October 25, 2011

"Eat debt, screw you, Occupy UW" — the student debt wing of the Occupy [Your City] movement.

That was the chant yesterday as 20 students marched from Union South to the Memorial Union, here at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. 20 isn't very much, but it was Monday morning, that is, it was half past noon in a city where weekends are (perhaps) grueling (that Hail Mary pass!). 20 students when you expect — what? — 100. That's rough.

It reminded me of the old anti-war slogan: "Suppose they gave a war and no one came?” The phrase was used in the 1968 Monkees song "Zor and Zam," and their video of the song looks something like the protest marches I've seen in Madison this year.



Why aren't students more interested in protesting about student problems?
UW freshman Noah Phillips, who led the march, said it is difficult for most to attain a college degree without enormous debt in the current economic climate.
Students are in a difficult bind. If you're hyper-aware of this problem and you're still here in school, racking up the debt, do you march around with signs or do you get much more serious and study as hard as you can? That is, do you visualize your plight as a something that aligns you with others and put your efforts into seeking political and social change, or do you get fired up about your individual cause and do what you can to win in what looks like a very tough fight for economic gain? (Or do you just drag on, avoiding politics and taking your studies and your career one step at a time, and hope for the best?)
Associated Students of Madison member Justin Bloesch said "What we were told … is that if we work hard, if we stay honest, if we shine by our merit then this society will take care of us; that's the American Dream"...
Who told you that? This society will take care of you? Shine by your merit? How did the "American Dream" evolve into that message?
"But if that's ever how the game worked, that's not how it works now."
Well, it's not really how the "game" ever worked. Bloesch seems to be thinking about those public-school games where everybody wins: if you play and don't cheat, you are a winner.
Phillips said the movement, which recruited demonstrators via Facebook, hopes to build student participation in upcoming weeks by passing out flyers and speaking in lectures....
You might not even win at protesting. Even if you follow the rules of organizing: Facebook page, check... build momentum...
Once participation is higher, Phillips said the movement can take larger actions such as "occupying a building" or forming a teach in.
Occupying a building... that really does sound like 1968.

191 comments:

Geoff Matthews said...

Welcome to the darwinian struggle.

Quayle said...

And the little-junior-boomers continue to drink the boomer-koolaid.

They have these kids just where they want 'em: lined up to pay the tab for decades of excesses.

The boomers even got 'em taking out full recourse, non-dischargeable debt to keep paying the boomers' bloated academic salaries.

In the history of the world, was there ever a parent generation that enslaved and burdened their children like this?

Sacrificing their babies on the alter of greed and excess.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I would think that the students are still taking out the loans, which means that they are still, presumably, assuming that they will see a return on them (or attempting not to think about what happens if they don't). The problem with student loan debt doesn't come while you are still a student; it comes later, when you are out in the real world and realize that the college degree that you worked so hard for (in between drinking binges) wasn't a guaranteed path to your dream job.

(Not defending those who are protesting based on student debt; they still only have themselves to blame for taking on the debt, I'm just saying that it wouldn't make sense for a student who hasn't entered the job market, started paying down the debt, or stopped taking the debt to be protesting based on it.)

- Lyssa

MadisonMan said...

Wonder if they're out-of-staters.

virgil xenophon said...

A WHOLE TWENTY of them? My, my, such revolutionary fervor...such dedication to the cause...think of the effort involved...sign those people up with the USPS! "Neither rain, nor sleet nor snow..."

AllenS said...

1968. We still had the draft. It must suck to realize that after incurring all of that debt, they'll be unemployable because they are a bunch of idiots, and cry babies.

Curious George said...

"What we were told … is that if we work hard, if we stay honest, if we shine by our merit then this society will take care of us; that's the American Dream"

Sad. That said, these whiners would be better served by protesting the scam of Big Education. The more the government gives, the more schools raise tuition.

Nonapod said...

I wish someone would explain clear and rationally to these kids: Your mere existence doesn't entitle you to anything. You aren't owed a free education or a free house or free health care or a sweet pension or infinite job security or to never be in debt. I knew that before I was their age (which wasn't that long ago).

Patrick said...

Sounds like 1968? How about October, 1967, at your own fair school. At the same time US soldiers were being ambushed, half a world away?

AJ Lynch said...

Justin...Noah.. two pussy names bestowed by baby boomer doofus parents. So I am not shocked to see these little pussies protesting big, bad America.

Jay said...

Also heard at OWS demonstrations:

F*ck The Military, F*ck Your Flag, And F*ck The Police’!!!

Lovely people.

bagoh20 said...

All they want is their participation award. Could some corporation make those up and hand them out so we can clean the park?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Spoiled children raised by spoiled children. Babies given unrealistic expectations of the world. And now reality is slapping them in the face.

Everyone given a gold star just for showing up. No one loses because everyone is a "WINNA!!"

it is difficult for most to attain a college degree without enormous debt in the current economic climate

Only if you refuse to compromise and refuse to WORK at it. She wants the super duper Barbie Dream House of education and refuses to consider any other options.

Junior college for the first several years. Get a job and work and see just what you 'really' want to do in life while grinding out those elementary courses and taking remedial reading and math because your high school didn't teach you jack shit.

Instead of an expensive 5 star university, attend a state college to get your BA.

Figure out what your BA is actually going to accomplish for you. A degree in Medieval Art History or the Philosophy of the Feminist Movement is an exercise in masturbation. Feels good, but really isn't going to accomplish anything.

Wake up call: Employers don't care about your tender widdle feelings or your useless degree. We aren't your mommy or daddy and aren't here to boost your self esteem. We judge you by your utility.

Tank said...

Curious George said...
"What we were told … is that if we work hard, if we stay honest, if we shine by our merit then this society will take care of us; that's the American Dream"

Sad. That said, these whiners would be better served by protesting the scam of Big Education. The more the government gives, the more schools raise tuition.


Ding ding ding.

Anywhere you see a big systemic financial problem, look for the role gov't played in creating, prolonging or exacerbating it.

Beta Rube said...

Why does it not corss their little minds to protest the purveyors of over priced education?

20k-50k a year for degrees in Womyn's Studies and other useless stuff seems like a confidence game to me, with the innocent kiddies on the wrong end.

Keystone said...

I think most people understand that if you borrow money you are going to have to pay it back. People getting good grades (that's almost all of them) Should be able to multiply a principal by an interest rate to determine the minimum annual cost of paying back the loan. Then you have to add some to cover paying down the principle.

To be fair, universities (the grown ups) have been pushing loans as a way to maintain enrollment.

PatCA said...

Justin Bloesch just got hit by a dodge ball for the very first time.

holdfast said...

Associated Students of Madison member Justin Bloesch said "What we were told … is that if we work hard, if we stay honest, if we shine by our merit then this society will take care of us; that's the American Dream"...

Ninja, please! First, these are all coddled members of the "everyone gets a trophy" generation - they don't even know what "shine" really means. I certainly don't think it means getting a B average undergrad degree in Left Handed Lesbian Indian Studies from UW. Second, society was never supposed to "take care of you" - that's reserved for the crippled and mentally infirm. Real adults are supposed to take care of themselves. Now we should have a society and economy where a hard-working individual has a decent chance to succeed, but unfortunately we've been slowly killing that over the last 20 years or so, and Obama is trying to deliver the coup de grace.

CrankyProfessor said...

I do think this is the result of a generation of Everyone Wins Youth Soccer leagues. I blame the trophy industry.

Sheepman said...

The Monkees should have stuck to singing songs written by other, talented, songwriters.

edutcher said...

Well, the National Guard is back from summer camp by now if they want to get frisky.

Ann Althouse

If you're hyper-aware of this problem and you're still here in school, racking up the debt, do you march around with signs or do you get much more serious and study as hard as you can?

The smart ones probably haven't stopped studying. The cannon fodder will march around chanting their pre-digested bromides as they've done for the last 50 years or so.

Occupying a building... that really does sound like 1968.

Or 1970.

Does the WI Guard use live rounds?

Jay said...

Hilarious:


President Barack Obama’s new senior campaign adviser is a longtime Wall Street lobbyist, and has the potential to damage the president’s aspirations to appeal to the protesters currently “occupying” New York City’s Zuccotti Park.

Obama’s new adviser, Broderick Johnson, has an extensive history of lobbying for big banks and corporations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2007, he lobbied for JP Morgan Chase and in 2008 Johnson lobbied for Bank of America and Fannie Mae. From 2008 through 2010, he lobbied for Comcast and in 2011 he lobbied for Microsoft.


Yet an overwhelming majority of the OWSers who bother to vote will vote for Obama.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MayBee said...

College is too expensive.
Our political class could probably help convince students to get the best education they could afford if they stopped behaving in a way that tells young people only Harvard grads will succeed.

Shouting Thomas said...

My first semester at the University of Illinois, in 1968... tuition cost $250 per semester. When I graduated, I think it had gone up to about $500.

I could pay my tuition by working on farms over the summer.

I paid for almost all my college expenses by working 30 hours a week in the library. I had a small, but very helpful scholarship.

You can see the great advance that the student loan program has created in higher education in this.

