If you want to know how Mike Rowe feels about something, just ask him. He’ll tell you in no uncertain terms.
Rowe, the host of “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” and former host of of the hit TV show “Dirty Jobs,” appeared Thursday on Fox Business to promote his new book “The Way I Heard It.” On the show, Rowe was asked by host Stuart Varney what he thought about the $1.5 trillion federal student loan debt.
“We have unintendedly maligned an entire section of our workforce by promoting one form of education, in my opinion, at the expense of all of the other forms,” he said.
“Forty years ago, colleges needed a PR campaign,” Rowe added. “We needed more people to get into higher education, but when we gave the big push for college back the in ‘70s, we did it at the expense of alternative education. In other words, we told people, ‘If you don’t get your degree, you’re going to wind up turning a wrench.’ ”
Rowe said the decision by many school systems to do away with shop and metal-working classes has led to a “skills gap” in which millions of vacant jobs have no qualified applicants.
“The skills gap today, in my opinion, is a result of the removal of shop class and the repeated message that the best path for the most people happens to be the most expensive path,” he said.
“This is why, in my opinion, we have $1.6 trillion of student loans on the books and 7.3 million open positions, most of which don’t require a four-year degree,” Rowe added. “We’re just disconnected. We’re rewarding behavior we should be discouraging. We’re lending money we don’t have to kids who are never going to be able to pay it back to train them for jobs that don’t exist anymore. That’s nuts.”
In October, Rowe appeared on Fox and was asked about the recent Democratic debate. He had an opinion on that, too.
“Look, in the end you’ve got millionaires arguing with millionaires over who hates the millionaires the most,” Rowe said.
Rowe said the Democrats who push massive tax hikes, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, are wrong.
“And I guess it’s a conversation we’ll have,” he said. “But I remember a couple of years ago, I took my meager staff over to the Reagan Ranch … One of the stories they tell is the time when Ronald Reagan just finally decided he was done doing movies. He was just done because he was paying 92% of every dollar he made on films. And it was just math. He wasn’t done acting, he just looked at it and did some basic calculus and said, ‘Not for me anymore. It makes no sense to do this,’” Rowe said.
Rowe also noted that high-tax states are losing residents.
“I live in California. I just read a report that said the exodus this year as a result of a 13.5% state tax and some other tweaks to the system is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before,” he said. “So I know it’s convenient. It’s fun to kind of hate the rich and all, but in the end they’re just people and they’re going to do the math and they’re going to go where the math is better.”