Wednesday, August 28, 2013

College Costs Not Just a Conservative vs Liberal Problem

I've blogged in the past about how the current high out of pocket cost associated with college is a reflection of the fact that conservatives have successfully implemented their preferred policies.  They wanted less public subsidy for school, and that's what we now have. When the subsidy declines tuition has to go up.  Media Matters complies some additional data supporting my claim that you can read here.

But conservatives in my opinion are right about one thing, and it's discussed in an article from Matt Taibbi here.  Yes, state subsidy has declined.  But the government is involved in ways that are highly destructive, particularly the easy access to loans.  This is not much of a government subsidy because the government actually makes a profit from the system.  The default rate is very low because student loans are almost impossible to discharge.  You will be paying back, even if you have no job and end up on disability. 

To a large degree this loan system is more a reflection of the policy preferences of our Democratic politicians.  They pretend they are doing students a favor by providing loans.  This helps the individual.  If you don't have a college degree your job prospects are grim.

But this is kind of like saying that if you stand in the movie theater you'll get a better view.  That's true for the individual, but causes a collective problem.  Now everyone needs to stand to have a view that will be no better than if everyone had just continued to sit.  Cut the loans off and fewer people will go to school, but this doesn't mean demand for workers will necessarily change.  These days some employers are demanding a 4 year degree even for work that in the end is simply manual labor.  If fewer people have degrees employers will settle for workers without that degree.

Unfortunately for the young they don't have powerful advocates.  Educational institutions lobby hard, especially to Democrats, and they prefer that the loan money continues to flow.  It's wrecking the lives of the young, saddling them with crushing debt to acquire a degree that doesn't do much in terms of making them productive employees.  Similarly Republicans aren't interested in doing what it takes to solve the problem (returning subsidy to it's former levels).  Yes, I understand that this incentivizes people to acquire loans that may not be necessary, but this also is a factor in the loan problem.  As with so many other issues the harm here is a bipartisan effort.  Neither the Republicans nor Democrats are representing people.  Only the wealthy interest.


Paul said...

Hey Jon -

But this is kind of like saying that if you stand in the movie theater you'll get a better view. That's true for the individual, but causes a collective problem. Now everyone needs to stand to have a view that will be no better than if everyone had just continued to sit. Cut the loans off and fewer people will go to school, but this doesn't mean demand for workers will necessarily change

For sake of clarification let us ignore the financial burdens on students. Are you making the case that relative to current number of students that there *should* be less people going to college?

Chad said...

No - I think Jon wants "America" to pay for college I think or to have gov't control the costs. My bet is that he would like college to be "free". Of course we all know fully that nothing is free and it must be paid for.

This is a huge Personal Responsibility play for me - education is not a right nor should it be free and it certainly is not for everyone. It's an investment play and if a student/person is focused on a goal they can achieve it with a relatively small loan burden and in a fairly short period of time. The problem is that thes Liberal Arts Colleges create degrees in areas with limited ability to make the investment make any sense and most kids waste 2 years partying their asses off when they should be working nights and weekends to pay for college. Be the best - get scholarships, get an internship that could pay for your college - graduate at the top of our class.

I hate people who point to their degree like it is a badge of honor yet the suck at their job and they still expect to make money being average or below average at their job. They go to college - graduate with a C average and expect to make $100k while offering nothing valuable to their employer in a job market with a median income of $32k - there is the bigger problem.

Jon said...

Hey Paul,

I'm not sure I'm making the case, but I guess I am thinking that would be better. Ideally I think people should do whatever they want of their own free will. People are going to college not because they want to but because they understand if they don't they are more likely to have a difficult financial life. It's interesting reading the Taibbi article. The talks about people with $100K type loans that now have what in their words is "a degree in bull shit." Often I think people find themselves in that spot not because they pursued something they loved or did what they wanted but just because they thought they had to or they'd face future financial misery.

Ha Joon Chang talked about how some countries (maybe it was Germany and another one, I can't remember) don't have particularly high graduation rates, but are prosperous anyway. They do have other educational venues, like trades. Their financial state is pretty secure despite this.

