Milwaukee, Wisc. – The election to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Becky Kleefisch and four Republican state senators aren’t the only races people are watching in Wisconsin; Senator Tammy Baldwin’s US Senate seat is one of the most competitive races in the country.
The latest candidate to jump in the race for the Republican nomination is Businessman Eric Hovde, who just recently opened up his southeast campaign office in Wauwatosa on Tuesday. Hovde’s background is spent in the financial industry. He first worked as a financial advisor focused on community banking. Then, at the age of 24, he began his own financial advisory firm. Today, Eric currently serves as chief executive officer and board member for Hovde Properties LLC, which purchases, develops and manages real estate in Wisconsin.
I sat down with Hovde on Tuesday to ask him a few questions on rising student loan debt and jobs.
Red Alert Politics: Student loan debt has exceeded one trillion dollars. President Obama wants Congress to extend the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which would freeze interest rates on subsidized student loans for one year. How should we go about fixing our student loan crisis?
Hovde: Look, I can understand trying to provide assistance for young people to get an education. Now, I do believe that we are trying to force too many people into a four year college education when what we really need is a lot of people to develop technical skills. Let me give you an example.
Right now this country has a shortage of high-grade welders that can weld in a nuclear facility or on ships or things of that nature. A bunch of those welders are in their late sixties and seventies. Over the next decade we are going to need people to fill those jobs. So here we keep trying to shove people into a four year college education, how many more marketing people do we need, when we really need people to move off and taught some of these technical skills.
I don’t have a problem with the government giving some level of assistance but the key is “some” level of assistance. Too many young people, not understanding the consequences of debt, are able to take the full free ride, living expenses and all the rest. They come out of college and now they have all this massive debt for the rest of their lives when they were really too young to understand it. It should be some proportional amount towards the tuition but not a hundred percent.
Red Alert Politics: How do you get young people interested in those other jobs?
Hovde: We need to start talking to them and make them understand what is out there. I think if you sat down with most young people and told them, particularly guys, you can go and get a four year education but this is what your employment and income prospects are. Or, you could go and get a welding degree and have a job when you graduate and make two or three times the amount. Don’t you think they would say, hey I like that?
Red Alert Politics: How would you go about creating jobs if you were elected as Senator?
Hovde: Government doesn’t create jobs. The business sector creates it. What can government do? It can create economic stability were the private sector business people have the comfort to making an investment four, five, or six years down the road where they know they can get a return on their investment.
The problem right now is that you have piles of money sitting on the sidelines because people are looking at it and going do I really want to build that new plant or building if the federal government blows up. I have to think about that every time I make a business decision. Do I want to make that investment over the next five or six years. So you have to create economic stability and get our debt in line.
Also, you have to totally reform our tax code. We have the highest corporate tax code in the world. We have to lower our corporate tax rate. It’s time government understands that. Finally, you get rid of all the corporate welfare. Why should big corporations that buy off politicians, are able to operate with a fraction of the tax. What you are doing is replacing the entire burden on small business. They have to carry all the economic weight and they are the ones that create all the jobs.