Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Leftist Stupidity And Scandals

This has been an interesting week full to the brim with leftist/Democratic stupidity. Of course, the MSM hasn’t noticed because. . . well, they refuse to notice. Plus, they found something else to entertain themselves, lynching Herman Cain. Let’s discuss!

Item One: Cain Non-Fallout. Despite the MSM’s best efforts, this whole Cain scandal doesn’t appear to be hurting him. To the contrary, it seems to be making his support more entrenched and it brought out the support of people like Ann Coulter and Rush. Also, the day after the scandal, Cain had his biggest fundraising day ever online. That means average people are voting with their dollars and they want to show their support. That’s what happens when you slander someone. . . you make them more popular.

Item Two: StupidStudent Loans. Obama suddenly wants to rescue college kids. Now let me say up front, there is a huge problem in this country with the cost of education. It is ridiculous what college students are being charged and it is hurting our economy by making people less mobile. Something needs to be done.

What I am not in favor of doing, however, is increasing the amount of student loan money available. That is exactly the wrong thing to do. Colleges have been able to jack up their costs precisely because Uncle Sam handed out student loans to cover the costs. That was a subsidy to fat, rich schools paid on the backs of young professionals.

So what does Obama want to do to fix this problem? Increase the availability of student loans. Jerk.

To trick students into thinking they aren’t getting the shaft, Obama is promising to reduce the minimum monthly payment from 15% to 10%. . . so you pay longer. He also promises to let you consolidate your loans. . . so you pay longer. And as anyone who has ever taken out a loan knows, this will dramatically increase the amount the students repay. I guess being a community organizer didn’t include lessons on credit management.

But never fear, Obama wants to reduce the time before loan forgiveness kicks in from 25 years to 20. So if you graduate from college at the age of 25, your college loan slavery will now end at 45 instead of 50, and you can then start saving for your retirement. . . 20 years behind the curve. Bravo President AAAhole, bravo.

Item Three: Where’s Waldo’s Money. With Solyndra waiting in the wings, a new scandal has emerged. This time the company is called MF Global. MF Global is a commodities trading company that just went belly up. The man who ran MF Global is none other than Jon Corzine, former New Jersey Senator/Governor (lost to Christie), former chief of Goldman Sachs and MAJOR Barack Obama fundraiser. Since April 2011, for example, Corzine has raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election.

But it’s not the fact the company went bankrupt that is the problem. What’s interesting is that $700 million of client money is “missing.” Right now, it’s believe that as the firm began suffering losses, it used its customers’ money to cover its own trades, which of course violates trading regulations which require brokers to keep their own funds separate from their customers’ funds. If any of this proves true, look for jail time to come out of this one. I wonder how much of the $500,000 Corzine raised for Obama came from MF Global customers?

Item: Celebrity Weirdoes. Hollywood is stumbling back into Obama’s arms as we knew they would. Scarlett Johansson, who is famous primarily for keeping naked pictures of herself on her cell phone, plans to support Obama: “My heart belongs to Barack.” Yeah, and your brain belongs to Low-Grade Brain Rental. Others are lining up as well to offer their best Lewinskies.

Meanwhile, unfunny adult-bed-wetter (yes, that’s true) Sarah Silverman is attacking Rick Perry. She’s upset the “N*ggerhead Scandal” had no effect, so she’s determined to try to keep it alive until someone cares. Personally, I think like many liberals she just likes using the N-word while pretending she’s actually outraged. . . ditto with her prior use of “chink.”

And from the land of the absurd, Michael Moore is trying to fit in with the OWS Movement. Sadly for Michael, who has net worth of $50 million (but value of only $1.25), he’s more of a 0.99%er than a 99%er. On the plus side, he’s got the right level of stupid and hypocrite to fit right in!

Item: OWS Irony of the Week. Finally, there is a rumor making the rounds that OWS is now trying to copyright their name. Capitalist pigs.


T-Rav said...

Naturally, a bunch of people I know at the university were whooping it up last week over the student loans thing. I didn't mention the vicious circle this perpetuates; I did point out, though, that this just made the debt situation worse, as the government would be getting even less money back on the program. (crickets)

To be blunt, student loans shouldn't exist at all, except in extraordinary cases.

Tennessee Jed said...

In my view, higher education may be the very best example of how leftist government spending produces flabby, inefficient institutions. I cannot think of any school that has ever instituted cost controls. Business had to do this in the 1980's because the Japanese were beating us at the cost game and underpricing our products (think Honda vs. G.M.) There has been no need to do this by our college and university system because they just jack up the tuition and the government just keeps on paying.

I imagine health care and education probably far outstrip everything else when itcomes to increase in costs.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, They're fools.

First, the longer the repayment period or the lower the minimum payment, the more they will pay. And we're not talking a couple hundred dollars. The difference between a 10 year and 20 year mortgage is 3-4 times.

Secondly, they can already consolidate, so he's jerking their chains there.

Third, 20 years before loan forgiveness kicks in does no one any favors.