Today I think it's easier than ever to learn whatever you want for free. I'm learning Chinese. In fact I've been doing it for almost exactly one year. I think if you compared my skill level to a first year student that was doing it to meet a graduation requirement you'd see that I'm further along. And I haven't really been going crazy studying. I study consistently. Every day a little bit. I'm actually involved for the purpose of learning whereas the student might be doing it just because he needs that certification. That's not how learning should be in my opinion, and I don't think it needs to be that way. He should be studying because he's interested in the subject. If he's not interested he won't learn much. If the piece of paper wasn't needed for a decent financial life, and he can choose to go to college to study subjects of interest, or he can choose to learn on his own for free, then that would probably lead to lower graduation rates, but I think that would be fine.

Jon said...

Chad there is no such thing as "America" in the sense you say. "America" should pay. "America" is an abstraction. Yeah, I think certain people should pay. Like me. I benefited from the fact that others paid for my education, and I think I should likewise help future generations. Because it's the right thing to do. Acting otherwise is greedy, selfish, cheap, cruel, and hypocritical.

You say a person CAN achieve a college education without too many problems. But you don't craft policy in a way that only considers the small minority that is extremely committed, dedicated, responsible and mature beyond their years. Some kids have irresponsible parents and no clue about these matters when they reach college age, so they sign whatever in terms of loans and go to school because they don't know any better. What about them?

I think it's perfect that you say "most kids" should graduate at the top of the class. That's a perfect microcosm of the flaw in your thinking. You do realize that this is impossible, right? You expect everyone to be perfect. You expect everyone to be above average. Math says it's impossible, but you look at the ones scoring below average and blame them, like they are not satisfactory human beings.

I do hope you are not so demanding on your kids. I hope you encourage, but still accept when they are not perfect. Otherwise they may end up rich, but they may also hate you, and you'll find the riches are less important.

Chad said...

JC - I get what your saying, but must disagree of course. When I say graduate as close to the top of your class as possible - it means inside that discipline your studying/that degree - just so that the individual can separate themselves from the median or below average if you expect to make more in the real world than the median or below average. It is a great thing that we have levels of ability and what I am saying here is that if your wanting to be an Engineer for instance and you are in a class of 200 Seniors (for arguments sake) and your class rank is 185 then you may want to switch majors if your expectation is to make a good living especially if there are 200 Engineers at every other school.

Let me switch out Americans with the word Tax Payers then. The only way to take revenue to supply 'free' schooling without a loan program is through taxes. Like Obama Care - I read it will not be called a tax, but now a Equal Share Charge which is absolute horse shit. Until the parasite class attempts to pull on their own boot straps to get out of whatever situation they are in then it is simple a Success Tax. Anyone who is successful somehow and someway is responsible for people who are 'less fortunate'. When in reality it means (in most cases) that somewhere down the pipe line of time - an individual did not take personal responsibility for their actions and their off spring did the same as they learned from their parents and the wheels of motion continues and the disease spreads until it becomes everyone else's issue except the person. Strike that - it becomes the responsibility of the responsible to take care of the irresponsible.

Personally I really like forcing people to take out loans because they then must take ownership - a personal responsibility choice to make sure that their investment is well thought out, investigated and implemented. If your goal is to be a teacher - knowing full well the average pay scale - maybe that person should find a mid level college costing school with good accreditations, fill the class schedule to the max, take summer classes and graduate in 3 years. They should probably look at colleges close to home to avoid paying rent or adding costs which would allow them to put any money they do make back into school costs lowering the loan burden when the graduate. If that individual chooses to go to an out of school college, has not collected any scholarships based on special skills or abilities to help pay then they decide to live in the dorms, party, miss class, fail class and take a full 5 years to graduate - there is no sympathy coming from me that they now owe $100k - that is on them. Especially when they go to the interview against the driven student who graduated in the top half of their class - finished in 3 years and beats them out.

Once again this simply circles all the way back around to that nasty word Progressives have no idea how to solve - JOBS.

If unemployment was at 4% then this would be a non discussion - if Engineers were being placed before they graduated and the earning scale of those graduating at the top being even higher - non issue.

This is an issue because of a lack of jobs, it is an issue because 30% up to 55% plus of peoples earnings are being confiscated by way of taxes to pay for other people, terrible programs and bad policies which then leaves a smaller sliver in the paycheck to pay for the education investment.

My kids will forge their own way through life - we will light the path and provide them sound advise through experience and yes our expectations are very high for them. We will expect them to max out whatever talents that they may have - if their very best is to graduate middle of the pack and a second stringer then so be it, but we will push and nudge them to peak perform in the areas that they are gifted.

Jonathan said...


