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Rick Santorum And Conservative Anti-Intellectualism

Continuing with a theme that he had hit on last week when he claimed that the Administration’s college plans were part of a plot to “indoctrinate” Americans, yesterday in a speech in Michigan Rick Santorum said that the program proves that the President is a “snob”:

Speaking to a tea party group in Michigan on Saturday, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) accused President Obama of being a “snob” because he wants “everybody in America to go to college

(…)

“Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum told a crowd of more than 1,000 activists at the Americans for Prosperity forum in Troy, Mich. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. Some people have incredible gifts and … want to work out there making things. President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”

As the crowd applauded, Santorum continued.

“There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them,” he said. “Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”

Here’s the video:

This from a guy who earned a B.A. in Political Science from Penn State, an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and  J.D. from Penn State’s Dickenson School Of Law. Not just that, back when in was running for re-election in 2006 Santorum championed a program to make higher education more affordable and accessible:

[T]he last time Santorum ran for public office — his ill-fated 2006 Senate reelection campaign — he was right there with Obama, running on his promise to make college more accessible to all Pennsylvanians.

Here’s a link to Santorum’s 2006 Senate campaign website, as stored on Archive.org. Right there in black and white is his “Commitment to Higher Education.”

From the text:

“In addition to Rick’s support of ensuring that primary and secondary schools in Pennsylvania are equipped for success, he is equally committed to ensuring the every Pennsylvanian has access to higher education,” the site reads. “Rick Santorum has supported legislative solutions that provide loans, grants, and tax incentives to make higher education more accessible and affordable.”

Santorum’s supporters will say that his comments yesterday were about the idea that not everybody should go to college, and that many people will be just as well off with a skilled trade. It’s hard to argue with this idea, and I would imagine that the President probably wouldn’t disagree. A plumber, electrician, or HVAC contractor trained in a trade school is likely to have just as a high an earning potential as some recipients of a four-year degree, perhaps even more. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this idea.

But this isn’t a debate about college versus trade schools. Look again at what Santorum said:

“There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them,”

This isn’t about a policy disagreement between Santorum and Obama over whether education policy should be based on the idea that everyone should go to college, or on ensuring that students are directed into careers paths that are both well-paying and interesting on some level. This is about the Republican war against intellectualism and higher education and the belief, expressed most recently by Rick Santorum but popularized on the right before him by people such as Sarah Palin, that there is something wrong with intellectualism. It is an ironic development on some levels considering that modern American conservatism was started by men who Santorum would likely call snobs, William F. Buckley Jr being perhaps the most prominent. Today, though, conservatism has become predominated by the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh who seem to take special delight in bashing anyone who asserts that knowing something about the world, rather than simply trying to file it away in the appropriate right-wing category.

It’s pathetic, really. What’s so wrong, after all, about learning more about the world and, yes, even learning about opposing points of view? The kind of closed-mindedness that Santorum and his ilk seem to be championing is at odds not only with the founders of modern conservatism but the Founding Fathers as well. What would John Adams have thought about this kind of attitude? Or Thomas Jefferson? Well, we have a pretty good idea of what they would have thought, because they left behind a legacy that included a love of learning, and reading, and inquiry. There likely hasn’t been an American President as intellectually curious as Jefferson. Indeed when Jefferson died, he considered his role in founding the University of Virginia to be equal to drafting the Declaration Of Independence, and more important than having been President of the United States. Of course, conservatives probably wouldn’t be too happy with Jefferson considering the advice he once gave to a nephew on the subject of education:

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

Which gets us to what’s even more absurd about Santorum’s argument is the fact that his indoctrination argument is complete nonsense. As Steven Taylor noted in a post late last week, there is no support for the idea that students who enter college with strong religious beliefs tend to lose those beliefs while completing their education. Moreover, the image that the right likes to project of American college professors as some vast atheistic propaganda machine is simply false.  Of course, since when did facts matter when arguments like this are being made? Conservative pundits have made a goldmine full of money portraying the right as the victim of some vast conspiracy led by America’s college “elites,” these comments from Santorum are just another form of the same nonsense. What’s pathetic is the fact that people actually believe it when it comes from a religious conservative who spent nearly a decade in college and graduate school and yet, somehow, didn’t manage to turn into a liberal Democrat.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    For decades, the GOP has made hay railing against point-headed intellectuals.

    But actively disparaging intelligence? That’s novel.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  2. James in LA says:

    “Conservative” and “anti-intellectual” have become synonymous, and heralds the death of the GOP. Angry claims to magic-thinking is not a policy position. Thinly-disguised racism to the point of transparency will elect no one nationally. What goes around comes around, and my conservative friends will now experience all the policies they abhor since integration of the armed services.

    A single words suffices: Deal.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  3. Jim Henley says:

    A Know-NOTHING Party would be an improvement over the Know-FALSEHOODS Party we actually have.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    I’m reading a biography of George Kennan who is generally credited with first articulating the cold war strategy of containment used against the Soviet Union and which he first laid out in his famous long telegram of 1946 where he had this to say about Soviet communism’s rejection of reason…

    “The vast fund of objective fact about human society is not, as with us, the measure against which outlook is constantly being tested and re-formed, but a grab bag from which individual items are selected arbitrarily and tenaciously to bolster an outlook already preconceived.”

    A well nigh perfect description of today’s Republican party (leadership and rank and file) it seems to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. Jenos Idanian says:

    The core precept Santorum seems to be espousing is that college is not a right, not an entitlement, and not for everyone. And he’s absolutely right.

    I’d rather live in a world with no art history professors and literary critics than one with no plumbers, auto mechanics, and carpenters. Remember Golgafrincham! Remember Golgafrincham!

    On the larger issue… I see Mr. Mataconis is continuing his months-long trend of “I’m going to repeatedly hammer on whoever the leading GOP candidate who is not Mitt Romney” pieces. Just on the front page right now, there are eight Santorum-bashing pieces, five by Mr. Mataconis. I seem to recall Gingrich, Cain, Perry, and Palin getting similar treatment.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Mataconis’ last articles on Obama are solidly pro-Obama. The Republicans are too mean to him, he was right to apologize over the Koran burnings, and in a delightful twofer, Santorum is a big ol’ meanie for mentioning Obama’s Christianity (after Obama himself cited it as rationalization for his tax policies).

    I recall predicting that come November, Mr. Mataconis will “reluctantly” endorse Obama. That might not happen if Romney gets the nomination, but I’d bet a sawbuck on it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 24

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Yah, Lysenkoism, anyone?

    What Rick Santorum and his ilk absolutely refuse to admit is you can’t run a first-class world economy on ” reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” plus the Bible. Nor are you going to run it on people who have a high school education (especially considering how dumb-downed our high schools are at present.) You want to believe in creationism and disbelieve in evolution? Fine. But you’re not going to have a biotech sector. Nor medication that works worth anything, because you refuse to believe the theory that explains antibiotic resistance. Waving your hands in the air and saying “goddidit” may be balm for your belief system but doesn’t allow any further analysis or strategy. Hence, it’s useless.

    I’m starting to think that the only way out of this is to let the religious nuts have their way, move off-shore, and just wait until the whole American economy crashes back into subsistence farming. Rub the religious nuts’ noses in what their belief system would lead to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  7. Ron Beasley says:

    The GOP encouraged a base that represents the lowest common denominator fn the United States and it’s coming back to haunt them. Matt Taibbi:

    This is justice. What we have here are chickens coming home to roost. It’s as if all of the American public’s bad habits and perverse obsessions are all coming back to haunt Republican voters in this race: The lack of attention span, the constant demand for instant gratification, the abject hunger for negativity, the utter lack of backbone or constancy (we change our loyalties at the drop of a hat, all it takes is a clever TV ad): these things are all major factors in the spiraling Republican disaster.

    Most importantly, though, the conservative passion for divisive, partisan, bomb-tossing politics is threatening to permanently cripple the Republican party. They long ago became more about pointing fingers than about ideology, and it’s finally ruining them.

    Oh, sure, your average conservative will insist his belief system is based upon a passion for the free market and limited government, but that’s mostly a cover story. Instead, the vast team-building exercise that has driven the broadcasts of people like Rush and Hannity and the talking heads on Fox for decades now has really been a kind of ongoing Quest for Orthodoxy, in which the team members congregate in front of the TV and the radio and share in the warm feeling of pointing the finger at people who aren’t as American as they are, who lack their family values, who don’t share their All-American work ethic.

    The finger-pointing game is a fun one to play, but it’s a little like drugs – you have to keep taking bigger and bigger doses in order to get the same high.

