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Q

Sounds like somebody has buyer's remorse. I wonder if they own several SUV's and live in a McMansion. Private Colleges are not cheap are set up for profit. Hubris must have overcame common financial sense. A private college is paying for connections, you wanna play to gotta pay. The college student could have picked an in state school near home, perfectly good education without the hob knobbing. The trap is generally offering substantial financial assistance for the first year and then milking the family for the remaining years through debt or self-funding. Unless you are independently wealthy or part of a protected class, stick with government subsidized in-state schools. Unless you are from one a family of the governing elite or current masters of the universe, you will get the same pay for a specific job regardless where you graduated from.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Q, a degree is worth what school that grants it! Get one from a cheap school, you get far less 'value'. If you want cheap, you get cheap.

And this is the game! People are on a treadmill, lower middle class, upper middle class.

CK

But it's a lovely bill for Dan Quayle and Cerebus capitol and Chrysler, superb for several counties in Alabama that wish to subsidize a canadian rail car maker's factory, special goodies for San Fran and Malden, Mass., extra special goodies for the IRS; credit card transactions must be reported to them ( stealth tax on the internet coming to an online retailor far from you, special goodies for mobile home packagers, special goodies back for solar panel installations and the tax credit for energy efficient home improvements has returned, $4b giveaway to communities for "redevelopment", 700 pages all unread by the critters that voted for it.
http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/financi
alsvcs_dem/hr3221_bill_text.pdf
full text of the atrocity.

tom

Longer time reader, minimal poster.

Whatta game indeed. on the anniversary of 7/17, we added to our family. How significant that is remains to be seen.

It's a boy. If he wants to fix things as he acclimates himself to the world, the college trap could be avoided. I pray he sees outside of formal doctrination.

Just as
I and my wife were born in the fall of '74, and so, history in re-runs, we start a family in the clutches of huge downturn. We are buckling our chinstraps for... get out of debt someday.

sitting behind unused 45k of affluent private education student loans at close to 7%. I thank myself often for the under 100K mortgage.

Elaine you are blessing to all of your readers. I often get a "where the /how the hell... do you know that" from others in discussing the waves of the world.... and I thank you for your overall attention to the details, as it's all in the details.

Gary

In Perry Mason lingo, here's Exhibit A in proof of "Merika's decline
as an economic power.

Manufacturers have been weeping
crocodile tears for years over "lack of skilled machinists"
as they continue to hammer wages and offshore good jobs
to overseas labor camps. They were doing this in Worcester
County,Mass. 30 years ago even as the jobs were going
down to South Carolina. What kid in his right mind would
go thru a 4 year apprenticeship, then on to a 10 year learning
curve, buying 10,000 dollars worth of precision tools, only to
find himself making 16 bucks an hour in a shaky job where the
front office was burning the midnite oil trying to find a way
to offshore his/her job ?

Nuts to American slobby manufacturing management !

Article below

"Some Blue-Collar Jobs Go Unfilled Even as Their Numbers Drop

Even after decades of manufacturing decline, employment of machinists is expected to drop by 3 percent between 2006 and 2016, according to the BLS.

“We’re at the very beginning of that decline; we haven’t necessarily gotten there yet,” says Holmes. “Even if machinists are declining, applicants are in short supply. Kids are not getting excited about going to tech and vocational schools.”

Labor advocates paint a different picture. “Employers are still not willing to pay what’s required,” says Eisenbrey. “It’s a shortage only at the rate that employers want to pay.”

The skilled trades, especially in construction, rank high among blue-collar jobs that are hard to fill, according to the Manpower survey. Carpenters, welders, plumbers, electricians and masons are in demand, the survey says.

But Eisenbrey questions the validity of these conclusions. “It doesn’t make sense that jobs for construction workers and laborers are hard to fill,” he says. “Wages are declining in most of these occupations; 365,000 of those workers have been laid off in the last 12 months.” In April 2008, as the housing crisis played out, construction employment declined by 61,000 jobs, according to preliminary data from the BLS.

Even in our digital age, stuff still needs to get from here to there, whether the trip is across the warehouse floor or around the world. That’s why jobs for laborers such as freight, stock and materials handlers are projected to increase by almost a quarter of a million positions from 2004 to 2014, according to the BLS. Many of these jobs require few skills but pay $12 to $15 an hour, about double the federal minimum wage, which is set to rise to $6.55 from $5.85 on July 24, 2008."