Contemporary students are making a big mistake by taking out loans for living expenses, as well as for tuition and books. Get a job to pay for your living expenser, and your loan obligation will be reduced dramatically.

EDH said...

Who, exactly, is the "you" in "Eat debt, screw you, Occupy UW"?

And remember this scene in the good old days?

No matter what the protesters may say, which character's attitude in that scene better reflects their frustrated expectations?

Sure, you can dress that frustration in the garb of some selfless Marxist theory to so as to identify them with Damon's working class character.

But isn't that precisely the kind of self-serving intellectual superiority that typifies Mr. Pony Tail's method of operation?

bagoh20 said...

"What we were told … is that if we work hard, if we stay honest, if we shine by our merit then this society will take care of us;"

So why are you skipping the first part: the work, the honesty, the shining? Oh, those are just words? Well then, so is the second part. That's the deal, and we are sticking to it.

MarkG said...

"What we were told … this society will take care of us

Listen, numbnuts, your job is go to work and pay Social Security to take care of me! After you've done that for fifty years, then we'll talk.

G Joubert said...

Acquire the American dream through protest and demand. Who knew?

Shouting Thomas said...

By the way, the adults really did tell the kids that silly bullshit back during the days of the boom.

The adults told the kids that they would get and E for effort.

They told the kids that Diversity was Our Most Important Product.

They told the kids that there is no difference between males and females.

We told them that there was no reason for the traditional view of homosexuality.

We lied outrageously to the kids. There is a price to be paid for lying to the kids like this.

You didn't expect them to believe the lies?

Monkeyboy said...

Half a world away there are mebers of this generation that understand that working hard today just gives you an opportunity to work harder tomorrow.

They also realize that signing on the dotted line means something, and you are only as good as your word.

They may not have degrees from fancy universities, but I know who I'd want to hire.

MayBee said...

...and then there are people like Michelle Obama preaching that you should eschew jobs that will actually make you money.

The signals out there are: Strive for the Ivy League. Go to the best school you can, even if you can't afford it. Take a job that benefits society rather than a corporation.

And it's just overall a very bad combination.

DADvocate said...

Public universities are a perfect example why government is the problem. Ultimately controlled by government itself, the cost of attending public colleges and univeristies could have been easily controlled to be kept at or close to the levels, adjusted for inflation, of the 1960s. Private collges would have had to keep costs low to attract students.

But, instead, costs soared just as it did in every other governmental area.

new york said...

We have always tolerated vast discrepancies of wealth and income in America, but historically in all societies, when it gets to obscene levels you will have people protesting in the streets. Now in America we have 24 million people without full-time work, 50 million people who can't see a doctor when they're sick and 15 million homeowners whose mortgages are higher than the value of their house. Millions of college students are graduating every year with no possibility of getting a job and mountains of debt they can't repay. Even worse are the millions of high school students graduating from high school who can't scrape together the money to even start college. Their only choice is to join the welfare class. What happens to a nation who educates only the spoiled children of the wealthy rather than the best and the brightest of every class? We will be paying for these failures for decades to come.

EDH said...

"And now I've read of shit you haven't even heard about yet."

Shouting Thomas said...

The smartest kids in every generation see through the lies and never buy into them.

For those who aren't as smart, the process of seeing through the lies institutional authority and adults told them takes years.

It's a joke that gets played on every generation.

To a great degree, one's success in this life is determined by how long it takes you to figure out the joke.

Petunia said...

Twenty students out of about 50,000? That's pathetic even if it WAS Monday midday.

"Shine by our own merit." Dude, please. I bet he had kindergarten and middle school "graduation" ceremonies, and has a shelf full of trophies and ribbons for participating in youth sports.

Original Mike said...

Eat debt? I think what they really mean is "Eat repayment". They're so noble.

glenn said...

I'm inclined to look at the current crop of protesters pretty much the way I looked at their parents in the 60's. Spoiled brats with big egos, a massive sense of entitlement and precious little substance. That said the education bubble is gaining some traction, got a shoutout on the Today show this AM. Now if some enterprising MSM reporter (I know, I know)would start looking into the connections between the Universities and the banks that made the loans .... Ahhh ... maybe next year.

AJ Lynch said...

Yeah work for a non-profit is a popular goal for these kids. Yet they fail to undertstand there would be no non-profits without those big, bad for-profit businesses.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Richard Dolan said...

"Why aren't students more interested in protesting about student problems?"

Well, one reason is that no one is quite sure where the dividing line is between "student problems" and the more general fear that the future has become a lot less secure than they had thought possible. There are a lot of comments here about college students as coddled adolescents, and others about unversities as fiscal reality-free zones. Both are focused a bit too tightly on the students to get at the source of the fear that the way most of these kids grew up can't continue, that life is shifting under their feet in ways that they can't control.

The debt crisis is playing out globally, and even in the US impacts many sectors other than university education. The meltdown in federal, state and municipal finances threatens the stability that many, up to now, associated with being employed by the gov't. Entitlements long taken for granted seem suddenly vulnerable. The meltdown in big business -- autos, steel, airlines, banks, investment houses, telecom, the list goes on and on -- adds to the feeling (and the reality) of instability and insecurity.

There is a new world aborning (as it happens that's nothing new, but many haven't noticed). The 'good life' (however defined) has to be earned; it can't be obtained by the simple expedient of voting it for yourself, or protesting your way into getting someone else to provide it.

AJ Lynch said...

Mary- you are blaming the skyrocketing cost of college on Big College Sports?

DADvocate said...

But then,
we decided to give the kids a big-leaugue football spectator environment on campus at the top public schools, and financially, it was off to the races...


Sorry, that's not why the costs have gone up. Tennessee, which I attended, amd many other universities had that back in the 1960s. A year's tuition at UT was $330 full-time when I started.

Try administration and runaway campital spending.

Jay said...

Now in America we have 50 million people who can't see a doctor when they're sick

That is laugh out loud funny.

dbp said...

If you attend a lecture, then you will be occupying the building it is in for the duration of the class.

Small steps.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

the source of the fear that the way most of these kids grew up can't continue, that life is shifting under their feet in ways that they can't control.

Life is ALWAYS shifting under our feet in ways that we can't 'control'. Or to put it another way Life is what happens while you are making other plans

Yes. Things are changing from our comfortable post WWII economic boom. Life is not going to be the easy ride that it has been.

GET OVER IT. Quit whining because you found out that the cake is a lie. Learn to change. Adapt. Find a new way. Our ancestors have always had to do this. The Great Depression certainly changed life and our grandparents or great grands figured it out. Now....it is your turn. Unfair? Maybe. But life is not fair.

As the first poster said.

Welcome to the Darwinian struggle.

Adapt or die.

LordSomber said...

After I got my degree I stuck around and hung out nights in campus computer labs and the library, teaching myself software and fundamentals in a trade related to my degree.
My day job at the time was paperboy. My evening educational initiative was curiosity.
I got promoted several times without anyone at work knowing I had a degree.

My college education was a 10% foundation for working in a field. The other 90% you learn in the real world. (I wouldn't trade that 10% for anything, though.)

If one wants to learn, there are libraries, manuals and trade publications. I even hear there is an internet.
I see very little curiosity out there nowadays.

Bruce Hayden said...

What must be kept in mind is that some college degrees are investments and others are luxuries. In my case, my MBA turns out to have been a luxury, while my JD was closer to an investment. My undergraduate degree in mathematics is on the line, since it didn't actually qualify me to do anything, but it did help me get the qualifications and training I needed for careers in computer engineering and patent law.

So, a BS/EE is most often a decently good investment. And, probably ditto for a MS and PhD there. Almost all engineering degrees, as well as most hard science degrees would likely fall into that category.

But a BA degree in womyns studies is a luxury, and a PhD there is probably even more so, with most majors and degrees falling somewhere in between.

The problem is that a generation or two has been sold on any college degree being a good investment. Ain't so. But we have a generation or so who took out undischargable student loans to pay for the luxury of one or more college degrees that will never pay for themselves.

There are a lot of problems with discharging all that debt, most notably, that it would screw those of us parents who dug deep to pay for their kids' educations (and whose kids are actually getting "investment" degrees instead of "luxury" degrees).

The parties that should take at least some of the burden here are the schools that took the money. The schools invariably failed to inform incoming students and their parents about the actual financial returns on their education, and that for a great extent, they were purchasing a luxury, and not an investment.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... We have always tolerated vast discrepancies of wealth and income in America, but historically in all societies, when it gets to obscene levels you will have people protesting in the streets..."

Which is rather idiotic in our society. The wealthy aren't fuedal lords who demand tribute from the peasantry but people like Zuckerberg, Gates, Dell and others who started businesses. Not everyone is Bernie Madoff and its a but rich to demand college be free so you can take an extended vacation from adulthood.

I chuckled when I heard an economist say the 9% national sales tax as part of Cain's plan would hurt the poor because they spend more than the wealthy. You don't say. Maybe that's one reason the wealthy are wealthy. You would be amazed the number of earners making 60-75k and gave little to no net worth.

William said...