    The problem isn’t the candidates it’s the voters – the base.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Actually, literary critics have had a definite effect on the course of European history. It was the Renaissance humanists’ analysis of the Donation of Constantine as being a forgery that started the loss of power of the Catholic Church.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  9. de stijl says:

    How does Santorum think this is going to play in the GE? His message has more than a little taint of “Vote for me, working- and middle-class America. I don’t want your kids to go college. That is a privilege reserved for your betters.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  10. MBunge says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “I see Mr. Mataconis is continuing his months-long trend of “I’m going to repeatedly hammer on whoever the leading GOP candidate who is not Mitt Romney” pieces.”

    Doug aint’ gonna endorse Obama. Mitt ain’t perfect, but his “let Detroit go bankrupt” and “everyone’s jealous of my success” stuff is just close enough to Doug’s idea of Galtian perfection that he’ll fall in line behind him.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  11. de stijl says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’d rather live in a world with no art history professors and literary critics than one with no plumbers, auto mechanics, and carpenters.

    I’d rather live a world where we have both.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  12. @Jim Henley:

    A Know-NOTHING Party would be an improvement over the Know-FALSEHOODS Party we actually have.

    The original know-nothings weren’t called that because they were seen as ignorant, it was because of their penchant for secrecy (“I don’t know nothing about the ANP”).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  13. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Hell, based upon what I’ve seen in left-wing academia and from Generation Y those kids and especially their parents should at this stage of the game be paying the government to prevent them from going off to colleges and universities.

    As far as Santorum goes, it’s not surprising these sorts of comments are getting a negative reaction on the Internet. The Internet disproportionately is made up of liberal snobs. Consider the nerve endings to be struck.

    Of course the larger issue here is draining the fetid swamp of left-wing, public-money academia and thereby giving kids at least a fighting chance at being able to compete in this new, new economy of ours; one that’s weighed down by debt, slow growth and disastrous levels of unemployment, especially among the 18-30 year-old demographic. To that end we need fundamental reforms to the student loan systems along with drastic reforms to compensation programs across all levels of the public-money education systems.

    It’s time to eliminate the insanity of having taxpayers subsidize useless liberal arts degrees. It’s also high time to eliminate the insanity of taxpayers paying for six-figure salaries, defined benefit plans and Cadillac health care coverages, all to the likes of Ward Churchill, et al.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23

  14. @Jenos Idanian:

    I recall predicting that come November, Mr. Mataconis will “reluctantly” endorse Obama.

    I love how Republicans always spend 95% of the time between elections telling libertarians how much they suck, and then when the election comes want to act like they’re being robbed if those same libertarians aren’t excited about voting for them.

    I’m not a fan of Obama, but the GOP primary process has done a fabulous job of making him look like the lesser of two evils. Unless you’re one of those dreary people who’s imagination can concieve of no liberty beyond the freedom to buy more crap, Obama’s big government liberalism still looks a whole lot better than Santorm’s big government conservatism with a side of Jeebus.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  15. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’d rather live in a world with no art history professors and literary critics than one with no plumbers, auto mechanics, and carpenters.

    That might explain your reading comprehension skills.

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    The Internet disproportionately is made up of liberal snobs.

    Poor you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Dude, it’s called “the free market.” Private universities offer certain levels of salary, public universities have to offer the same level to get similarly good professors.

    You sound like the idiot ranting about how professors at the University of Illinois had salaries that were higher than the average salary in Illinois and therefore they should all get pay cuts. The fact that forcing this through would have meant an immediate departure of all professors to greener pastures was not considered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  17. Barb Hartwell says:

    One minute the righties complain if people want better wages they should go back to school, now this crap. I do not think Obama meant everyone should go to college, but everyone should have the opportunity to do so. That meaning it should be affordable to all. Rick Santorum can preach his I will home school my kids crap all he wants, but some people have so little time left in their day just to do what is necessary to pay the bills. Some are not qualified to potty train their animals. I agree we need skilled carpenters, plumbers, electricians etc, and I feel helping people achieve these goals by apprenticeship programs and such will do us all some good in the end.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  18. michael reynolds says:

    I appreciate the way Jenos comes along to prove whatever point Doug Mataconis is making on a given day. Anti-intellectual, you say? Well, here comes Jenos to demonstrate.

    My conspiracy is that Jenos is a Mataconis sock puppet. His presence works in exactly the way the GOP candidates work with Obama. You may not be a big Mataconis fan, but compared to Jenos he’s William F. Buckley Jr.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  19. @Tsar Nicholas II:

    It’s time to eliminate the insanity of having taxpayers subsidize useless liberal arts degrees. It’s also high time to eliminate the insanity of taxpayers paying for six-figure salaries, defined benefit plans and Cadillac health care coverages, all to the likes of Ward Churchill, et al.

    This has already by and large happened. By way of example, the Pennsylvania State University is currently getting less than 20% of its revenue from government sources (7% from state appropriations, 12% from government grants). By comparison the supposedly private Carnegie Mellon gets almost 35% of its revenue from the government (in this case entirely through grants).

    The distinction between private and public schools is increasingly becoming a purely historical distinction with no basis in current reality. Nevertheless, the Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, is calling for an additional 30% decrease in Penn State’s funding. At some point you have to wonder how the state can claim the power to control a university that gets 95% of its funding from other sources as though it were a state funded enterprise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  20. TonyW says:

    Reminds me of the 1980s and 90s African American problem whereby folks that made it out of the ghetto were percevied to have thought they were better than the others who remained behind in abject poverty. While these attitudes can last for a while they eventually break down of their own weight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Hey Norm says:

    From the original post:

    “… and, yes, even learning about opposing points of view? “

    But the Clown Car Posse has opposing, and most often irreconcilable, points of view in their own heads. And Romney is the most symptomatic.
    @ Jay Tea

    “…I’d rather live in a world with no art history professors and literary critics than one with no plumbers, auto mechanics, and carpenters…”

    A false choice typical of those unable to form a cogent argument on the merits. A thriving society requires diversity. Diversity scares the Fu** out of people like you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    Right on cue the usual suspects appear to tell us what Santorum really meant, trash liberal arts education (although Santorum didn’t except the sciences), denounce internet bloggers as largely liberal snobs, urge the ending of our eduation model, etc etc. The Republican party base has truly become the party of ignorance and stupidity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  23. WR says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “I’d rather live in a world with no art history professors and literary critics than one with no plumbers, auto mechanics, and carpenters.”

    How nice. You know, maybe America isn’t the right country for you. I can think of a place where the government decided that all those art history professors and literary critics should be doing manual work instead. And I’m sure you would have felt quite at home in Pol Pot’s Cambodia. You could sneer at all the pointy-heads, and urge your beloved leader not to falter in his plan to exterminate any intellectual, or anyone who wore glasses.

    Scratch a “conservative,” find a totalitarian.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    Liberals, Democrats, the sane….look on the bright side. As long as this is the prevailing zeitgeist of the GOP they are doomed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. JKB says:

    It is a bit amusing to see the false jump to the conclusions that to be an intellectual, you must attend college and that having attended college (we’ll assume an appropriate liberal arts major since real snobbery tends to flow from the humanities types looking down on those who study real-world useful subjects in STEM), you have the potential to be an intellectual.

    But perhaps you’ll forgive the impression of leftist bias in the academy given the visible proclivities of the #OWS and the “student” protestors so soundly represented by the supporting MSM. I remember back in the mid-1970s, my brother came home from college (philosophy major) going on about Bolsheviks, bourgeoisie or some BS, I don’t remember. It was cool, very college. Of course, when I entered college after the dark decade of the 1970s and 4 years of Carter, the emphasis was on more practical majors, in the whole it’d be nice to get a job, vein. It would be interesting to see if there is an increase in enrollment, if not graduation, in STEM due to our latest leftist president.

    And while it is considered anti-intellectualism, it is also not neglecting the millions of registered voters who didn’t go to college but do pursue a productive trade creating value for others. And, oh, those non-profit jobs so many of the “intellectuals” want, any guess as to where the money that makes those jobs possible?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

  26. James says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The Republican party base has truly become the party of ignorance and stupidity.

    Don’t forget radicalism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    @WR:

    You could sneer at all the pointy-heads, and urge your beloved leader not to falter in his plan to exterminate any intellectual, or anyone who wore glasses.

    Scratch a “conservative,” find a totalitarian.

    Not just Pol Pot but Mao also. This after all was one of the central goals of his cultural revolution…to turn intellectuals into farm laborers. Kennan was not wrong about the mindset, it’s just that it’s moved from communists to rightists.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  28. James says:

    @JKB:

    […] (we’ll assume an appropriate liberal arts major since real snobbery tends to flow from the humanities types looking down on those who study real-world useful subjects in STEM), you have the potential to be an intellectual.

