Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Mike Rowe Defends Trade Jobs, Alternatives to College in Response to Bernie Sanders Tweet

Author: Ben Swann
Created: 17 December, 2015
Updated: 18 October, 2022
3 min read

A Bernie Sanders tweet issued Monday inspired actor and television host Mike Rowe, best known as the former host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs and the current host of CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It, to write an open post directed at Sanders on Facebook defending trade jobs and alternatives to college.


Sanders’ above-embedded tweet, aimed at justifying the cost of his plan to provide government-subsidized college tuition for all Americans, struck Rowe as implicitly equivocating the failure to go to college with a pipeline to jail.

I wonder sometimes, if the best way to question the increasingly dangerous idea that a college education is the best path for the most people, is to stop fighting the sentiment directly, and simply shine a light on the knuckleheads who continue to perpetuate this nonsense. This latest tweet from Bernie Sanders is a prime example. In less than 140 characters, he’s managed to imply that a path to prison is the most likely alternative to a path to college. Pardon my acronym, but…WTF!?” Rowe said in a Facebook post.

He added:

The implicit suggestion, reinforced daily by a generation of well-intended guidance counselors and misguided parents, is always the same – get yourself a four-year degree, or accept one of the many ‘vocational consolation prizes’ that result from all other forms of ‘lesser knowledge.’ But now, as people are slowly starting to understand the obscenity of 1.3 trillion dollars in student loans, along with the abundance of opportunity for those with the proper training, it seems the proponents of ‘college for all’ need something even more frightening than the prospect of a career in the trades to frighten the next class into signing on the dotted line. According to Senator Sanders, that ‘something,’ is a path to jail.

According to Lifehacker, college graduates only make $90,000 more on average over a 30-year period when compared to trade school graduates, with the average bachelor’s degree costing $127,000 and taking at least four years to complete. Vocational training costs an average of $33,000 and can be completed in as little time as 2 years.

A SimplyHired.com estimate puts the average income earned by a trade school graduate at around $42,000 per year. Two extra years of income at $42,000 per year leaves the average college graduate only $6,000 richer than the average trade school graduate over a 30-year period.

Meanwhile, the college graduate faces risky student loan debt and the possibility that changes to the economy could render some degree specializations worthless after such a significant investment of time and money.

This is the first time I’ve seen an elected official support the hyper-inflated cost of a diploma by juxtaposing it with the hyper-inflated cost of incarceration. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of it,” Rowe continued in his post. “Is it possible that Senator Sanders doesn’t realize the number of college graduates with criminal records? Is he unaware of the millions of successful tradespeople and entrepreneurs who didn’t pay for a sheepskin, but somehow managed to stay of the clink? Does he not recognize that comments like his will encourage more kids who are better suited for an alternative path to borrow vast sums of money they’ll never be able to pay back in order to pay for a degree that won’t get them a job?

Editor's note: This article, written by Barry Donegan, originally published on Truth in Media and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN.

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