Thomas Friedman has a column today with some good ideas in it, emphasizing innovation rather than bailouts, calling for more open immigration, and seemingly agreeing with a source who suggests we lower the corporate tax rate and "revamp Sarbanes-Oxley so that it is easier to start a small business." There's an irony that seems to escape him, though. He suggests that America require a high-school diploma to get a drivers' license. Then he concludes, "Lately, there has been way too much talk about minting dollars and too little about minting our next Thomas Edison, Bob Noyce, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Vint Cerf, Jerry Yang, Marc Andreessen, Sergey Brin, Bill Joy and Larry Page." But Thomas Edison never got a high school diploma. Some of America's great entrepreneurs and innovators haven't taken too much to formal education. And linking a high-school diploma to the driving privilege would probably mainly have an effect akin to "social promotion," with high schools shuffling unqualified graduates along rather than flunking them out because the schools wouldn't want to effectively impose a lifetime driving ban on a student for, say, failing to master trigonometry.
Friedman on Edison
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