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?



Magic Man by The Elephant's Child

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Hard to keep the halo polished up all the time.

February 14, 2008: “The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or gender” he says in that beautiful baritone of his. “It’s not about rich versus poor, young versus old. And it’s not about black versus white.” What voters are really choosing he says is between the past and the future. The future to which he refers, of course, is him. He will take Americans to a color-blind, rational, humanist place where a common good will overpower narrow self-interest. This moves Obama’s fans close to rapture.  CNS News

“President Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America. The only question is whether this can ever be undone.” Dennis Praeger

February 5, 2008: “We are the hope of the future; the answer to the cynics who tell us our house must stand divided; that we cannot come together; that we cannot remake this world as it should be.
Because we know what we have seen and what we believe— that what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored; that will not be deterred; that will reign out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest— Yes. We. Can.”

What does it take to warn Americans about unchecked pension growth,
socialized medicine, vast increases in entitlements, higher taxes and
steady expansion of  of government? In other words, what is it about
Detroit, Italy or Greece that we do not understand?

Victor Davis Hanson

January 28, 2008: “If you know who you are, who you’re fighting for, what your values are, you can afford to reach out to people across the aisle. If you start off with an agreeable manner, you might be able to pick off a few folks, recruit some independents into the fold, recruit even some Republicans into the fold. If you’ve got the votes, you will beat them and do it with a smile on your face.” It was a summons to reasonableness, yet Obama made it sound thrilling. “False hopes? There’s no such thing. This country was built on hope,” he cried. “We don’t need leaders to tell us what we can’t do—we need leaders to inspire us. Some are thinking about our constraints, and others are thinking about limitless possibility.
Obama spoke for only twenty-five minutes and took no questions; he had figured out how to leave an audience at the peak of its emotion, craving more. As he was ending, I walked outside and found five hundred people standing on the sidewalk and the front steps of the opera house, listening to his last words in silence, as if news of victory in the Pacific were coming over the loudspeakers. I couldn’t recall a single thing that he had said, and the speech dissolved into pure feeling , which stayed with me for days.”  George Packer, New Yorker

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June 8, 2008: “Obama is a LightWorker — an Attuned Being with Powerful Luminosity and High-Vibration Integrity who will actually help usher in a New Way of Being. …The appeal, the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that seems to enthrall millions of people from all over the world, that keeps opening up and firing into new channels of the culture normally completely unaffected by politics?
No, it’s not merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric. It is not fresh ideas or cool charisma or the fact that a black president will be historic and revolutionary in about a thousand different ways. It is something more. Even Bill Clinton with all his effortless winking charm, didn’t have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high vibration integrity.” Mark Mortford, San Francisco Chronicle

    Unprecedented levels of debt —$6.5 trillion in 5 years.
More citizens receive aid— means-tested— than work full time.
Saddling the next generation with enormous debt.
Stymied medical innovation.
IRS used to stymie political opponents and sway election.
Made U.S, weak.    Drop to 17th in economic freedom.
Escalated racial tensions.          Divided Americans by class.
Allies do not trust Obama administration.
Ignores Constitution.       Takes law into own hands.
Ordering Dream Act that Congress rejected.
Impeding economy with red tape and uncertainty.
Keystone XL Pipeline jobs ignored.
Benghazi. Libya. Syria. Ignores separation of powers. Lack of leadership.
Evicting World War II vets from their monument.
Rules of engagement killing our troops in Afghanistan.
“Discretionary” attacks on other countries on ‘humanitarian’ grounds.
Stimulus.      Auto bailout.     Solyndra.     Green jobs.
Weakest economic recovery in history.
Most partisan administration ever. The ObamaCare rollout.



Should Federal Employees Be Expected to Pay Their Income Taxes? by The Elephant's Child
March 6, 2010, 1:39 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has the odd idea that federal employees should be paying their income taxes.  And he’s trying to do something about it.




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