Ray McGuire on Bloomberg’s Next Big Risk
On January 12, Lazard President Raymond J. McGuire appeared on Bloomberg’s “Next Big Risk” with Sonali Basak, to discuss how inequality in the American education system risks creating a permanent underclass in the United States, and threatens to undermine the nation’s global competitive standing.
“The singular issue that will determine how our country fares, both locally and globally, is education. It’s at the core of whether we have the opportunity to realize the American dream. It’s also at the core of whether the U.S. can remain the leader on the frontier of innovation and competitiveness,” said Ray.
“The returns we are generating – if we put it in that context – are unremarkable, at best. At the national level, we spend $800 billion plus [on education], which sounds like a lot, but it’s just 3-5% of the [Federal] budget, while we spend 19-20% on defense,” he explained. “Where we rank competitively in education, we have dropped on the global stage, notwithstanding the amount of dollars we have spent. We used to be in a premier position, and now we are in a secondary, or tertiary position.”
Ray went on to highlight the geopolitical implications of allowing American students to fall behind classmates from other nations attending U.S. universities, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“If we look at the degrees that are awarded in the higher technologies, most of those degrees are not conferred to Americans. So I think about this geo-competitively, and we are not doing that which we should be doing. We’ll end up seeing see an erosion in our competitive standing geo-competitively,” he concluded.