Now Playing at Reason.tv: The Case Against College Entitlements

President Barack Obama has declared that his administration aims to make college affordable to everyone by greatly expanding government aid to middle class families. The Washington Post says that Obama's higher education proposals, which include creating a brand new Pell Grant entitlement, "could transform the financial aid landscape for millions of students while expanding federal authority to a degree that even Democrats concede is controversial."

But what if President Obama has it backwards? What if America is sending too many people to college?

A recent study found that "Nationally, four-year colleges graduated an average of just 53% of entering students within six years." If 40 percent of students who enter college drop out before graduation and over 50 percent of students take six years to graduate, perhaps Obama is focusing on the wrong issue. 

Reason.tv's Michael C. Moynihan sat down with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the American Enterprise Institute's Charles Murray, author of the recent book Real Education, to analyze how Obama's higher-education plans will impact the economic and cultural future of the United States.

For embed code, an audio podcast, and iPod and HD versions click here.

For a YouTube version of this video, go here.

"The Case Against College Entitlements" was produced by Michael C. Moynihan and Meredith Bragg. Approximately 5 minutes long.

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  • ||

    Nationally, four-year colleges graduated an average of just 53% of entering students within six years.

    ... [I]f over 50 percent of students take six years to graduate, perhaps Obama is focusing on the wrong issue.


    I RTFA, and this conclusion doesn't follow from your data. 50% graduate within six years. That includes people who graduate in four.

    Still, you're ultimately right.

  • Rich||

    How 'bout we get the (real) *high school* graduation rate up first?

  • Mike in PA||

    Can I just say, "Thank You for this!"

    I've been waiting for something like this, but nobody ever mentions it.

    Nice job ReasonTV!

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    This is just a payback to all the college age voters that got him elected.

  • ||

    What if America is sending too many people to college?

    In the same way they confuse "health insurance" with "health", they confuse a "college degree" with "knowledge".

  • ||

    I just want to know how much this crap will accelerate tuition increases, which already occur at a shocking rate.

  • ||

    The other effect this has (if it's mentioned in the video, sorry, I didn't WTFV) is to continuously drive up the cost of tuition. As more and more students pay their tuition through grants and Federal loans, the schools keep raising tuition, because the students don't feel it until they graduate, are too young to usually comprehend the sums involved, and think they "have" to go to college anyway.

    Then they get stuck with student loans taking years to pay off, many of whom default on them (sticking us with the bill), but the schools got their money upfront and have no incentive to reduce tuition.

  • ||

    And yet, people constantly express baffled surprise that tuition increases at a rate well in excess of the *official* inflation rate.

  • MNG||

    You know what I hate? People going to college! In the old days there were two ways to go to college: you were rich, or a rich person/institution gave you patronage and pity. And boy did that work better! I wish we could go back to that!

    I also loved the ultra-individualism of feudalism! I'd love to be a knight. Who wants to be my squire? C'mon SIV, you know you wanna! You could be a cool squire like in the Seventh Seal...

  • ||

    No young adult left behind!

    Give me a break, Barack. You may not realize this but many of these folks you wish to send to college would never have made it through high school if the standards hadn't been dumbed down to the level that they have.

    Lets face it, many are too lazy, too undisciplined, or just too damned stupid to get anything out of a college education no matter the level of federal assistance provided. I know this offends your egalitarian sensibilities, your pollyannish view of your fellow humans, but it is reality.

    We've already made the possession of a high school diploma meaningless as an indicator of basic learning achievement, why would you wish to do the same for associate and bachelor degrees?

  • MNG||

    How many people here paid for their college up-front?

    Uh-huh.

    How many paid for it through purely private, un-government subsidized loans?

    Uh-huh.

    How many people went to public institutions?

    Uh-huh.

    So, er, who are the people bitching about this now?

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    You have an business that has priced its' product out of the reach of it's core consumers. When the government steps in to further subsidies the inflated prices the big problem you see is that not enough people complete the purchase?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I got a purely private un-government academic scholarship to a state university.
    I'm so conflicted.

  • ||

    MNG, surely you aren't assertring that a college education is unattainable, or even overly difficult for a motivated individual possessing a near average intelligence today.

  • ||

    MNG,

    Interesting that higher education costs seem to increase without end--just like healthcare costs. Seems to me the heavy hand of government and government subsidies has something to do with both cases. I like the idea of a well-educated populace, but I'm not sure how well this method works. In a lot of ways, the value of a college education seems to have decreased, not increased.

  • ||

    You know what I hate? People going to college!

    Whiff!

  • ||

    You're completely missing the point, MNG, and whipping up a strawman. The subsidization of tuition payments causes tuition to continually increase. What good is it for someone, who might not have been inclined to go to college, to get a bunch of student loans, and then drop out? Now they owe a ton of money yet have no degree.

    If you want to provide help for kids who will do well in college, that's one thing (standard libertarian disclaimer), but throwing money at people who otherwise probably wouldn't have gone is foolish, and raises the tuition rates (and therefore future debt) on all those who will do well in college.

  • ||

    I'm just glad I'm not going to college in the West Bank.

  • ||

    And I'd like to add this: going to college isn't some mythical end unto itself. MNG seems to only care that people go, and doesn't mention whether they graduate, whether they actually learn much, and whether it is of any future value to them.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Shorter MNG: "Whaaaat about the children?!!!"

    But fuck results, Epi! At least he's got good intentions!

  • ||

    One thing that appears much worse today is grade inflation at the high school level. My son is interested in attending UF (my alma mater), and the average GPA for admission is close to 4.0. That's insane. I'm young enough to have received bonus points to my GPA for AP classes, but I think the maximum possible when I was in school was something like a 4.4. Now it's like 6.0. With the pressure to de-emphasize the SAT, combined with these bizarro world grading practices, makes admissions a fool's errand.

  • ||

    Hey, college education is a right, folks. Just like health care. And food. And clean, new clothes. And a place to live. And reliable public transportation. All we have to do in return is work until we die. What a bargain!