    So you’ve assumed your conclusions, and then you magically find yourself confirming your (preconceived) conclusions. Amazing job there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  29. @Stormy Dragon:

    By way of example, the Pennsylvania State University is currently getting less than 20% of its revenue from government sources

    Indeed–and this is typical. “Public” college and universities are hardly as funded by state coffers as people tend to think.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James:

    Don’t forget radicalism.

    I don’t necessarily associate radicalism with ignorance and stupidity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. James says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Oh, I don’t mean to say that they’re necessarily associated. Simply that what passes as “conservative” these days is quite radical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    @JKB:

    It is a bit amusing to see the false jump to the conclusions that to be an intellectual, you must attend college and that having attended college

    You must amused by the simplest things since I’ve see no one say that only attending college makes anyone an intellectual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  33. @Brummagem Joe:

    Not just Pol Pot but Mao also. This after all was one of the central goals of his cultural revolution…to turn intellectuals into farm laborers

    And not just those examples. If we look at military regimes in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s it was frequently the case that intellectuals, especially in the liberal arts and social sciences, were often rounded up as enemies of the state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James:

    Simply that what passes as “conservative” these days is quite radical.

    Interesting you should say this since a few months back I had a lengthy argument with a wingnut who absolutely denied that it was possible for a conservative to be a radical of any sort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. Hey Norm says:

    @ Joe…
    These folks are NOT Conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. anjin-san says:

    I’d rather live in a world with no art history professors and literary critics than one with no plumbers, auto mechanics, and carpenters.

    And I would rather live in a world that has both.

    Fricking idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And not just those examples. If we look at military regimes in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s it was frequently the case that intellectuals, especially in the liberal arts and social sciences, were often rounded up as enemies of the state.

    Totalitarians of left or right don’t like intellectuals because they have an annoying tendency to think and value human rights. Obviously Santorum and his spear carriers here aren’t too keen either despite their endless blathering about liberty and freedom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    You know how it is somewhat fashionable – maybe even a bit snobbish 😉 – in certain libertarian circles to refer to oneself as a “classic liberal”? Maybe we’re going to see the Sullivan, Frum and Larison types start to refer to themselves as “classic conservatives”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Hey Norm:

    These folks are NOT Conservatives.

    I would say they were. Radical conservatives. We can get into all kind of hairsplitting about Burkean conservatism but by any popular measure they are conservative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    Maybe we’re going to see the Sullivan, Frum and Larison types start to refer to themselves as “classic conservatives”.

    I thought Sullivan was already there. He’s forever sounding off about the purity of Burkean conservatism as though it were a holy grail. Burke in fact is a decidedly mixed bag as was inevitable since he a clever Irishman in possession of a rotten borough and paid by the crown to propagandize for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I’d argue that they are radical right-wingers, not radical conservatives (which strikes me as an oxymoron.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    He is there intellectually. I meant actually using the phrase to describe himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. anjin-san says:

    Going back though the thread, I see de stijl beat me to it on art vs. plumbing.

    I hear a lot of bone headed sentiments on OTB, and this one is an instant classic. Art history was my favorite class in college, and I can hold my own at a museum or gallery when talking to actual experts. I was also able to fix a leak in the shower yesterday.

    Why conservatives worship the lowest common denominator is beyond me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  44. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    (which strikes me as an oxymoron.)

    Perhaps you should look up the meaning of the word radical. Two that immediately spring to mind although for different reasons are TR and Margaret Thatcher.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  45. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    rad·i·cal/ˈradikəl/
    Adjective:
    (esp. of change or action) Relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
    Noun:
    A person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform.
    Synonyms:
    adjective. fundamental – drastic
    noun. root – radix

    It doesn’t matter which political direction it’s going in….other conservative radicals that spring to mind are Bismarck, Thiers, Peel, Disraeli.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Scott F. says:

    @Ron Beasley:
    Thanks for the Taibbi link. He’s laid out the situation for the Republicans beautifully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. Stan says:

    “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.”

    Paraphrase of remarks said by

    a) Hanns Johst (you can look him up)

    b) Jenos Idanian

    c) Tsar Nicholas II

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stan:

    Herman Goering

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  49. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I’d like to amend my phrasing from “radical right-wingers” to “right-wing radicals”. It captures the situation better.

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Perhaps you should look up the meaning of the word radical.

    I’d suggest that you research the origins of conservatisim. It arose as a response to the radicalism of the French Revolution.

    One can be right-wing and conservative, or right-wing and radical, but cannot be conservative and radical.

    In America today, “conservative” and “right-wing” have become synonyms. I know language and usage change over time, but traditionally conservatism is a subset of right-wing politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. merl says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Not really, the repub base aren’t very smart and they resent people who are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I know what the definition of “radical”. Are you sure you know the definition of “conservative”?

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  52. Stan says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Wikipedia says it’s Johst, a (or maybe the) Nazi poet. Or maybe it’s Bernard Rust, Hitler’s Minister of Education. Or, and this is really intriguing, maybe Jenos Idanian is Rust’s screen name.

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  53. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    I’d suggest that you research the origins of conservatisim. It arose as a response to the radicalism of the French Revolution.

    One can be right-wing and conservative, or right-wing and radical, but cannot be conservative and radical.

    Firstly I don’t need to research the origins of conservatism so I spare me the condescension. There are various definitions of conservatism which can invovlve both the preservation of existing societal norms or attempts to turn to clock back to return to those norms. Viz.

    Conservatism (Latin: conservare, “to preserve”) is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism and seek a return to “the way things were”. The first established use of the term in a political context was by François-René de Chateaubriand in 1819, following the French Revolution. The term, historically associated with right-wing politics, has since been used to describe a wide range of views.

    You’re claiming that politically there is only form of conservatism when in fact there are several. Bismarck for example was undoubtedly both a radical and a conservatve.

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  54. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    I know what the definition of “radical”. Are you sure you know the definition of “conservative”?

    See above.

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  55. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stan:

    Wikipedia says it’s Johst, a (or maybe the) Nazi poet. Or maybe it’s Bernard Rust, Hitler’s Minister of Education. Or, and this is really intriguing, maybe Jenos Idanian is Rust’s screen name.

    I’ve often seen it ascribed to Goering but like many of these folkloric quotations they can get multiple attributions. Maybe Goering heard it from someone else over a stein and repeated it. It’s certainly not inappropriate for describing the thought processes or what passes for them amongst our resident wingnut intellectuals.

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  56. JohnMcC says:

    Just for the hell of it, I’ll mention that on 13 Feb, Barack proposed to Congress an $8Billion bill that would create a partnership between businesses and community colleges to train people for real jobs in real, high-growth industries.

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  57. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Firstly I don’t need to research the origins of conservatism so I spare me the condescension.

    That’s pretty rich since you led off with:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Perhaps you should look up the meaning of the word radical.

    Look, you believe the correct phrase should be “radical conservative” and I believe it is better captured as “right-wing radical”. It’s a terminology disagreement.

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  58. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    See above.

    And then you followed up your suggestion that I look up “radical” with a totally classy and helpful copy-paste from an on-line dictionary.

    I’m sure you meant to spare me the effort and absolutely did mean to condescend.

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  59. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    Look, you believe the correct phrase should be “radical conservative” and I believe it is better captured as “right-wing radical”. It’s a terminology disagreement.

    Not really. You said it was impossible to be a radical conservative….in fact it’s completely possible and history is full of examples. Politically speaking conservative is simply a somewhat more flexible term than you’re suggesting.

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  60. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: Maybe the better term to use would be reactionaries?

    Whatever we call them, they’re pretty nutty. I get the feeling they want to overthrow the entire concept of the Enlightenment and go back to some Savernola-inspired utopia that never existed.

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  61. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m sure you meant to spare me the effort and absolutely did mean to condescend.

    I did not…it was a figure of speech.

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  62. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The president of the University of Oregon was recently fired because he wanted the University independent of the state because so little money was coming from the state.

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  63. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Maybe the better term to use would be reactionaries?

    Anything to stop the most pointless beef in the history of the Internets.

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  64. Brummagem Joe says:

    @de stijl:

    Anything to stop the most pointless beef in the history of the Internets.

    Yep…I wonder how that started…

    I’d argue that they are radical right-wingers, not radical conservatives (which strikes me as an oxymoron.)

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  65. de stijl says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Have a pleasant Sunday.

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  66. sam says:

    @JKB:

    we’ll assume an appropriate liberal arts major since real snobbery tends to flow from the humanities types looking down on those who study real-world useful subjects in STEM

    Reverse snobbery!!

