Friday, June 22, 2007

To X-er:

A commenter writes:
It is completely wrong for the government to subsidize college costs. I personally do not want money taken out of my paycheck to create a generation of art history majors. And I seriously doubt that you want to pay for that as well.

Actually, it's completely absurd to imagine a college system without government subsidies.
No tax-exempt nonprofit status = no Harvard or any other private university.
No federal land grants = no Big 10 or any other public university.
No federally subsidized student loans and grants = no for-profit colleges.
How about some old video footage of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge? They hated art history majors too.
To a reasonable progressive percentage, and with the caveat that those art history majors work and contribute to their own education as well in a partnership that recognizes the public and private benefits of education as both a social good and a personal investment = Take my paycheck, please!
(oh and by the way, if you care about defense not education, no government sponsored GI Bill benefits = a severe reduction in military recruits = a much less safe nation.)


Anonymous said...


I agree with your ideas, but I think Harvard may have been a poor example for you to use. If Harvard has $30 billion in its endowment (and massive annual revenues), why do you presume that it could not survive without government subsidies?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday June 22 was the anniversary of the signing of the GI Bill of Rights -- enacted in the midst of World War II primarily to provide unemployment benefits when the war ended. The addition of educational benefits was very late, almost last minute. The point is that this bill created a huge number of college graduates in the postwar years and drove college attendance rates from 10% to 50%. IMHO this was one of the key drivers of the huge economic expansion in the 1950s / 1960s.

Anonymous said...

No one has a right to take from one by force to give to another. Basic freedom of economics never undrstood by anyone under 40, and most over 40. Read anything by Ayn Rand and open your eyes and mind.

Bill: Generation "Worked Hard"

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

While Ayn Rand is an interesting read, her theories cannot be taken seriously due to her total disconnect with the human condition. The world is not full of Howard Roarks. When many get to the top, they simply take advantage of the those below my changing the system and participating in chronyism. Look at all the current scandals that have erupted out of all the deregulation and lax environment this administration has allowed. Watch the latest scandal on Wall Street erupt over 'front-running' the funds in trading with their own accounts. This is just the scandal of the day. Tune in next quarter for something new.

The fact of the matter is that it simply doesn't work because of greed. Those at the top take advantage of others far more than the Howard Roarks are able to make this world a better place.

The only way to get more Howard Roarks in this world is by cultivating them in a fair and balanced environment in the form of schooling, safety, proper nutrition and health care. Anything short of this breeds more of the opposite.

If you are interested in a psychological look at human development in relation to what Ayn Rand talks about, read Moral Politics by George Lakoff. I know what you are talking about is more libertarianism, but you could learn a great deal about how we form images of these issues.

From a more practical standpoint as someone posted earlier, part of the reason we are on top as a nation is by the education of the GI Bill. That, and the influx of well educated immigrants. (also doesn't hurt that our main competition after the war was blown up)

I think what we see as one of the main problems in our society is the lack of education of many of the youth in America. Comparatively, we are falling far behind. This does not bode well for us in the backdrop of globalization...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

An educated population is more likely to get higher paying jobs, therefore increasing the tax revenue base and spurring economic growth. This is one of the reasons why it is a great idea for government to get involved and subsidize college tuition costs. Yes, after you graduate college you will still probably need two to three jobs (permanent income earning opportunities) for a while until your main job pays what you need to survive, or you get married and combine incomes to the point where you can actually afford to live. But that is how it works, and it happens to everyone in the beginning of their career.

Wouldn't you rather have government help pay for your college, rather than not being able to afford it all together and be financially doomed for the rest of your life?

Anonymous said...

I come from a country in which I didn't pay a single buck for education, Argentina. And now I'm working on a highly paid job as software engineer, thanks to that education.

If it were not for that education, I would have never had the opportunities I had in life.

So, not helping poor people (even if they don't qualify to scolarships) to go to college is another form of discrimination in the name of capitalism.

Personally, I'm happy with USA doing this, just because it opens up opportunities for people around the globe to share the wealthiness of this country.

Way to go, America!

Anonymous said...