Fourth, this will only allow schools to keep increasing their costs at many times the level of inflation.


AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree. Higher education is out of control cost-wise and is non-responsive to students because that's not where the money comes from. The money comes directly from Uncle Sam and the students pay it back over the next 10-20 years after it's too late to realize they shouldn't have take out all those loans.

What I think is really amazing with the OWS fools is that they are upset at the banks for their loans, whereas they should be upset at the schools. The Ivy Leagues in particular have multi-billion dollar endowments that they never have to touch because Uncle Sam covers their customer's costs and hides the true cost until the future.

In the meantime, they fill their departments with silly courses and silly degrees which lead students to having no job when they graduate.

The market mechanism has failed here.

Joel Farnham said...


Student loans existed long before the government got into the business. It was really loans though. It was grants by church institutions and entrepreneurs who made it big and wanted to have some sort of legacy. They had strings like you had to be of that particular church, you had to have great grades, you had to be a relative of the entrepreneur, you had to take certain courses, etc, etc.

They were few and far between.

Part of the reason there are loans is to disconnect the family from the education the student got.

"Oh, your family cut off your tuition because you partied all the time and scored D's this year? No problem. Here is a loan that you don't have to pay until school is over. And you don't have to take that 'Hard science' course your daddy forced you to take. You can take the Multi-Cultural Comparative Basket Weaving that just opened up. It even has a slogan contest. Sign right here."

Unknown said...

Somebody once said that the world is divided into two types of people--those whose income rises to meet expenses and those whose expenses rise to meet income. Student loans encourage the universities to raise their expenses to meet the income from government-backed loans. College isn't expensive because legitimate costs have risen. It's expensive because there's all that gummint money floating around to pay for the universities' profligacy.

When I attended the University of California, prior to universally-available student loans, the tuition for a semester was $86.50 (yes, you read that right). Today, in-state tuition for a semester is $11,767. Somehow, I don't think the rate of inflation comes even close to explaining that disparity, and I know the quality of education hasn't improved to justify the difference.

Joel Farnham said...

Sorry, It wasn't really loans though.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I agree in part. I think the purpose of student loans was actually to let anyone who was qualified go to college rather than just those whose family could afford it.

The problem was that (1) like all things the government does, it eliminated the requirement that you take it seriously, e.g. maintaining grades or taking non-goofy courses. Schools have now taken advantage of that and filled their curriculums with the silliest garbage.

And (2) once the government begins pouring money into something, it super-inflates the cost of that thing, which made it even harder for people to go to college without loans. In effect, the government made the affordability problem it was trying to solve worse.

Koshcat said...

Obama also had this huge press conference on Monday regarding his Executive order on drug shortages. I was asked to comment and I called it a PR stunt. It does 3 things that I could find:

1. He will send a stern letter to manufactures reminding them that they should report to the FDA they are running short even though be law they don't have to (although most of them do it anyway).
2. They will hire more people for the FDA to process regulations faster.
3. They will study and report the cause of the shortages. (my head now hurts.)

Basically, it does nothing. There is a bill with bipartisan support with Diane DaGette as the sponsor working it's way through congress. I don't know what the final bill will look like as it is in committees, but I expect there will be a bill presented and passed (not that I am optimistic it will help). This is an easy win for all the politicians, but Obama is either too politically stupid or so desperate he is trying to steal any thunder. In normal situations a president would comment and give support to a bill like that. Bush did that often both for bills and against. Because of that approach is why I think he vetoed few bills since his team would help mold them. This president is so toxic I am not sure anyone would want him to support her bill.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's 100% correct. Rather than having to make sure their costs fit what their students could afford and still provide a decent product, the schools were able to go hog wild and jack up their tuition fees to match the new amounts available under the student loan program each year.

That let them add silly degrees, silly courses, campus palaces, stadiums, administrations so big they put socialist countries to shame, etc.

College tuition has soared many times the level of inflation ever since the student loan program began. It's no coincidence.

The one bright spot in this has been the creation of "for profit" colleges, which are focused on providing usable skills on the cheap. They have been going gangbusters, so now the traditional universities have sent in their Democratic friends to shut these people down before people get any ideas of how it's supposed to work.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That's what's become grants.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I've followed the drug shortage issue a bit. As near as I can tell, it's all about Medicare reimbursement going so low that companies are just stopping their production of these drugs (or the market is otherwise just too small).

I did hear about Obama's press conference and like you I saw this as a placebo by Obama. "Gee, there's a problem and we're going to take a hard look at it and issue letters telling the problem to stop being a problem." Beyond that, I saw nothing from him.

I am unfamiliar with the bill you are talking about. What would it do?

Unknown said...

Andrew: In light of what you and Joel are saying, I had what was then called a National Defense Education Act (NDEA) loan. I had a California State Scholarship for the tuition, the loan was for room and board. It wasn't for everyone, and was based on need and you had to be highly-qualified academically. If you served in the armed forces for at least two years after graduating, the loan was forgiven. Otherwise, you had to pay it off at relatively low interest within five years after graduation. When they changed the D from "defense" to "direct," and quashed the academic requirements, the whole thing went crazy. Today, the cost of Cal's office of diversity is greater than the cost of the entire administration when I was there. Oh, and I still had to work at a part-time job to pick up the financial difference.