DrKrbyLuv

Our children are born into debt and as you have well documented, exploited through higher education financing schemes.

Credit card companies prey on the students by sending them credit cards - even if they don't request them. Many parents end up helping bail their kids out of the credit card debt - I did to protect my daughters credit rating.

Where is the outrage in America? Why do the masses simply accept a system that is parasitic by design.

CK

No where near finished reading the bill, but there are multiple areas for profit in this thing. Enough ambiguities and nuances to allow one to expand the possibilities for socializing potential losses and privatizing gains.
http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/financialsvcs_dem/hr3221_bill_text.pdf

CK

Dr.Luv, I just read your last question, a possible answer is that mass parasites approve of parasitic design.
Democracy after all is merely a way for a larger mass to efficiently parasite upon a smaller mass.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

I suppose I may have to waste hours reading that stupid bill from top to bottom. I don't want to do this because it would just raise my blood pressure.

But it has to be done. Rats. I wish they put out much smaller bills. Rats again.

CK

'Tis not a waste to read the instruction manual for ripping off the banks and the Fed legally.
A just imagine the good feeling you will have after you finish reading a document that the (w)hole of congress could not be bothered to read before they appoved it.
It is long because every pigsnout has to be given a bit(e) at the feed trough. It does show why GollumSucks has given so freely to OHB and HRC and every other dem.

rockpaperscizzors

The university systems are the originators of the economic debt laden/usury models specifically designed for debt perpetuity of the middle class.

At the University of Chicago commencement in 2003, the president of the university in his twisted, sanguine humor spoke of no jobs for the graduates, but the upside was they received a superior education. My oldest was saddled with enormous debt and a nonmember of the elitists’ circle of wealth, finding a job required more debt and relocating. And this is a summa cum laude graduate.

As for state run universities, I suggest Q take a look at the costs of University of Illinois, UIC, and their 'directional' siblings (Northern, Southern...). The financial aid offered is limited to the very poor. Try filling out FAFSA. FAFSA is not interested in student or parent debt. All they want to know is income and assets. The middleclass sucks up the costs via HELOC's, PPL's, student loans, and credit cards. And the state universities REALLY don't want residents. They want out of state and foreigners since tuition/costs can double and triple. Pisses me off since the state residents pay via taxes for state universities. The Private Universities sharks at least offer grants, scholarships, and a better chance of getting federal Pell and state grants. The middleclass are screwed both ways as they educate their kids.

Universities are overflowing with sharks feasting on parents and children.

Gary

I dont see any difference between the Pharaceutical Corporations
and the Education Corporations

Their prices have both mushroomed far beyond any kind of
measured inflation rate---honest or dishonest

They both love to prey on fears.

One preys on fears of growing old and ugly

The other preys on middle class fears that their children may
not remain middle class unless they buy an expensive "educational"
package of debt.

rockpaperscizzors

The silence over the costs of a college education is deafening. The media and congress are complicit of blacking out the percentage of home mortgage owners, HELOC's, Parent Plus Loans, Student Loans (not much difference between federally subsidized and unsubsidized), and credit card debt drowning parents and students for an overpriced, overvalued, substandard 'puppy mill' education. The Job market awaits with minimum wage jobs in the service sector for these college grads.

But there's future hope!, get a graduate degree and INCUR MORE DEBT to laden upon the old debt.

COLLEGE DEBT IS THE REAL NEWS.

Christian W

Mr. Henry CK Liu, oft quoted by Elaine, is one commentator who often has commented on the parasitic nature of the 'dollar hegemony' game (he invented the term 'dollar hegemony' in the early years of this decade), where the US sucks back the wealth and labour of other nations by forcing them to invest the dollars they earn in the dollar economy (ie the US). Many US officials are now saying that these nations (like China) have to prop up this system by lending the US money, at piss poor rates, in order to protect old investemnts (as in Fannie Mae).

Looks like the point when the tide will turn and the rest of the world will start feeding on the US host is near at hand.

DeVaul

It is bad enough to be born into debt, as most of our children are, but to add to that by sending your children to college or grad school is insane at this point.

Learning at home is just as good and far more cheaper. You can read the same propagandistic books at the local library as you can at college at no charge to you. All it takes is some minimal parental involvement. (Remember, the best professors are busy doing research and most students are actually being taught by TA's nowadays.)

