- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2015

CNN host Mike Rowe has written a lengthy rebuke of a recent tweet by Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders, calling him a “knucklehead” for suggesting people who don’t go to college will likely wind up in jail.

Mr. Sanders, a proponent of free tuition for college students, tweeted Sunday: “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.”

Mr. Rowe, the former “Dirty Jobs” host who now leads CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” took particular issue with the Vermont senator’s “dangerous” notion that people have to attend college in order to be successful.

“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,” he wrote on his official Facebook page. “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!?

“[A]s 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,” Mr. Rowe continued.

“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.

“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?” he asked.

“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. But there are many, many alternatives to college. And none of them come with a prison sentence.”

Mr. Rowe’s post, accompanied by a photo of himself wearing a cap and gown and being pushed in a wheelbarrow, has been shared more than 66,000 times and liked nearly 130,000 times since Monday. He continued the discussion by responding to several commenters on the post.

“Mostly, I’m hung up on the cost of the path he’s pushing. Debt matters,” Mr. Rowe explained to one commenter.

“It’s true — my college experience was hugely important to [me], and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he wrote to another. “On the other hand, I wouldn’t have paid anything to get it. Happily, back in 1980, I could take courses at my local community college for $26 a credit. After that, a few thousand a year got me through a respectable university. I didn’t need to go into debt. Those days are long gone, and Bernie can’t bring them back by picking up the tab for everyone who wants to go to college.”

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