Joel Farnham said...


At the time, there were few people who were qualified who didn't go to college. My mother used to say, "By hook or crook,(insert personal goal here), we will get it done." That goes double for "deserving students". I knew teachers who strove to get the best students to go to college. That is until the 70's. Then it slowed down. Now, teachers strive to get the best deal for themselves. "To he!! with the students!" It is now assumed all will go to college since the government will help you out.

Also, "deserving students" is a liberal talking point. The family can't afford college for their precious child is a popular myth from the sixties. It has been perpetuated ad nauseum ever since the sixties.

This commercial during the seventies was one where an excited black student in class gets disappointed when the teacher solemnly intones that this class was shut down due to lack of funding. Do you remember? "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." It was a dramatization. I used to believe it. Now, I want the documentation. The actual numbers. I don't believe it any more.

And we are talking about universities. Junior community colleges were all around. These would help the student who couldn't afford a university. These were two year colleges to get the students the basics while waiting for funding. Or earning enough to get through a semester.

DUQ said...

Nice topics. I hope the MF Global thing does blow up on Obama. At the least, it again points out that Democrats and Wall Street billionaires are joined at the hip.

I think it would be hilarious if OWS copyrighted their name. That would prove their capitalist instincts despite their socialist rhetoric.

Koshcat said...

Primarily it will require manufacturers to notify the FDA of shortages 6 months in advance. There are also mechanism to be put in place to make the information public. Still, it is going through the standard sausage-making process. Something BO seems to really dislike.

I have little faith it will help the overall problem because the problem is not addressed. It will help to know if a shortage is coming to those of us with the capital can buy up and store more drug ahead of time.

The problem is that the government has essentially instituted price controls especially on generic drugs. The normal signals in a market economy to tell you a drug is getting to be in short supply and to encourage manufactures to make more are turned off. Thus drug use is maintained almost right up until there is no drug.

The other problem has been the FDA itself with regulations. Some of the factories were forced to shut down and re-configure to be in compliance. If the shut down is longer than expected...
Additionally, the FDA or the company may take a batch off the market for a problem. This is a good thing to ensure quality control, but can turn a minor shortage into a major one. Finally, the FDA has no back-up mechanism to import a drug that is temporarily unavailable in this country.

You should read this section on the FDA website. They claim they prevented something like 146 drug shortages last year. They didn't do jack. Typical arrogant bureaucraps.

T-Rav said...

Joel, let me rephrase: I think government-provided student loans shouldn't exist at all or just barely. I have no problem with churches, businesses, or civic organizations backing students financially; that helped me get through college without taking out loans, after all. Those are superior because a) there's more oversight and discretion on the other end and b) those groups or individuals pick up the tab, without forcing others to.

And as Andrew points out, it just makes school expenses worse instead of better.

Koshcat said...

I don't know how I got published twice. Maybe it thought I had something really, really important important to say to say. Sorry.

Koshcat said...

What the heck? Where did it go? Grrrrrrr

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, It got caught in the spam filter for some reason. I pulled it out. It should be there now.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, By the time I went to college, things were already out of hand. There were dozens of deans and assistant deans and many of them covered garbage like diversity. And then you also had programs like gender studies and African American studies -- programs guaranteed to make you unemployable.

At the same time, they were busy working to turn college into a five year experience rather than four, and the fees alone were getting to the point that four years was rivaling the cost of a mortgage.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I don't doubt the sincerity of the claim that some kids couldn't afford college back then. You had a massive flow of people from rural areas to city areas, you had several million G.I.s who wanted an education, you had women entering the workforce and you have minorities spreading out and trying to move up. I don't doubt at all that many of these people simple couldn't afford to pay the education.

And from a governmental perspective, it makes sense to make education available to these people because they will become more productive and that will make the economy stronger -- especially as the world was changing from basic manufacturing to a variety of newer fields at the time, which require education.

But this also kicked off the inflation problem and guaranteed that most people could not afford college. Today, very few could afford college without loans. Families just don't have $100k to plunk down per child. But that's the result of 50 years of government "help" to make education "affordable" for everyone. Had the government not intervened, college would be a lot more reasonable today.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I think it would be hilarious if they copyrighted their own name. How could they be more capitalist than trying to demand property rights in three words strung together and then trying to exploit those words for profit? The all-mighty, evil, evil dollar they want to eliminate. LOL!

Koshcat said...

Thank you Andrew. Now that my ranting is published, I feel more complete.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Thanks for the info. It does sound to me like the problem is (as you say) that the market mechanisms have been turned off. That's the nature of price controls. And the result is always over-demand and under-supply or the opposite, but never the right supply and demand. And when it gets really bad, no supply at all.

I'm amazed too that they don't have a way to import drugs if they create a shortage here. That would seem to be an obvious short-term fix you would assume they would have no matter what. I find the whole issue troubling.