You just made a great case for the entrepreneur. Everyone doesn't need to go to college to be successful, and depending on how you define "success" then many who go to college actually are not successful. I define it as being able to make a living doing what you are good at and love. Many who go to college end up being able to make a decent living, have a lot of debt, and are stuck doing what they hate. Others drop out of college, and struggle to find any job which will provide for them, their family, and their new college debt. For those who thrive in academia and acquire the skills they need to be successful, more power to them, but that's not the only way.

Internships, apprenticeships, and mentoring goes a long way. There's a lot to be said about hard work too. But hard work just for hard work's sake is not enough (lest Examinator accuse me of falling back on the "puritan work ethic" which I do happen to think is a great start). We do need guidance and advice from those who are more experienced in we are in the area of our interest, but we don't necessarily need to pay $1,000 per credit hour when there are so many resources for free online, at the library, or by being around others.

So the choice is not between a population with $100,000 college debt or no education, it's about finding ways to equip people in a much more cost effective and beneficial way.

Chad said...

"Some kids have irresponsible parents and no clue about these matters when they reach college age, so they sign whatever in terms of loans and go to school because they don't know any better. What about them?"

What parents - in today's world specifically - is this honestly true? With the workshops, on-line information and the high school teachers - what parent out there could claim this type of ignorance? Besides the loan documents you sign are robust enough to get your damn attention - what about them? If they are that incompetent then they most likely are not part of this conversation anyhow.

Jon said...

A lot of the people that today find themselves among the rich were in fact parasites when they were younger. Like me. Like you. It's not complicated. We help others when they are down and out or can't do it themselves, like when you are a child or when you are elderly, and then we expect that when you achieve success as a result of those sacrifices and also your hard work you give back. Today that's what you and I need to be doing. To look at that like it's some sort of unfair demand is very self serving and in my mind bizarre. You are successful today because others made sacrifice, and yet now you expect the young to just do it all themselves. That's not right.

We certainly know how to solve the jobs problem, but the whole theory of cut spending to balance the budget and wait for the investor confidence to bring everything back has been tried for years in Europe now and we can see the consequences. What they need is stimulus. That's why we're better off. That's how the Great Depression ended. We know how to do it. But the people in charge don't want to do it.

Yeah, you're going to stick with this claim that high taxation is the problem even though taxes are near the lowest they've been in something like 80 years. If you don't follow up your claim with some sort of evidence justifying the claim, I'm not going to accept it, so I don't know why you bother. All of the evidence is against you.

Not only are some parents irresponsible, some are so busy working two jobs at minimum wage they are too exhausted to help their kids work their way through these difficult issues. Again, you're very out of touch if you don't recognize the truth of this.

Jon said...

You're absolutely right, Jonathan. My hope for my kids is exactly what you describe. Do what you love and have all your needs met. It's not about making tons of money. But you do need some. Enough. And if you're doing what you love in order to acquire it, that's a recipe for a meaningful and happy life.

My father-in-law has this. His efforts to organize migrant workers is his passion. We give him grief for working throughout his vacation and one time he recently said "The thing is, it's not work for me. It's fun." He just loves it. Doesn't make tons of money. No RV or boat. Modest borderline crappy house. But since leaving the fields he worked as a child he really hasn't had to work for a wage. He gets a wage. But it isn't work.

Here's a blog post you may like. This is part 2 and there's also a part 1 at the link.

Chad said...

I help as a choice not a requirement and that is where your incorrect sir. I want to and in most cases do choose who and how I want to help, but you want to take that option from me - collect as much as you can in the name of 'fairness' or 'giving back' to make yourself feel great and attempt to make me look bad because I challenge that jaded notion. In the mean time - can't name a single solitary person outside my network of family or friends who helped me. Those who did help me - I am doing my best to reciprocate best I can in their honor.

You keep saying that I am on the wrong side of history on taxes - its the lowest in x years. If that helps you sleep then keep saying it. When 1 out of every 2 dollars made or 1 out of 3 dollars made is taken in the name of fairness - regardless of 'history' IT IS WAY TOO HIGH'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Period.

I absolutely 100% could use those confiscated funds for far more good then any gov't and I have.

If you think your hooked into the mainstream household with a parent or parents working 2 jobs and those parents - who are displaying huge individual responsibility don't pay attention to college loans and costs - your the one way way out of touch. If you example parent is doing that to provide their only goal in life is to make sure their kid is better than they are and signing a loan - any loan for them to crawl out of that hole is something they would do in a second or less.

Who's out of touch?

Chad said...