I was an English major with a philosophy minor. Not a license to print money. I have been deluded about many things throughout my life, but I never thought that such studies would outfit me for a lucrative career. It was not a place to prepare for life, but rather a place to escape from life. Working life was a place of tedium and squalor; school was a place to play with large thoughts and hang around with pretty girls.....I've always had quite a difficult time adjusting to real life, and real life is, in my opinion, highly overrated. It should be more like some kind of MTV show. College is much closer to an MTV show than real life, and, as such, it is worth the big bucks they charge. Going out and demonstrating only enhances the MTV quality of a higher education. It offers many opportunities to pretend that their life is significant and to meet interesting new people. College should offer a Protest Studies Program to further enhance this experience.

MayBee said...

Obama has made it a policy goal to increase the number of students going to college. I don't see how that is smart, or how it ends well.

hawkeyedjb said...

"There are a lot of problems with discharging all that debt, most notably, that it would screw those of us parents who dug deep to pay for their kids' educations..."

Yep, but you frugal parents won't even figure in the decision. Other people's debt will be discharged because it makes some group of politicians feel good. Hell, I could write President Obama's speech announcing this wonderful new program right now...

Icepick said...

Only if you refuse to compromise and refuse to WORK at it.

What jobs are they supposed to get? Don't forget that education expenses are up something like 500% in the last 26 years alone. So they're supposed to get some non-existent job to pay for ever increasing costs of education. Even if you find a job, getting one that can pay for your education requires one have the education to begin with, and probably two years experience. The experience of burned out Boomer retirees doesn't pertain to the current world, but retired Boomers and those with nice cushy government sinecures, SS and Medicare wouldn't know about that. (All the while bitching about the pampered student class getting rolled into debt servitude by Boomers such as themselves, who run the banks and the universities, et cetera, ad nauseum.)

[Blather about how great the vets and how bad the students are - snipped] They may not have degrees from fancy universities, but I know who I'd want to hire.

Given the unemployment rate of young veterans you clearly aren't hiring. The thing is, hardly anyone else is either.

Shouting Thomas said...

A humanities degree used to have much greater value.

I graduated in 1971 with a degree in English and minors in history and music.

This was before the radical left eviscerated the curriculum. Wasn't long after I graduated that the attack on the Dead White Males began in earnest.

Virtually every member of the U of IL English department is now a Marxist or a feminist or some such bullshit.

Accordingly, the value of the degree has gone down the toilet.

My degree got me a job the minute I walked into San Francisco.

AJ Lynch said...

Icepick - do you ever wonder why education prices [not necessarily the same as costs] increased by 500%?

Icepick said...

The wealthy aren't fuedal lords who demand tribute from the peasantry but people like Zuckerberg, Gates, Dell and others who started businesses.

Some analysis has shown that a great deal of the wealth discrepancy comes from two locations alone - Silicon Valley and NYC. Guess what's driving the NYC end of it? The financial types, of course. And how did Vikram Pandit make his money? What wonderful contribution to society did he make - helping destroy 93% or so of CITI's value? Yeah, he deserves every penny he got. No reason at ALL to be pissed off at ALL about that clusterfuck.

Or consider Immelt. Think he's getting by on his own, or did he and his get help from the government in forms of bailout money and guaranteed government contracts? He's got really good contacts in government.

Yeah, all the wealthy people in the US are EXACTLY like Steve Jobs. Makes you wonder why Jobs got all the ink and noone sings the praises of Pandit.

Joanna said...

All they want is their participation award.

It's worse than that. They already have a participation award: minimum wage jobs. (The unemployment rate for those with college degrees is, what -- 4%? 5%)

They don't want participation awards. They want tall, shiny first place awards for having participated.

TosaGuy said...

It's too easy to get caught in the typical generation bashing of either direction. Most college kids want to work and want to do well. Few are activist protestor types and many of them eventually grow up.

The modern university system is simply another bubble. It costs too much for too many people. The cost is not only money lost to student loans, it's time not spent productively while in college and the loan payback years after college that delay other aspects of adulthood.

In this debate, we never seem to hear from those at the economically efficient junior colleges and the more affordable smaller state schools. We also never seem to hear from anyone who work several jobs to put themselves through school and have done all sorts of physical/manual labor well before they set foot on campus.....perhaps they are too busy working/studying/living to have time to want to be noticed and feel agrieved.

Christopher in MA said...

"What happens to a nation that only educates the spoiled children of the wealthy rather than the best and brightest of every class?"

Weapons-grade stupid, right there.

Shouting Thomas said...

Icepick, you're certainly right that we've suffered through a period of incredible corruption.

I know it's hard to understand and accept this, but, here goes...

Taking revenge and trying to change things to fit your ideals might result in something even worse than the current cruddy situation.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that that's exactly what would happen.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What jobs are they supposed to get?

There are many jobs available. I guess they just aren't good enough for you?

Waiter. Waitress. Yard work. Stocking Shelves. Store clerk. Flipping Burgers. Plumber's helper :-) Make up your OWN job.

Right now we have a young man (37..young to me anyway) painting a section of our workshop. He lost his house and his business and has moved into this area to live with his extended family for a while. He went door to door to hand out his business cards and offer to paint houses (his previous occupation) and do windows and yard work, cleaning gutters etc, to winterize houses. He is standing out in the cold rolling primer and paint as I am typing. If he does a good job, we will refer him to other people and he is on the way to building his business and life again. Because he has initiative and willingness to work hard....he will succeed.

Not good enough for you?

You may have to work and go to school part time, for years, instead of making a cushy education a career.

Don't forget that education expenses are up something like 500% in the last 26 years alone.

Junior college. State College. Technical Schools. Not good enough for you?

So they're supposed to get some non-existent job to pay for ever increasing costs of education. Even if you find a job, getting one that can pay for your education requires one have the education to begin with, and probably two years experience

There are jobs. The problem is that the young people don't want to work. It doesn't require a degree to get a good job. Employers want people who want to work, who will show up, with a good attitude and who are willing to learn some of the business and not treat the job like they are slumming.

Maybe you need to lower your expectations from a 4 year 30K a semester college 'experience' to a more realistic scenario.

Seriously....the cake IS a lie.

TosaGuy said...

Would universities be better places if they didn't include as part of the cost of tuition/everything else a 4-10 year experience as part of the upper-middle class? Examine the amenities/programs/experiences offered by today's universities compared to even 20 years ago.

ic said...

Who told you that?

A very dishonest academia, and politicians who want to delay youth unemployment.

The lie is perpetuated by willing dupes: brainless "students" who are too stupid to think for themselves, too lazy to earn a living and pay for college.

American dream is you are free to work hard, no more, no less. But working hard is work hard with your brains and hands. Work hard is not pretending to study behind campus walls, boozing and engaging in one-night-stands, and going to woman studies and minorities studies, the studies that rave against society which provides employment.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Icepick said...

Icepick - do you ever wonder why education prices [not necessarily the same as costs] increased by 500%?

Since you ask, it has multiple roots. It all comes down to misallocation of resources by government who decides that Big Education and Big Money get all the breaks. Student loans make for a nice steady stream of income for universities and student loan originators alike. The higher the tuition goes, the more money flows to the winners. (And did I mention that the bankruptcy laws got re-written a few years ago so student loan debt can't be discharged? I wonder who was behind that?)

Given that, and the unemployment situation, why shouldn't the protestors be pissed off? If they're not entirely pointing their rhetorical guns the right way, then someone should try educating them. Instead what will happen (what HAS happened) is a bunch of ex-hippies and other such assholes will call them pussies and whiners for not understanding exactly how their elders have fucked them in the ass. And those elders expect them to take it in the ass and smile for the next several decades.

You should be grateful they aren't rioting yet and burning down the whole damned campus, and any government building and bank they can get to.

TosaGuy said...

I also do think that many employers simply want ready-to-hire employees when that is not a realistic option (for most fields) no matter how much education one may have. As with many bubbles, it includes many overlapping societal factors, not just college costs a lot.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay said...

You should be grateful they aren't rioting yet and burning down the whole damned campus, and any government building and bank they can get to.


Since Noah & Justin grew up in the bicyle helmet/don't leave the lawn/we don't shout/boys are bad generation, I'm not too worried about their ability to "riot" at all.

Jay said...

And we have Mary who believes colleges charge high tuition because they have a football stadium.

The future is indeed grim...

deborah said...

Any predictions on what the popped higher-education bubble will look like?

deborah said...

"Obama’s new adviser, Broderick Johnson, has an extensive history of lobbying for big banks and corporations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2007, he lobbied for JP Morgan Chase and in 2008 Johnson lobbied for Bank of America and Fannie Mae. From 2008 through 2010, he lobbied for Comcast and in 2011 he lobbied for Microsoft."

lol Jay. Jane Hamsher's head will explode if she sees that.

hawkeyedjb said...

"What wonderful contribution to society did [Vikram Pandit] make?"