Also, on the cost of drugs, I've had recent experience with importing drugs and let me tell you, Americans are getting ripped off. When you can buy the same pill from the same manufacturer in Canada or Britain for 1/3 of the price it sells here, then something is wrong.

Koshcat said...

WSJ essentially agrees with what I said, but much more eloquently.

Koshcat said...

On importanting drugs, there are two mechanisms in place in other countries. One, the country forces the company to sell at what the country states it will sell for. And two, many drugs prices are supressed by the country paying a portion of it up front. The latter is why Canada gets annoyed with their drugs being reimported back to the US. Canada is supplementing the lower price. The US is supplementing the profit of the drug for the rest of the world.

Joel Farnham said...


It still is a liberal lie. It never made sense, especially when the government already had three academies running full blast.

Annapolis, West Point and the Coast Guard Academy are wholly government owned and ran. Prior to World War I, a graduate wasn't guaranteed a commission. The services would pick the best and turn the rest out.

The intervention into the costs for college was after World War II. It was a regular thing with politicians. Get the people who fought World War II to buy into "for the children" mantra.

It never has occurred to people that college is NOT for every one. It did occur prior to World War II. Some of the students who it was obvious college would not work for them, were directed into working with their hands. They became mechanics, truck drivers, and such.

The idea that college is for everyone is actually a group-think communist concept. Highly liberal. And of course, not everyone can afford it, get the government to help. Highly liberal.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Speaking economically (rather than politically) it actually would be less harmful to directly subsidize the schools. But there is an obvious flaw in that.

A better solution would be to reduce student loans to something like $5,000 a year and index them to inflation. That would force schools to cut their costs dramatically to keep students or it would force them to start spending their own endowments to keep the same level of "services" or it would do a better job of getting students to decide if they really need to go to an expensive private school when a state school is just down the road.

At the same time, that would still avoid the argument that good students can't go to college. They just couldn't go to the most expensive colleges.

And if we are remaking the system, I would also simultaneously send in DOJ to break up their price fixing and demand that they publish legitimate income statistics by degree so that people see what they are likely to get out of each field.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I'm glad you said this: "The money comes directly from Uncle Sam and the students pay it back over the next 10-20 years after it's too late to realize they shouldn't have take out all those loans."

A buddy and I were just grousing the other day about how several of the radio talkers routinely rag on young people for taking out those loans without acknowledging that most people in their late teens don't have the money savvy to know what they are doing and are relying on the advice of their elders.

Now, there is something to be said about a public education system that leaves 18-year-olds incapable of understanding credit, but again, it's all part of the deck that has been stacked against young people. Bear in mind, I'm not making excuses for anyone pursuing a degree in lesbian anarchist haiku. Those folks are on their own.

And while I am on my tear, I have another issue on the same topic. Regularly, the talkers admonish young people as expecting too much for thinking they ought to get a job with their degree. There might be some truth to the statement, but these expectations aren't developed in a vacuum. Colleges sell themselves with promises of job opportunity. In some cases, one could almost call it a verbal contract.

Obviously, I'm not really qualified to make that last assertion, but I would be interested to know the thoughts of someone who is.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Here's your link: LINK.

That's actually kind of funny about Canada. We should all buy drugs from there and break their health care system! LOL!

Seriously though, I suspect the world would be a lot better off if governments just stuck to ensuring quality and let the market set the prices. If something doesn't make money (like a malaria vaccine) then I can see a need for government to step in. But there's no reason for the government to be trying to set the prices for most drugs.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, It's not a liberal or any other sort of lie to say that college is good economically. The liberal lie is "a man should be able to earn a living with just his hands." That's not our economy anymore. The market pays what it will bear and it no longer pays for manual labor. And to insist otherwise (as socialists and unionists do) is to demand that the economy be manipulated by government.

And while it is true that not everyone should go to college, the system doesn't expect that either. That's why federal student loans can be used at trade schools as well, where people do learn things like how to be a mechanic or a truck driver, etc. And that's why community colleges let people in later in life if they decide they just need some college to help themselves advance. Our system is highly mobile, highly diverse and highly adaptive.

In terms of the service academies, those have always had a military focus, those aren't public colleges in the sense that any member of the public can go. They didn't even admit women until a couple decades ago. There have always been state schools however. But the growth of the student loan program had nothing to do with that. It had to do with the factors I cited above which all happened after WWII. The world changed dramatically and a policy decision was made to help people go to college to adapt.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think you're absolutely right actually. All schools publish income statistics for graduates and those statistics are usually deceptive because they exclude graduates who don't find work or who don't report. Basically, they have cherry picked the cream of the crop.

I'll give you an example. When I went to law school, I was given brochures which never once mentioned that some students would not find jobs. The median income statistic given was $102,000.

My first year, every single professor said the line (or something similar) "when you leave here and you're across the river (D.C.) earning six figures....."

There wasn't a person in the class who didn't believe that would be their salary because everybody said it to them.