Besides - based on the amount of taxes confiscated from my family we are more than - far more than "doing our part" to pay back as you call it. Our ledger is more than clear at this point.

What would be fantastic is if you can just give me a number - just tell me how much we owe exactly to pay back our debt to society? As we continue to earn more through our labor we seem to somehow and in someway gain more of a share of the burden we owe?

So just let me know what I owe .... Please.

Examinator said...

You said ["education is not a right nor should it be free and it certainly is not for everyone."]

Why isn't it a right? Surely education is a means of survival much like good water, clean air?
The implications of what you're are saying is in effect is that either survival or even life its self isn't a right...?? How can life be guaranteed as a right to life if the means of survival are denied? Consider your position on abortion surely above views are mutually exclusive.

Are you telling us that education generally is the province of the rich or just higher education? The first is positively feudal the latter is for practical purposes ridiculous.
I suspect that because you didn't finish your education you are trying to justify that by saying that it's unnecessary to success (see I did it). Sadly you or I aren't the base standard.

On one hand you ignore the lack of opportunity for an unwanted child, especially given that up to 40% of a personality is in a very complex way genetic (dispositions). Added to the 50% of which is circumstantial and 10% is serendipitous,"luck of the draw", the lucky egg and sperm lottery.
Law of the (urban) Jungle...survival of the wealthy.

Flash! Most of the current wealthy didn't do it themselves most inherited it. e.g. the Hilton girls, Johnson and Johnson great Grand son, Look at the Hamptons' residents.

Also note many of the new rich didn't get there by producing a god damn thing ( share trades and derivatives etc. And we all know how well that turned out … 3 financial depressions 1880's, 1921 and the GFC.
Most of the US new 'wealth' is being gained by manipulation of the rules.

The only safe manufacturing is that which is tied to the military manufacturing complex.

Most of the University research is either military funded or acquired to make money not human improvement, with a fragment of the wealth going back to the university. See the CSIRO V the Cell phone manufacturers pirating the Wi Fi technology.

Examinator said...

Chad part 2
On the other hand your opinion ignore the reality of genetics and cause and effect. Most people (not all) marry for love not money... attraction is to some degree genetics ...oodles of research.. e.g. personal odour (in part) = natural immunity. Of course there's more to it but it has effect. That's why the same perfume smells different on different women.

Once the child is born, a reality, from parents who (in your words) can't afford and shouldn't have conceived one. Who is going to adopt them? You? What is their hope of a career/job particularly, according to you only the rich should be educated.

Further to that actual research has show that on average the frontal cortex of the brain (the decision making part) isn't at maturity until mid 20's it is unlikely that most children are capable of making mature sound decisions until then. (see the age stats of vehicle moving violations and accidents)

Fact: Why do you think pop stars are created by pre 26 YO and consumer (emotionally self gratification based) markets are directed to exploit this demographic. Nag advertising/placement of (celebrity) magazines at the cash registers. MARKETING 201.

As a jock are you telling me you never had sex or got drunk before you were finished College?
[“The problem is that thes (sic) Liberal Arts Colleges create degrees in areas with limited ability to make the investment”] Yet again I point out to you that college teaches one the TOOLS the individual needs to BECOME an expert. Yet again I point out that journalists come under the Humanities (Liberal Arts) this includes religious studies, Librarians, financial researchers. BTW a person from a liberal arts degree would be better at research and probably more informed that The average from the bottom up 'executive' or average TPer.

Fact: the National Lampoon (circa 1963) or the 'uninformed view of College student's reality' doesn't hold true for the most. Many of the miscreant college students are from wealthy families that pay for College and give them fast and/or expensive cars. Besides which... the problem in the USA is that there ISN'T enough low skilled jobs to go around now … much less ones with a LIVEABLE wage.

BTW being top of your class guarantees you nothing. Neither me or my daughters were top of our respective classes ...I was already 30+ when I went to College. My daughter has just replaced her years dux (who got fired) she didn't have the mental flexibility... my daughter is now cleaning up after her.
I accept that your belief is yours and that you (in my world are entitled to it), albeit myopically Egocentric. However, it would be nice if you could argue your point rather than making assertions that are dependent on 'cos you say so'. Or had some national (which is largely the real meaning of 'political right) vision i.e. one that is plugged into the reality of the nation.

Examinator said...

The ultra right's view is as you say Selfish, etc. or as our resident literary laureate so eloquently puts it "horse shit".

