryan Caplan lays out how government pays him to school people and how what he teaches them has little effect on their ability to perform jobs other than academic ones.
Bryan ends as follows:
My conscience, however, urges me to blow the whistle on the system anyway. Education is not magic. Professors can’t make students better at whatever job awaits them with learned lectures on arcane topics. I’m glad I have a dream job for life. I worked hard for it. But society would be better off if taxpayers saved their money, students spent fewer years in school, and sheltered academics like me finally entered the Real World and found a real job.
A perceptive reader, Joe, wrote:
Bryan: “It would be better for society if I were fired, but until then I’m gonna keep my dream job.”
Commenters: “Hear, Hear”
Warren Buffett: “It would be better for society if I were taxed more, but until then I’m gonna keep my money.”
Commenters: “You should just pay more yourself.”
I thought someone might step in and defend Bryan from the comparison to Buffett, but so far, no one has.
So I will. The difference is this. If Buffett were to give more money to the U.S. government, the government would have more money. Joe’s analogue seems to be that Bryan should quit his job. But if Bryan were to quit his job, I can virtually guarantee that someone else would replace him. Quitting would not save the taxpayers any money. Government spending would fall by zero.