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  67. anjin-san says:

    the dark decade of the 1970s

    Dark decade? WFT? Damn, you can’t have the kind of fun we had back in the 70’s in this century. This sounds like sour grapes from someone who could not get laid at the peak of the sexual revolution.

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  68. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: Dude, it’s called “the free market.” Private universities offer certain levels of salary, public universities have to offer the same level to get similarly good professors.

    Academia is so divorced from the “free market,” it’s practically Andy Rooney.

    Any time you separate the consumer of a good or service from the cost of said good or service, you’re going to get absolutely insane perversions of the “free market.” For years, the costs of education were borne by families or the government. Now, with the government essentially taking over the student loan biz, it’s even worse. There is absolutely no incentive for the student to maximize the value of their education, and no incentive for the college to do anything but maximize the costs. Tuition goes up? Just get more loans and grants.

    The cost of college has, for decades, vastly outstripped the inflation rate or any other metric. And it has gone up so far, so fast, for the simplest of reasons: it can. Because there’s no one with any incentive or standing to fight it.

    In the same time, the value of education has fallen off. Job requirements have inflated as well; many jobs that used to require a mere high school diploma now require a bachelor’s. And the old bachelor’s jobs now want Masters or better. And while increased knowledge has been a factor, another one has been the declining quality of education. We all see, on almost a daily basis, the quality of the average high-school graduate. Now, we’re seeing that creep up into college graduates.

    We actively encourage students to pursue incredibly un-profitable majors. And while there’s nothing wrong with that per se, to do so while encouraging them to take on huge amounts of debt in the process is obscene.

    Let’s take the stereotypical “art history” major. The average starting salary of those who find work in that field (a decidedly iffy proposition) is around 44K a year. But the cost of a BA runs about 100K.

    Look at the legal profession. We’re getting more and more law school graduates, but they are finding harder and harder to find decent-paying jobs in that field. (Personally, I have little sympathy for them, but I’m making a point here.) The cost of law school is huge, and lawyers end up in debt for years and years and years.

    There’s a hell of a case to be made for introducing true competition and the free market to academia, and a resurgence in trade schools is something we really need. But to say that our current higher education represents “the free market” is ludicrous.

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  69. anjin-san says:

    There’s a hell of a case to be made for introducing true competition and the free market to academia, and a resurgence in trade schools is something we really need.

    So go start a trade school. Oh, wait. Why actually do anything in the real world when you can spend all day online whining about liberals?

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  70. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    There is absolutely no incentive for the student to maximize the value of their education,

    As a economics graduate who paid for his education out of pocket, I can confidently say this is not true at all.

    with the government essentially taking over the student loan biz, […]

    As usual, this is completely false:

    Borrowers used to be able to get college loans from either banks or the federal government. In return for administering loans to students, private banks received federal subsidies to provide student loans.

    Under the new law, private banks will no longer handle federally backed student loans. Instead, the federal government will be the only lender to students. (emphasis mine)

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  71. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James:

    Borrowers used to be able to get college loans from either banks or the federal government. In return for administering loans to students, private banks received federal subsidies to provide student loans.

    Our resident genius Jenos really thinks taxpayers subsidizing the banks to grant student loans is a great idea. James while I applaud your tenacity it’s a complete waste of time. This fellow inhabits a parallel universe totally cut off from facts, the historical record, context and all the other parameters that guide the semi sane in arriving at value judgements. You have better things to do with your life that engaging in futile disputation with this loon.

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  72. James says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Thanks. Mostly I’m procrastinating on unpacking (new job). I will confess I enjoy watching him squirm.

    What was the phrase you used? Draining a lake with a spoon?

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  73. al-Ameda says:

    Every time I think that our current Republican candidates just cannot become any more alienating and stupid, Rick Santorum steps up and lowers my expectations.

    This reminiscent of the late 70s-early 80s when Democrats isolated themselves from the voters and gave us Carter, Dukakis and Mondale.

    Republicans are running for the cliff now too.

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  74. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James:

    What was the phrase you used? Draining a lake with a spoon?

    It would require an exceptionally large spoon….the problem is he isn’t squirming,because he fervently believes this stuff. I made a ref to Kennan earlier because I’ve had some experience of the Soviet Union in the 70’s and early 80’s and it was truly exactly the same. This particular guy is off his head it’s quite clear so he rather belongs in the category of those you see pushing supermarket carts. To be avoided.

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  75. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Our resident genius Jenos really thinks taxpayers subsidizing the banks to grant student loans is a great idea.

    Excuse me, f-wit, but when the hell did I say any such thing? I’d like to see the government get out of the student loan biz ENTIRELY. Leave it up to the banks, who will introduce students to a healthy dose of fiscal reality.

    If the loans start drying up and enrollment declines, that just might be the dose of fiscal reality that the colleges need, too.

    This is why I don’t like discussing things with you. You put up your argument, then make up incredibly stupid ones for me and denounce them. When you do that, you’ve made an opponent redundant.

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  76. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Leave it up to the banks, who will introduce students to a healthy dose of fiscal reality.

    You’re ignoring the fact that education is a public good. If someone invents a cure for cancer, you still benefit, even if you didn’t contribute to his or her education costs.

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  77. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Yes, but not all education is a public good worth its price. And the medical field — even if not especially the research field — is still profitable enough that banks would see such loans as good investments.

    Well, at least it is currently. ObamaCare is promising to change all that, with crackdowns on “profiteering” in medical devices, pharmaceutical companies, etc. etc.

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  78. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    not all education is a public good worth its price.

    Agreed. But, I’m sure there’s something between fully subsidizing every single undergraduate, and, as you suggested

    government get out of the student loan biz ENTIRELY.

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  79. anjin-san says:

    Leave it up to the banks, who will introduce students to a healthy dose of fiscal reality

    Yea, we saw how strong the banks are on “fiscal reality” during the real estate boom. Good point.

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  80. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    This is why I don’t like discussing things with you.

    You’re under the impression you discuss things with me. LOL. Where do you get that idea. A couple of your responses were more than enough evidence to demonstrate you were the internet equivalent of the crazy pushing the supermarket cart. James might think it worthwhile wasting time on you I certainly don’t.

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  81. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Actually one of your posts that I agree with on the whole.

    BTW, I’ve heard that the major increase in costs at universities went for an extra layer of bureaucracy at the top rather than increases in professors’ salaries. The other black hole has supposedly been the increased services that parents are now demanding for their precious snowflakes. (i.e., not only do their darlings have to live in an up-to-date dorm, it has to have the amenities of a five-star hotel.)

    Heck, I thought one of the major learning experiences one was supposed to learn from dorm life was how to keep the cockroach population down and the 100 different dishes you could conjure up from instant ramen.

    Guess I’m getting old…

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  82. @Jenos Idanian:

    Let’s take the stereotypical “art history” major. The average starting salary of those who find work in that field (a decidedly iffy proposition) is around 44K a year. But the cost of a BA runs about 100K.

    Bullshit.

    According to The College Board’s figures, 56% of college students pay less than $9k/year for their education (tuition and fees). And having a degree increases your expected lifetime earnings by an average of $800k dollars, which is a pretty good ROI for a “useless degree”.

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  83. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: The only part of your comment I’d disagree with is the “aan extra layer of bureaucracy at the top.” My hunch is more like a couple layers, with at least some in the middle. But that’s just nit-picking on my part.

    The essential point: the money has NOT gone towards advancing education, enhancing learning, or benefiting students in the least. Oh, and that there will be little or no consequences, but more demands for more money.

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  84. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    My hunch is more like a couple layers, with at least some in the middle.

    Perhaps you could find some data to, I don’t know, back up that hunch?

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  85. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Double-checked my reference; my number was for private colleges, which run just over 25K a year. Your figure takes into account state colleges.

    Of course, your comparison was an apples and oranges thing; I said “average cost,” while yours was “X percent pay less than Y.” Let me duoble-check some numbers…

    Oh, lookie here. I think I caught you in an error or two…

    In 2011-12, 44 percent of all full-time undergraduate college students attend a four-year college that has published charges of less than $9,000 per year for tuition and fees.

    That’s from the College Board, which you cited. Looks like you got your percentages backwards, sport.

    Well, here’s USA Today saying that the total annual costs of a 4-year degree at a public school are just under 20K, while a private, for-profit school is just under 30K and a private, non-profit school is about 35K. That’s “total costs,” sport, not just tuition and fees. I can’t find a breakdown of how many students fall into each category, but if it’s split evenly, that puts the average at 28K a year — or 112K in four years. Putting half in public, then a quarter each in the two privates, it changes the math to 26K a year, or 104K a year.

