American Elephants

Why is College So Expensive? Is It Worth It? by The Elephant's Child

b083ddd2-e58a-4a80-a72a-6af0700c5f16So why is College so expensive anyway? Parents who have a child about to enter the American university system are stunned by how much tuition has gone up — way more than normal inflation would amount to.

There are a number of big items at play here. During World War II, the young men went to war, not to college. That meant that colleges and universities limped along with women and 4F men. Even a lot of younger professors were called up. When the war ended in 1945, the G.I.Bill flooded the university system with returned G.I.s and often their new wives. Colleges had to provide housing for married students, and their new babies — the beginnings of the Baby Boom.

Beginning in 1946, and increasing exponentially through the boom’s high water mark in 1957 was a generation that found everything crowded from maternity wards to law school. From 1958 till 1964, the boom gradually ebbed. When the boomers were ready for college, colleges expanded to be ready for them. New dorms, new classrooms new buildings, expanded campuses, and even new colleges. When the baby boom ended and we got back to “normal” — colleges were facing a dearth of students to fill their expanded campuses. Colleges added amenities to attract students, and more amenities.

The federal government stepped in to guarantee student loans, which got the universities off the hook. There had always been scholarships for outstanding students, but student loans meant that universities could charge more because the government guaranteed the loans. There was no push-back from the government on the cost of college, kids could borrow what the colleges charged. Employers demanded college degrees

During the war years, professors salaries were held down, and many had summer jobs to make ends meet. When the baby boom arrived, professors wanted more pay and more free time for research, writing and counseling students. Large lecture classes were turned over to adjuncts who were paid far, far less. Professors with doctorates pointed out that CEO salaries were skyrocketing and they were better educated and deserved better. Inflation.

Inflation meant that everything cost more, and not just college. Food, houses, all kinds of goods. What it meant was is that in most case, both parents had to go to work, and families were smaller. What it meant for American universities was retrenchment. Employers were demanding college degrees, partly because primary education was poorly training students. That was a big benefit for colleges because more kids headed for college with big student loans. Big student loans meant that colleges could charge more. The federal government was subsidizing increased tuition. The politicians insisted that every child should go to college. Not true, some kids are not suited for college, and there are fine professions that do not require college degrees.

The end of the baby boom, and the smaller generation produced by the baby boomers because of inflation and working mothers wasn’t enough to fill up the university system. Some colleges closed, others went for more amenities. Climbing walls, bigger libraries, bigger swimming pools, tennis courts and student unions. More landscaping, sculpture. Professor salaries topped the $200,000 mark, and football coaches earned more, way more, that university presidents.

But they have reached a point of no return. To please students, classes have become silly. Gender studies in all its variations, ethnic studies, social justice, political correctness, speech codes, and on and on until we have today’s little “snowflakes,” who are so confused that they assume a right to be coddled, to never face disagreement or offense, but only sheltered kindness. Which means they protest against speakers who have different ideas than their own.

But Marco Rubio was right. Welders make a lot more than philosophy majors. There are high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. Parents are home-schooling their kids, or forming charter schools that are part of the public school system but more effective. Teachers unions are fighting back, determined to remain in charge and applying all the political pressure of all the dues collected from teachers to get their way. Parents hate, with reason, Common Core, and the whole idea of a federally-directed curriculum. Federal bureaucrats do not know what is best. Times are always a-changing. Just what comes next will be a battle.

Here I should recommend a couple of books: Great Expectations by Landon Y. Jones, a popular study of the baby boom generation (1980). Essential reading for boomers, their kids, and the following generation who are stuck with paying for Medicare for the retiring boomers. Great fun. The other is really a trilogy, a marvelously funny academic satire by David Lodge, a former British professor.  The books are Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work, now conveniently offered in one volume. It may be satire, but you learn a lot about academe.

I wonder how many full professors teach a full 15 hour schedule?

The Million Student March by The Elephant's Child

This is just priceless! Neil Cavuto had as his guest Keely Mullen, the national organizer for the optimistically titled  “Million Student March” — to discuss her movement’s plans for making public colleges tuition free.

MULLEN: The Million Student March is a movement for a more equitable and fair system of education as opposed to the really corporate model that we have right now. So the three core demands of the national day of action are free public college, a cancellation of student debt and a $15 an hour minimum wage for people who work on campus.

CAVUTO: How’s that going to be paid?

MULLEN: Ummm, great question. I’m not sure if you’re talking about on a national level or at particular schools, but I can touch on both —

CAVUTO: Well, you want all that stuff. Someone has to pick up the tab. Who would that be?