But here's what happened. For my class of 216 students, 50% got NO job. Some of them eventually found jobs a year or two later or struck out on their own. But their typical salary was around $22k -- in the highly expensive DC area. Of the rest, only one person that I know of got a six figure job out of school -- $100,000. Several others eventually ended up in big firms, but usually after getting an advanced legal degree or spending time in the government first.

The whole thing was a blatant lie and everyone at the school -- from top to bottom -- told it. So it's hard to blame the students for not knowing the truth.

And if you look at the admissions books which contain these kinds of stats (I think Barrons contains admission data), you will see each school reporting the fake numbers I mentioned. School after school will report similar or better numbers. And it is never true.

But how is a kid in high school in Kansas supposed to know that Ritz University in California is lying about their numbers?

So I agree. From the student's perspective, it makes sense to take out the loans because they are being told "you'll earn that back in the first couple years." And there is no way for them to find out the truth. So the radio guys are wrong -- they're just shooting off their mouths as is often the case.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that would certainly be much better than what we have now. Problem is, I don't trust it to stay at that level ($5,000). I mean, I guess it could be codified, but education is still our blind spot in many ways. As soon as enough people start crying, "My kid has to work at McDonald's because college is too expensive!" there goes more aid.

At the most basic level, I think we have to acknowledge that some people are just not bright enough to attend college. There are the stupid answers on tests that drive me crazy, of course, but more importantly, the market is being flooded with people with college degrees. And supply and demand dictates that as something becomes more available, it becomes less valuable. This is why so many people with degrees are having trouble finding jobs (along with a lot of other reasons).

I don't know if there's a good way to fix that. Our society has too much of an egalitarian ethos to easily make the admissions it requires. Nonetheless, we might be reaching some kind of a tipping point where people realize it's possible to get a well-paying job and have a prosperous lifestyle without a college diploma.

Also, regarding tryanmax's post, is there such a thing as lesbian anarchist haiku? Tell me there's not.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think funding and "should they be there" are two different issues.

I agree that some people should not be in college, but that is something that needs to be addressed by colleges. In particular, they need to start failing people. There are two ways to fix that.

First, business needs to demand a change. They need to insist upon realistic grades and then refuse to hire from schools that don't provide such information. The best way to do this to is to demand, for example, that the school's GPAs average 3.0. That forces teachers to separate their students and it requires them to be harsh to one person to be generous to another person. I had to do that (3.2) when I taught legal writing and it worked surprisingly well.

The other thing is that students need to be able to sue their schools for leading them on. I know that is hard to quantify, but other companies know they will be sued if they don't provide the promised services. If colleges just pass everyone along without ever telling them they aren't really cutting it, then they are taking the student's money under fraudulent pretenses.

In terms of a tipping point, it's not the one you think. The change over is from traditional 4(5) year colleges to more focused colleges. It's not to "no college." That day is gone and isn't coming back no matter how many stories you hear of self-made millionaires.

In terms of the funding issue, the problem I have with that argument is that anything we do can be changed. Even if I said "we need to end all student loan programs," you could still say "yeah, but they could just put them back in place." The best response is to find the best policy, which would also be the one least like to be changed back.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, following the principle that if you can think of a thing, it is already on the internet, then, yes, there most certainly is such a thing as lesbian anarchist haiku.


Joel Farnham said...


"It's not a liberal or any other sort of lie to say that college is good economically."

I am calling bull on that idea. It is a liberal idea that college for every one is good for the economy, when it has been demonstrated again and again that a college education is not a factor in being a success in this country. In most ways it is a hindrance to success.

If you saddle a student with overwhelming debt at the start of a career, that student will be paying off that loan for most of his adult life, it is a hindrance.

Meanwhile, Joe the millionaire, the guy who had to quit school and work, now owns a string of quick stop marts because he didn't get pummeled with the concept, "To succeed in life, get a good education to get a good career with good job benefits." He had a family to feed.

Don't tout a college education as good for the economy when college educated morons have done their absolute best to destroy this country. College educated conservatives haven't been able to stop them. In point of fact, a good portion have helped the liberals to destroy this economy.

Higher learning isn't the end all be all any way. It also has been a great way to disseminate certain Marxist Ideas.

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk: When I went graduated from my in-state public university in 1981, also before the great rush of gov't backed loans, my tuition at UT was $300 per semester, $68 was for tuition with balance for "fees". I believe that the in-state tuition per semester at UT now is $5K

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That is simply wrong. Every study done in every country has shown that people with college degrees earn significantly more money throughout their lives, save more for retirement, are far less likely to be laid off, and find new work much quicker when they are laid off.

Those are facts, not opinions. And they are verified statistically in every single country on the planet.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, don't worry, I don't blame you. :-)

Andrew and Joel, I'm not enamored of a college education, though what I may be reacting to is what passes for a college education these days. In and of itself, I think it's very important as a means of broadening one's mind, learning to think critically, etc. And are the chances of having a successful career and so on much better with one? Absolutely. However, it's not a must. You can be completely unemployable with a college degree, and you can make 80K a year driving a truck (no joke--North Dakota is making out like a bandit right now because of the oil industry).

