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Welcome to the Leonard Smalls School of Economics

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Posted on December 15 2010 3:00 pm
Devoted to his lovely wife 30 years, father of two who grew up exceeding his wildest expectations, B.A. Psychology, M. Ed. Counseling, former busboy, journeyman, Church's Chicken cook, purified ice and water salesman, Coca-Cola serviceman, certified public school educator, CCNA, CCNP, Senior Network Admin for a large school district in south Texas

A very unscientific Google search for ‘government education grants’ yields over 4,000,000 hits.  There are all manner of scholarships, grants, and loans available for every conceivable category of person, with the possible exception of politically conservative religious white heterosexual males.  There is no room on college campuses for hate-filled superstitious racist homophobes.

Not unless they are hate-filled Islamofascist racist homophobes, that is.  They apparently go to the front of the Financial Aid line at University.   But I digress.

Federal, state, and local governments subsidize higher education with billions of our taxpayer dollars every year.  And every year, costs go up.  Tuition, textbooks, housing, parking fees . . . you name it.  The rate of increase far exceeds the rate of inflation.


(Source: InflationData.com)

But it does not exceed what the market will bear.

When Uncle Sam opened the floodgates to government-backed student loans without parent income restrictions in 1992, colleges welcomed the news with open arms.  The sudden injection of millions of additional aid dollars only furthered tuition increases.

When the government made it exceptionally easy for students to borrow massive amounts of money, the colleges followed the lead by increasing their tuition rates.  This combination led to record-level borrowing.  (Source: InflationData.com)

This reminds me of a scene in one of my all-time favorite movies, Raising Arizona, in which tracker and bounty hunter Leonard Smalls (aka Biker of the Apocalypse)  and Nathan Arizona Sr. are negotiating a price for the return of one of the Arizona quintuplets who had been kidnapped:

Nathan Arizona Sr.: You want that $25,000 reward, you go ahead and claim it.  What’s there to talk about?
Leonard Smalls: Price.  A fair price.  That’s not what you say it is, and it’s not what I say it is . . .  It’s what the market will bear.  Now there’s people – and I know ‘em – who’ll pay a lot more than $25,000 for a healthy baby.  Why, I myself fetched $30,000 on the black market.  And that was in 1954 dollars.

The price is what the market will bear.  That is the reason why textbooks that cost perhaps $25 each to publish will fetch upwards of $300 at checkout.  And the main reason why higher education costs have skyrocketed over the past 50 years is because – you guessed it – the government subsidizes much of it.  There are other contributing factors, but by far the biggest reason why tuition costs have skyrocketed is because everyone (well, everyone outside government) knows that no matter how ridiculously high costs soar, there will be some government subsidy to pay for most or all of it.  Favored populations who qualify for these subsidies take for granted that the subsidies will be available semester after semester, year after year.  Expectation leads to entitlement, and when a deeply ingrained sense of entitlement is combined with radical leftist pedagogy, you have a timebomb on your hands.  This is what is happening in Great Britain, right now.

The once-great British university system has been slowly degenerating thanks to the progressive socialist agenda since the 1960s.

State interference affects the daily attitudes of students and professors.  After the Education Act of 1962, University education was subsidized entirely by the taxpayer (or “free,” as the left like to call it) until 1997, when minimal tuition fees were introduced for students — fees that were eventually expanded to allow institutions to charge up to £3,290 in 2006.

So-called “free,” or at least cheap, university education has led to an attitude of apathy and confusion as to what the institution of a university is for.  The traditional understanding of a university as an institution of learning has been replaced by the view that university is a place where one has an “experience” or discovers oneself.

With little or no cost to the student, the university attracts many people who would not normally go, but who choose it because it offers a fun way to spend a few years and come away with a qualification at the end. Although there are a number of students who wish to learn, train, and come away with a good degree, the spirit of apathy toward education at even some of the best universities is overwhelming.

Over time, student life has focused more on drink, drugs, and casual sex (assisted by state funded “safe-sex” schemes) than on lectures.  Less time in the library and more time in the Student Union bar means more opportunities to be roped into left-wing-controlled “activism,” whether it is fair-trade, animal rights, eco-extremism, or plain old Marxism and anti-Americanism.  As I write, news is filtering through that this week’s Stockholm bomber graduated from a British University, just like the “Christmas Day bomber,” Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab.  One does not have to look far to see where their anti-Western attitudes may have been formed.

The current university system also allows for lazy lecturing.  (Source: Britain’s Left Are Panicking, by Adam Shaw in American Thinker)

The solution to the soaring costs associated with higher education is less government subsidization, thus reducing the amount the market will bear.   Other added benefits include more studious students, better teachers, and degrees that actually mean something.

Somewhere, Leonard Smalls grunts in agreement.

UPDATE: I was proofreading the article one last time and noticed this ad at the very bottom of the page:

How apt can you get!  An apparently very fetching young woman seductively flutters her long and luscious lashes at you while each sign slowly reveals itself to you – self-exploration, meditation, sustainability, natural health.  Party time!  Where do I sign up?  What a hoot!

-Chris

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