Ice touches on an important point: in Silicon Valley, pay for performance is pretty much the norm. In the world of large, old bureaucratic organizations closely tied to government (GE, Citi) it's the opposite - pay for performance doesn't really exist above the middle-manager level. People are paid fantastic sums for what most of us recognize as utter, complete failure. Logically, someone who ruins a large company should himself be ruined, but instead he reaps enormous rewards. It's morally wrong, and economically hazardous.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@Icepick.

I don't think that anyone disagrees with you on the source of the education bubble and outrageous inflation of college tuition.

The problem is that the young people are directing their frustration at the wrong group. They are being led by the nose by people with an agenda that is not in the best interests of the students.

Think for yourself instead of eating the pablum.

the bankruptcy laws got re-written a few years ago so student loan debt can't be discharged?

I know. This was a bad idea. However, allowing people to go into debt with no recourse on the part of the lender is also a bad idea.

I think we agree on many points. However, I know we disagree on what the solution is.

Hagar said...

I suggested to my son that he could do what I did and serve a hitch in the Army and get the G.I. Bill, but he did not go much for that.

So, now I have very little left, and he has a substantial debt that, guess what, he can't make enough money to pay off until I die so that he can sell my house - if anyone is buying houses by then.

ic said...

"What we were told … is that if we work hard, if we stay honest, if we shine by our merit then this society will take care of us; that's the American Dream"...

This statement is as dishonest as one can get. "Shine by our merit": what "merit"? Scream loudest? Frankly, there are a lot of jobs available, but these buffoons who shine by their merit are not qualified: e.g. computer programmers. They are paying upwards of $100,000 for fresh college grads in the Silicon Valley. My daughter, a fresh computer grad lands one of those jobs. Her "merit" is supplying a skill that is demanded by employers who are handing out sign-on bonuses.

Icepick said...

There are many jobs available. I guess they just aren't good enough for you?

Waiter. Waitress. Yard work. Stocking Shelves. Store clerk. Flipping Burgers. Plumber's helper :-) Make up your OWN job.


There aren't enough jobs. McDonald's hired 62,000 last April. Great. Over a million applied. Not great. A 6.2% hire rate for what is traditionally considered a crappy starter job. That's over 938,000 people that WERE willing to work a McJob, and still couldn't get one. Puts paid to your whole thesis, deary. There aren't enough jobs, not even the crappy kind.

But I'm sure it's just that all the 14 million officially U-3 folks want $60,000 a year jobs. But how does that explain the millions more working those crap part-time jobs that can't get anything better?

There is nothing in the BLS employment reports (which are cooked to look better than they are by dropping millions from the rolls) which makes it look like there are lots of jobs waiting to be filled, much less lots of well-paying jobs.

He is standing out in the cold rolling primer and paint as I am typing. If he does a good job, we will refer him to other people and he is on the way to building his business and life again. Because he has initiative and willingness to work hard....he will succeed.

Then why hasn't he succeeded already? He's THIRTY-SEVEN and has already lost his livelyhood, his house, etc. So he failed then because why? Because he was lazy? Inept? Had a bad attitude? He's not rebuilding his life - he's trying desperately to hang on.

Junior college. State College. Technical Schools. Not good enough for you?

They were all good enough for me, you snarky bitch. Still expensive. And there still aren't enough jobs.

I guess you just like your handiman because he's cheap labor for your benefit. Typical snotty elitest asshole telling everyone "beneath them" lies about how good things really are.

The Big Lie is your BS that there are plenty of decent jobs available. As are your crappy comments about young people not being willing to work. What about those in their fifties and sixties that lost their jobs and can't get anything now? I know lots of those people. Far more of them, in fact, than I know 20-somethings. Are they lazy, too? Inept? bad apples?

I'm not a 20-something, and I don't know very many. (Off hand I'm having trouble of thinking of more than two, although that number is surely too low.) I just know how the 20-somethings are getting screwed.

By-the-way, since you think things are so good, I suppose you will be voting for all the incumbents next election cycle? After all, if things are good, there is no need for change is there?

WV: hypensit - sounds like a protest strategy

TosaGuy said...

So what will the bubble look like...great question! I think we see aspects of it already with fewer men chosing to go to college. Those who are fit for college, but don't go, will find a way to do well. Those that aren't fit and may not do so well in life at least won't have a boat anchor of debt around their neck.

A degree is no longer a sign of knowledge and education. It is a credential -- a commodity. More and more students (the ones that don't prattle on from inside the current bubble) are simply taking the classes or the short programs that get them the necessary credential. Online course, weekend college programs, certification seminars all cobbled together bypass the expense of the five-year full college experience. It's not much fun and not always effective, but it gets people by and that was the history of our country before the post WWII expansion -- people got by how they could....and alot of them did just fine.

gbarto said...

If your degree will enable you to do something, make something or design something, you may be on the right track. If it will only prepare you to teach others what you have learned, you might want to switch majors. Says the MA in French, from experience.

The problem with sending more kids to college is exactly the same as the problem with helping more people get homes: Education and home ownership don't cause one to be middle class; they are things that a middle class work ethic and approach to life allow you to achieve. Our schemes to grow the middle class not by promoting middle class values but by facilitating the purchase of middle class status markers is, well, like thinking that if you give everyone a trophy, everyone will be a winner. Oops.

I feel for the kid with his little rant. When I was a lad, we were taught to respect our elders and learn the lessons they taught us. It sounds like he did just that. Poor bastard.

Icepick said...

I also do think that many employers simply want ready-to-hire employees when that is not a realistic option (for most fields) no matter how much education one may have. As with many bubbles, it includes many overlapping societal factors, not just college costs a lot.

DING! DING! DING! Finally, someone talking some sense.

But college does cost a lot. And even if you get out, the employers likely want someone who's got two years or more experience in the field. So the college experience still leaves the student in a hole.

Synova said...

I think that it's very true that students are told over and over and over and over that what they need is a college degree. They're shown charts (I've seen them in the high school) that show how much you *will make* with no-high-school, high-school, vo-tech, college, or graduate degrees. Of course that is "on average" and no attempt is made to explain that this is assuming that you pick a field that offers employment and you are not personally hopeless.

I do feel a whole lot of sympathy, because the lies are real. I don't get too bent that a student expressed him or herself poorly.

At some point, though, a person bright enough for college is bright enough to have thought it through and realized that no one gets work in anthropology or "studies" or sociology or biology. (Actually the sciences are bad for BS degrees.)

There are lots of jobs out there that require a degree and it could be underwater basket weaving and no one cares except that you obviously showed up enough to pass.

Problem with *those* jobs is that they're all taken, just now, in this economy.

The other Big Lie is that college is about discovering yourself. No one cares about you discovering yourself. Making loan funds available so that you can go to college has nothing at all to do with you discovering yourself by taking a worthless but fascinating degree program.

A friend of mine is taking languages. Another friend and I talked to the people at the FBI recruiting table at a local Japanese festival. They need people who have languages. So we grabbed a flier for our now-Junior in languages and told her about it. Her response was that the FBI wasn't really *her*. Not her thing. My response... "Is eating your *thing*?"

At what point do you get to be picky?

MayBee said...

The current student loan government website says that student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy if the petitioner can prove it is a factor in his financial difficulties.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Icepick said...

The problem is that the young people are directing their frustration at the wrong group. They are being led by the nose by people with an agenda that is not in the best interests of the students.

Think for yourself instead of eating the pablum.


I'm not eating the pablum, yours or the movement leaders. I do recognize that there are massive problems, however, which you are denying by telling me there are plenty of jobs.

But the students, and many others, sure as hell have a right to be pissed when we see the fnanciers get off scot-free, as well as the pols that are their enablers-bought servants. I'm gueing from your comments you only approve of that sort of thing when the upset peons go out and vote for your team.

Kit said...

a party-like "Hail Mary" atmosphere prevails

The "Hail Mary" reference is distracting. One, I don't get it. Two, I read it and keep seeing replays of Saturday night's game.

And we have Mary who believes colleges charge high tuition because they have a football stadium.

The truth is that a lot of booster resources go to the athletic departments b/c they don't want them to go to academics. The universities are hooked on this and tv revenues as if they were crack addicts.

Mary said...
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Jay said...

The truth is that a lot of booster resources go to the athletic departments b/c they don't want them to go to academics. The universities are hooked on this and tv revenues as if they were crack addicts.


Which proves my point. Tuition dollars don't go toward the stadium(s).

Icepick said...

Frankly, there are a lot of jobs available, but these buffoons who shine by their merit are not qualified: e.g. computer programmers. They are paying upwards of $100,000 for fresh college grads in the Silicon Valley.

Uh-huh. I'm sure there are enough jobs to cover the 20,000,000 or so people that are unemployed or under-employed, if only they'd get computer programming degrees.

Mary said...
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MadisonMan said...

The truth is that a lot of booster resources go to the athletic departments b/c they don't want them to go to academics.

This is why Harvard has such a big endowment. Because of its great football team.

Mary said...
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Icepick said...

Where were you two years ago?

Learn to count, sweety. Two years ago everything was already done. TARP was a year-old by that point, and the Stimulus package had been passed eightmonths earlier.