One one hand they say the problem is jobs
But on the other they off shore them like there is no tomorrow...TO MAKE MORE UNPRODUCTIVE (irresponsible greedy non national) PROFIT. Oh yes and manufacture and sell unnecessary technological toys, fad items etc.

They say they are meeting demand? Really? Then why the sneaky psychological methods to get the 'uneducated' to buy things that simply don't work at all/ as effectively as cheaper and or better ways?
Consider cleaning products most brands are essentially the same active ingredients. In reality most come from the same source see Reckitt and Colman products. BTW R&C buy their products in from contract manufacturers and then bring them in house to add...wait for it perfumes, fluorescences and FILLERS then package them in psychological designed packaging and sell them at horrendous mark ups. We buy our cleaning products from the contract manufacturer at … a fraction of the end product. PS the same applies for shampoos etc.

One can also see the same slight of hand with the Natural remedies market most are based on non existent, poor or miss represented science.

If jobs were the issue just imagine the unemployment rate if all the O/S jobs were home. But the problem for the Capitalists is that there would be less profit.

As a marketing person I can tell you that IMH observation the difference between 80% brands are 80% Horse shit (marketing/ advertising flim flam.) or the differences are so slight to be realistically inconsequential
(see marketing).

Now imagine if all that money spent on brand definition Horse Shit was spent on product improvement? Based on R&C or say Coke alone the advancement would be amazing.

Jon, it seems to me the American (western) perspective is, well, in the idiom of the eloquent laureate is “Arse about tit.” instead of EVER INCREASING profit to support ever increasing non productive staff (the law of diminishing returns). We focused on improvement. Better high tech products more tailored solutions rather than One size fits no one.
Take US corporations selling product that are banned in the western world for deleterious outcomes to pollute, kill, maim the third world 'because they can' (see DDT, processing Dioxins, even pushing baby formula on African tribal women who can't observe the caveats. Note the children who were found to be starving because the ignorant mothers were told that this was better than breast feeding. The problem these simple people couldn't afford the recommended concentrations and didn't have access to health care advice to tell them any better.
As for big being better? It comes to a point where in some countries a single supplies controls a huge market and the pressure for more profit from the foreign capitalists encourages short cuts or adulteration. One such recent case 30k children were poisoned (100's seriously ill and over 200 died) by contaminated milk. Another was contaminated tooth paste.
And finally Monsanto's corn in India upward of 400 farmers suicided.

To draw all this into context if we focused on improvement them a there would be jobs for the engineers etc. and jobs for non College graduates. Even the 5000 engineers and 15000 NT grads each year from one Indian University. Logic dictates that sooner than later Indian engineering grads will flood the world market making western trained (expensive) grads redundant. In the Capitalist world the more the cheaper, the less likely that US universities will be able to compete.
In that world US will be swamped by the teeming billions. Therefore According to Economics, Capitalism
(and environment) 101 USA needs a more PRODUCTIVE focus on technology to keep ahead of the consumerist juggernaut

Examinator said...

Off topic but worth a read when considering US in another war (Syria).
What makes everyone think that the nerve gas hasn't already filtered to the al Qada elements to be used against the US?

Jon said...

Chad, how do you deal with the current crisis in a way that actually solves the problem? Right now kids are graduating with mountains of debt which will cause suffering for the rest of their lives. Right now people have the opportunity to give to relieve that problem. But they obviously aren't giving enough. It's not working.

It's not like I want taxes to be high. If people giving away money to schools got the job done I'd be fine with it. But I look at it and see that it's not happening. When we were younger the top marginal tax rate was pretty high. Taxes overall were higher under Clinton. OK, that's forcing people to pay, but it worked, and it was something you and I benefited from. Now that you reach the summit you suddenly discover that this force was wrong, and it should all be voluntary. In a sense we are moving to that system, but gradually. Taxes are down to very low levels historically and so is public funding for college. People could donate and offset the problem. They just don't.

Apparently the Walton family has given away 2% of their net worth. Poor people give away a lot more on average. The people that have all the money are just not gifting it in ways that can prevent all these kids from ruining their lives.

You can't just say that people need to buckle down and make smarter decisions. That's like saying we should stop having wars and instead just love each other. That's not a strategy to resolving the problem. That's just pie in the sky talk. How do we end the problem? Voluntary giving isn't getting it done today, so a new solution is needed. I have one. Do what worked in the past. You don't offer one.