  • ||

    Save your money, and read the contents of the five foot bookshelf.

    And learn to run a backhoe.

  • ||

    "I've been waiting for something like this, but nobody ever mentions it."

    Go read your ass som Thomas Sowell.

  • Warty||

    If this doesn't pass, how will I find enough workers for my art history factory?

  • ||

    How many people here paid for their college up-front?

    My parents paid it for me, but it was paid up-front. They only paid tuition and fees, though; I had to earn my own spending money.

    How many paid for it through purely private, un-government subsidized loans?

    No loans were involved.

    How many people went to public institutions?

    Not me. Private undergrad, private law school.

    And I don't think the government should be subsidizing university education at all.

    So, er, who are the people bitching about this now?

    Right here, buddy-boy.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Thread jack: An advance copy of the graphic novelization of Fahrenheit 451 just landed on my desk. Looks pretty cool.

  • ||

    What is often forgotten in all of this is that the only way the federal government has any meaningful authority over higher education is through enticing it with money. We have no ministry of education, so if universities, colleges take the fed's money, then they must abide by the lengthy regulations that follow--and I am sure the Obama administration will add to the plethora that already exists.

  • hmm||

    I didn't watch yet. But degree and grade inflation is a huge problem. I've seen business grads that can't figure net income or even calculate simple ratios.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Hey! And a new edition of Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers!
    It's a big day here at the C.N. Book Desk.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Save your money, and read the contents of the five foot bookshelf.

    Cliff's Notes plz

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Maybe a graphic novelization of the "five-foot bookshelf"?

  • Ben Kenobi||

    Grad school has become what college was 20 or 25 years ago.

  • Rhywun||

    I took a Pell Grant and government loans up the wazoo to attend a state school, and I STILL think there are too many college students. I think the central point here is that college is NOT for everyone, and we shouldn't be fooling ourselves that it is. In the same stupid way, we now expect every child to graduate from high school with college prep courses. Here in NYS, the Regents diploma used to go only to kids who planned on going to college. Now it is required of all students. Imagine the dumbing down that was involved to carry that out. The whole thing is absurd, and probably second only to the teachers' unions in terms of forces that are wrecking American education.

  • T||

    What is often forgotten in all of this is that the only way the federal government has any meaningful authority over higher education is through enticing it with money.

    I have no idea about the quality of an education from Hillsdale, but I admire their stance in flipping the bird at the feds.

  • ||

    Maybe a graphic novelization of the "five-foot bookshelf"?

    It's been done.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Maybe a graphic novelization of the "five-foot bookshelf"?

    Sounds good.

    I'd also like to second Rhywun's entire 12:50pm post.

  • EcoDude||

    I think most people who have actually taught college courses believe that there are far too many students in college.

    It's a maturity thing, really. The VA students seem to have the maturity to succeed. It's the pampered snowflakes who cause the problems.

    http://rateyourstudents.blogspot.com/

  • God Fearing Atheist||

    You think all those billions of federal money flowing into the colleges might ensure those lefty votes keep rolling in?

  • ||

    With Big Education exempt from lobbying restrictions you can expect more of the same. Someone needs to gift, wine and dine our esteemed public officials. And yes, tuition will increase accordingly. Fuck Big Ed.

  • ||

    "I've been going to this high school college for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy."

  • ||

    An advance copy of the graphic novelization of Fahrenheit 451

    That ran in last month's Playboy...

  • ||

    "Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the fucking Peace Corps."

  • ||

    The real problem is that the value of education has been upended. Once upon a time smart people got educations, and so people began to believe that education makes you smart. So we have the situation we are in now... no one is smart that doesn't have an education, and increasing levels of degrees to boot. While this is, of course, high-grade bullshit, it is a very sticky myth in a cultural sense.

    No one who is fundamentally intellectually incurious has any business being anywhere near a college campus. A three-tiered education system is forming: Universities/colleges, trade schools, the so-called "for profit" schools that are basically trade schools for white collar office workers. How this will shake out is unclear, but it looks like the traditional "liberal arts" schools are going to be on the smelly end of the stick when the dust settles.

  • ||

    on the smelly end of the stick when the dust settles

    Dear god; what terrifying situation is that metaphor based on?

  • shriek!||

    I was a pampered snowflake! I spent my college daze drinking and engaging in generally unladylike behavior. Once the parents stopped paying I learned I could sex for money. The rest is history! Some people don't need book learning, they just need a good pimp.

  • hammeredHead||

    The surveys that show college grads earn far more than HS are very backward-looking and include many who graduated at a time when far fewer went to college. I wish the GAO could somehow perform a study using tax records and education databases to figure the earnings of people under 40 with various education/ocupational combinations. Who knows, it might find vocations graduates earn far more than college ones.

  • ||

    You know if you went to college, Ms. SmartyPants.

  • ||

    Or, FitBunny, people like my nephew, who graduated last month after three years-of course, he did the summer sessions in order to do so.

  • robc||

    How many people here paid for their college up-front?

    Yo.

    How many paid for it through purely private, un-government subsidized loans?

    Cash.

    How many people went to public institutions?

    Yep. Had to pay out-of-state tuition as it wasnt MY public.

    So, er, who are the people bitching about this now?

    Me.

  • hammeredHead||

    Dang my spelling was terrible. Oh well at work now and multi-tasking

  • ||

    Here in NYS, the Regents diploma used to go only to kids who planned on going to college.

    When I was going to high school in NY (early '70s), there also were extremely good "vocational" schools, for the kids who had no need or desire for college. They graduated with marketable skills in addition to basic proficiency in readin, writin, et c, and seemed to have little difficulty getting jobs.

  • Fluffy||

    Dear god; what terrifying situation is that metaphor based on?

    In ancient Rome, since there was no toilet paper, one way to wipe your ass after using the latrine was to use a sponge on the end of a stick.

    So yes, once upon a time, there was a "shit end of the stick".