Anya brings the levity of "Sex & the City" into a fundamental problem of Western society.
Not all she says is wrong, au contraire, but her average graduate has 20k in student debt and anothe 5k on his/her credit card. Too bad that only 1 American in 4 ever goes to college and there's nothing average about that.
Perhaps, thinking outside the box of the cute-Yalie-who-lives-in-the-Village would give her a less parochial view of the world.

Finance Expert on Yahoo ? Ah! I have my doubts. No doubt she will still be hundred times better than Kiyosaki and his rubbish.

Dear Bill: Generation "Worked Hard",
whoever feels enlightened by reading Ayn Rand has surely opened his eyes and mind so wide that his brain fell off. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

Education is just a service like any other. And its value is measured relative to all the other opportunity costs you have.

The idea that somehow education is this separate thing that needs to be subsidized is just weird.

The fact that we've screwed it up and layers so much government on top that you can't tell where the private service starts and the government ends is just a symptom of the problem.

And really, you want the *government* to be involved in teaching kids? You're guaranteed to have a pro-government we do today, and end up with people finding the concept of a private service absurd ;-)

Ah, the folly.

Anonymous said...

"Education is just a service like any other.." No, it is not !
"Education" means the child who's in 5th grade today and will go on to become the surgeon who is going to operate your prostate cancer thirty years from now.
I'm sure you would like him to be the best possible doctor, drawn from the largest possible pool of candidates, rather than, let's say, Paris Hilton, just because she's one of the few who can afford medical school.

In a society there are things so important for all of us that we cannot just leave them subject to the vagaries of private initiative and the chase for maximum profit.

The folly is all yours.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Education is just a service.

Potential doctors are willing to take on
enormous educational debt because of the long-term increase in earning power.

They receive that compensation because we value their services so highly and want them to dedicate decades to their studies.

In contrast, art history majors aren't very important (to me). So I have probably never directly paid an art history major for that service. And that's why after college most of them won't actually go into art history.

It's not for the government to decide what fields are or are not important or how many people we need in each field.

We determine that collectively by our individual actions; by what we pay for and how much it's worth to us relative to all other options.

We've just totally screwed it up by having decades of government involvement, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Businesses want educated staff. People want to be educated and know it will increase their earning power.

That's all you need to drive a healthy educational system.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Anya is a Zionist Yalie"

I don't know man, she was telling Sharon to unilaterally pull out. That sounds like good advice to me. It doesn't sound like she is some sort of crazy war monger or anything. She was also telling him to work with Abbas. Also, good advice.

What would you recommend? More bloodshed? Just give em all guns and let em go at it?

Anonymous said...

"What would you recommend? More bloodshed? Just give em all guns and let em go at it?"

Encourage anything that undermines religious belief. There is no solution are long as people believe in gods.

Anonymous said...

"Encourage anything that undermines religious belief. There is no solution are long as people believe in gods."

very true. very true.

Anonymous said...

Stefano says, "the child who's in 5th grade today and will go on to become the surgeon who is going to operate your prostate cancer thirty years from now."

Yet the most qualified child will not, most likely, be the one to operate on my prostate. Sadly, she will be a hispanic/native american who was admitted to Mayo because she demonstrated diversity. And she didn't have to pay the entire ticket because she got the Running Bull scholarship.

So there we are. Fairness at Camp Wobegon, where all children are above average.

Anonymous said...

Of course, everybody with a little brain knows that racially based affirmative action is an abomination and, in fact, a form of racism.
I'm not defending that.
Yet, the cost of college education in the US is another abomination.

Anonymous said...

It is not the role of government to subsidize any education. We don't have a true free market in education, otherwise, the idiots on grants who would never go to class and drop out after a semester when I went, never would have existed.

If you think education is necessary, pay for it yourself.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the fre market not existing in education. Here in Texas all the public school kids are the large universities are up in arms over tuition deregulation and the skyrocketing tuition. I went to a private school so I couldn't care less.

The issue is that the quality of education at those schools and the research opportunities have grown along with the tuition. You can still go to a smaller state school for chump change - which is what you should do if you're going to major in a low paying field.

Return on investment SHOULD be the way people look at education, unfortunately because it is so subsidized as it is, these kids without any common sense don't give the forethought to where this money is coming from and who is going to be paying it back. I've made one or two poor financial decisions in the past and I paid the consequences - not the government.