As for where I was before that? I thought the financial system bailout was a necessary evil. It should have been followed up by breaking up the big banks, and firing (and prosecuting where applicable) those culpable in the financial industry. The bail-out of GM was criminal and should not have been done.

But then, I can count, and I understood some of what was going on. How about you?

garage mahal said...

The biggest tragedy in all this, of course, is the super wealthy had their feelings hurt. "Tax the Rich?"

How will they ever heal from that?

As Hoosier pointed out the other day: If you think America sucks, go somewhere like North Korea and see how bad they have it there!

Mary said...
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Icepick said...

The current student loan government website says that student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy if the petitioner can prove it is a factor in his financial difficulties.

That's not the reality. The reality is that you basically have to be able to prove that you can't work to get them discharged. Practically, it doesn't happen very often.

See more.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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MayBee said...

That's not the reality. The reality is that you basically have to be able to prove that you can't work to get them discharged. Practically, it doesn't happen very often.

So is that bad?

Icepick said...

Folks like Icepick want to "educate" me, tell me I can't count, when all I'm trying to relate back is: Stop the Whining.

I guess with you it really was over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Since you equate protesting with whining, by your own logic no one should have protested three years ago.

In fact, people did protest as soon as they could. But the government acted with great alacrity for a change, and the biggest piece was in place before popular outrage could build. What to do then?

There have been a series of other mechanisms for bailing out the finance industry since then. Most of them were under the radar. How to protest something when you don't know what's happening? How many people on this board could explain Operation TWIST, what it's stated purpose is, what it's stealth purpose is, and why it will prove insufficient? Such stealthy tactics, and who knows what the Fed has been doing that no one knows about. What to do then?

Actually, given talk of another possible round of QE, not to mention Operation TWIST, not to mention another stupid local government bailout plan masquerading as a jobs bill, why shouldn't they protest NOW?

Icepick said...

Maybe next time, you'll learn differently.

Wrong, dumb-ass. Look to the bank runs of the 1930s to see what happens with a general financial collapse, amongst other places. better still, read up on Rogoff & Reinhart's work on financial crises. They DO NOT END QUICKLY whether the government takes action or not.

Icepick said...

So is that bad?

If you're a finance company holding the paper, it's gret that it doesn't happen - you get a debt slave for life. If you've got a McJob and a mountain of student loan debt, then welcome to Dickensian England. Look into the situation of the typical law school grad, for example.

For another idea of why the laws are like this, you can look into the bankruptcy reform act of 2005 or so. Look into who paid whom what to get an idea of why things were done.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Icepick said...

So maybe now you've learned, the bailouts you supported as "a necessary evil" ?

As opposed to the banking sector shutting down completely? Yes, a necessary evil. For weal and (especially) for woe, the banks are the conduit for money in our country, and large-scale globally integrated commerce will shut down without them. Unfortunately (though predictably), the bankers & other financiers basically own the government, so corrective action has not been taken.

But if nothing had been done in the fall of 2008 the situation would have gotten worse.

What pea-brains like you can't understand is that the options aren't between just doing something and doing nothing. There are lots of somethings that can be done. Which means it isn't a simple either/or proposition.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

As Hoosier pointed out the other day: If you think America sucks, go somewhere like North Korea and see how bad they have it there!



Recently heard at OWS:

"the workers of North Korea get paid decent wages".

As usual, the beclowning is now complete.

Mary said...
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Icepick said...

Oh, suck it up or ask your PARENTS for a bailout.

My parents are dead, thank you for asking.

Wow, besides bringing the stupid in a big way, you really do make a point of being asx miserable a human as possible. Good luck with that in the future.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Mary is a permanently banned commenter. I delete all posts by her that I see, unread. Please do not interact with her. Thank you.

Mary said...
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Icepick said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

Oh, that's no fun, put 'em back in!

Does make me miss Titus, though. Does he still come around?

Ann Althouse said...

Nice to see you, Icepick.

Icepick said...

Nice to see you, Icepick.

Likewise, Boomer bashing aside. ;)

WV: porspr - what people do in hard economic times.

MayBee said...

If you're a finance company holding the paper, it's gret that it doesn't happen - you get a debt slave for life.

How about the Federal Government? Obama made it so it's the federal government, not a finance company, holding the paper.

If you are at McDonalds after graduating from college, you should contact your student loan servicer and request payment deferrals or an income-dependent payment plan.

Hopefully in the near future you will get back on your feet and begin to pay off the money you were given.

Icepick said...

How about the Federal Government? Obama made it so it's the federal government, not a finance company, holding the paper.

We'll see if that holds up. I expect that to be over-turned one way or the other in early 2013.

But it would be worse. Now the government has its claws into even more people, especially those nominally educated.

Cedarford said...

new york said...
We have always tolerated vast discrepancies of wealth and income in America, but historically in all societies, when it gets to obscene levels you will have people protesting in the streets.


Very true, and the peasants are never too enthralled by the nobility telling them any disparity in wealth is all their own fault and to shut up, obey the laws of the Czar or the dictates of Versailles.
It starts with protests and when things are not fixed, it goes beyond protests, typically.

Icepick said...

Hopefully in the near future you will get back on your feet and begin to pay off the money you were given.

Well, the missed interest (which is most of the repayment in the early years) gets added to the principal. Going backwards.

And in this economic environment, how soon will things get better? The long-term unemployed have seen their (our, in my case) skills whither. Hell, I got job re-training (BIG mistake), and those skills have withered too. No one wants to hire anyone who's been out of work for more than six months.

And despite the comments of the assholes who think they know it all, there really are not enough jobs to go around, even if you're willing to work for minimum wage. I've tried that too. (And I will try it again soon.) Hell, even the drug dealers aren't hiring anymore, unless you're family.

The LTUE are simply screwed.

Synova said...

"Uh-huh. I'm sure there are enough jobs to cover the 20,000,000 or so people that are unemployed or under-employed, if only they'd get computer programming degrees."

I hate to say but... it trickles down. ;-)

How ever many employed computer programmers (and I actually figure that everyone who is the least interested or going to be the least good at it, already took the degree, but assuming that more people could have done and did) takes the pressure off of other areas, plus they employ people once they are employed because they become a productive (in real terms productive, not like government services "industries").

Also there seems to be a great need for machinists and related craftsmen. But it's labor and not university so the brightest students have been guided away from these skilled and quite high-paying fields in favor of useless college degrees and crushing debt.

Synova said...

"plus they employ people once they are employed"

They employ people, in turn, once they have an income because they put that income into the community. They make optional purchases, eat out more, get their hair done, buy new stuff, pay rent or a mortgage, take a vacation, go to the doctor and pay tuition for their children.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Don't forget that education expenses are up something like 500% in the last 26 years alone..."

So rather than question why education costs so much, just demand someone else pay for it.

Any wonder why there are no congressional investigations of colleges and the obvious price gouging?

Icepick said...

It starts with protests and when things are not fixed, it goes beyond protests, typically.

The Tea parties were the first manifestation, the first wave. I went to one here in town and followed the movement. My reaction was the same as Manny's in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" - they were mostly yammerheads whose hearts were in the right place, but they didn't really know how big the problems were or how to fix them. Many Tea partiers seemed to think the cutting out welfare benefits to "those people" and ending the bailouts would fix everything. Wrong.

And since then they have raged a war from the Right for the Heart and Soul of the Republican Party. They even won some races against Repub incumbents. And now they've safely been co-opted into the mainstream of American politics, with frothy rhetoric but deal cutting back-stage. They juist haven't realized yet that they've lost.

(Example of how they've lost - Marco Rubio is a darling of the movement, even though he's just another slimy career pol, came up through the same state Republican Party Establishment as the hated Charlie Crist. Not much of a Revolution.)

Now the OWS movement is here, the second wave. I have no doubt that it was started as something of an astro-turf campaign, given the organizers of the original protest. I have no doubt that they're still believing that they have it under control. But this movement is outgrowing them. There's a lot of anger out here, and it won't take much foment to bring things to a boil.

But the Occupiers don't really know what they want. That makes them yammerheads too, regardless of where their hearts are. The organizers want them to pull the lever for the D's come 2012. I won't be shocked if the organizers even succeed in co-opting the movement.

But that isn't going to change things for the better. If voting D were all it took we'd have seen enough improvement by now that the D's would be marching to a sweep in 2012.

So what happens when the Tea partiers and the Occupiers realize they've been duped? And how many waves are in this set? I betting there's at least three, and I won't be entirely shocked if the second wave is overtaken by the third before the next election.

MayBee said...

Well, the missed interest (which is most of the repayment in the early years) gets added to the principal. Going backwards.


The interest is also tax deductible.

If you get back on your feet, you should be able to pay it. If you don't, the balance will be dismissed. There are a host of options for people who truly, truly can not pay back their loans. We don't need to make it so it easy for people who simply don't want to pay off their loans.


College is too expensive. Let's fix that.

Psychedelic George said...
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Icepick said...

That's great, Synova. Someone else gets a good job and the rest get to be hair-dressers and waitresses? And it's a given that any jobs related to the programmers actual work are going to get shipped overseas, just as all the Apple manufacturing is done overseas. No help there.