As far as what you should pay, again, I prefer doing things that work. So I don't know your exact income, but I like the rates of the 50's and 60's because they work. Sounds like you are upper middle class and I'm middle class, so actually under earlier tax rate schemes probably neither of us would pay any more. But the rich would pay a lot more. That's what worked before.

Were do you get that 1 of every 2 dollars is taxed? Romney's rate was under 15% overall to the federal government, lower than everybody, including the janitor, and Romney doesn't work.

Jon said...

Ex, check out this panel discussion. Some really good questions from the one panelist critical of intervention. It does look like Iraq all over again.

I happened to catch a Fox News "panel" which is presented as a balanced discussion. Not a single person opposed to launching attacks. The media is lining up for violence as before.

Examinator said...

the problem with the right wing's ideology is that they place too much on the SEP (Someone Else's Problem) principle aka**** I **** don't use it so why should **** I **** pay for it. (sic)
They HIDE behind highly dubious coverall terminology like "personal responsibility". What I find galling is that many selectively ignore and superimpose their personal interests onto their religion then claim that it (their religion) justifies their UN-Christian /antisocial behaviours.

I'm still waiting for the resident righties to argue WHY education, as an increasingly a primary means of survival isn't by definition... a right. Clearly they haven't, can't or wantonly won't acknowledge the hypocrisies/ natural conflicts/inconsistencies their deliberate myopic reasoning raises.

As I've said before the abiding problem is that the average US citizen ***BELIEVES*** that because they are Americans THEY as individuals ARE better than everyone else and consequently their ideas/ thoughts are the best.
This allows the individual to wallow in their wanton ignorance and shout meaningless epithets like 'personal liberty' and 'personal responsibility'... (note the predominance of the word “personal”) when they mean 'in MY benefit'. e.g. I can play my music loud regardless of the fact that my neighbor is a shift /night worker and is trying to sleep. But woe betide him if he does the same when it suits him, say on Sunday when I'm watching my sport show.

Generally they despise higher education as 'Left wing ivory tower mumbo jumbo'... 'they're educated idiots'...'liberal arts is BS'... the implication being my ignorant beliefs tops 'learnin' or inconvenient facts.

I find it interesting how Chad with a supposed Masters Academic wife makes a distinction to encompass her source of money (his means of determining worth) yet demeans all other learnin', in fact ridicules it.

My son in law bags Environmentalists as an unnecessary inhibitor to business... but gladly accepts the toys/life style my daughter's environmentalist’s wage (several times his) at the coal mine.

The Tea Bagger will deny the conditional importance of Context except where it benefits them.

Sadly this expectation of privilege and superiority extends to the WAY they view issues like Diplomacy, Trade, fire arm control, universal health, universal Education, living/social wages. They see all the above issues in terms of their ignorance …. as negative extreme existential challenges threats to their self proclaimed, as the soon to be Australian PM 'suppositories of all knowledge and wisdom ' (ouch!) rather than actually examine the WORLD wide experiential evidence to the contrary. The Question is not as simple as Yes or No but rather having the confidence, maturity of thought to address the issues in terms of where to draw the lines. e.g. Education should not be all in MANDATORY tax payer free nor should it be TOTALLY user paid. Equality is NOT the question but Equitable opportunity should be.
Of course Chad is correct that higher education isn't for everyone but the opportunity should be available.
It is demonstrably idiotic that *brilliant *child of a non documented migrant or a single mom etc. not being unable to access education. The chances of that child being a net benefit to society is far and away more likely than being a drain.
Anyone who has dealt with the underbelly of society will tell you that lack of opportunity is the single biggest reason for crime and social dissent.
It is beyond doubt that a society is at its most content when the opportunities are equitable. Equality simply cant exist.

Examinator said...

By and large I'm with the professor.
To me it is the previous mentioned assumption of national suppository of all wisdom and knowledge that has put the US in the position to feel it should punish Syria or who ever for a gas attack.

This is once again how US blind support for Israel has bent around and bit it on the bum.

Of course it's in the realms of possibility that some affiliate of al Qada is behind a gas attack on it's co-opposition. Zealots hang out for an opportunity to advance their power within the opposition forces.
They would be keen to get the US to prove to the Muslim world that it'll kill anyone to further their interests. The reality is surgical strikes are relative terms. To the Americans who see only the odd 'leader' killed the local population see the collateral damage as further reason to hate the US. Sadly no matter how much a person nurses a grudge it only gets worse (i.e. asymmetric warfare... terrorism)
History isn't ever with the dominant force in the end. Zionist foundation of Israel, Korea,Cuba Vietnam, Iran (Shar), War against Drugs, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine et al All quagmires sapping the wealth/lives of far superior forces. They all have Asymmetric war as a common element.
When will America learn that the lesson of the Brits in WW1 the era of cavalry charges (two clearly defined forces) is OVER.