    So no, I think I’ll stick with my 100K estimate for now. Considering that your citation 1) wasn’t an apples-to-apples refutation, 2) didn’t cover the entire costs, and 3) apparently was wrong, I’m not sold.

    Now, if you can come up with an honest statistic, I’ll be glad to reconsider. But so far… nah. I’m thinking I got it right. But I’m more confident that you got it wrong.

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  86. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: If I did, goober, then I wouldn’t call it a “hunch.” More like “theory” or “hypothesis.”

    “Hunch: an intuitive feeling, guess, or premonition.”

    Backing data? Gimme a sec…

    Yup, still feel it. Hunch verified as a hunch.

    Would you like me to triple-check it? I’ll be glad to.

    Consider it at least as accurate as Brummagem Joe’s statement that “Our resident genius Jenos really thinks taxpayers subsidizing the banks to grant student loans is a great idea.” My statement is based on actual knowledge of the inner workings of my own mind, and not just some… person just pulling… stuff out of his hindquarters.

    Man, self-censorship is tough.

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  87. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    My statement is based on actual knowledge of the inner workings of my own mind,

    It shows.

    Notice how your knowledge extends only to the “inner workings” of your “mind,” rather than actual facts about the world.

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  88. grumpy realist says:

    I’ll be interested to see if with the increased tuition costs we might finally manage to shove a lot of college education on line. From an educational point of view, do we really need to move our children half-way across the country and pen them up in a bunch of buildings to listen to someone standing up in front of a chalkboard? For four years? We really do have the technology to do better.

    Non-descript private colleges with high tuition costs should go back to what they have always been–a signaling device for families in the upper crust to show that their children are of The Elite. And the rest of us can develop a system that actually, y’know, educates people.

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  89. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Notice how your knowledge extends only to the “inner workings” of your “mind,” rather than actual facts about the world.

    You mean, like those figures I cited from the College Board and USA Today?

    You’re getting pathetic in your attempts to change the topic to “how can I selectively quote Jenos to insult him.”

    No, that’s not fair. Your pathos is getting more and more obvious.

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  90. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I agree, this is ridiculously high to pay for your average, run-of-the-mill college. I’m paying less than this for law school, and the place I’m at has a pretty good reputation!

    BTW, if students want to get a good education at the M.A. level, look into non-US universities. I have an M.A. from a well-known English university; it cost me 6000 pounds for the entire year, and the level of teaching and educational demands was light-years beyond anything demanded of anyone here in the U.S. (To give an idea, one of our professors insisted that we translate legal documents from Latin on the fly during discussion in class.)

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  91. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You mean, like those figures I cited from the College Board and USA Today?

    You included two links in a comment. Would you like a gold star?

    I also couldn’t help but note that your links in no way substantiate your claims about why the cost of college is increasing. But that wouldn’t make you a, how did you say, person just pulling… stuff out of his hindquarters. No, not at all.

    Your pathos is getting more and more obvious

    Yes, please do tell more more about my “pathos”. No need to substantiate your claims at all.

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  92. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist:There are some for-profit schools taking steps in that direction. They’re at least exploring it.

    Which is why, I suspect, we’re suddenly hearing about the “evils” of the for-profit schools. Media investigations, Obama administration denunciations, etc. Gotta protect their base, after all…

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  93. Rob in CT says:

    The student loan/college cost situation is a serious problem. I certainly wouldn’t look to Rick Santorum to solve it, but the problem exists.

    Removing the middle-man may help a little (Obama tinkering around the edges again) but I rather doubt it will solve the problem.

    The big question is: how do you bring costs down without dramatically restricting access to higher education (that’s important to me. YMMV)? If you turn off the subsidized loan tap, a whole lot of poor and middle-class kids are going to be shut out.

    I guess we can hope for low-cost online education to save the day, but from what I’ve read on that suggests that, so far, it hasn’t worked too well (basically employers don’t value the degrees. Question is, are they right, or are they just reacting prejudicially to something new?).

    One way or another, tuition can’t keep rising at double-to-triple the rate of inflation. Well, it probable can for a while, but it won’t end well. Student loan debt is at scary levels already, and rising fast.

    I’d add to the “administrators ate up the money” argument that accomodations/facilities have also gotten really fancy. That was certainly the case at my alma matter. Freshman dorm = cinderblock construction (1960s, IIRC), tiny rooms, common bathrooms. New dorms being built = far, far larger rooms, private bathrooms, all the bells & whistles. That’s not cheap. From what I can tell, it really hasn’t been the professors. Certainly not the oh-so-useless liberal arts types. My best friend is just starting out as a History professor. Trust me when I tell you the wages are low. Total comp (factoring in bennies) probably improves matters some, but… the guy now has 1 year of being a professor under his belt. We were undergrads together. I’ve been in the workforce since 1998 (doing what I do now since 1999). The opportunity cost for his path is big.

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  94. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: As usual, this is more unsubstantiated tripe. For-profit colleges have significantly higher default rates and and abysmally low graduation rates, compared to traditional institutions.

    USA Today (a source of half your citations, if I recall correctly), even wrote this editorial:

    A closer look at the record of for-profit universities suggests that Romney needs to go back to school on the issue. The industry is plagued by institutions with low graduation rates and high loan default rates. As for costs, the average student at a for-profit college spends $30,900 per year for tuition and living expenses, according to the Education Department. That’s almost twice the $15,600 that students at public colleges spend, and considerably more than the $26,600 that students at private, non-profit colleges spend. How can the answer to expensive public and private education be another category that costs even more?

    I don’t need to “selectively” quote you to “insult you”. You do that just fine on your own.

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  95. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: You’re so right. I totally and deeply regret and retract my statement that the for-profit schools are the cure-all. I am so ashamed that I said…

    Wait, I didn’t say that. Darn, you almost convinced me.

    I said that some of them are trying some of the things Grumpy discussed. And I said that the for-profit schools are getting attacked. So when you respond by citing and quoting some of those attacks, you don’t actually refute a single thing I said.

    If you could just get over your petty, trite, and pointless grudge against me and look at what’s actually being said in the discussion, you might find something worthwhile to contribute. Grumpy and Rob have pointed out some of the serious problems in today’s higher education.

    Or, if you like, you can continue to snipe at me for doing both research and speculating, and clearly labeling each appropriately. What kind of a pedantic a-hole demands citations and evidence for something clearly declared a “hunch?”

    Oh, and my two links is precisely two more than Stormy provided, with one contradicting his statement. Care to turn your “flamethrower of trooooth” on him? Personally, I don’t think he deserves it, but you wouldn’t want to be inconsistent and hypocritical, would you?

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  96. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rob in CT: I find myself wondering how much money schools — as well as other institutions — paid on wiring their buildings for ethernet, then just a few years later instituted WiFi. I remember a news story about a pet rat trained to drag CAT-5 through school walls…

    It all comes back to the economic principle I said earlier: the more you separate the ultimate consumer from the costs, the higher those costs will be. The students are, generally, so young and immature that they don’t think of the loans as “real” money they’ll have to repay; they’re urged to maximize their loans and get as much as they can. And by the time they have to actually start repaying those loans, they’ve well into five or six figures of debt.

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  97. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Let’s take the stereotypical “art history” major.

    Let’s not… because the entire idea of Colleges being filled with “art history” majors is one of the more tired tropes that gets trotted out in these discussions. As it turns out, the vast majority of bachelors degrees awarded in the US, by almost a double digit margin are BUSINESS degrees.

    The combined social sciences (excluding psych) do come in second, but when you tally up where them up against students seeking “professional” undergrad degrees, you see that they actually rank rather low.

    http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/figures/fig_15.asp?referrer=figures

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  98. Rob in CT says:

    Here’s a possible compromise reform:

    Cut out the middle man (direct federal loans), but cap the maximum loan amount at $X, and then index that to inflation (let’s use CPI). Two obvious pitfalls: 1) picking the right $X to start; and 2) sticking with the indexing, rather than Congress caving in to pressure and raising the amount faster.

    That’s tinkering, it’s true. But I think we have to tinker. A sudden switch would be highly disruptive.

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  99. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I don’t have a grudge against you. I would just prefer you not comment here if you’re going to spout bald-faced lies. It doesn’t irreparable harm to the discussion that you’re suddenly so keen to have.

    And if you continue to spout bald-faced lies, I’m perfectly happy to point them out.

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  100. mattb says:

    Ooops. In my haste, I realize that I didn’t really complete that thought. My (not so articulated argument) is that the retreat to “basket weaving” or “art history” actually masks the far bigger problem with college — that this isn’t about so-called “useless majors.”

    The economics aren’t particularly better for the average “business student” – they may actually be worse. Most students are exiting with more debt that they can earn back for the foreseeable future.