As for the needs for machinists - I was discussing this a week or two ago with someone who has knowledge of the field, or so they claimed. My point was that if there was really a need for such workers, the employers would take some sort of action to train them - training in return for guarantees to work at certain wages for the employer for a certain amount of time, or to buy back the cost of the training when leaving.

He argued the point with me for some time before conceding that I was basically correct. It is expected that the potential employee incure all risk for getting training with no guarantees that there will be work. Which means the emplyers don't really have any need for more employees, or they'd take action to get them.

The problem with taking all the risk in this situation is that in this employment environment, even the people claiming they need fresh blood only want to hire people with experience. So there isn't really a need for those jobs. Especially when you consider that the US shed about a third of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010. It's a shrinking pool, so the employers are better off waiting for their competitors to off-shore the jobs (or even off-shore themselves) and then cherry-pick the left-overs from your competitor's ex-employees.

It's really really ugly, and that's why I have no patience for idiots who say there are plenty of jobs if (insert inane nostrum HERE).

Icepick said...

College is too expensive. Let's fix that.

Good luck with that.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Jay said...

The long-term unemployed have seen their (our, in my case) skills whither. Hell, I got job re-training (BIG mistake), and those skills have withered too. No one wants to hire anyone who's been out of work for more than six months.

And despite the comments of the assholes who think they know it all, there really are not enough jobs to go around, even if you're willing to work for minimum wage. I've tried that too.


So in other words, we should extrapolate your experience to 20,000,000

Which of course is idiotic.

Icepick said...

Wrong, doofus, on both counts. You have no idea who you are speaking to, what I think, what positions I hold, which ones I hold passionately, and which I'm flexible on.

Sorry, Professor, I can't help myself. But I shall stop now.

The one bad thing about Blogger is that the default comments don't allow for filtering or censoring, save much work from the blog administrator.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... And did I mention that the bankruptcy laws got re-written a few years ago so student loan debt can't be discharged?.."

A few years ago? It's been like that for at least 20 years.

Jay said...

Icepick said...
Wrong, doofus, on both counts. You have no idea who you are speaking to, what I think, what positions I hold, which ones I hold passionately, and which I'm flexible on.


You are doing a fantastic job at being incoherent.

Crunchy Frog said...

They told us all we had to do
Was do what we're told
Buy what we're sold
Invest in gold
And never get old


My kid did a year in Auto Shop in high school and enjoyed it. I'm doing my best to point him in the direction of a marketable skill - where the jobs are.

I'd love it if he went into the Air Force and got paid to learn it, but he's not too thrilled about the whole "boot camp" thing.

wv: eranters - commenters

MayBee said...

Also there seems to be a great need for machinists and related craftsmen. But it's labor and not university so the brightest students have been guided away from these skilled and quite high-paying fields in favor of useless college degrees and crushing debt.

In union states and for union jobs, it is virtually impossible to get into a skilled trade without connections.

Mary said...
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Icepick said...

So in other words, we should extrapolate your experience to 20,000,000

Which of course is idiotic.


Not just my experience. I know lots of people in the same boat. I know lots of people that have tried the same things. I know people that have tried different things, to no avail. So far, the only people I know that have successfully "gotten back on that horse" have been those who got their new jobs through some form of nepotism. There's been one exception to that, and he's been flying high in a rarified field. Good for him.

But the others I know? They run the gammut from unemployed construction workers (one did steel framing in sky-scrapers), administrators for all kinds of businesses, for real estate people, former finance people, former engineers (funny to hear all the talk of how important engineering is when I know UE engineers who were good at their jobs, i.e., there rockets didn't blow up, their satellites worked, etc.), former HR people, former this, former that, and former whatever. It's damned near a universal experience, and I don't know very many people under 40, and almost all of them have college degrees.

But if you count that as anecdotal, what about the BLS reports? Even if you think they're completely honest, they point to a huge number of people out of work. Do you really think only the lazy people, the mean people, the incompetent people lost their jobs?

I remember interviewing at one company, and before they could get back to me on whether or not I got the job, their parent company closed the whole division. That was a couple of thousand people out of work. It's ludicrous to believe they were all some combination of incompetent, lazy, mean, whatever.

Or the infamous McDonald's hiring spree last spring. Over 1,000,000 applied for 50,000 jobs. (McD's wo so happy with the turn out they upped there hire quota about 25%.) That over 900,000 people trying for a lowly job at McDonald's and not getting it. That's roughly a million who tried, and were willing, and who couldn't get the work. presumably they had been trying before that too, and couldn't get the work.

There isn't enough work. A lot of us can look at out own experience and know that. Or we can look at a slightly larger pool of the people we know. (And a lot of us network, in the futile belief that it will help. Monkies like each other's company, is what it amounts to.)

Or we can look at the over-all statistics.

Look at the mean-income numbers, that have cratered in recent years. (A big fuss was made when those were released a week or two ago.) Those numbers are DOWN, indicating that even for those with jobs things don't look too goo. Job security is DOWN - look a the surveys, people that have jobs are running scarred that they won't.

If you're not in one of the few boom towns in the country, go drive around. How are the commercial real estate vacancies looking? Seen many abandoned houses in the neighborhoods?

If you look carefully, you see that someone is always opening a new nail salon, or a new chinese eatery, even as the old ones close down. That's expected. But then (if you pay attention) you will hear that CISCO is laying off more people. So has IBM recently, although you probably need to know someone at IBM to know that. (They were closing down a proifitable units to ship them overseas, so they can be even more profitable.) GI haven't looked, but given their recent history, GE is probably continuing to ship jopbs overseas.

Idiotic would be thinking that my experience is unique, given all the evidence that is out there to the contrary, both anecdotal (go out and use your EYES and EARS), and statistical.

Icepick said...

A few years ago? It's been like that for at least 20 years.

There was a big re-write in 2005 or so. You can realize it was there by looking at personal bankruptcy filings by year. There was a HUGE spike right before it took effect.

Icepick said...

You are doing a fantastic job at being incoherent.

I'll let you see if you can figure it out. But I will give you a hint - it was in response to a specific comment.

Good luck with that.

I Callahan said...

In all fairness, Icepick, assuming you're worldview is closest to the truth, I have a question: What exactly would you do to attempt to fix these problems? I've heard a lot of complaining, but zero ideas for solutions.

gail said...

Grandniece is off to college next year, with very good ACT scores. Parents told her she will attend the local state university for 2 years and live at home.

Niece went to parent day and sat through the "how to" presentation on borrowing money for college. She was trapped into a conversation with one of the financial aid people, who, upon hearing the family was not borrowing money for kid's college education, exclaim, "You HAVE to borrow money."

This is a family who shops at Goodwill stores even though both parents have engineering degrees. The kids have watched their parents thrifty choices and know how to save money while enjoying a nice lifestyle, camps, family vacations, musical instraments, and special classes such as blacksmithing and robotics.

It's all about choices and priorities.

Mary said...
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Kit said...

This is why Harvard has such a big endowment. Because of its great football team.

If Harvard had a football legacy or even wanted one, I guarantee you, alumni would want to be a huge part of it.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Logically, someone who ruins a large company should himself be ruined, but instead he reaps enormous rewards. It's morally wrong, and economically hazardous..."

Isn't that the fault of the board of directors for agreeing to an open ended employment contract that gurantees millions even in the event of failure?

Reminds me of when Bob Sanders when he played for the Colts and made almost $40 million for playing a total of 11 games.

Mary said...
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Jay said...

I Callahan said...
In all fairness, Icepick, assuming you're worldview is closest to the truth, I have a question: What exactly would you do to attempt to fix these problems? I've heard a lot of complaining, but zero ideas for solutions.


Exactly.

Which is what generated my comment that icepick is being incoherent.

It is like long, rambling, whine fest.

MadisonMan said...

If Harvard had a football legacy or even wanted one, I guarantee you, alumni would want to be a huge part of it.

Giving and therefore endowments are simply not a function of sports success.

Mary said...
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ALP said...

This is fascinating to me as a 50 year old getting a second bachelor's in a "luxury" field (landscape architecture).

Being the old fart has so many advantages. Already own property. Invested an inheritance in the stock market (where I have done very well thank you very much). No kids and there will not be any. My long term partner inherited the house he grew up in, which is PAID for (no mortgage/rent to put a roof over our heads). Top it off with a cheap lifestyle and no other debt....

I'll come out of this with roughly $30K in debt, which is the price of a decent SUV, which I'll never buy. As long as I have a tenant in my condo/rental - mortgage is covered. No car payments...no credit card debt. Even if I get a $12 an hour job, I can manage to pay it off in my circumstances.

Maybe we should start letting more old farts into undergrad programs!

Mary said...
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Cedarford said...

DBQ - Quit whining because you found out that the cake is a lie. Learn to change. Adapt. Find a new way. Our ancestors have always had to do this. The Great Depression certainly changed life and our grandparents or great grands figured it out. Now....it is your turn. Unfair? Maybe. But life is not fair.
As the first poster said.
Welcome to the Darwinian struggle.


The Great Depression did trigger a Darwinian struggle, DBQ. It went both ways.