Like I said, I think we need to stop trying to shovel every single 18-year-old into college. Some may have talents for which a degree is irrelevant, and we should stop mutating our higher ed institutions to erase that difference.

tryanmax said...

Joel, I took Andrew to be saying something other than what you are refuting. I didn't see him saying that college is good for everyone. Rather, I think he was defending the value of a college education for those who can glean its value.

It is good for the economy overall to imbue people with greater faculties than they inherently posses. What is bad for the economy is to create a glut of individuals who all develop the same skills. Sending too many people to college guarantees a glut, but it does not establish anything about the worthiness of a college education.

Think of it like this: a pencil is valuable because one can write with it. Pencils are cheap because they are abundant, but their abundance doesn't make them any less useful, let alone a lie. It just diminishes what one is willing to exchange to gain that utility.

On the other hand, Andrew does raise some real issues regarding how the value of a college education has been diminished. I'd relate that to the difference between making cheap pencils and making pencils cheaply.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It is not a must to have a college degree, but it is the smarter path. Without it, most modern jobs are simply unavailable to you -- something which will keep getting worse as the economy automates more and more.

The fewer jobs you can do, the greater the risk if your chosen field changes or goes away.

Also, lets be realistic. The idea of the self-made millionaire is a mirage. There are so few of those people that we can usually name them. For the other 309.99 million people, the key is finding a good job to support themselves. That's who we're talking about. Talking about the guy with the genius idea that ultimately makes him rich is meaningless in this discussion.

And when we look at the average person, the evidence is incontrovertible that having a college degree is a significant advantage.

On the quality of the education, keep this in mind. Businesses aren't looking for people to come out of college with the full set of skills and hit the ground running. What most companies look for in college grads is that they have demonstrated an ability to fit in and function in an environment that requires them to learn terminology, understand concepts, conduct research, work with team members, and self-motivate. That's primarily what they look for when they hire. So the quality of the education isn't the key so much as succeeding at the school is the key. All the rest gets taught to you through in-house training.

Joel Farnham said...

Whenever I hear statistics touting such and such is so, I remember, the quote, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics." I don't trust those studies because they are requested by colleges and conducted by colleges. The cost of a higher education is far more than it is worth. That is the bottom line.

Whenever any one starts to question it, the establishment trots out these "studies" to say that a college education is worth it. I am surprised that you haven't questioned it.

Public Schools and Colleges are set up to create workers. They are not set up to teach. They create worker drones.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I think maybe the solution is that we need to revamp the college system. Universities need (they'll never do this, but they should) to move back to the traditional liberal arts, and cut out gender studies and all those other so-called majors. Provide some liberal courses for the state schools, but make those more science- and engineering-related. And then have community colleges or trade schools which enhance technical skills.

This is actually sort of what Mississippi used to have. Ole Miss is the brainy campus, MS State is a very good engineering school, and so on. But again, that would cut out a lot of useless majors, so it probably won't happen.

(By the way, on an entirely unrelated note, I think there's another Cain-related post in your near future. This crap is starting to spin out of control, it appears.)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, True. I'm not saying that everyone should go to college -- that's a waste. Some people just aren't suited for it and for some people it really won't do anything good for them. But in general, people are better off if they go to college and society is better of if more of its members go to college than if they don't.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I haven't questioned the studies because (1) I don't believe there is a vast conspiracy involving millions of people worldwide in every country to perpetuate a lie that serves no purpose, (2) the statistics make perfect sense and are 100% consistent with everything I've seen in the real world, and (3) the conclusions reached by these statistics are consistent with logic. Thus, I have no basis to doubt them.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I saw the Cain thing a little while ago. This time it's a Perry pollster claiming that he saw Cain harass a third women.

1. Where is his proof.
2. Why did he refuse to state what Cain supposedly did.
3. How does he know this is a third woman and not one of the first two... unless he was involved in the initial allegations?

I'm thinking we now know it was Perry. What are you thinking?

On colleges, I think stripping out the garbage would be a plus no matter what. In terms of breaking schools into liberal arts and then technical schools, I have always thought the better approach would be to make the first two years the liberal arts stuff and then send people off to the more technical aspects once they have that foundation.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I'm thinking the following:

1. I got the impression this pollster was referring to having seen the initial incidents, not anything concerning this new accusation. But this story is getting so twisted around I wouldn't swear to that.

2. There's still no concrete narrative from the accusers of what actually happened.

3. The next debate is going to have a VERY interesting start.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think Cain will need to kill this off before the next debate. He will have to come up with a statement to put the whole thing to bed -- though I'm not sure exactly what that will be because I'm not 100% sure what's true and what happened. I might even recommend an angry speech from his wife. But again, I'd want to know everything before I came up with a specific strategy.

Right now, it sounds like the whole thing is fake. All they've come up with is "things I didn't like in conversations" and "non-sexual, but suggestive gestures." Plus, apparently the 5 figure settlement was only $35,000. That's little more than a severance package.