Chad said...

Adding all taxes together - what do you think someone making lets say $100k per year pays in total taxes? Talking income taxes, federal, state, local taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, cable taxes, FCC and all the other taxes - what percentage of that money is taxed?

What %?

Jon said...

About 31% it looks like.

Examinator said...

Have you been reading this series?

It's not bad.
in this segment they talk about the conundrum of to encourage rich child they need to get ever more 'facilities' which cost more and as such send the price for all students higher.
If one looks at the percentage of income for both groups the fee % of income are equitable (fair). The problem is the reliance on rich students fees to fund the extra 'facilities' to attract them.

Objectively education is being treated as a consumerist commodity.
The righties would argue that this is not are subsidising the poorer.
There are a few issues with this argument in that one needs to consider *marginal cost*
i.e. the actual cos per head for the education.
What the righties don't want to see is that if the university catered only for the rich there would not be enough 'rich students'(critical mass) to fund the universities at that level. ergo education for the rich would be higher again ... most of the cost is in the up front set up and while the poorer student pay less in quantum they provide the 'bulk buy' numbers (advantage)to make a profit or survive.

Nt also stands to logical reasoning that if a bigger body say government were to pay for the lot ...the actual unit cost would be lower still (Business efficiency principles 101. *What would be missing would be the inequitable (selfish) advantage for a minority of the population.
NB this doesn't mean higher education for all with out conditions/criteria et al.

Also this doesn't mean that the element of profit i.e. private enterprise is excluded either any more than it does in electricity generation and supply it is HEAVILY SUBSIDISED BY THE TAXPAYER... the biggest beneficiaries of this are Business!
Clearly the Universal (tax paid/ subsidised College education) would advantage everyone (individuals, states, rich, poor business and the nation …. cheaper!) … anybody want to argue that a better educated population/ workforce wouldn't improve America? (prove me wrong.)

Consider say poorer /lessor (education access) educated states. Common sense and evidence shows that with increasing levels of literacy crime, poverty, deprivation, birth rate both wanted (too many bludgers/ welfare soaks) and whoops (abortions) decrease.
NB none of the above is new or unknown rather special interests and ignorance get in the way.

Here in lies the problem with discussions it isn't a matter of yes or no to govt paid university education but HOW TO DO IT AND MAINTAIN/ IMPROVE equity.

Chad said...

JC - so you think that an individual who makes $100,000 should be happy with and accept having $31,000 dollars taken from them? Now I happen to believe your % is low especially if you own a house in a nice neighborhood with higher property taxes, have more than 2 cars or toys so gas taxes cost more - I would thik close to 40% all in, but I can use your 31% just fine.

$31K a year - over 30 years of work your fine having almost $1 million dollars stolen from an individual. An individual who most likely pays their way over the years without using services.

Well that is the difference between you and I - I could do 100 times more good for me, my family, my community and my country using that money than any gov't could. I would prefer an a la carte type America personally. Call for the police - here is your bill, enroll your kid in public school - here is your bill, need road work in the community - here is your bill.

Just the thought that 1 person will contribute $1 million dollars in their career is okay with you - says it all and then some.


Chad said...

SIde bar - funny you admitted that people with money in their pocket stimulate the economy, you believe in your heart that the poor do the best at that when in fact the markets the affect are small - rent, cigarettes, booze, clothes, food and other livables. Yet your completely fine with my wife and I having (using your 31% logic) just under $50k a year taken from us instead of allowing us to buy things to stimulate the economy further. The poor - well they keep the economy going, keep jobs - where at gas stations and liquor stores? Imagine what might happen (jobs) if my wife and I could maybe keep half of what is taken - maybe spend that and create real jobs in manufacturing sectors and tech sectors and real estate and many many quality job markets? Maybe we would open our own business with that money and maybe we hire other people - hell of a concept right,.

BTW - is your 31% all in? Income taxes, property taxes (avg), gas taxes, local taxes, state taxes, Cable taxes, cell taxes, liquor taxes and all the taxes?

Examinator said...