The rich saw their industries regulated, their income and capital gains taxes jacked up to the 90% level for the highest rate.

Union membership exploded, as did worker and farmer co-ops. In towns, the fees of doctors and lawyers were told to be lowered, or they best roll up their shingles and move because a replacement could be found that would lower fees to what the people could afford.

We turned away refugees, to their deaths, it turned out, in some cases. We didn't care. We didn't have the jobs for our own people. We had soldiers with machine guns on the Mexican border, and cops with guns guarding the border crossings in wealthier states from "jobs takers" seeking to get in from other states.

During those times, with revolutionary voices rising even in America - because they thought FDR and Congress and new regulators of the rich and the unions didn't go far enough - you saw a big boost in private security hiring by the wealthy. Due to augmented perception of the risk to person, family, and property from those that wanted "redistribution".

Same thing was happening in Europe, which chose between Socialism, Fascism, or communism.

Social Darwinism cuts both ways, baby!

Alex said...

It starts with protests and when things are not fixed, it goes beyond protests, typically.

As in guillotines?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ice, govt issued or guranteed student loans have been non dischargeable since the late 70s. The 2005 law brought commercial student loans into the realm of non dischargeable debt.

Kit said...

Giving and therefore endowments are simply not a function of sports success.

Of the schools with successful athletic programs (scholarships, world class facilities, fame and fortune), they absolutely are.

Synova said...

"I'd love it if he went into the Air Force and got paid to learn it, but he's not too thrilled about the whole "boot camp" thing."

Ohfergoshsakes.

Tell your kid that the whole point of boot camp is to get everyone through it. You learn to salute correctly and wear your uniform and after that they run you around and yell at you to see who will fall apart when faced with a stressful situation. Everything you need to do is explained to you directly and in detail and if you just do it, moment by moment, and follow extremely simple directions like "don't smoke" and "don't hide food under your pillow" (and it's amazing how many young dears simply *can't* follow a simple direction that provides no hardship whatsoever), pretty soon it's over.

RonF said...

Here's the thing - you DON'T have to go into massive debt to get your 4-year degree. Kids where I live who have limited financial resources but who don't qualify for a free ride are going to their local community college to do their first two years, and then transferring to a State university to finish up. Of course they have to live at home and don't get to party down like the kids who are hundreds of miles away from home, but it's sure a lot cheaper.

Then there's going into the military for a few years and getting benefits, or just skipping school for a couple of years and working at some menial job, living at home and saving up some $$. Nobody forced those kids to take those loans. My kids took out loans.

Pastafarian said...

Icepick said (to DBQ): "...you snarky bitch."

That was funny. No offense, DBQ, but that made me shoot soda out my nose.

Icepick, you're right about a few things and wrong about others.

No, there aren't jobs enough out there to employ 20 million people as computer programmers. But you'll never have full employment in a free society; the best you'll ever get is something like 4% unemployment.

And obviously they couldn't ALL be computer programmers, you snarky little bitch, but if some of them had gone into CNC programming, I'd have a job for one. And if some of them had gone into engineering, and accounting, instead of anthropology and sociology, then yes, more of them would be employed.

There are jobs out there that are hard to fill -- Synova mentioned machinist. If you're an experienced CNC swiss setup guy, you can start at $70,000 tomorrow.

Too many people went into the wrong majors; too many people went to college and some should have went right to work or went to trade schools. I'm not sure who you should lash out at, about that. The guidance counselors and admissions offices that have herded over 50% of graduating seniors into 4-year schools, would be a good place to start.

The New York moneymen, as the OWS people would so euphemistically call them? I don't really see where they enter into this problem, unless you suppose that their tentacles reach into the offices of high school guidance counselors.

But those people always have made a really good scapegoat.

Pastafarian said...

Icepick: "As for the needs for machinists... if there was really a need for such workers, the employers would take some sort of action to train them..."

Yes, that's what I'll do. I need someone to set up a very complex machine, with 7 axes of movement, live tooling, subspindle. I'll just hire someone and train them.

Shouldn't take any longer than 4, 5 years, tops. Then I'm all set. Of course, they'll only know what I teach them...so they'll add nothing to our company's collective IQ. But a warm body, that's all an employee is.

Now if I could just find customers that will accept 5 year lead times...

"Which means the emplyers don't really have any need for more employees..."

Wow, good thing you told me that. I'll pull that ad down before I waste anyone else's time. It was just all in my mind. There's probably a big stack of applications from qualified candidates right here in front of me, and I can't see it.

rcommal said...

the current crop of protesters pretty much the way I looked at their parents in the 60's.

Are the kids being discussed the children of boomers or their grandkids? You're a boomer if you were born as early as 1946, by the conventional definition of boomer. If you're talking about the later boomers (the cutoff is debated). Prof. A's particular cohort among the boomers (early 50s) would have been at college during the '60s, for example, but those born later in the '50s or earliest '60s (if you count them as boomers) would have been somewhere in K-12.

It seems likely that most--not all, but most--of the recently graduated "kids" referred to are children of Gen Xers (right term?), who in turn were raised by the early boomers. Also, let's not forget that the so-called Greatest Generation spawned the majority of the boomers ... .

rcommal said...

Book just delivered by UPS 5 minutes ago: This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. How appropos.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Icepick said (to DBQ): "...you snarky bitch."

That was funny. No offense, DBQ, but that made me shoot soda out my nose.

LOL. None taken. I know myself...I'll own it :-) I can be snarky when I want to.

There ARE jobs for those who are willing to take them.

It may mean moving. Moving away from your urban area and outside of your comfort zone. Lowering your expectations. Changing your chosen career. Working for less than you think you are worth. Working more than one job at a time.

Not everyone needs to or should go to college. Just because you want something, a career in computer programing or to major in philology, it isn't any guarantee that there are jobs in your 'chosen' profession.

Many good jobs don't require a college degree. You might have to get your hands dirty and bend your back, like my husband who has a plumbing business, but it can be a good job.

If you, as a student, bought the fairy tale without any critical thinking or planning or research....well....that is your problem.

MarkD said...

Ah, since 1968 was so great the first time around. My best friend was still alive. I was still a student.Asia was a place I had never been.

Give it time, kids. It can get worse

rcommal said...

It was staggering today to discover that the per-credit-hour tuition cost (and only tuition cost) for a distance learning course at the state university I attended is $476. Again, that's per credit hour tuition. Cripes, tuition for an entire 15-credit semester on campus was less than $600 fewer than 30 years ago.

Bubble definitely needs to be popped!

(Loans taken out contractually still should be paid back, though. No one forced anyone to take out a loan.)

AJ Lynch said...

Temple University tuition for one year was $450 in 1972-1973 school year. Today it's $13,000 for in-state students [or more depending on the school.]

Villanova tuition was $1,800 for 1970-1971 school year. Today it's $40,530.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The State College I attended had tuition (as best I can recall...ahem a lot of things are not so clear from those times..if you know what I mean) in 1971 of about $750 for the year. Currently it appears to be between $5000 and $6000.

But keep in mind:

How Much things cost in 1971

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 4.3%

Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 890 (we are pushing 12K....too bad you didn't invest then ...wink)

Average Cost of new house $25,250.00

Average Income per year $10,600.00

Average Monthly Rent $150.00

Cost of a gallon of Gas 40 cents

Datsun 1200 Sports Coupe $1,866.00

United States postage Stamp 8 cents

Ladies 2 piece knit suits $9.98

Movie Ticket $1.50

Minimum wage was $1.60 (it is $8.00 today)



It is all relative. For the cost of a used car in 1971 you could buy a year of college. Same thing today.

Not to say that the costs for education haven't risen more than other commodities or services or that the value for what you pay is just not there. Just that you can't compare the bare dollars to dollars from 30 to 40 years ago without looking at all of the other variables.

E.M. Davis said...

philology

Is that the study of television? Because I have a Masters in that.

Icepick said...

Shouldn't take any longer than 4, 5 years, tops. Then I'm all set. Of course, they'll only know what I teach them...so they'll add nothing to our company's collective IQ. But a warm body, that's all an employee is.

You're making my point. You only want to hire experienced people. You can't go study for that job and come out with experience. If you're not willing to hire entry level people, or train them, then eventually you are going to run out of experienced folks to hire. That's pretty damned basic stuff. You want a free ride from other people training people and giving them experience. Just another free-loader, like those damned hippy kid protestors.

Mary said...
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AJ Lynch said...

DBQ- go to one of those Cracker Barrels and buy for $3.99 the little book that tells about prices and the news in the year you were born. You will be shocked to see how college cost has increased way way more than the cost of gas, eggs, houses, cars, postage stamps etc. It can't be explained rationally.

California state colleges may be a rare exception.

Icepick said...

You want answers? Do you really think they can even be outlined in a blog comment? Back in July I actually tried to come up with stuff off the top of my head in the middle of the night. Rahter than clog up Dave Schuler's blog comments section (at The Glittering Eye blog), I posted it o my own blog.