    I'm not sure about all the details of how this worked, although I have wondered about them. Did everybody have his own stick? What about at public latrines? Did you keep a sponge in your toga somewhere for just such occasions? How were the sponges cleaned between uses, if at all? Unfortunately, not a lot of this info is available in Cicero's letters.

  • shriek!||

    short end of stick is just the nice version of shit end of the stick? awesome, I didn't learn that in college.

  • ||

    Ass wiping before the invention of toilet paper is one of the great mysteries of history.

  • ||

    Now I get it. I just use the three seashells.

  • Alex||

    What if people are dropping out because they can't afford college?

  • Lowdog||

    I know I should turn in my decoder ring because I'm borrowing money to finish school at a state university right this very minute.

    I can, however, attest to the constant increasing costs of going to college. Our AZ schools are even introducing a flat fee to attend one of the universities here...I think Arizona State is thinking about $1000 per student...they call it a surcharge, I believe.

    They love to offer lots of money to a student like me, though...I returned to Arizona State after being in the workforce for over 10 years. I didn't graduate the first time around, so if I do it now, it raises those graduation rates, dontcha know! :) Anyway, that first time around my folks paid for it, this time I had some of my own money and I'm borrowing the rest.

  • kc||

    The value proposition of a college degree is critical to evaluate beforehand -- as a financial counselor (private practice) I've worked with a number of ill-informed people who were $75k to $120k in ed loan debt with BAs and MAs in social work, making less than $30k per year. How could they not see that coming????? Think they'll do a better cost benefit analysis when it's "free" money from the govt paying? of course not -- And I advise parents all the time to take a good look at what the kid wants to study before encouraging the kid to take out loans; and I also advise parents to make sure they're taking care of their own retirement before funding college (unless they can count on the kids supporting them in retirement - fat chance)
    BTW, I paid for a BS from MIT through a combination of private tuition scholarships, loans, and working 30 hr/wk. Has paid off handsomely, thank you very much!

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    The shit-end of the stick: It's an idea whose time has come around again.

    SFW work, but maybe not for lunch.

    I read not too long ago that toilet paper had a hard time gaining a foothold in the Midwest because the ubiquity of the Sears catalog. Why buy something when Sears sent it to you for free?

    Obligatory Simpsons: "Ah wash mahself with a rag on a stick."

  • ||

    They should increase welfare to better fund The School of Hard Knox

  • ||

    I wonder if wealthier Romans employed slaves for the task?

  • ||

    All of you who have gone through a divorce and our distinguished domestic relations lawyers are probably aware of how this mentality manifests itself in the divorce process.

    One of the issues that is usually raised is who shall be responsible for finanancing the college educations of the children born of the marriage. If one has ever read a separation agreement, one would know that that this issue is almost always addressed. Almost all the time, there is an expression/recitation as follows:

    The parents agree and acknowledge that it is in the best interest of the children to obtain a college education; or

    The Husband and Wife both agree that post secondary education is essential for the development, maturity and future success of the children.

    A real good divorce lawyer should, imo, go the other way and insist upon the following language in a separation agreement:

    Contrary to the prevailing propaganda, the Husband and Wife do not agree that a college education is a prerequisite to a happy and successful life.

  • shriek!||

    But whaddabout after graduation? What degree should you get if you don't want to work at all? I got this engineering degree but my pimp says I am not an engineer. I design bridges and smoke crack, what am I?

  • robc||

    SugarFree,

    Not just the midwest.

    Sears catalogs and corn cobs according to my mom.

    She was in college (to actually stick to the thread) before her parents had electricity and indoor plumbing.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I design bridges and smoke crack, what am I?

    The American Dream.

  • ||

    Corn cobs?!?

  • Mike in PA||

    Let's look at this another way...

    Maybe it's not a failure. Maybe they want to do this on purpose. They already dumbed down K-12 so that people are easier to control; might as well finish the job!

    Think people will throw a fit about it?! No way! Long John Silver is getting away with advertising something called a Fish Taco with nary a peep! People will accept whatever they are given.

  • kinnath||

    State University with Pell grants and lots o' student loans.

    I pay more each year in federal income taxes than I got in Pell grants over 3 1/2 years of college 20 years ago.

    My daughter just finished an associates degree. She has more in student loan debt (not counting grants) than I paid for my entire bachelors program (including grants and loans) back then. Tuition inflation is absurd.

  • ||

    I've read the reports today in which Obama has been singling out community and junior colleges for more aid.
    I don't think that the federal government needs to spend more money on the 2 year schools in this financial climate.

    HOWEVER, I do think that there is strong merit for the 2 year colleges getting more state aid and students being encouraged to use them more.
    Since trade education like shop and metal working have all disappeared from our high schools, the community and junior colleges has filled the void in trade education. Whether auto mechanics, nursing, EMT, radiology, or education certification, the 2 year schools are our most effective trade schools for skills and certifications that do not require 4 year degrees.
    Many universities have become degree factories pushing students through with virtually little skills other than keg tapping and pouring body shots....NTTAWWT.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    something called a Fish Taco with nary a peep!

    So what? Some of us enjoy nibbling on a fish taco every now and then.

  • shriek!||

    I think wiping my ass with a corncob would be a satisfying way to relieve the constant itching and irritation.

    It's not that I can't enjoy toilet paper but I imagine a shit-smeared corncob has more impact as a projectile weapon. These are important engineering considerations.

  • ||

    As for tuition costs, the local community college 2 year degree is in the $6k range. When I went through 15 years ago, it was ~$30 per credit hour. Now it's $95.

    My fist instinct is to be repulsed by this 3 fold increase in tuition. By that is tempered by the observation the number of programs offered have increased greatly and the facilities are top notch. The labs are all modern and excellent.
    I can see the money being put to use and can see what that tuition is paying for.

  • Autodidact||

    "No one who is fundamentally intellectually incurious has any business being anywhere near a college campus"

    Damn straight. I gave it a try for a few quarters and there were classes where I had to leave the room because although the prof was speaking, there was no information coming out of her mouth. It made my head hurt.

