Steve Jobs was suspended from high school for playing a salacious prank on the graduating senior class. Biographer Walter Isaacson says Jobs and his friends tie-dyed a bedsheet with the school colors and enlisted one of their mothers to paint a large hand extending its middle finger across the sheet. Jobs hung the homespun banner from a school balcony and flipped off the seniors during their commencement procession.
It was as if the eventual college dropout and entrepreneurial billionaire wanted to say: “Eff formal education. I will learn and earn on my own terms.”
Today, President Obama is effectively giving college students and their parents his middle finger. Whereas Jobs’ prank was harmless and symbolic, the President’s plan to bail out student loans will derail the entrepreneurial dreams and financial security of countless young people.
By executive order, the President’s unconstitutional “We Can’t Wait - Pay As You Earn” plan modifies the existing Income-Based Repayment Plan so that, effective in 2012, graduates may cap their loan payments at 10 percent instead of 15 percent of their discretionary income. Anything remaining after 20 years (formerly 25 years) becomes fundamentally the taxpayers’ responsibility. And, if a student wants to become a public servant (i.e. work for George Soros) his loan will be forgiven after just 10 years.
Jobs dropped out of college because he was worried about wasting his parents’ money. He also told Isaacson he had: “no idea how college was going to help me…” Jobs self-started Apple by selling his Volkswagen bus so he and Stephen Wozniak could pool together about $1,300 of initial capital. Jobs could have squandered his parents’ money. Instead, he used his money and their garage to build a company that would create countless jobs and terrific products for people all over the world.
If Jobs had frittered away four years of his life in college instead of pursuing creative opportunities, I wouldn’t have written this column on a Mac and you wouldn’t be tweeting it to your friends from your iPhone. And, if Taylor Swift had gone to college you wouldn’t be playing her music on iTunes because she’d be an unrenowned member of a college choir.
I think young people and their parents deserve to know the truth about the President’s program.