MULLEN: Ummm, the one-percent of people in society that are hoarding the wealth and kind of causing the catastrophe students are facing… 


Is This the Start of Something Big? by The Elephant's Child

—Knoxville, Iowa:  The town had placed a temporary memorial to fallen soldiers in their city park. It was a silhouette display of a kneeling soldier with a white cross, meant to help the town raise the soldier-memorial-knoxville-IA-WHO-HD-640x480money for a permanent memorial. A citizen, an atheist citizen, complained demanding that it be removed because of the Christian cross, claiming that it violated the separation of church and state. The city council promptly folded in fear of a court fight. In response some 2,000 small white crosses were planted in front yards all over town. The voters promptly voted out the town council.

—In the three states where the proportion of residents without health insurance declined the most, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, all elected Republican Senate candidates who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Control of the West Virginia House of Delegates flipped from Democrats to Republicans. Arkansas elected Republican supermajorities to both house and senate along with a Republican governor.

— Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013 in response to the migrant issue, seeking stricter border controls to manage the flow of people crossing the small Adriatic state of 4.4 million. This follows a landmark victory by opposition conservatives in Poland last month. The Polish Law and Justice party pledges to oppose mandatory quotas for relocation of migrants in the EU.

—Violence erupted in the streets of Berlin as thousands of 2E343CFA00000578-0-image-a-88_1446926053681anti-immigration protesters took to the streets to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy. Refugees have turned out to be quite demanding, rejecting food not to their taste, and expecting full welfare benefits.

— Washington State voters have approved an initiative to cut the state sales tax if lawmakers don’t allow a vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority for a tax increase. Voters in this left coast state have made it clear that they want the authority to amend their state constitution to require a supermajority to approve a tax increase. Voters have repeatedly approved ballot measures requiring a two-thirds majority for any tax hike.  The initiative specifies it will lower the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5% if the legislature does not follow through.

—Last November, President Obama expanded eligibility for a program the president set up in 2012 to allow immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to get “deferred action” status and be eligible to work legally. The new effort also included a new initiative to grant the same status to illegal immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. Up to 5 million people were estimated to be eligible. Republicans objected, claiming the president was exceeding his authority under the Constitution.  Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the effort nationwide, saying that the changes to immigration were so significant that the administration needed to put them out for official notice and comment before moving forward. Obama appealed. The 5th Circuit praised Hanen’s ruling, calling it “impressive and thorough.” The Appeals court said — you can’t do that. The Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else.

—Perhaps this is just a hungering for people to stand up and say, as the Court did to President Obama — You can’t do that! Europeans are beginning to stand up to the EU and to their governments who have gone too far. College administrators seem frightened by students behaving badly, and at a loss to know what to do. I’ve been nattering on about one example or another for quite a while. Are these examples signs of something or other, or is it just wishful thinking?

Heather MacDonald Testifies That it is Crime, Not Incarceration, That is Ending Opportunity by The Elephant's Child

Here is the brilliant Heather MacDonald testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. She is truly an expert on the subject of crime and punishment. Her testimony is only about six minutes long, but fact-filled, and deeply informed. She is a Manhattan Institute Research Fellow and City Journal Contributing Editor. I hope the Senators pay attention.

This is Not Monopoly. There Are Consequences For Handing Out “Get Out of Jail Free Cards” by The Elephant's Child


The jobs numbers for October are in and they are slightly encouraging, that is more people got hired than were expected. There were 271,000 new jobs, when the consensus expectation was only 183,000. Small improvements are exciting these days. Of course we don’t know what these jobs were, if they were all part-time fast food, not so good.  Long-term unemployment also increased, and only 62% of the labor force is actually working. Yet this is the best monthly report in a while.

White Americans have an  unemployment rate of 4.4 percent. Black Americans’ unemployment is 9.2 percent, 6.3 percent for Latinos, and 3.5 percent for Asians. There is obviously something to be said for Asian “tiger mothers” who demand that their children succeed in school.

Nobody likes to see the unemployment in the black community, and for black teenagers it is 25.6 percent, which means you have a lot of idle black teenagers. Another ugly statistic is that 72 percent of black children are born to unmarried mothers. There is a connection.

For the last year, a protest movement known as “Black Lives Matter” has topped the news. Triggered by the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.—the movement holds that the greatest threat facing young black men today are the police.  Yet over the past 45 years, per the CDC, police killings of blacks are down by 75 percent. What is increasing is the killing of police officers.

The number one, preventable cause of death among young black males is homicide— usually at the hands of other blacks.The number one cause of death of young white males is auto accidents.