  • ||

    First year on my dime. Finished undergrad on Dad's GI Bill. Graduate scool on remaining GI, fellowship and Graduate assistanceship. All public institutions. Despite my free-riding I still think it was a big waste. Now I'm in business competiting against plenty of barely educated former pressmen.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Corn cobs?!?

    I know. I'm confused, too.

  • kc||

    My husband happened on fish tacos over 15 years ago in San Diego and has been looking for them ever since. Every time we go into a Mexican restaurant up here in Massachusetts, he asks if they have fish tacos, inevitably has to explain how they are made, and encourages the waitstaff to put them on the menu. Sigh..... he'll be thrilled to know he can get them now at Long John Silver's -- double sigh..... (yep, he went to MIT too)

  • ||

    Obama is mistaken in his belief that Federal subsidies will make college more affordable. If history is any guide, all of those dollars will be captured by the institutions receiving them, with little or no benefit to the students. If his goal is to further enrich a unionized industry and more greatly empower one of the great propaganda arms of the left by moving more students through college, this will succeed admirably. If his goal is to make college more affordable, this will fail horribly.

  • Zeb||

    I got subsidized loans to pay for college (private, fancy liberal elite college). If I am going to be paying for this shit, I damn well better at least get a piece of it.
    Now when they call me to ask for money, I suggest that maybe I will be willing to donate if they can figure out how to reduce tuition and fee increases to something closer to the rate of inflation.

  • ||

    "Who knows, it might find vocations graduates earn far more than college ones."

    A lineman, working for an electric utility, can make upwards of $100K/year. No college required, but there is a formal training period. Utilities are screaming for lineman as the bulk of them are retiring in within the next five years.

  • Zeb||

    "Since trade education like shop and metal working have all disappeared from our high schools"

    This is not the case where I live. Do you have any support for this claim?

  • ||

    "I'm not sure about all the details of how this worked, although I have wondered about them. Did everybody have his own stick?"

    I was reading a piece on old outhouses and it was common for them to have a corncob on a string. Not a box of cobs gently warming over a potpourri candle. Just one cob on one string.

    No wonder disease ran rampant.

  • ||

    Addendum @ Fluffy,

    Anal much?

  • ||

    "What if people are dropping out because they can't afford college?"

    Then they're not too resourceful.

  • mySPOONistoobig||

    My daddy paid for college, why can't your daddy pay for it too?

  • ||

    Some of us enjoy nibbling on a fish taco every now and then.

    Just after a shower, please. The polyester of the Long John Silver's uniform does nothing for the freshness of a meal.

  • robc||

    Corn cobs?!?

    Take the corn off the cob. Let the cob dry out. Wipe ass. Drop into outhouse hole.

    That's my understanding. I never aaked too much, some things you dont want to know.

  • ||

    Take the corn off the cob. Let the cob dry out. Wipe ass. Drop into outhouse hole.

    Once again, people who romanticize the past are stupid.

  • ||

    "The shit-end of the stick: It's an idea whose time has come around again."

    Jesezuz, Sug! What don't you know???

  • ||

    Dad swore that the red cobs were softer than the white cobs. They had a basket of both in the outhouse in Mississippi when he was a kid. The phrase, "rougher than a cob," came outta this situation. Cobs showed up in the shitter after the sears catalogue was used up.


    Long haul truck driving pays between 50 and 70k a year depending on experience. Staying at the same company for years is where the good money is. The heavy haul and oversize owner operators can make a quarter million a year.

    College isn't necessary to earn a good living. Staying in the same trade, with the same company is where progress is best.

    Just because little Johnny isn't happy at work or can't make enough money at 22 years of age to buy the whole frickin world isn't a good reason for the gubmint to subsidize his education.

  • ||

    One of Tony's Reason Rubes,

    Thankfully, that was just something I saw on boingboing a few months back.

    Although, really, the "remember something and know how to look it up again" is a librarian skill set. I keyword search a couple of hours a day for my job.

    Anyway, what's with the wand? Surely, when you realize that you can no longer wipe your own ass because you are so fat, it should be a wake-up call to lose some weight.

  • Warty||

    This is not the case where I live. Do you have any support for this claim?

    Just where do you live? Shop class went the way of high school shooting teams in most of the country long ago.

  • ||

    Take the corn off the cob. Let the cob dry out. Wipe ass. Drop into outhouse hole.

    Once again, people who romanticize the past are stupid.


    No. Shit.

    My god, there wasn't anything else more suitable? Newspaper? Leaves?

  • mySPOONistoobig||

    I guess if your daddy is the government then it's okay to let daddy pay for school. I love big brother and his noodly appendage.

  • ||

    people who romanticize the past are stupid.

    They are, indeed.

    *****

    I will maintain to my dying day that the single greatest achievement of Western Civilization was indoor plumbing.

  • shriek!||

    Corncobs have the rough texture that my ass craves after a large meal and some digestin'

  • ||

    Newspaper? Leaves?

    "Leaves of three, let it be!"

  • ||

    Warty, here in southeast Alabama, the ROTC is huge in the schools, complete with shooting teams. The local high school has several types of diplomas ranging from barely meeting state standards to college prepared. They have a great vo-tech program. It includes: cosmetology, food prep, auto mech, drafting and architecture, electronics and lawn maintenance/ greenskeeping. The programs are generally 4 years and turn out high school graduates that are ready to work in their chosen field.

  • ||

    Outhouses were typically on skids in Mississipi. Some are still in use. They had to be movved occassionally as the hole filled. Thus the skids.

    Dad tells with great fondness about pranking people on halloween by pushing the outhouse behind the hole and watching folks go to the shitter in the dark.

  • smartass sob||

    Save your money, and read the contents of the five foot bookshelf.


    While you are at it or after you finish, you might try Britanica's Great Books Of The Western World, too.

  • ||

    Everyone can not go to college otherwise a college degree would be worthless. Besides everyone is not cut out for college. Personally I hated college but got my degree anyway because I was capable of get one and paid for it all out of pocket, no loans or grants.