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  101. James says:

    @Rob in CT: I think that’s a very smart starting place for a plan. My major concern about it is it’s not actually approaching the drivers of education cost inflation, and it’s doesn’t actually “save” money, it just shifts costs onto individuals.

    Consumer elasticity of demand for higher education is very low, which makes it much harder for undergraduates to adjust their “consumption” of higher education when tuition prices change. Moreover, it’s very hard to marginally consume an undergraduate degree; it’s traditionally a 4-year program, and it’s wrapped up in a lot of cultural implications, especially on higher income households.

    oh, and *It does irreparable harm

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  102. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And the medical field — even if not especially the research field — is still profitable enough that banks would see such loans as good investments.

    Though when you dig into the numbers, one finds that in terms of paying back loans, only sections of the medical field are profitable for students. One of the reasons that we are facing a lack of GP’s in the country is that field is considered to be a “loser” (relatively speaking) when it comes to income. The rapid growth in specialists is in part due to the larger financial freedom offered by that specialization.

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  103. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    (Obama tinkering around the edges again)

    Hardly tinkering around the edges…it’s a major shift in the organisation of funding by any standards. The relationship between the availability of student loans and it’s impact on the cost of education is a different issue altogether which is present however they are sourced.

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  104. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rob in CT: Cut out the middle man (direct federal loans), but cap the maximum loan amount at $X, and then index that to inflation (let’s use CPI). Two obvious pitfalls: 1) picking the right $X to start; and 2) sticking with the indexing, rather than Congress caving in to pressure and raising the amount faster.

    I think we have a philosophical disagreement here, but no need to get disagreeable. Instead of eliminating the banks from the equation, I’d be more inclined to minimize the role of the federal government. Such officials tend to have little interest in securing repayment compared to banks that have investors and bond-holders to answer to. (In theory, at least.)

    We agree that having both parties involved is too much. I am less inclined to believe in bureaucratic benevolence and governmental business acumen.

    On the other hand, the government has far greater resources to compel repayment than banks do. A friend of mine just had his entire tax refund confiscated for unpaid student loans…

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  105. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James:

    I don’t have a grudge against you. I would just prefer you not comment here if you’re going to spout bald-faced lies.

    When you put a “Joyner” at the end of your name, then I’ll respect your “preferences” about who gets to comment here. Until then — it isn’t your site, so you don’t make the rules.

    It doesn’t (sic) irreparable harm to the discussion that you’re suddenly so keen to have.

    And if you continue to spout bald-faced lies, I’m perfectly happy to point them out.

    The only “bald-faced lies” here are how you represent my statements. But they’re so “bald-faced” that I don’t feel the need to ask you to leave or for you to be banned; they’re so self-evident that you discredit yourself with your hysteria. Good God, man, you called me a liar for not offering documentation for what I clearly called a hunch! How desperate is that?

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  106. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: While we’re discussing:

    The students are, generally, so young and immature that they don’t think of the loans as “real” money they’ll have to repay

    Is this another one of your “hunches”? Because not only does it have no basis in reality, it belittles the very real struggles I and my classmates went through every day to maximize the value of our education.

    You’re not here to discuss. You’re here to pontify.

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  107. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mattb: True enough, but I’d be concerned about the lenders “picking winners and losers” too early in the educational process. And I don’t think the lenders care too much at the undergraduate level, when the students are only talking “pre-med,” and not thinking of medical specialties, or practice vs. research vs. academia, or any other the other finer decisions made much further down the academic road.

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  108. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: “Generally.” “Hunch.” Do you and English have even a passing acquaintance? Or do you just blip over the qualifiers so you can pretend you’re Doing Noble Battle With The Extremists?

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  109. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Oh, I’m not asking you respect my preferences. Simply that this notion that you’re free to type whatever you like without redress is a false one.

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  110. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: My my, you’re getting yourself all worked up over this discussion now, aren’t you?

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  111. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James:

    Because not only does it have no basis in reality, it belittles the very real struggles I and my classmates went through every day to maximize the value of our education.

    Already regretting this, but…

    If you’re going to use your own example, please provide the following details so your statements can be properly assessed:

    1) Degree achieved;
    2) Field of study;
    3) Year of graduation;
    4) Amount of debt; and
    5) Amount paid back so far.

    I really have no interest in your particulars, but if you’re going to use yourself as an example, you ought to present the whole picture. And note that there’s nothing there that would personally identify you, except as one of X number of people who got a degree in Y in year Z.

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  112. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James:

    My major concern about it is it’s not actually approaching the drivers of education cost inflation, and it’s doesn’t actually “save” money, it just shifts costs onto individuals.

    Consumer elasticity of demand for higher education is very low, which makes it much harder for undergraduates to adjust their “consumption” of higher education when tuition prices change. Moreover, it’s very hard to marginally consume an undergraduate degree; it’s traditionally a 4-year program, and it’s wrapped up in a lot of cultural implications, especially on higher income households.

    An excellent summary of the situation. The availability of student finance is probably playing a minor role in the increasing cost of university education but it’s minor and artificially restricting funds isn’t going to dramatically reduce education inflation because at the end of the day demand is growing.

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  113. @Jenos Idanian:

    “Generally.” “Hunch.” Do you and English have even a passing acquaintance?

    The problem becomes with such statements is that they are, ultimately, of no value to argument, especially in the way you are deploying them. You throw out a “hunch” or make a statement that might “generally” true in a way that allegedly is part of an argument, but then when called on the fact that your “hunch” may lack foundation in reality you counter with “hey! I just said it was a hunch!”

    This is what @James means by “You’re not here to discuss. You’re here to pontify.”

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  114. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Yes… but not the diversion with you. That’s just mildly annoying. Matt and Rob are presenting some interesting ideas.

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  115. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Duly noted, sir.

    Do those observations apply equally to others here, as well?

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  116. Brummagem Joe says:

    If you’re going to use your own example, please provide the following details so your statements can be properly assessed:

    Don’t forget you’re blood group James…LOL

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  117. @Rob in CT:

    I’d add to the “administrators ate up the money” argument that accomodations/facilities have also gotten really fancy. That was certainly the case at my alma matter. Freshman dorm = cinderblock construction (1960s, IIRC), tiny rooms, common bathrooms. New dorms being built = far, far larger rooms, private bathrooms, all the bells & whistles. That’s not cheap. From what I can tell, it really hasn’t been the professors. Certainly not the oh-so-useless liberal arts types. My best friend is just starting out as a History professor. Trust me when I tell you the wages are low. Total comp (factoring in bennies) probably improves matters some, but… the guy now has 1 year of being a professor under his belt. We were undergrads together. I’ve been in the workforce since 1998 (doing what I do now since 1999). The opportunity cost for his path is big.

    Indeed all around.

    First: a major driver of increased tuition at public schools has been the continued (in some cases for over a decade) retreat by states in subsidizing schools. As states contribute less and less to the budgets of colleges and universities, the place to go for more revenues is to increase tuition (and to try and recruit more students).

    Second: there has been a clear drive to improve facilities (note the need to recruit students). Plus the need for campus technology (computer labs, smartboards, WiFi, et.c) have radically increased in the last 15-20 years.

    Third: the notion that liberal arts profs are making huge salaries is simply crazy (and trust me, while obviously labor costs are major at universities–as with any enterprise–the cost driver has not been increased faculty remuneration).

    Fourth: don’t forget health care costs, which are also a problem across industries.

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  118. @Jenos Idanian:

    Do those observations apply equally to others here, as well?

    I would note that the observation in question, while universally applicable, does have a more specific application in this discussion to your mode of argumentation.

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  119. James says:

    @Brummagem Joe and @Steven L. Taylor Thank you for the feedback.

    @Jenos Idanian
    1) Bachelors
    2) Economics/Political Science collaborative program. Honors track as well.
    3)2011
    4 + 5) No debt. My tuition was waived due to my test performance in high school. I went to a state university to keep my costs low. Most of my fees were paid for through savings, and living expenses I covered by working.

    I must admit, I’m not sure what any of this has to do with your (ludicrous) claim that:

    The students are, generally, so young and immature that they don’t think of the loans as “real” money they’ll have to repay.

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  120. Jenos Idanian says:

    So… in a thread where WR compares people to genocidal Communists, Brummagem Joe completely makes up quotes from others, and James selectively quotes to make false arguments, I get singled out for special attention?

    I’m going to take it as a compliment, presuming that you think I’m “worth saving” while those others are beyond hope.

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  121. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Congratulations, you are truly exceptional. Your accomplishments are something to be proud of.

    But you are hardly typical. Just by the “Occupy” protesters who talked about their massive student debt, you are vastly outnumbered.