It’s an election campaign year, so the Democratic National Committee had adopted a Black Lives Matter resolution that promotes the phony narrative that blacks remain the victims of racism, in the quest for votes. President Obama was once on the right track when he spoke out forcefully about the need for black fathers to be there to raise their sons to be good men.

In July, the president ordered “an initiative” that would address policing. Body cameras have been ordered, but most departments find it too expensive to outfit all their officers with body cameras. As the Black Lives Matter protests have heated up and more police are killed, police recruitment has dropped off sharply. Those who want to be policemen understand the risks, but believe the lives saved and communities protected make them worth it. Now, however, they seem to be saying “who needs that.”

In Eugene, Oregon, the federal government sued the police department because it would not consider non-citizens for the job of police officer. They agreed to pay a civil penalty and undergo federal monitoring for 3 years, in a settlement over allegations they violated anti-discrimination laws when hiring new police officers, by not hiring non-citizens.

President Obama is attempting to fundamentally redefine and mainstream criminal behavior by fast-tracking criminals’ federal employment applications, weakening criminal law penalties, and trafficking in get-out-of-jail-free cards for tens of thousands of imprisoned federal drug offenders.

Releasing prisoners because it’s not fair to keep them locked up for their crimes, defending lawless so-called sanctuary cities, and banning the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) criminal record box on job applications, are Obama’s goals.

It would seem to be the common misunderstanding of the Fox-Butterfield Effect which fails to grasp that when there are more men in prison and yet there is a drop in crime rates—that there’s a connection there.

“One of the things that I’ve consistently said as president is that I’m the president of all people,” Obama said Monday. “I am very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial injustice.”

The scheduled release of 6,112 allegedly non-violent drug offenders, the largest one-time release of federal inmates is unprecedented. The notion that federal prisons are filled with people incarcerated for smoking pot is false. These are in for dealing drugs, which some would consider a violent crime.

FBI Director James Comey said in a recent speech that when he was a prosecutor in Virginia:

The notion of a “non-violent” drug gang member would have elicited a tired laugh from a resident of Richmond’s worst neighborhoods. Because the entire trade was a plague of violence that strangled Richmond’s black neighborhoods. The lookouts, runners, mill-workers, enforcers, and dealers were all cut from the same suffocating cloth. Whether they pulled the trigger or not, those folks were killing the community.

The White House retainers freaked out when Comey warned of the “Ferguson effect” which has police failing to enforce the law or failing to defend themselves properly because they don’t want to be accused of racism. Thirty of the largest cities, including D.C. have seen homicides jump compared to last year. The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency joined in confirming “the Ferguson Effect.” Some of us might find Obama’s idea of filling the ranks of federal employees with former felons somewhat — amusing.

With the usual Democrat fondness for Orwellian euphemism, the Obama administration is now substituting the term “justice-involved youth” for  “juvenile delinquent.”  You can’t make this stuff up!

Vladimir Putin Says the Climate Change Scare is a Fraud. by The Elephant's Child

vladimir_putinRussian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he thinks that the scare in Western culture over climate change is a fraud, and designed to restrain industrial development in countries like Russia.

President Obama has promised to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 25 to 28 percent by 2025. Not going to happen. But the attempt will be very costly, and useless. That pledge was meant to get China to sign on, but that’s not going to happen either. President Obama wants the country to reduce its emissions by 1.2 billion tons by 2025. The administration has already imposed $26 billion in costs to cut carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases from cars and power plants. Those 15 rules will cost $230 billion and stop just 0.06 degrees Celsius of global warming — that’s 6 one-hundredths of a degree. There’s more variation in temperature from one day to another.

The American people, in poll after poll, rank climate at the very bottom of their long list of concerns, but Obama soldiers on. Even the U.N.plan is only to have the capacity to limit temperature rise to around 2.7 degrees Celsius, by 2100. It is raining and 63º here today, and the forecast is for 56º tomorrow. Of course that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius. What’s the difference? We need more carbon dioxide, not less. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a necessary building block of life. And Mr. Putin is correct, it is a fraud — but not to hold Russian industrialization back.

I’m Sorry, So Sorry, by The Elephant's Child
October 19, 2015, 6:33 am
Filed under: Blogging, Domestic Policy, Education, Humor | Tags: , ,


Sorry about the missing blogging. My elderly car gave up the ghost, and I am trying to buy a new one.  We no longer have an auto-row here, but sort of  four scattered ones, and some dealers are in adjacent towns, All very complicated. I haven’t done this for a long time.  I have to read up, study up and make decisions.

There are lots of good things in the archives. Just click on something in the category cloud.


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