    What chaps my ass is the way they toss around GPA's like that means a damn thing. When I was in HS we had a 5 point grading scale, now it is 10 points. In college we had a 7 point scale, now it is 10 points as well. So in all reality those of us who made better grades in the past can actually come out looking less intelligent based on GPAs simply because they moved the target. When in fact we all scored higher than the kids today.

    We should not fund college grants, only privately funded loans. No more of this everyone has to go bullshit that has no chance of working no matter what, we could pay some people to go to school and they still wouldn't go or graduate. Here in La. we have a waste of money known as TOPS that pays something around 80-90% of tuition costs for all high school grads. Since this program has been in place the average number of people who take the money and go to college and stay after their 1st year is 10%, much less how many actually graduate! So that means we are flushing money down the shitter with a success ratio of 1/10. How anyone can look at that and say it is a success at anything other than wasting money is beyond me. Again it all boils down to being very easy and feel good to give people stuff for nothing especially when you have other people paying for it all.

  • Warty||

    brotherben - I'll be damned. Maybe I should hurry up and move to Dothan.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Surely, when you realize that you can no longer wipe your own ass because you are so fat, it should be a wake-up call to lose some weight.

    That and if you find yourself going down the aisle at Wal-mart on a motorized cart (with an oxygen tank), wearing a XXXXXXXXXXL Looney Tunes shirt.[1]


    [1]Xeones, Naga? One of you guys deserves credit for this.

  • Zaxitor||

    As FrBunny pointed out, the way you are interpreting this data is a bit flawed.

    However, I agree. While I would love to see more college grants coming my way, a massive portion of the funding would be wasted on people who don't value their college studies because the money isn't coming out of their own pockets.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Dad tells with great fondness about pranking people on halloween by pushing the outhouse behind the hole and watching folks go to the shitter in the dark.

    That's mean, yo. But then again, if I had the experience of falling into a crap-hole, I prbably wouldn't have a problem taking a lucrative job as a honeydipper later on.

  • ||

    In the future, everyone will have (bad) higher education, everyone will have (bad) healthcare, and everyone will have at least one million (massively inflated) dollars in their bank accounts.

  • ||

    Warty, Ozark, actually. Dothan is where the money is being made. In Ozark you can still buy a 3 bdrm 2 bath rancher in the 1400 to 1700 sq ft range for 100k. Half that it you are handy and have 20k to spend on a remodel. It's a 20 to 30 minute drive to Dothan and 2 hours to the beach.

  • ||

    "Anyway, what's with the wand? Surely, when you realize that you can no longer wipe your own ass because you are so fat, it should be a wake-up call to lose some weight."

    I first heard about contraptions like this via a website I ran accross about ten years ago. It was a site dedicated to fat girlz and there was a piece on how to wipe what one can no longer reach. My co-worker though it was parody until reality sunk in.

    Imma gonna go look for it...

  • ||

    Dad tells with great fondness about pranking people on halloween by pushing the outhouse behind the hole and watching folks go to the shitter in the dark.

    That's the kind of prank that gets one beaten within inches of death. I guess your dad never got caught.

  • ||

    I could have paid for college up-front, since I was working a decent paying job part time. But no sense doing that when you can get an interest free loan from Uncle Sugar for four years.

    I'll also second what kinnath said that I've paid more in federal income tax than they paid in interest. If the govt gave me the option of a 1% reduction in my tax rate in return for foregoing student loans, I would have taken it.

  • ||

    Dee,

    Where in LA? (I'm a big fan of Breaux Bridge, Grand Isle and Lake Bruin).

  • smartass sob||

    Once again, people who romanticize the past are stupid.

    No. Shit.

    My god, there wasn't anything else more suitable? Newspaper? Leaves?



    No shit seems to be a very popular option with some folks. ;-)

    Actually, if you go back far enough, people used their bare hand and a jug of water. Their left hand, that is. That's why even today people from the Middle East are insulted, should one proffer the left when shaking hands. In fact, it's part of the reason that the left hand has always had a negative connotation. Consider that the Latin root of the word sinister means left.

  • ||

    I will maintain to my dying day that the single greatest achievement of Western Civilization was indoor plumbing.

    I'll agree with that, and add modern transportation - in particular refrigerated trucks, which allowed fresh food to be available year round.

  • ||

    "I will maintain to my dying day that the single greatest achievement of Western Civilization was indoor plumbing.

    I'll agree with that, and add modern transportation - in particular refrigerated trucks, which allowed fresh food to be available year round."

    Thank you FDR and Thomas A. Crapper.

  • ||

    Dee, TOPS is limited to B or better students. Not that that makes it right. However My daughter got a TOPS certificate for tenth grade, and I'm going to stay on her next year. LA also passed a second track for vocational students last month, which should be a good thing.
    Ben, my daddy always loved those day trips to the beach.

  • ||

  • smartass sob||

    I'll agree with that, and add modern transportation - in particular refrigerated trucks, which allowed fresh food to be available year round."

    Thank you FDR and Thomas A. Crapper


    Before trucks there were refrigerated railroad cars - FDR wasn't responsible for those.

  • ||

    So that majority of college students either take 6 years to get a 4 year degree or do not graduate at all. The education expert says it is because high-school kids are just plain dumb. Well, the majority of students attend - drum role please... PUBLIC SCHOOLS! That just goes to prove that, the problem is not necessarily with the colleges and universities, it is with the high schools, namely the public high schools. I don't think that it is a coincidence that some of our most succesful and well educated people in this country (and most Western nations for that matter) attended private schools.

    Just goes to show you that private control always trumps public control. The local school district has no incentive to do more than make sure its students graduate semi-literate because they are the only game in town and "free" (through taxes). However, the private schools must compete and the way they do that is by increasing quality since they cannot decrease price below that of the public schools. Almost any kind of comparison I see from any area has private schools producing more intelligent and well rounded students than their public school counterparts.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

    I have such a love-hate relationship with college... I went to a state school for my undergrad then a ridiculously unaffordable private school for my masters and though I'm glad I got the education I have now, the only parts that are meaningful to me are completely self-directed.

