All around the world governments are gradually realizing the staggeringly obvious. They have been spending too much money for decades. Now they are running out of reserves (in the unlikely event they had any) and bumping against the limits of their credit cards.
As politicians drive their economies off a cliff they look around for expenses they can cut so the entrenched government parasites can keep their own party going a bit longer. One of the things they cut is subsidies for higher education. Young people are a good target because they don’t have effective lobbyists to garner them every possible dime from the public trough the way other interests do.
The predictable result is waves of college students protesting from Santiago to Tel Aviv to London to Montreal and many American cities. They rant indignantly that they will have to bear more than zero percent of the cost of what they want to consume. What outrage! In some cases students have to bear as much as thirty to forty percent of the cost! How barbaric. What they demand is a bigger gun be put to Pete’s head so they might have a freeee education at Pete’s expense. Simple. (This blog uses the convention of the word “freeee” as distinct from “free” as a means to identify coercive plunder from the general concept of free as in freedom.)
Not to say that students aren’t getting cheated otherwise. The cost of a college degree is rising much faster than inflation and faster even than medical costs. Of course, the driver of most of the increase is the massive amount of freeee money circulating. Student debt has passed one trillion dollars in the US and some of the real bottom-feeding schools have even stooped to trolling homeless shelters to sign up people for degree programs where financing is underwritten by taxpayers. (Hello? Sub-prime loan collapse?) And while those stories are sensational it is quite commonplace for your local state college to enlist teenagers with marginal academic abilities and motivation to take tens of thousands of dollars of classes without any real goal or purpose to justify the atrocious expense. Eighty grand for a degree in Women’s Studies? Sure. That’s, like, totally worth it, right?
There’s a lot to dislike about the education racket. It exists to a growing degree on the artificial circumstance that a teenager with no job or credit history can borrow a small fortune and the loan is guaranteed by the taxpayer. Nonpayment, now at record levels, triggers up to an additional 37% of the loan principal in collection fees, half of which is paid by taxpayers. Accreditation is tightly controlled by a cartel that keeps the money flowing to incumbents and blocks competition. And if a student wants a degree in a subject as cut and dried as accounting he has to squander a few thousand dollars on courses in Civics and a few thousand on courses in Natural Science and a few thousand on courses in Visual Arts and a few thousand more in Humanities courses. Talk about union featherbedding! Students needing worthwhile degrees are swamped by debts so egregious that some are now turning to thinly veiled prostitution to pay down loans. Students are victimized, to be sure, but that should not be license to further victimize innocent taxpayers.
And this leads to my #1 grievance with the situation: at the tender age of only seventeen or eighteen college turns potentially productive contributors to society into coercive plunderers who are encouraged to believe that demanding the state confiscate money from innocent people in order to subsidize their desires is a right and proper way to advance in life.
Is it any wonder the only debate in election years is how much to plunder from taxpayers and how many should be plundered? College has become the Kindergarden of the School of Kleptocracy. Just try to find a student who thinks it’s wrong that other’s should be forced to subsidize his or her education. Far more likely they lament that not enough is being extorted on their behalf. They are a fresh army of millions of young adults who believe they have a moral right to freeee education, freeee shelter and freeee food. They persist in the belief long after they graduate. The state has succeeded in its indoctrination of these minds – they are the loyal plunderers of the future who guarantee the continued existence of the coercive state and its parasites.
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