    But again, congratulations.

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  122. @Jenos Idanian:

    I can’t find a breakdown of how many students fall into each category, but if it’s split evenly, that puts the average at 28K a year — or 112K in four years.

    Take a look a Table 195t:

    http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011015_3a.pdf

    Public schools account for nearly three quarters of the enrolled students.

    And you want to talk about apples to orangesl–your USA Today figures include room and board, which is problematic for two reason. Firstly, the individual student has, in most cases, a lot of control over this depending whether they choose to live on campus or off. Secondly, unless they are trying to decide between going to college and being a homeless bum, they’re going to have living expenses either way, so treating that specifically as part of the cost of college is somewhat disengenous. Thirdly, you leave out the sizeable drop that results from student aid, counting what students would pay if they were paying full price rather than what they are actually paying out of pocket.

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  123. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yes, the students have some control over their room and board, but it still counts as “debt” that they have to repay.

    And while I get “file not found” on your link, I’ll take your word for it. So let me rejigger my numbers again, say 75% public schools, 15% private non-profit, and 10% private for-profit… that makes it… hang on…

    OK, 23K a year, or 92K for four years. And note that the cost of private non-profit is higher than private for-profit, so the higher the percentage in “traditional” schools, the higher the costs. At 20%/5%, it goes up to 23.5K, or 94K for four years.

    Still a hell of a lot, as the “Occupy” protesters informed us…

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  124. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Thank you Jenos. Although I would submit that I am not that exceptional, especially if you’re only datapoint is “Occupy protesters.” My significant other at the time took out loans and worked weekday 5am to 9am shifts at Home Depot because her family refused to contribute to her education. My good friend and roommate pursued a combination of merit-based scholarships (which varied year-to-year) along with public and private loans since his family did not have the means to finance his education either.

    And poor you, having your own glib and inaccurate statements being used in a way to point out how glib and inaccurate they are.

    You want sympathy and understanding, but give none.

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  125. Brummagem Joe says:

    But you are hardly typical. Just by the “Occupy” protesters who talked about their massive student debt, you are vastly outnumbered.

    James of course never said that many students weren’t without substantial debt merely that a comment by our resident genius was ludicrous. Viz.

    I must admit, I’m not sure what any of this has to do with your (ludicrous) claim that:

    The students are, generally, so young and immature that they don’t think of the loans as “real” money they’ll have to repay.

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  126. @Jenos Idanian:

    The link works fine for me. Here’s an alternate that may work if the original is not persistent:

    http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/

    but it still counts as “debt” that they have to repay.

    My mortgage is debt I have to repay. It would be odd to describe it as a cost of having a job.

    And again, you avoid the grant/scholarship part of the equation. Even if we include room and board, look at:

    http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012263

    For 2009, the average weighted price of attendance before aid was $14,358 for a public school, $36,273 for a private non-profit, and $26,695 for a private for profit. But the average weight net attendance cost was $9,385 for public, $21,676 for private non-profit, and $23,174 for private for profit.

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  127. @Jenos Idanian: In honesty, I simply found you to be the most irritating in the thread. Sometimes I can’t help myself in that regard.

    Then again, I think we have had similar interchanges in the past (or, at least, with one of your previous aliases).

    I do think that you could improve your argumentation skills in the way noted above, so take that as you will.

    At any rate: carry on.

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  128. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Thanks for the clarification. And I had another thought — your statement about “having living expenses anyway” doesn’t quite count. If they weren’t students, they’d most likely have jobs and income to offset those expenses. One of the “hidden costs” of college is that one is usually not earning substantial income while attending.

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  129. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Then again, I think we have had similar interchanges in the past (or, at least, with one of your previous aliases).

    The names may change but the quality of the dialectic alas remains constant.

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  130. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Perhaps I should aspire to the rhetorical heights of, say, WR, and his “shut up, you stupid fascists!” school of dialectics. That seems to get the tacit seal of approval.

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  131. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You’re referring to “opportunity cost”. It’s well understood and isn’t included in undergraduate cost estimates because its too speculative.

    If a student opts to live on campus, I can certainly see including their room and board as part of their overall education costs. Unfortunately, most universities have an on-campus living requirement; with waiver options for local students.

    I moved off-campus as soon as I could, and saved quite a bit of money in the process.

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  132. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Perhaps you should just worry about the persuasiveness of your own compositions.

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  133. Brummagem Joe says:

    Perhaps I should aspire to the rhetorical heights of, say, WR, and his “shut up, you stupid fascists!” school of dialectics.

    Yes there’s certainly some debate about whether this is a superior branch of dialectics to this school…

    Excuse me, f-wit,

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  134. @Jenos Idanian: This is, of course, typical of your retorts: you want to change the subject. You rarely ever really want to directly address/own your own assertions.

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  135. Jenos Idanian says:

    Oddly enough, Glenn Reynolds links to two fairly relevant articles this morning… the first on why there’s little interest in private investment in education, the second Law Professor Ann Althouse discussing how she sees the attitudes of Obama and Santorum on the whole mess. Both are quite interesting; Althouse’s second point is quite accurate:

    They should to go to college for a good reason, and one particularly good reason is to study science and engineering. If they are going to study in some softer, less career-oriented area, the mushy notion that everybody ought to go to college is not enough, even if the President of the United States tells them it is.

    I would qualify that to specify that it should only apply to those who are asking others to pick up their tab — especially through loans. If they’re ready to pay for the “softer, less career-oriented area” themselves, then more power to them.

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  136. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Getting into a heated argument with the host of a blog rarely ends well for the guest. I’ll just accept that there’s something about my particular style that grates on you, and that the styles that grate on me don’t bother you as much.

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  137. Brummagem Joe says:

    If they are going to study in some softer, less career-oriented area, the mushy notion that everybody ought to go to college is not enough, even if the President of the United States tells them it is.

    Althouse’s undergrad degree is in Fine Arts….a notably hard and career oriented field of study….or so everyone says.

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  138. @James:

    Unfortunately, most universities have an on-campus living requirement; with waiver options for local students.

    Can you source this? Most universities have an on campus living requirement for freshmen, but at least in my experience not only are upper classes allowed to move off campus, they are, in some cases, forced to as many large univesities simply don’t have enough dorms to house their entire student body.

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  139. James says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My apologies, I should have qualified. My own experience at my own university had an on-campus living requirement. It was for the first two years. You could get a waiver if you were a local student (~50 mi away, I think), or you could compose a formal appeal. An upperclassmen acquaintance of mine got a place with his then freshman brother.

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  140. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Most universities have an on campus living requirement for freshmen

    Many universities do, but I don’t know if “most” is even accurate, though it may be. Many urban campuses don’t have adequate dorm space to accommodate all their freshmen, and have significant commuter student populations. Especially for those students who go to college in the city/town in which they already live, living at home is a major cost savings.

    As far as I know, on campus living requirements for students beyond their first or second years of undergraduate school are very rare.

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  141. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Thank you for finally giving me some reading to sink my teeth into.

    Your first source is….odd. He talks about getting more venture capital into the education sector, but “unfortunately, venture capitalists are staying out of the K-12 education market in droves.” I’m not sure when the venture capital market was ever heavily involved the K-12 sector, especially since K-12 is largely a publicly good and a publicly funded enterprise. For example:

    [VC investment in the k-12 sector] will only happen as more companies develop and market new programs and products, and that’s only going to happen when venture capitalists think there is money to be made in the field and offer promising start ups (that, for example, put experienced teachers together with tech wizards to design products that actual teachers find actually helpful) the resources they need to turn a vision into a product.

    What kind of products are we talking about here? Who exactly is going to be buying these products? Teachers? The school districts? Entire states? The federal government? I really don’t understand how venture capital is going to replace the skill and patience of a good educator, or how profit motive is going to alleviate the decay of impoverished neighborhoods. More importantly, how does any of this approach the issue of undergraduate education cost inflation?

    As for the Althouse piece, well, I think @Brummagem Joe summarized my reaction concisely enough. It’s quite easy to facetiously lionize “hard” science fields when one is comfortably enjoying their liberal arts degree(s). Moreover, Althouse’s Obama/teacher v. Santourm/student dichotomy is just foolishness disguised as analysis.

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  142. WR says:

    @Rob in CT: One reason higher education used to be much cheaper for students is that we as a people decided it was something worth funding with our tax dollars. That’s certainly how California built up one of the world’s great university systems. And then the acolytes of Saint Ronnie decided that taxes are evil, and that the notion of a society actually building something together is evil, and starting cutting taxes on the rich and defunding the universities.

    So the start to the solution is to bring back sane tax rates.

