Rocket Bomber - article - business - commentary - Engines of Industry


Engines of Industry

filed under , 5 August 2011, 21:17 by

Microsoft was founded by a college dropout — but to be fair, Harvard was the college and Gates was very smart going in.

Apple was founded by a college dropout – though, it should be granted, both Jobs & Woz did summer interships at HP [and other things – look at wikipedia].

Facebook was founded while Zuckerberg was still a student,

Google was founded by students,

Dell Computers was founded by a student,

Yahoo [which was big once, don’t knock it] was founded by students,

and — dare I pull in some old media for you? Len Riggio founded the company that would become bookseller chain Barnes & Noble while still a student at NYU, way back in 1965

So.

Tax breaks to millionaires do not create jobs. Tax breaks to millionaires do not create new companies, whole new industries, whole new product categories, and whole new ways of life.

If one were serious about creating jobs and not just scoring points with one’s political donors, instead of making sure the top marginal tax rates are now and always will be below 25% — one would invest in the brains that create jobs.

Gates dropped out of Harvard but had an excellent education up to that point — Yahoo and Google both were founded by graduate students — Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had the advantage of being in right place at the right time, sure [hard to replicate 1976 Silicon Valley] but they also happened to be students in the Silicon Valley, Berkeley for Woz, Homestead High School in Cupertino itself for Jobs.

Instead of tax cuts for the rich that some claim are the job creators, how about we extend a helping hand to those that actually have a proven track record of inventing whole new American industries?

How about we invest in education, and provide a college education to *all* without the massive debt currently required.

How many Apples, Googles, Facebooks, and Dells would have been established if a smart college kid could borrow $100,000 to start up a new company right after she graduates, instead of being forced to borrow that $100K up front just to get through school?

So many missed opportunities. Sure, some companies founded by the smart young kids would fail — this is different how? — but it would be up to them whether or not they could make it work.

For such a small amount of money, we could make sure the kids get into university, and through grad school if they have the talent and the drive. AND THEN these best-and-brightest could assume hundreds of thousands in debt, *not* to pay for school but to create new companies, new industries, and new jobs.

I might suppose that the only reason we don’t provide a free college [and post graduate] education for worthy, qualifying students is because that would make us socialists — dirty, dirty socialists with more free-enterprise startups than we could manage, with more good-paying jobs for college graduates, and a way to enable a whole generation to create, invent, and prosper rather than loading them down with debt that forces them to make compromises and just make do for at least two decades — long enough to burn out their hopes, dreams, and entrepreneurial spirit.

And of course, we’d be able to do that not just for this generation, but the next and the next and the next one, you know, the one that cures cancer, colonizes Mars, and does fabulous things we haven’t even dreamed of yet. All that and a bag of chips, for the in-context-minimal cost of 4-to-6 years for a kid at a university.

It would be like the economic benefit of the 1950s GI Bill but available for all generations and snowballing into perpetuity.

Of course I’m bitter because I worked through school (and asked WAY too much of my parents) and didn’t have the benefit of this myself — but, economically speaking, why are college costs disproportionately borne by students when it costs so little for the government to provide this, and when it means so much to both our culture and our economy?



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