What you don't seem to understand is that the tax system is proportional.
Based on your comments over time you fit the nice house, in a nice suburb and two earners with toys are pulling down near to $100k each which would be on the low side of reasonable; for a professorial academic of note and a vice president of sales in a $600 million turn over corporation.

Provided the above is true then you are at the upper end of middle class. Compared to those on struggle street you should be more than the 'glass half empty person'.

The reality is that Taxation is progressively proportional. That simply mean that while a person may be on struggle street they are subject to the same taxes too. This also means they payout in taxes a similar PROPORTION of their income as as you.
The big difference is in proportion of their discretionary disposable income when compared to yours.
Simply put, after paying for the bills they have both a lessor % of the gross wage then you and this interprets into actual quantum of $.
i.e. stats show clearly that after bills and living expenses you have both more $'s and a greater % of your wage to spend how you want.
e.g. someone on minimum wage job[S] uses all their income to survive in the society often in conditions that would turn your stomach.

Your probably 40% is based on ignorance and myopic selfishness...more likely 70% of your expenditure is eaten up in excessive middle men (non productive) profiteering.

See my previous discussions on cleaning products.
This isn't left wing nonsense it's FACT

Jon said...

Chad, we are in agreement on this one point. 31% is a lot of money, and in fact a lot higher than it should be.

But I don't think you really think about where it goes. Right now Obama wants war in Syria. Why do you think that is? It's not like we're in danger. Supposedly he gassed people. Obama is pushing hard trying to convince us Assad is responsible, but it's Iraq and WMD all over again. There are lots of good reasons to think he didn't do it. See here:

Basically it makes no sense. Until you recognize that war is profitable. Check Lockheed Martin stock, the world's largest defense manufacturer. Think about how Obama wants to just launch some missiles, no boots on the ground, in an effort that won't remove Assad. But it will blow up missiles made by LM, and that's profits for them.

I'm reading this book on Vietnam. The amount of firepower used is unfathmoable. The soldiers would say they would just burn through ammunition as fast as they could, even if they really didn't know what they are shooting at, because it came in so fast they couldn't get rid of it fast enough. Why do you think it worked that way?

You know how much a gallon of gas costs in Afghanistan? $400 per gallon. And they burn through it incredibly fast. One M1 Abrams tank will get about half a mile to the gallon while moving, but because it's a gas turbine engine it burns fuel at the same rate even when not moving. And they keep them running constantly. At $400 per gallon.

We've made war profitable. So we have the biggest war machine in the history of the world. Companies want to be profitable and they want to grow. You want to just pay for policing? You'll get policing. More and more. You'll suddenly see more and more crime. Pay for the fire department. You'll suddenly see houses going up in flames all around you. For profit businesses need you to have a need for their services. They create the need.

Take a look at our prison system, more and more privatized every year. The biggest in the world by far.

I agree with you our government takes too much. But they are taking it away from things that at least are a little helpful and instead pumping it into things that are positively harmful. The rich are in control in Washington. They are diverting money from things like education and into war to 1-protect their overseas investments and 2-sell war. Getting government out of their control can allow us to fund programs that help the poor without raising your taxes at all if we could just end the wars.

BTW, I'm not really advocating raising your taxes. I'm advocating raising the taxes of the rich. You are relatively rich, but you, like me, earn your money from working. The truly rich don't earn money that way. They earn money while sleeping, because they pay others to do all the work and they just take their money. So when I do talk about taxes I want to raise their taxes, like was done in the past and worked well in the US. But frankly I expect we could even avoid that if we stopped the astronomical waste that is our war machine.

Examinator said...

The problem is that many of the US workers are more often than not dependent on the "war" machine for their jobs.
The nearest I can come up with as an example from history is Sparta.
Where 90% of males were in the army.
If they survived until 35 they could then marry and become farmers.

The Spartan model of war was similar to the US WAR MACHINE and the underlying thought process.... to win just add more force.
Sadly the truth is that today most conflicts aren't about two clear cut armies bashing the crap out of each other (a symmetrical war)but more likely guerilla style (asymmetrical war) this has been the case since before the Korean war, Cuba,the Malaya crisis, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and now Syria( who are the the bad guys or the good guys to support?)

Examinator said...

If the War machine is as obsolete outdated as is indicated then its dominance can only be as Jon says a Financial one.
A nation base on a colonial war machine. Seems we've seen that before.

Examinator said...

Off topic but consider the implications of this article. If the US is silly enough to engage in military action of any kind in Syria