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  143. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James:

    It’s quite easy to facetiously lionize “hard” science fields when one is comfortably enjoying their liberal arts degree(s).

    It was kind of funny when I looked her up I knew she’d have an undergrad degree in liberal arts of some kind. Transplants from the sciences or a vocational discipline like accountancy are not rare but they are not thick on the ground either. Two of my kids are lawyers one moved out of a hard unmushy subject and the other out lib arts. They are both equally competent lawyers. What’s implicit in the entire Jenos and Althouse nonsense is that education in and of itself is not desirable thereby confirming that the Republican party is indeed that of anti intellectuality and learning. As in so many other areas the tide of history is running against them. You can’t run modern societies without high levels of education and expertise.

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  144. James says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Congratulations on your children’s success. I hope for an equally fulfilling career.

    As for the substance of the matter, I find ignorance is ultimately a burden of the ignorant.

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  145. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Again, too simplistic.

    What’s implicit in the entire Jenos and Althouse nonsense is that education in and of itself is not desirable thereby confirming that the Republican party is indeed that of anti intellectuality and learning.,

    Education, in and of itself, is not automatically worthy of public support. For public funding, there has to be a modicum of cost-benefit analysis because public funding is a finite resource. For example, we seem to have a glut of law students right now. English majors tend not to end up in the 1% income strata. (See, I’m leaving the Art History majors alone.) There ought to be a modicum of means testing on public funding for education. No, not 100%, of course, but a certain amount of pragmatism and reasonable expectation of return on investment.

    And that’s some incredibly lazy stereotyping and generalizing, Joe. Care to cite your sources for how your little declaration actually represents the Republican Party?

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  146. Rob in CT says:

    @James:

    My major concern about it is it’s not actually approaching the drivers of education cost inflation, and it’s doesn’t actually “save” money, it just shifts costs onto individuals.

    I agree that it doesn’t get to the root causes, or at least not all of them (I’d say the government-backed student loans are part of the reason prices have gone up so much). I’m not sure the government can get at those root causes directly, because the government is involved here indirectly.

    Actually, thinking some more about it, I ripped the Bowles-Simpson chairmen’s recommendation a couple of years ago for proposing cost-shifting. They suggested indexing Medicare spending in much the same way. It solves the problem from the standpoint of the budget, but it doesn’t actually make medical care cheaper. It just shifts the costs to seniors.

    With Medicare, well, the government has some other options when it comes to bending the cost curve. The government is paying bills there (direct). Here, the government is providing loans (indirect). Maybe I’m wrong, but that seems like a significant difference that matters when it comes to attacking the problem. The government doesn’t negotiate with universities over their tuition costs.

    Anyway, I’d set the level pretty high and then let the inflation indexing slowly put pressure on the system (granted, indirectly by putting pressure on students). If there is a better idea, I’m all ears, because I know mine isn’t great.

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  147. Rob in CT says:

    @WR:

    I’m up for more public support of community colleges & state colleges/universities. In an average state, I’d probably advocate for a mix of higher taxes + spending cuts in other categories to pay for it. In Connecticut specifically, I’d want more spending shifts than tax increases (as we already are one of the highest tax states). The problem there is finding the cuts. I’ll say this: though I am generally supportive of unionization and public sector workers, I’d rather provide more funds to UCONN & Central* than give the good folks at the DOT a raise.

    * – I might attach some strings, though. I wouldn’t want to send more money to UCONN just to see them pour it into a new stadium or somesuch. I’d want to see tuition decrease.

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  148. James says:

    @Rob in CT: I like where your train of thought is leading you.

    As WR and Steven L. Taylor touched on, there’s been a massive retreat from education investment at the state level. It’s driving a lot of our financing at student debt problems. If education is going to be an important value, we need to make the commiserate investments at both the state and federal levels. Shifting costs on to students isn’t going to help the situation, especially when you add the drag of interest payment on education loans.

    We want to have a efficient and nimble workforce that can perform in a global, tech-based economy. We also want to maximize human welfare, and that means people need to pair up with jobs that they enjoy. There’s a good hypothesis that the more workers enjoy their job, they more productive then tend to work. To get these kinds of workers and work places, I think we need to allow more choice for high school graduates.

    If I had my druthers, I’d work on expanding substitute goods for the undergraduate track. There’s a glut of undergrads because there’s there’s not a lot of other options besides an undergraduate education. The AmeriCorps program is a fantastic (and cost-effective) service corps that takes people with a HS diploma on up. I’d love to see a similar program scaled up for tech-based services (internet infrastructure is a major issue, especially in rural communities).

    I will admit, though, I haven’t looked at a lot of research on these kind of solutions, so I can’t tell you if the data backs up my thoughts.

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  149. @Jenos Idanian:

    There ought to be a modicum of means testing on public funding for education.

    Easier said then done. There was a study a year or so go showing that having a degree results in much higher wages, even in unskilled jobs like waiting tables or being a store clerk where having a degree is completely unnecessary. Clearly college education correlates strongly with something that impacts work success in a way well beyond the mere utility of the degree, and until we can control for that, a straight cost-benefit analysis is likely to prove deceptive.

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  150. James says:

    @Rob in CT: I’d also like to say that the #1 think I would have on my educational agenda is universal pre-K. My parents paid for my pre-K out of pocket and my mother works as a clinical psychologist for children. I can’t tell you enough how much a good pre-K environment can improve outcomes (although I can’t tell you if that’s controlling for income).

    I find the earlier, and more general education is, the stronger the logic is for treating like a public good rather than individual human capital investment.

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  151. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I

    agree that it doesn’t get to the root causes, or at least not all of them (I’d say the government-backed student loans are part of the reason prices have gone up so much).

    But it’s a minor part of the problem…the main drivers are those that Steven and James mention. And then it becomes one of these red herrings beloved of the usual suspects who claim it’s why people like Steven do no work and sit around in faculty common rooms sipping white wine and dismissing the lack of culture amongst blue collar workers.

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  152. anjin-san says:

    He talks about getting more venture capital into the education sector, but “unfortunately, venture capitalists are staying out of the K-12 education market in droves.

    Odd indeed. VC’s are generally into opportunities for significant returns and a large equity position in organizations they invest in. Not sure how that works in the K-12 education market, unless you are just confident free market magic ponies will somehow make it work…

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  153. anjin-san says:

    My takeaway from all this is that modern conservatives want people to be stupid in general. And they want women to be stupid and frigid…

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  154. Rob in CT says:

    @James:

    Hmm. Or at least extend/expand the Birth-to-Three program?

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  155. James says:

    @Rob in CT: I’m not familiar with Birth-to-Three. I’m looking at it now, and it looks like exactly the kind of thing I’d like to see more aggressive financing for. Do you know if it is a CT only program?

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  156. Rob in CT says:

    I was under the impression that multiple states have it, or something akin to it, but I don’t really know.

    I do know it was nice to have (my daughter was a premie – not bad, but enough she benefitted from some PT work for a few months).

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  157. James says:

    @Rob in CT: I’m happy to hear that your daughter is in good health. I think that is exactly why these kind of programs need more attention and finance. Not only is it a value that I think we should invest in – aggressive care for our youngest and most vulnerable – but it also does good work toward servicing our long term healthcare cost problem.

    Basic preventative care investments, like prenatal care, help us avoid multiple high cost procedures that may be necessary when a chronic condition becomes critical.

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  158. Rob in CT says:

    Regarding education fees & public support:

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/9/49729932.pdf

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  159. James says:

    @Rob in CT: Fantastic link, thanks for sharing.

    I just had to put my laptop on it’s side to read the graphs.

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  160. Rob in CT says:

    What I’d like to see (and who knows, maybe it’s out there) is a graph that shows the total cost of education by country, by % of GDP.

    This has some data: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.XPD.TOTL.GD.ZS

    Showing that US public expenditure on education is 5.5% of GDP. That really doesn’t stand out. It’s basically the same as Britain. Higher than Australia. Much higher than Japan. Slightly lower than New Zealand.

    My sense is not that the USA, collectively, doesn’t pay enough. My sense is that our problems are more difficult to solve than mere underfunding.

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  161. DW Wood says:

    Forget the Taliban, Rick has a bigger fight on his hands for the USA…Satan

    Do you know what you get if you elect a self-righteous Bible Thumper to the White House who truly believes the devil is among us? World War III with nukes and all. A religious nut with his finger on the button will ensure he fulfills Genesis’ Apocalypse. Why would he do that you might ask? Simple, all hard core Christians believe that during the Apocalypse Jesus will return to earth and raise them up to heaven, sparing them all the evil taking place that leads to the end of man. In other words, they see the Apocalypse as a good thing.

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