Joel Farnham said...


I am not questioning your sincerity, nor am I questioning your intelligence. I question everything where liberals are so entrenched that it is nigh unto impossible to remove them. Liberals have a strangle hold on the universities and colleges.

The studies you site cannot explain why we are in a recession. They don't explain the inordinate number of people on food stamps. They don't explain why they insist on courses outside your major. They don't explain why the official unemployment is at one number and the actual level is at another. They do not explain why the majority of terrorists of all stripes have college educations. They do not explain why liberals are elected time and again even though we are a college educated nation. Actually they do explain it, but you choose to not connect the dots and see that a college education does not equate to an informed populace.

All those statistics show is that get an education, it helps you. Something that a snake oil salesman says. "Buy my snake oil. It helps you. I have the statistics to show you."

I question the notion that a college education actually helps society as a whole. It might, but so far, it is like global warming. The statistics seem suspect because they tout colleges and universities (liberal strongholds) as always helpful.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, a lot of people have pointed out (and I'm sure you know more about this than I do) that just because a person gets some money from whoever they're accusing, it isn't necessarily an admission of guilt. It just means they settled in order to make the headache go away, truthful or not. Money's not proof of anything one way or another, especially when it's less than $50K.

Also, I've heard a lot of people today push back on the "sexual harassment" claim itself, saying it's far too broad a category and smears a lot of people who meant their remarks or acts in an entirely innocent way. Interestingly, this has been coming from women more than men.

Beyond that, my only thought as of now is that if, hypothetically, everything being said about Cain is proven true, it practically guarantees a second-place slot for Gingrich. Perry's camp and Cain's camp will never forgive each other, since each will hold the other responsible for their guy's demise.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Don't worry, I didn't take your comments as criticism. And I do get your point. But I really don't see a connection between college and the creation of a liberal public.

To the contrary, our society keeps getting more and more strongly conservative even as the percentage of people who have attended colleges increases.

And in terms of the value to society, it depends on the degrees. If your produce quality engineers and doctors, that is good for society. If you turn out sociologists, that a drain on society.

Joel Farnham said...


Students are not taught the hard sciences any more. Jobs for engineers are in other countries, and companies seeking to re-locate in friendlier states that need engineers are actively opposed by government, liberals, and unions.

That statistic and study you note first came out during the sixties and the seventies when a good portion of the parents questioned sending their children to college when kids came back radicals. It still is the standard response when people question college.

Here is something else to ponder. A man, who had a college degree was laid off during the cutbacks of the mid-eighties. He decided to buy a couple of old pizza ovens and started a restaurant. He became successful at it. At no time was his college education helpful.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Cain is now saying that Perry is behind this because someone on Perry's campaign worked for Cain in Georgia when this allegation came up the first time and Cain shared the details with him.

On the money, right, money means nothing unless it's a lot of money. $35,000 is nothing. That's basically a severance package plus a couple thousand bucks to cover the lawyers fees. That number alone is proof that this was all frivolous.

On the allegation itself, as I pointed out yesterday, harassment is so broad it runs from "subjective belief that person looked at me funny" all the way to "rape." So you always need to detail the allegation itself. And all I've heard here is that he held up his hand to his chin, said things they didn't like, and may have invited one of them to his apartment. I've heard nothing about "continuous conduct" or dirty jokes, propositioning, touching or anything like that.

The woman today even said "oh, I never complained, but I would have if other people hadn't."

Right, and I would have complained about Bill Clinton molesting me if Lewinsky hadn't come forward first. That's a lie as evidenced by its decade-late, after-the-fact nature.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I'm not talking about a single study, I'm talking about dozens of studies. The most recent one of which I am aware was a study done across country borders by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development done in 2010.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that sounds kinda thin to me. That may just be a coincidence. I'm not saying it is, though, because I also see from Politico that Perry just hired a bunch of hatchet men (including this guy) last week, people who specialized in negative attack ads. They were a large part of the reason why Florida's governor race turned so nasty last year, and one anonymous GOP operative said based on his experience with them, he feared that they had the potential to jeopardize Republicans' chances in the general with their mudslinging. Maybe there's a connection to this and maybe there isn't, but it is a little suspicious.

Joel Farnham said...


Boy, that is a mouth full. I just checked that place out.

OECD, as they like to call themselves, is dedicated to social well being for society at large. It is a international organization. It's head quarters are in France.

It's current Secretary General, Jose Angel Gurria, claims that the EURO won't collapse. His bio is at the Huffington Post. He also says the Teacher's Unions are not responsible for the poor performance of the students.

Interesting reference choice. A left leaning organization vouches for left leaning organizations'(Universities) products(students) with statistics to prove it. Do they also have statistics which show how many people are college educated in each country? How do they explain the downturn of the various economies? How do they also explain that terrorist organizations are predominately populated with college educated people?

This OECD has been around since 1961.

