Under pressure to energize the economy, President Barack Obama will put job creation and American competitiveness at the center of his State of the Union address, promoting spending on education and research while pledging to trim the nation's soaring debt.
Our leaders have no shortage of advisors. The risk is that workable plans get lost in a cacophony of conflicting advice. Spending more on education is wasted if it only encourages college students to take on more debt for degrees they will never use. A superior solution is to reduce spending on frivolous programs in the humanities and social sciences, leaving money available for the hard sciences. American competitiveness will be greatly hurt if we can't replace engineers and geologists, but our country will be none the poorer for closing hundreds of collegiate English departments.