That’s what some brilliant pols in my old home state of Wisconsin want to do. Free tuition to students who agree that they’ll stay in the Badger State for 10 years. Here’s the story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

A bit of thought should suffice to torpedo this idea. Wisconsin isn’t lagging because college-educated people are leaving; it’s the other way around. If the state gives free tuition to students, the ones who will take it will be those whose skills and aspirations are unlikely to cause them to want to depart for warmer climates and greater opportunity. No benefit, but only the cost of foregone tuition revenues.

Proponents say, “Look — Ireland did the same thing and the country is booming.” True, but Ireland has also transformed itself into a magnet for workers and investors with low taxes and minimal regulation. That’s why the country’s economy is booming. Other countries in Europe complain about the unfairness of Ireland’s pro-growth regime. If Wisconsin wants a booming economy, that’s what it should copy from Ireland.