Coffee heat rising


Reading around here and there:

The New York Times‘s Eduardo Porter scores for today’s business-section column, “Why Aid for College Is Missing the Mark.” He recalls the time that William Bennett, Reagan ‘s education secretary, remarked that federal aid to higher education leads colleges “blithely to raise their tutions,” and notes that two decades later, it has come to pass. With a vengeance. Don’t miss this piece: it nails its author’s subject to perfection.

The current president of Arizona State University, who has held that office more years than anyone can imagine, began to campaign to raise university tuition almost from the moment he set foot in his office. This, in direct contradiction to the state constitution, which provides that public universities will offer education at a price as close to free as possible. Shortly before my office was closed and we were all laid off (along with hundreds of other ASU employees), he got his wish: he did persuade the legislature to let him raise tuition into the stratosphere.

Today, Grand Canyon University, a private for-profit school, is financially competitive with ASU. In fact, you probably could go to GCU for less, and your dollars would buy you lots fewer opportunities to stagger drunk across a six-lane thoroughfare and get run over or to topple drunk off an apartment-house balcony and splatter your brains on the pool’s Cool-Deck or to drunkenly enter an apartment-house elevator and get the shit beaten out of you by your fellow drunks.

I can remember a faculty meeting in which ASU’s ambitious president told us that yes, he was going to see to it that tuition increased, but it wouldn’t harm students because, exactly as Bennett predicted then and Porter observes today, federal grant and loan money would increase proportionately. In other words, tuition increases were a deliberate strategy to milk federal taxpayers to enrich a vast state learning factory.

By enriching state and private schools and impoverishing our young people, we have succeeded in impoverishing our nation in categories  that range from intellectual excellence to international competitiveness. As Porter notes, America now has the most expensive higher education in the world, while our graduation rates rank among the lowest in the industrialized world: third from the bottom among nations tracked by the OECD. For heaven’s sake, Portugal has more young people graduating with their first college degree than we do!

We are, in a word (or several words), not getting what we’re paying for.

And speaking of blooming ignorance, take a gander at Paul Krugman’s “Our Invisible Rich.” Yes, Virginia: what you don’t know can hurt you…especially when those folks you don’t know about own most or, by now, maybe even all of the political power in this country.

A commenter on Revanche’s interesting post about this month as a real estate magnate left a link to a jaw-dropping Q&A with a guy who got rich amazingly quick in the McDonald’s game. Wow! Who knew?

Speaking of Revanche, pending parenthood is causing the budgeting function to run overtime at a Gai Shan Life.

Over at Planting Our Pennies, the POPs are worrying about who will buy a neighboring house that’s for sale. See…THIS is the reason I’d like to have 1200 square feet under roof smack-dab in the middle of forty acres…

At Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Crystal discusses the vagaries of self-employed income. Now, it must be said…the figures that cause her to fret would leave me beside myself with joy. But then, I don’t have to make mortgage payments. BIFS has got to be the final word in how to make a living on your own…overall, the message is simple: when you work for yourself, your toughest boss is you.

DQYDJ posts an entertaining rumination on the frequency of…well, lying on the Internet. Say it ain’t so, DQ! Somebody? Anybody?

Heh! In the Annals of Thrift Store Shopping, check out what Frugal Scholar has got up to!!

Money Beagle contemplates the workings of the American health care system and is left with the same medical condition we all suffer when we try that stunt: blinding vertigo. I think of it as like one of those carnival bumper-car rides — everybody zooming around colliding with each other and nobody going anywhere. Except broke, maybe.

Inquiring minds want to know: Do you carry umbrella insurance? Check in at Grumpy Rumblings to add your two bits and see what others say.

NZ Muse has been writing like crazy of late. She and DH have lots to ruminate on: job hunting, housing dreams and worries, parenthood possibilities… Check out what it costs to live in Auckland! And if you figure that scotches your plan to retire to NZ, read on down to the end of that post, where she lists comparable posts at PF sites all over the world.

At I Pick Up Pennies, Abby and Tim are feeling sad because they had to put their beloved cat to sleep. {sigh} Go love them up…

The amazingly competent, ambitious, and upwardly mobile Evan, proprietor of My Journey to Millions, is on relief. New York Family Tax Relief Credit, that is. Life is strange.

Donna Freedman writes with her usual wit and elan about traveling first class.

There’s more, but I’ve gotta go to choir. And so…enjoy.





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