    Honestly, if I could have skipped undergrad and started in graduate school that would have rocked, since I'd say about 80% of my coursework and the other nonsense I did over that 4 year period was a waste of time... And as for MNG. Are you really suggesting that I shouldn't have gone to college or accepted a government subsidized loan?

    I disagree with publicly funded K-12, Roads, and energy, yet I use/d all of those too... When government creates a monopoly over services and/or payment, exactly how am I going to avoid it?

    As much as I value some of my grad school experiences though, I do wish I didn't have the debt burden I have now - but A. I signed up for it, so I knew what I was getting into, more or less and B. the increase in tuition is yet another lovely result of government "support". As is the shitty job market I got to enjoy falling into directly after grad school (and now).

    Also - having taught college classes, I too agree that most kids shouldn't be there.

  • ||

    smartass, i read somewhere that that is the reason why thieves were punished by cutting off their right hand. Left was for butt cleaning. Right was for eating. In a society where eating was done with your fingers from common plates, it made you very unwelcome at the dinner table.

  • ||

    SugarFree: There is a green alternative to toilet paper, it's in your wallet right now.

  • shawn||

    I just graduated from college and I was amazed that some of the students I met there were accepted. Some of them could not spell, make simple sentences, or keep up during class discussions. Many more students did not really care about learning. Even though the school does everything to help students do well (Remedial classes, academic accommodation, peer tutors, etc.), some just cannot or will not do the work. We need to realize that college is not for everyone. It can be a big waste of time and money.

  • ||

    it's in your wallet right now.

    Woo! Hyperinflation!

  • ||

    What's the big deal about graduating within 6 years. It took me 9 years from the time I first attended to graduate. In the meantime I had a lot of great (and not so great) life experiences, married and had two children, and supported my family. I did accept one $500 Pell grant and borrowed $2000 for my last year, but mostly I paid for my college one or two classes at a time. I was also able to borrow small amounts for books and pay it back during each quarter. I don't recommend this as easy, but it worked for me.

    By the way, my two sons graduated in 4 and 5 years respectively and each had about $10,000 in debt. They managed by working tough summer jobs and eating a lot of deer meat in the winter.

    Anyone of average intelligence can get a college education if they're willing to work hard, but sometimes they need a little help. I'm not against providing that because we do need people with good college educations.

    Not everyone wants to, or should, go to college. But if we don't want everyone to try, then we need to start respecting those who choose not to go. Part of that must be rewarding working men and women with better pay. It also means valuing the contributions of all and not considering college graduates as somehow "better" than those who choose another course.

  • I love college for all the wro||

    As a proud student of a private university where kids mostly waste their parent's money instead of the taxpayers, I most wholeheartedly agree.
    Upon arrival in college my ambition dramatically dropped because I realized that no matter what my scholastic achievement was, most of my parents money that they spent was wasted by the school administration on wasted services that I never use, or funneled into groups and activism that I don't support.

    -Tuition is spent on professors who preach totalitarianism to my peers (though I am majoring in science to avoid them)
    -Funding for school groups that I do not support (it is fine you are gay, do you need my money for your gay group?)
    -Research on future climate disasters (not the validity of warming)
    -Campus Security that tries to take my pot and beer.

    -Need-based scholarships that drive up costs for the middle class that doesn't qualify for them so that you have a system of the upper class that can afford the full rate paying so that the lower class can go for free, and the middle-class goes to public schools still emerges in debt.

    Entitlements hurt everyone (even the lower class in the long run)

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I would like to also add that what I "didn't" plan for back in 2001 or even in 2005 was for government to start nationalizing shit and making it basically impossible to achieve either the pay or standard of living I'd anticipated going in.

  • smartass sob||

    ...i read somewhere that that is the reason why thieves were punished by cutting off their right hand.


    Which of course, would be another reason why being "left-handed" would have a negative connotation - it would be associated with being a thief.

  • ||

    IMO, the biggest problem with entitlements is that they seem to evolve into a lack of motivation and responsibility. Something free is never appreciated and respected like something earned and worked for.

  • robc||


    Dad tells with great fondness about pranking people on halloween by pushing the outhouse behind the hole and watching folks go to the shitter in the dark.


    According to my Mom, EVERY halloween the school outhouse got tipped into the creek. She hated the first few days of school after halloween as they had no outhouse.

    Epi - I think she would, TODAY, kill the person(s) responsible if she had the chance.

  • Poli||

    Why not simply test pell grant aplicants? Get a certain GPA and a certain SAT and you'll be helped out with college. I mean, if you're gonna give my money to someone who hasnt earned it, might as well be someone on whom it will at least be useful, and not a goddamn idiot who shouldnt be in College anyway

  • MNG||

    Sorry, I'm betting, and not worried about losing, that the majority of people on this thread who went to college did so because of governmant assistance (or the indirect effects of such assistance). And then they sit around and bitch about how such assistance lets "too many" people go to college.


    Yeah, right...This reminds me of undergrads who read Thus Spake Zarathusa and say "yeah, the sheep are totally trying to dog the superman." Funny, they all think they are the Superman...

  • ||

    Sorry, I'm betting, and not worried about losing, that the majority of people on this thread who went to college did so because of governmant assistance (or the indirect effects of such assistance). And then they sit around and bitch about how such assistance lets "too many" people go to college.

    Govt aid jacks up prices so you can't afford it w/o govt aid (which may be so indirect as to be unavoidable). End result is used to justify govt aid.

    When the govt is small enough to avoid w/o living in a cave like a hermit, THEN slam us for not avoiding it.

  • MNG||

    Is there a great deal of dead weight at colleges?

    Yes.

    But here is the trick, come up with a program that keeps the dead weight out but helps most of us on this thread (and even folks not on this thread, like Milton Friedman, who went to a subsidized state college) get a chance at what higher ed can bring us.

    I'd rather have a system that lets us and the dead weight in than one that keeps all of it out...

  • shriek!||

    jeesh MNG, don't you know we all had uber-wealthy parents who financed our every whim? Only silver spoons need apply!