This was stuff off the top of my head in the middle of the night. The spelling is terrible, and the syntax breaks down, but at almost 5,000 words I'm in no mood to edit the thing. But if you insist on seeing an outline of some of the things I believe ought to be done, then knock yourself out.

That's some stuff, but it's a start, and more than any of you have posted here.

But none of it will happen. The political atmosphere is too clogged with smog, and that's how TPTB want it. So dream on, suckers.

Mary said...
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Icepick said...

You were whining, on your own blog, that the free government-provided healthcare services your mother was getting weren't working fast enough or well enough.

Wrong, you evil bitch. I'm stating that the government healthcare system was inefficiently run, with no accountability. Getting stuck in test programs that were supposed to reduce costs but that actually ended up costing more. (Costing the tax payers more, specifically.) Actions that drove up expense and made care WORSE instead of better. Not to mention numerous actions by doctors who would say one thing and do another. ("We'll present your mother's case to the tumor board on Wednesday", and then not actually do so - for THREE WEEKS RUNNING.)

My complaints with the system were that it was failing to do its job while simultaneously making a lot of other people money.

You fucking evil bitch! You MUST be the Mary that's been banned all over the place, no doubt about it now.

Icepick said...

mary, I thought that was you, and now I know for certain. I have never personally encountered anyone who reveled in the pain of others as much as you do, and I've know some hard-ass psychos from time to time. You're pathological. Get some help.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Mary said...

Boo hoo hoo.

I waited 3 whole weeks for somebody to treat a tumor, and then, they didn't! Boo hoo hoo.

If you want something done right, Icepick... (hire somebody competent, and spend your own money more wisely??)

Pastafarian said...

Icepick: "That's pretty damned basic stuff..."

That I'm a "free-loader" because I don't think my customers will accept the four-year lead time I'd have to give them in order to train all of my employees from the ground up?

I'm not unsympathetic to your plight, but you come across like a bit of an asshole.

You know what might have been a win-win? Had you chosen to forego college, and found an entry-level push-button operator position in a machine shop, and learned CNC setup and a little programming, then maybe I'd have my guy and you'd have what is actually a very good job.

Maybe machining doesn't appeal to you. That's fine. Chase your dream, that's your right. Just don't blame me, or the "New York financial types", when that doesn't pan out.

We can look at this in macro or microcosm, personally or impersonally, and either way, I think that we're in agreement on the fact that too many people have earned too many degrees. These were, however, individuals freely deciding to invest their time and money in a degree. Asking for forgiveness of that debt now is like asking for your money back from that bet you put on the UW/MSU game, because no one told you a Hail Mary might be completed.

rcommal said...

in order to train all

That all is a straw man.

rcommal said...

Icepick aside, for the moment:

You'd be lucky to get at least a few folks I know who have the skills you seek from the outset plus other things. But you won't get them, because--given your attitude--they're more likely to go out on their own with those skills, test the waters and build their own business on the side (while, at least for the first few years, also working as consultants full-time doing what they did they before, even for the employer who laid them off, as necessary.) Beware, Pastafarian. Arrogance takes various forms; most people have at least one or two forms. You appear to have more. How do you know, why do you think, you'll end up among the permanently standing?

rcommal said...

Icepick aside, for the moment:

Pastafarian: You'd be lucky to get at least a few folks I know who have the skills you seek from the outset plus other things. But you won't get them, because--given your attitude--they're more likely to go out on their own with those skills, test the waters and build their own business on the side (while, at least for the first few years, also working as consultants full-time doing what they did they before, even for the employer who laid them off, as necessary.) Beware, Pastafarian. Arrogance takes various forms; most people have at least one or two forms. You appear to have more. How do you know, why do you think, you'll end up among the permanently standing?

Jamie said...

Geesh. So many problems with what these kids seem to want.

WHY did we start telling kids that their own self-actualization should be their primary career goal? You're a member of a human society; your personal goal is to thrive, however you define it, and your societal obligation, as well as the way to get to that personal goal, is to provide something that others value. (Of course, if you define "thrive" as "be self-actualized," maybe providing something of value doesn't have to be your route to fulfillment; but at the same time, you don't get to complain that society doesn't want anything you have.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That I'm a "free-loader" because I don't think my customers will accept the four-year lead time I'd have to give them in order to train all of my employees from the ground up?

Siding with Pasta here.

In today's business environment with over regulation, rising costs, taxes out the whazoo and slim slim margins of profit...... a company just cannot afford to take on unskilled, unready employees to nurture and train.

It would be nice to be able to have a few trainees and apprentices to grow into your business.

Those times are past, at least for now. A business MUST look to the bottom line for survival and that means getting the most efficiency from every aspect of the operation INCLUDING the workforce.

Icepick said...

In today's business environment with over regulation, rising costs, taxes out the whazoo and slim slim margins of profit...... a company just cannot afford to take on unskilled, unready employees to nurture and train.

Then those businesses and their owners and custmers lose the right to say, "Well, there are plenty of jobs if ..." You won't provide the training, you won't provide the jobs, but you expect someone else to do so. Pure freeloading.

Pastafarian said...

Icepick, it would only be freeloading if I were asking for something for free. I'm not asking for anything from anyone.

If we didn't encourage 60% of high school students to attend 4-year schools, and instead allowed them to believe that machinist, for example, is a good career option among many, rather than a last-resort for those few that can't get into school, then there would naturally be a larger supply of skilled, competent, career machinists from which to choose; and more of those people would be employed.

I'm not asking for society to provide me with qualified employees; they'll be provided by the free market when artificial forces, like absurdly cheap and readily available student loans straight from the government that can be paid off over decades and might just be forgiven someday, which has forced up the cost of and demand for college.

Calling me a freeloader because I can't train someone in a very complex discipline in a short amount of time, in time for an immediate need, is nonsensical. It's like calling a hunter a freeloader because he didn't raise that deer from a fawn, or a fisherman a freeloader because he didn't feed that salmon from the time it hatched.

Do you call hospitals freeloaders, because they don't welcome in homeless people as new interns, to be trained on the fly?

It's not my job to train people; I don't work in a school. To be honest, the skills required aren't taught in any school, it takes years of machining expensive materials on expensive machine tools to learn the trade.

And if you had chosen to go to work, instead of college, you'd have 4 years of that experience. You chose to go to college. Now pay your tab and move on.

If you think that there's some gap here to fill, then start an academy where people will pay you tuition to learn job skills. However, if your demeanor here is any indication, I'd guess that such an academy would be sort of the inverse of Dale Carnegie: How to Insult People and Piss Them Off.

And if you think your college debt should be forgiven, then consider the man who's your same age, who didn't go to college. While you were going beer-bongs and boinking cheerleaders, he was working the night shift in a factory.

What does he get, when you get this $100,000 debt forgiven? Does he get the note to his house torn up?

If not, you're a self-obsessed asshole. If so, then you're a crazy anarchist.

hawkeyedjb said...
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hawkeyedjb said...

"You won't provide the training, you won't provide the jobs, but you expect someone else to do so. Pure freeloading."

It doesn't look like Ice has any idea why or how jobs are created ("provided"). Insulting and denigrating employers appear to be the only tools in his box.

It's like reading an Obama speech.

murgatroyd666 said...

I Callahan wrote:

In all fairness, Icepick, assuming you're worldview is closest to the truth, I have a question: What exactly would you do to attempt to fix these problems? I've heard a lot of complaining, but zero ideas for solutions.

Why would anyone think there's a solution?

People here have been pretty good at hindsight ... but that's sort of like saying "You shouldn't have put your hand into a running garbage disposal." Trouble is, what's the "solution" to that problem? There is no good solution. Most of us wouldn't like to hear "Learn to use a hook, idiot!"

I suspect the "solution" to our college debt problem and our real estate loan problem and our unfunded pension problem and our China debt problem will be massive inflation. Perhaps not as bad as Weimar Republic hyperinflation, but still very painful.

Akai_Tsuki said...

I wish someone would explain clear and rationally to these kids: Your mere existence doesn't entitle you to anything. You aren't owed a free education or a free house or free health care or a sweet pension or infinite job security or to never be in debt. I knew that before I was their age (which wasn't that long ago).
charmsclawfoot tub shower kit

rcommal said...

I wish someone would explain clear and rationally to these kids: Your mere existence doesn't entitle you to anything. You aren't owed a free education or a free house or free health care or a sweet pension or infinite job security or to never be in debt. I knew that before I was their age (which wasn't that long ago)

Just curious: Do you also wish someone would clearly and rationally explain to a critical mass of a different demographic that they aren't owed *not* being means tested. And that they ought being willing to have whatever they insist ought to be implemented in terms of everyone else be applied **first** to themselves?

Or is all that stuff about being concerned about kids and grandkids just so much bullshit, come down to it?

I wonder.

---

(I wish someone would explain clear and rationally to these kids: Your mere existence doesn't entitle you to anything.

You know what, you who wrote that quoted comment? Your "mere existence" doesn't entitle you to anything either. I'd bother to wish that "someone" would explain, clearly and rationally, the reality of that to you, except that--clearly--there'd be no point. These oldsters these days!!!)

--

*Sigh* (among the biggest ones ever heaved on line)