When Mike Rowe caught wind of Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' tweet, the hard-working host of "Somebody's Gotta Do It" simply had to set things straight.
At the end of the day, providing a path to go to college is a helluva lot cheaper than putting people on a path to jail.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 13, 2015
“At the end of the day," Sanders tweeted, "providing a path to go to college is a helluva lot cheaper than putting people on a path to jail.”
But Rowe didn't engage Sanders in a Twitter war — he took to his own Facebook page, the locale where Rowe has engineered numerous philosophical takedowns and thoughtful, if not always polite, corrections of ideas just gone wrong.
And this time Rowe's jabs may as well have been roundhouse rights.
"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," Rowe wrote on Monday. "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 went on to shine a light on the fallacy perpetuated by "a generation of well-intended guidance counselors and misguided parents" that a college education is somehow better than “vocational consolation prizes":
It’s a cautionary tale as predictable as it is false. 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.
I try not to be political on this page, because the truth is, arrogance and elitism are alive and well in every corner of every party — especially with respect to this topic. But I have to admit, 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.
"Is it possible that Senator Sanders doesn’t realize the number of college graduates with criminal records?" Rowe wondered, later asking, "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?"
While acknowledging the caveat that Twitter isn't necessarily the best place to spell out ideas in full, Rowe declared that Sanders nevertheless did some "damage."
"The truth, in my opinion, is this: There is no alternative for an education, and no hope for a person who doesn’t want to learn something useful and apply it," Rowe wrote. "But there are many, many alternatives to college. And none of them come with a prison sentence."