Obama ‘Pivots’ to Knox College

Our president is apparently making yet another “pivot” to jobs and the economy.  He is planning to make a series of speeches to cover his new ideas for resurrecting the U.S. economy from the doldrums which it has called home for the past five years.


The first of these speeches is scheduled to take place at Knox College, located in Galesburg, Illinois, a bucolic small town about thirty miles to the northwest of Peoria.  It is small enough to require only 257 government employees for everything — police, fire, libraries, and so on.  Galesburg’s major claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of Carl Sandburg.  Got the picture?


Professor Tim Kasser, a faculty member at Knox, is featured on the first page of Knox’s website.  He describes his approach to education at this liberal arts institution, which has between 1,300 and 1,400 students, this way:


I study the problems associated with materialistic values that favor money, image, and status: these problems include lower happiness, less civility, and more ecological degradation.


And this is the venue that the president has selected to unveil the initial steps of his grand restart of America’s economy?  Seems like a good fit for a discussion of economic vitality and an industrial renaissance, doesn’t it?  After all, if you’re going to discuss the revitalization of the entire American economy, why would you want to speak at a place where business and industry are taught?  So the president was able to scratch potential sites for this speech such as MIT, RPI, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Cal Tech, and even the University of Chicago (where he actually taught, and which has a highly regarded business program) off his list and focus like a laser on Knox College.


Of course, this information about the venue is something that isn’t touted by the mainstream media.  Even FOX News glossed over the venue and the logic, or lack thereof, in its selection.  


The president has expounded time and again on the utter necessity of a college education.  So speaking at a college makes sense in that one aspect.  Of course, I’m not sure that a graduate of Knox College is the first person I would call to stop a leaky faucet, tune my car, rewire my house, or anything else that is needed to make sure we have a minimum of sand in the gears of our economy.  Those are at least as important to our economy as individuals who have majored at institutions such as Knox in fields like art, music, creative writing, or theatre (all majors available at Knox) but not as essential to creating jobs and reducing our crippling unemployment.


The administration’s claims that the president is providing new initiatives to encourage business investment and expanded hiring are at best a red herring.  This speech, in this selected venue, seems less a sincere attempt to revitalize the American economy and more an attempt to distract public interest from the plethora of scandals plaguing this administration.

Originally published at American Thinker


About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
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4 Responses to Obama ‘Pivots’ to Knox College

  1. I am a graduate from Knox College and have many friends who graduated from there and are gainfully employed in the business sector thanks to the education we received there. Just because one person at Knox is referencing the current problems of our economic and historical moment doesn’t mean that Knox is not providing a relevant educational curriculum. As a matter of fact, it is, and in essence, it is teaching student to think for themselves to know enough math, English, Science and creative arts to be able to decide what they want to major in during their sophomore year. We then study courses in our major to prepare us foe either a job or for continuing our education.

    I have many fiends who went to know and are doing jobs all over the business world. A friend of mine has been working at Apple for at least 20 years. Another is an actuary for an insurance firm. I have another friend who worked in chemical research for many years dealing with the problem of rust on industrial equipment and is now a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I have another friend who is working in the field of materials printing. As for me, I am a teacher with 31 years of experience abroad and in the US. From these examples and many more that I won’t add for lack of time and patience from your readers, I think you will see that your take on Knox College is both misinformed and way off the mark.

    • Jim Yardley says:

      I’m sorry you feel that my comments were a personal attack on the students and alumni of Knox. My point was that Knox is not a post-secondary institution that specializes in fields that directly and immediately impact the economy.

      You, for example, are a teacher. The vast majority of teachers do not make that sort of direct or immediate impact. Obviously you make an impact in the longer term, but not until your students graduate, find a position, and effectively serve an apprenticeship (as every one of us have done) before they are prepared to assume a position within their respective organizations where their decisions could possible impact the economy.

      You and I both know that the reputation of a school adds a great deal to the credibility of ideas that emanate from that institution. Whether that reputation is deserved or not is a matter for a different debate, but the simple fact is that for most people, the reputation of a Harvard gives ideas that are voiced at Harvard more gravitas. Admittedly that shouldn’t make a difference, but the reality is that it does.

      And that was my point. I’m sorry that you misunderstood my intent.

  2. Don Burt says:

    I am extremely proud that I graduated from Knox College and resent this insulting blog post. Are you actually denigrating a proud college because it offers theatre, art and creative writing degrees? If so, I wonder then what you think of Yale, Brown, Harvard, Columbia, etc. — all of which offer the above degrees. It is true that Knox does not offer degrees in business administration — but it is a liberal arts college that does an outstanding job of teaching the ability to think creatively. A plus in just about any business.

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