  • MNG groupie||

    Hurr, hurr. I bet they even use PUBLIC ROADS. Hurr, hurr. Stupid libertarians.

  • MNG||

    "don't you know we all had uber-wealthy parents who financed our every whim?"

    I certainly don't think that. In fact, pretty much every car I've seen sporting a Ron Paul for President sticker was something like a Geo on it's third paint job, driven by a pony tailed t-shirt wearing dude at 45 mph in a 55 mph zone...So I certainly don't think all libertarians are rich!

  • MNG||

    Say what you want groupie, but there is nothing sadder than the libertarian who benefited from govt assistance to get into higher ed who now bitches about how higher ed lets too many people into higher ed...

  • MNG||

    "A gifted student, Friedman graduated from Rahway High School in 1928, shortly before his 16th birthday.[9]

    Friedman graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he specialized in Mathematics and initially intended to become an actuary. During his time at Rutgers, Friedman fell under the influence of two economics professors, Arthur F. Burns and Homer Jones, who convinced him that modern Economics could help end the Great Depression."

    Holy shit, a public high school and public college for undergrad! Say it ain't so, Uncle Miltie!

  • MNG||

    Little did young Milton know that his education was made possible by the theft of property from more deserving folks by gun weilding thugs representing the parasite classes...

  • The Angry Optimist||

    good faith. please find some.

  • ||

    It is a rare man indeed that won't accept free goodies out of principle.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Woahh.... I didn't get "into" college because of government aid, but you'd have to be a moron to take a private loan when you can get a government one for virtually 0% and almost infinite time putting it off - which is actually working out great for me since the magic of inflation (if I can keep my earnings higher than that rate) is that I'll end up paying a lot less in real terms.

    But seriously, the only reason it costs so much to begin with is because of the government sponsorship.

    I've argued the same thing about health-care and you're not going to bitch when I pay my insurance bill or go to a public hospital, or go to a doctor that is paid mostly through medicaid! When government is as massive as it is, it's simply unavoidable, as jsh said; "without living like a hermit". So fuck you MNG.

    Given the world we have, I made the best choice I could - but I could have easily gotten private loans to cover it, as could most people who actually have some business being in college, but they'd never offer me the deal that the government could. So I get to work with the world as it is, and wish for a better one.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    and to somewhat pre-empt a reference to James Ard's comment:

    My loans aren't free goodies - the deal is good, but it's all getting paid back, with interest.

  • ||

    However, the smugness I'd get if my kid graduated from Hillsdale would be worth half the price at least.

  • MNG||

    OK Sean, you took government assistance to go to college.

    There was a time when such assistance was not available, and an incredibly smaller % of our population went to college.

    You think we can return to those times but magically you would be part of that %.

    Yeah, right.

  • MNG||

    "My loans aren't free goodies"

    Certainly not free.

    Just subsidized.

  • MNG||

    "good faith. please find some."

    See, TAO paid for his law school, at a private school I should hope, up front in change...

  • The Angry Optimist||

    it is wholly irrelevant as to the logic or soundness of the argument to take the argument "to the man". Ad hominems abound, MNG.

    Like I said, get off the internet and find yourself some good faith, then come back.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    See, TAO paid for his law school, at a private school I should hope, up front in change...



    Irrelevant.

  • shriek!||

    MNG, my geo does 118mph at an ear-piercing 146 decibels thank you very much. It's called the SHRIEKER!

  • Sean W. Malone||

    MNG, the loan amount is subsidized upfront, thereby convincing banks to give me loans for the ridiculously inflated cost of college tuition (which again is a result of the incentives inherent in the system) - but since I'm paying it all back, the subsidy is irrelevant to your argument. The subsidized tuition only "fixes" a problem that it caused - inflated demand, shortage of supply and thus steadily rising costs.

    But your argument is that I'm getting a government hand-out by going to college... and since A. I am forced to pay taxes regardless of how I feel about the system, and B. I'm paying my school loans back, that's just a bullshit argument MNG.

    You want to expose hypocrisy of someone who hates the state but still uses state-"provided" goods, then everyone is a hypocrite by force every time we flush our toilets.

  • MNG groupie||

    Libertarians should just shut up and pay their taxes. If they try to use any service they've already over-paid for, they are hypocrites! Hurr, hurr.

  • ||

    Maybe colleges should be required to have some 'skin in the game' just like what's being proposed for banks and securitizations. That is, they have to give a percentage of any loans to their students directly, can't sell them off, and the loans will be subject to discharge in bankruptcy. Colleges without confidence that the students can earn enough to pay back the loans would have a serious disincentive to enroll those students.

  • ||

    MNG, does your whole argument for socialized college hinge on the fact that some of us have gotten it in the past?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I think sage has figured out the logical conclusion of MNG's argument.

  • ||

    I think Harry Browne once made the example of the government "breaking your legs and being the only one to hand you a crutch."

  • Federal Dog||

    "Some people don't need book learning, they just need a good pimp."

    Which is why they put someone like Obama in office.

  • jtuf||

    Students should already have general learning and thinking skills by the time they graduate high school. College should be for learning field specific knowledge.

  • Enis||

    "You want to expose hypocrisy of someone who hates the state but still uses state-"provided" goods, then everyone is a hypocrite by force every time we flush our toilets."

    That's why I have an outhouse in my back yard. I couldn't stand the thought of being labeled a hypocrite.

  • Ska||

    I think Harry Browne once made the example of the government "breaking your legs and being the only one to hand you a crutch."

    I think I saw that one - Burt Young did a pretty good job.

  • ||

    MNG,
    You never answered my implied question from way upthread.

    MNG, surely you aren't assertring that a college education is unattainable, or even overly difficult for a motivated individual possessing a near average intelligence today.



    If, as I assert, it isn't overly difficult, why throw more taxpyers money at it?

  • Rich||

    > Why not simply test pell grant aplicants? Get a certain GPA and a certain SAT and you'll be helped out with college.