Do you have a right leaning organization that independently supports those statistics? I mean, has a right leaning organization found out the same information OECD has found?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I suspect, based on Perry's nasty debate performance, that his new thinking is that he can destroy his way to the top. So don't be surprised if things get really nasty soon.

And for the record, if he tries that, I won't support him -- even as a nominee.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, You show me a study that goes the other way first.

Joel Farnham said...

On Herman Cain, he has answered the information. Most people actually can understand plain English and know that this is a smear job. This is in response to Herman Cain saying he would think about being VP for anyone but Perry. It also is a response for Herman Cain jumping on Perry about the unfortunately named camp Perry's father enjoyed.

No love lost between them. However, Hot Air must be feeling the loss of readership since Palin elected not to run this year. Allahpundit has taken to, shall we say, fan the flames a bit about the faux sexual harassment claims on Cain.

Herman Cain has gotten to the people who count, that is us. We know it is a false claim and a smear job. The ones who should worry are Perry and Romney. Cain is getting this free publicity. Romney and Perry are fading into the background.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I don't think we have to worry about that. However this turns out for Cain, I don't see Perry coming back under any circumstances.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think there is a real danger if they keep managing to dribble this stuff out -- which they are, with the help of the media spinning each instance into a bigger and bigger fake package. It becomes the death of a thousand cuts.

Plus, the relentlessness of people like Rove on Fox is bad. He is pretending to be neutral and handing out advice, but he's really stabbing Cain in the back repeatedly.

All of this may or may not hurt Cain. I honestly don't know yet. But one thing is for sure though, it pisses me off at our establishment and at Perry. It proves to me that he is the snake in the grass we all came to suspect and he should get his crooked ass back to Texas.

I'm also not at all happy with conservative websites that are pushing this without looking at it honestly. That is unacceptable behavior and nothing they say hereafter should be given much weight.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's true. Perry is finished whether he wants to admit it or not. But that won't keep him from trying to take everyone else down in the process and destroying our ticket.

Joel Farnham said...


Oh, okay, your own anecdotal evidence should suffice. You stated that only half of your classmates got jobs. I submit to you, that your experience is normal all across the board. It is also normal for trade schools on mechanics. That means that only half of all college students get jobs in their intended field at some salary approximating what was promised. That means in the aggregate, only half can afford the loans. I am speaking of people who have usable degrees. Law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and even music.

That is some statistic there. Half? Half will be burdened with debt that eventually they will default on. Don't you think that is bad enough? A usable degree. Only half can actually profit from it.

I haven't heard anything to refute this. How does that help society? Half of it's college graduates can't use the degrees. What about all those really useless degrees? Competitive Basket Weaving? Comparative Studies? I don't see a lot of companies clamoring for those anymore.

Andrew, until it is proven that college graduates get us out of this latest recession, I am going to believe that a college degree is useless for half of the graduates and therefore useless to society. I also believe that a burden is put on those students who at their peak earnings are paying for their degrees. It is ludicrous to think other wise.

Oh, and companies who pay top salaries are more interested in accounting, computers, and marketing. They don't even look at glorified basket weaving degrees. By the time you have your third job, they are interested more in your accomplishments and your attempts than college degrees.

T-Rav said...

Joel, why the heck are you getting snippy? I dropped the education thing hours ago and I was trying to stay out of it by focusing on this Cain thing, but you're taking way too snide a tone. The education issues drive me crazy too and I don't agree with Andrew on everything, but it's not personal.

Joel Farnham said...


Dribbling is natural among babies. Also, it is natural for our overgrown babies in the MSM do the same. I don't for one minute think that the Tea Partiers are going to sit still for this.

I hope that Cain hasn't put it to rest before the next debate. And I hope the first question is put to Cain about it. It will be fun to watch the moderator being beat down on National Television. It probably is too much to hope for, but it would be glorious to watch a righteous man strike down with furious might and indignation a pipsqueak. It will shut the punditry up for at least a nano-second. ;-)

Joel Farnham said...


This is an on-going argument Andrew and I have about college degrees. It isn't the first time and I am not snippy about it. Check your own experience. Most jobs don't require a degree to do them, unless the company requires one, which usually means that it has a top heavy management who have college degrees.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, What do you mean you don't agree with me on everything? I'm deeply hurt! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, First, you are looking at a snapshot in time. You need to look beyond any particular day. The facts are simple, over their lives people with college degrees will on average earn significantly more than people without. Hence, they are better off and the economy is better off.

Secondly, yes, by the time you get later in life your work history counts much more than your college. BUT you have to get the work history first and you can't get it without the degree. Most jobs above manual labor require a degree these days.

On Cain, I'd prefer to see him put this to bed before the MSM manages to give him the permanent scent of scandal.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, sorry to shatter all your illusions. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Now I'm going to be depressed all night. :(

patti said...

so much of this made me lol. especially the parts about the left's stupidity. and this week, i swore i was gonna be nicer, i was gonna cut the brainless some slack. no can do. "AAAhole" bwhahahaha!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! I think AAAhole is an appropriate nickname for President Downgrade. :)

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