To help SC, treat cause, not symptoms

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The Greenville News wants legislators to spend more money on higher education to remedy the Palmetto State’s 11.5 percent unemployment rate.

The fact is, if South Carolina wants to create the means to better fund higher ed, it must address bigger systemic issues within the state, as the South Carolina Policy Council points out: “If South Carolina wants to make more money available for higher education, its leaders must create a business environment that is more inviting to employers, businesses and entrepreneurs.”

The Policy Council’s response to The News’ piece is reprinted here:

Greenville News associate editorial page editor Paul Hyde has a solution for South Carolina’s third-worst-in-the-nation unemployment rate: spend more state tax dollars on higher education.

While Hyde is right that education plays a huge role in job opportunity, simply calling for legislators to pump more money into higher ed is a simplistic concept in a state where at least one third of kids don’t even graduate from high school.

But beyond that, Hyde is incorrect when he asserts that a large factor behind the Palmetto State’s high unemployment rate is state lawmakers’ failure to invest appropriately in higher education.

More than half of our state’s General Fund is devoted to education, K-12 up through higher ed. To put more money into higher education, while well intentioned, would mean funding would have to be drawn from other areas, either by cutting into legislators’ pet projects or taking from core services, neither of which are likely to happen.

If South Carolina wants to make more money available for higher education, its leaders must create a business environment that is more inviting to employers, businesses and entrepreneurs.

That’s because in order to have more money available for higher education, we have to grow the pie so the money is available in the first place.

The real problem isn’t that South Carolina has purposely underfunded higher education, it’s that we’ve purposely created a business climate that discourages economic growth and prosperity.

Until that changes, unemployment will remain a constant thorn in South Carolina’s side.

Trilateral Commission absolved in crash

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Deep thinking is afoot in the Upstate, apparently.

Richard Danforth of Seneca, SC, puts forth the far-fetched idea that global warming may be behind the crash of Air France Flight 447 in a letter to USAToday:

Speculation has blossomed concerning the causes of the loss of Air France Flight 447 (“Wreckage yields clues in jet crash,” News, Thursday).

It would be irresponsible to get ahead of evidence, but important factors are emerging. First, some experts blame global warming for the increased severity and frequency of hurricanes (most of which originate at latitudes within 5 to 15 degrees of the equator). Second, the flight appears to have passed through a band of equatorial megastorms. Finally, levels of turbulence in such storms are being investigated in the crash.

Perhaps the memorial service in Paris will be recognized as the first for airline victims of global warming.

And perhaps Mr. Danforth’s letter will be recognized as another example of poorly thought reasoning.

As Don Boudreaux writes at Cafe Hayek,taking issue with Danforth’s simplistic cause and effect isn’t a judgment on whether global warming is actually occurring. 

“What I am saying is that anyone who would, presumably with a straight face, leap to the conclusion that Mr. Danforth leaps to is someone not interested in serious thinking about this subject,” Boudreaux writes.

Turner to Cezanne a success

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Turner to Cezanne, the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist exhibition that just concluded at the Columbia Museum of Art, obliterated previous exhibit attendance records, according to The Columbia Free Times.

Nearly 44,000 people saw Turner to Cezanne in a three-month period, which ended June 7. That exceeds the previous record – for Excavating Egypt in early 2008 – by more than 10,000 people, according to The Free Times.

“But here’s the clincher: The Egyptian show was open for six weeks longer than Turner to Cezanne,” the publication reported. On a visitor-per-week basis, Turner to Cezanne drew 3,373 individuals per week, compared to 1,737 for Excavating Egypt.

In addition, Turner to Cezanne cost $15 for non-museum members, whereas the Excavating Egypt show cost only the regular museum admission of $5 for adults.