1. Higher Debt-ucation

    From from the annals of Bloomberg comes this jewel:

    Bloomberg: Trapped by $50k Degree in Low-Paying Job…

    One of the reasons I’ve not spent a single word voicing my thoughts on the current Occupy Wall Street (OWS) saga is that while I agree with them on several counts (yes, Virginia, laws should apply to everyone equally, regardless of political stature or the size of one’s bank account), there are numerous “grievances” put forth by OWS which are simply ridiculous, and merit not a moment of my time nor consideration. One of these issues centers on student loans and higher-ed debt.

    So Here Comes My Opinion

    No, OWS, higher education is not a right, nor should it be. Student loans should not be forgiven on any sort of universal basis. I care not whether you could or couldn’t find a job suitable to make your loan payments, Ms. Occupy Protester, because I was not the one who decreed it necessary for you to attend said institution and take out big loans to do the same.

    Lament that mid-five-figures debt all you want, but the reason you have it is simply this: Government made it possible for anyone able to fog a mirror to sign their name on a few dotted lines and walk away with thousands of debt bucks, easily, for the glorious purpose of “higher” education. Take away that “easy” loan ability, and the demand for college goes down … as does the ability of college administrative boards to bump tuition and fees 8 to 15 percent per year. And down will come prices. Eventually.

    If anyone could step out and borrow $5k per year (or whatever) for your product, just by slapping their siggy on a form or two, then you’d be lifting your prices by double-digit percentages each year, too. The more money you make available for “something,” the more that “something’s” price goes up. (Pretty neat how well it worked for housing, too, huh?)

    Sold a Bill O’ Goods

    That’s exactly what happens to lots of college students, it appears. They’re being sold a bill of goods.

    Because if you, like Laura Sayer in the linked article above, run out and borrow $50k to get a Masters degree at NYU’s Program for Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities and Social Thought, and then you’re upset to find that that degree doesn’t do jack squat for you in the Real World, well, I don’t know what to say.

    …Sayer was set back $50,000 more after completing the Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought at New York University. The 27-year-old now makes about $45,000 a year as an administrative assistant for a nonprofit group, a job that didn’t require her advanced degree.

    Hmmm. Seems to me that her advanced degree was much more of a years-long (and quite expensive) whim than any sort of career booster:

    Sayer, the NYU graduate, said while she learned critical-thinking skills, her career prospects won’t allow her to pay off her debt anytime soon. [Emphasis mine]

    “Even if I didn’t know what field it would lead me to, I thought it would be worthwhile for my professional career,” said Sayer, who lives in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn with two roommates.

    No, really. The jokes practically write themselves.

    Many of the students who enroll in the master’s of “Social Thought” program directly from college do so with an eye toward a Ph.D., said John Beckman, an NYU spokesman.

    Of course they do. The masters won’t do a damn thing for them. Thus, they want to put off those student-loan payments as long as is humanly possible. Of course, that will probably require taking out more loans, but as we’ve previously established, student-loan lending isn’t exactly “restricted” to only the best credit risks. No credit? No job prospects? Already $40k in debt? No problem. There’s more where that came from.

    “The numbers have shown, and will continue to show, over time that an investment in an advanced degree will yield better career prospects and income,” Beckman said.

    Some salesman, this guy. You have to wonder if the people who wrote the theses below — previous NYU attendees in the “Social Thought” program — really believed that what they were studying had ANY BEARING WHATSOEVER on whether or not they’d achieve gainful employment at anything above poverty-level Mcwages:

    • The Graven Image: Truth, Self, and Identity in Max Frisch’s Novel I’m Not Stiller
    • The Meaning of Documentary: Narrativity, the Cartesian World View, and a Heideggerian Critique
    • H.D.’s Creation of the New: Redeeming the Maternal Body in Pursuit of Feminine Language
    • Why Are Gay Men So Effeminate? An Essay on Aesthetics, Affect, and White Gay Male Subjectivity
    • Speaking in Tongues: Language and Creolite in the Work of Kamau Brathwaite and Junot Diaz

    Readers, please tell me: Do the authors of these things actually want to WORK and create products or services of value to the rest of us, or do they just want their egos stroked and subsidized (preferably at taxpayer expense) on a regular basis?

    Methinks I know the answer.

    And I didn’t need to borrow $50k to achieve my “critical-thinking” skills.

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  2. 4 Responses to "Higher Debt-ucation" ...

    1. On December 12, 2011 @ 4:29 pm,
      Mike wrote:

      I think it might have been Pat Buchanan who suggested that people were taking out government loans to essentially engage in hobbies for a few years. Because the loans are not bankruptable these students will be paying on these loans for years to come, as the institutions laugh all the way to the bank.

      The Federal Government and Colleges and University seem to be the most revered and trusted entities by the OWS crowd and it is precisely the actions of these two that have caused this issue.

      So Michael (I think that’s the author’s name correct) what is an American to do if he finds that the government will bail out these people too? If the banks and financials, then the auto industry, then the “Studies” Crowd- (Womens Studies, Latino Studies, Norwegian Studies, etc.) – all get bailed out how will you demonstrate that your country no longer recognizes rule of law? Do we just have to keep coughing up the tax dollars to support every bad decision in the world? I do not have any answers. I will strongly argue against anyone condoning violence. But, really, what is one to do?



    2. On December 12, 2011 @ 10:09 pm,
      Michael wrote:


      I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. All I know is that, simply, the “s*#t keeps getting piled deeper and deeper,” and there is no end in sight … because there can’t be. If the spending stops, GDP collapses. If the spending continues, we’ll just keep heading for the cliff, biding time until the rest of the world decides it no longer wants our paper. At that point, all bets are off.

      Now that the precendent has been established, and all the entitlement groups well-entrenched, there won’t be an end to the bailouts. They’ll happen, in one form or another, for whatever groups step up and deliver either votes or politi-bucks back to the source.



    3. On December 28, 2011 @ 3:22 pm,
      RichUncle EL wrote:

      I understand what your saying here, but I believe their could be a postive side to helping those with student loan debt. The country is now done with the war in which we were paying billions of dollars to support. So now that the U.S. has money waiting to be allocated, then a program (Stimulus ) could be established to assist the citizens of this country saddled with student debt. If this happens then those same people will have a more money to spend back into the economy. As our GDP is made up of 70% of consumer spending I think it will be beneficial for the country. Also what do you think of those countries that offer higher education practically free to their citizens with no questions asked. There is always two sides of any debate.



    4. On December 28, 2011 @ 7:15 pm,
      Michael wrote:


      Good thing everything else — our current debt and all prior obligations — is free, and we have plenty of money available to fund anything under the sun. The rest of the world will loan funny money to us in perpetuity, and we’ll trade them our funny money for theirs, and we’ll all live happily ever after and eat chocolate chip cookies and tiramisu every night. And prosperity will reign, so long as we continue to “grow our economy” via wholesale debt creation.

      Where does it stop? I thought the whole Iraq thing was stupid; I thought the bailouts of 2008-09 were stupid; I think the idea of for “higher ed for all” is stupid. I am wholeheartedly against stupid.

      So now that the U.S. has money waiting to be allocated…

      Because heaven knows paying back our debt — or even JUST STOPPING ADDING TO IT — is a ridiculous proposition, an idea to be brushed aside with obvious contempt and derision.

      Also what do you think of those countries that offer higher education practically free to their citizens with no questions asked?

      Mostly, I think that the road to “entitlement hell” (and eventual economic disruption) is paved with good intentions. It plays out that way, over and over again. But hey — if they’ve got the money to pay for it, more power to ’em.



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