    Sorry, many people have test anxiety with stuff like the SAT.

    How about this, instead: "Write a one-page essay on a topic of your choice"? If the testee does not ask, "What's a essay?" s/he's in.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "College should be for learning field specific knowledge."

    Exactly. Thus... Why I went. Good thing to, with my hodgepodge of skills I think I might be nigh unemployable at anything I'd actually *want* to do with out the advanced knowledge.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Well played Enis.

  • Edgard||

    First of all....

    Shut the fuck up Charles Murray. He makes fun of people with a B.A. when he himself has a B.A in History (what a hypocrite!).... I'm sure he had problems finding a job after he graduated.

    The problem is not that too many students are graduating from college, its that colleges keep expanding their departments for bullshit majors.

    I'm a 4th year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My graduating class started with around 200 students. Now its down to less then 40 students. The other 160 students changed majors because they couldn't cut it as engineers. All those people are probably majoring in History, just like "Charles Murray" did.

    If you think college is too easy, take harder courses. I'm sure if anyone here took a series of quantum mechanics courses, they wouldn't be bitching about college being too easy.

    I hope Obama does increase money for students. Financial aid and loans are not enough to cover tuition and living expenses. I pay $650 for rent plus utilities for HALF(1/2) a room.

    Education is key to the future of this country and of any society. So there can never be such a thing as too many people graduating from college. I mean, the average American is a complete moron. That's why we have people that drop-out of schools.

    My solution:
    1.) Increase money for science and engineering majors.
    2.) Decrease money or remain the same of all other majors.
    3.) Balance money distribution geographically (according to state). West coast students should get more since living expenses keep going up.
    4.) Make High School much more harder.

  • Enyap||

    James, even with TOPS being limited to B or better students it's a waste. I graduated highschool with a B despite only spending about 50hrs max doing homework and studying those 4 years.

  • ||

    # sage | July 14, 2009, 5:01pm | #

    # I think Harry Browne once made the example
    # of the government "breaking your legs and
    # being the only one to hand you a crutch."

    That's close. He said, "government breaks your legs, hands you a crutch, and then says, 'see, without government, you couldn't walk.'"

  • Les||

    Is Edgard for real? Can't be...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "My solution:
    1.) Increase money for science and engineering majors.
    2.) Decrease money or remain the same of all other majors.
    3.) Balance money distribution geographically (according to state). West coast students should get more since living expenses keep going up.
    4.) Make High School much more harder."


    Translation:
    1. Give me more money
    2. Take money away from everyone else
    3. Give me WAY more money because of where I live
    4. I failed English

  • Julie||

    I can partially agree with Edgard,

    If the nation as a whole has more Engineering/Science graduates, the more probability there if for the U.S. to have a technological break through.

    Think of it this way. Some engineering students invents something, (some new revolutionary product). He creates a company, sells the product nationally and internationally. If the product sales are skyhigh, it would spur jobs would bring money from other countries.

    Remember Microsoft! It brought wealth from all over the world to the United States. At a point, Bill Gates had more money than some small countries.

    So in theory, if engineering/science was more funded, there would be a greater chance of this happening again and again.

    I just don't agree with Edgard in giving money to students according to their major. But, I do agree that universities should limit the number of graduating students in "bullshit" majors.

  • johnny john john||

    http://www.slate.com/id/2222570/?from=rss

    "Another reason to spend on community colleges: They're agile. If the university system is an ocean liner, community colleges are the speedboats of higher education. If they get more money and use it wisely, the thinking goes, they can produce results in a matter of years. After all, they're designed to respond to the needs of the local community. For example, LaGuardia Community College recently introduced a program to train designers in New York City. When the fishing industry started struggling in Massachusetts, Cape Cod Community College turned its focus to nursing and other health-care-related jobs. When Connecticut introduced its first casino, one nearby community college started training croupiers. For an administration looking for shovel-ready projects, community colleges can provide a lot of shovels."

  • hmm||

    Apprenticeships need to come back to the white collar world without an undergrad degree. The idea that college provides fundamentals is valid for those that don't want to learn it themselves. I know more than one people who educated themselves on their own time and far exceed college educated individuals.

    College is a whole lot of showing and not a lot of doing.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Remember Microsoft! It brought wealth from all over the world to the United States. At a point, Bill Gates had more money than some small countries."

    Cept umm... Bill Gates didn't finish college. And since the discussion is about the value of college I think that in and of itself is a big check mark in the minus column.

    "Apprenticeships need to come back to the white collar world without an undergrad degree."

    ABSOLUTELY. To some extent that's what graduate school allowed for me... but it's far less comprehensive to learn from a respected professional a few hours a week than working with them 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week for a year. Not always the right move, but in some cases, great great idea that we really should be doing still.

  • ||

    College is in some sense the new high school. This is compounded by the fact that the American k-12 system is terrible. The amount of things that people need to know to be productive in today's world is greater than it was in the past so it makes sense to extend education if we want to progress. Graduate school is the new college. I see nothing wrong with this.

  • ||

    I want to know where I can find the video accompanying the story! We have 3 college-age children (all of whom we have and/or are paying tuition and expenses for, 2 at very expensive private schools) and as a friend to all similarly situated, I would love to share that video with parents who may sometimes feel exploited by their own children... I would love college too if I could delay my real life for 6 years on somebody else's silver dollar. And then get a job in an art history factory. The near-term upside is that after a quarter-million dollar private liberal arts undergrad and M.A. our oldest is going to law school in the fall, and is going to be taking out more than $200k in loans to accomplish it.... is anybody lining up to help her? Isn't college an investment in your own human capital?

  • ||

    "My solution:
    1.) Increase money for science and engineering majors.
    2.) Decrease money or remain the same of all other majors.
    3.) Balance money distribution geographically (according to state). West coast students should get more since living expenses keep going up.
    4.) Make High School much more harder."

    Translation:
    1. Give me more money
    2. Take money away from everyone else
    3. Give me WAY more money because of where I live
    4. I failed English

    It's funny 'cause it's true!

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