Or better yet, since we all cannot be lawyers, doctors, or anthropologists, plan to teach your children a real skill that they can use to find work in a future where transportation will be severely limited.

If learning a profession or skill requires you to mortgage your future, forget it. Learn something else instead. It's a big world with many needs, even if you never leave the town you were born in.

Q

My apologies, It has been well over a dozen years since I have been in a higher education setting of any sort. Elaine you are right a degree is worth more in terms of getting your foot in the door depending on where you received it, University of Phoenix versus Harvard. Crafts are neglected in terms of financial support and encouragement even with the outsourcing they are critical to the function of a nation. All higher education systems stick it to the middle class wishing to participate. The private schools are nice, but people have to decide if the extra price is worth it for connections over and above the basic education. The problem with finding a job right now regardless where a person graduates, as Elaine stated, is the economy. The number of experienced bankers, brokers, and real estate agents hitting the streets will continue to be staggering, and they will compete aggressively for even entry level positions to keep food on the table for their families. Until the economy stabilizes, MBAs from NorthWestern will be working at KMart and Engineers will be doing maintenance on rentals to survive. If recent graduates are lucky, they will have a compassionate relative or friend who will open up a spare room or double up for cheap. The level of debt burden for higher education is a gamble and a lifestyle choice, no different than those choosing to buy a home with less 10% over the past five years rather than rent. You want more you risk more, in good times you reap the benefits and in bad times the you reap the consequences. There is no bailout in housing or debt, the Piper gets paid either up front or in the end.

rockpaperscizzors

One last comment on college educations. University administrators and professors usually receive a 20% to 100% reduction on their kids tuition. And their kids are first in line for "scholarships." And book costs, deals, and discounts that reward these leaches on the backs of the cash strapped students. Parent/students are not only going into debt for a degree but also funding the Ivory Tower douchebags kids and the parasitical MBA administrators who divy up the pie, mostly to their own. I don't even want get to start raving about the retirement perks.

milo

yep...i always trust a doctor who owes hundreds of thousands of dollars for payments on their degrees to not do unnecessary procedures and operations....not

Michael

Elaine,

Of course I agree with you when you state and re-state very clearly that fantasies of pushing debt to infinity are unrealistic. But, I believe a more mundane mind-set than infinity is fatally at the root of Americans' problems.

We all know that the government has settled permanently into the miasma of permanent debt. This is not really infinite debt (though it will go upward for a while longer before it crashes). Rather, it is intended simply to be endlessly rolled-over ("re-funded") debt.

You are right that debt increases TOWARD infinity with this kind of thinking, because the finance industry gets fabulously rich through debt expansion and there is always an "exigent reason" why the government says it needs to increase the total national debt. Only disastrous deflationary depressions or disastrous hyperinflations serve to correct attempts to increase government debt toward infinity.

However, rolled-over, or "re-funded" debt mentality is actually WORSE than infinite-debt thinking. What has happened in my lifetime is that private industry and the ordinary consumer have joined the government in adopting the mind-set of permanent (rolled-over or "re-funded") debt.

Virtually every American business now carries a permanent debt load, which they roll over (re-finance) every time it comes due; one of the classic (and current) catastrophes in a credit contraction is that the credit requirements and/or interest costs of rolling over that debt go up, leading to bankruptcy (even when the business would otherwise be surviving fine if it weren't in debt).

Virtually every American household also carries permanent debt (mortgage, auto, credit card). It is precisely the inability to roll-over those burdensome mortgage debts (by cheap refinancing or high-value sale of the house) that has lead to the foreclosures which are bringing down the banks and investment houses. The average American consumer is so immersed in the permanent-debt syndrome that they don't EVER seriously plan to be "paid" off on their house, auto, and credit cards, and if they were to become so, they'd immediately rush out and buy something new on credit.

The typical financial planning question for Americans is never HOW WILL I PAY THIS DEBT OFF? but rather CAN I AFFORD THE MONTHLY PAYMENTS? For some people (apparently including those who complained to you about those education loans) the problem is they took out too much debt relative to their income in the first place. Or perhaps the problem develops when interest rates on existing debt rises or their income decreases. And for some, the problem is simply that they are "maxed out" and can't sustain their version of the ever-bigger-better-faster American Dream with more and more debt.

The generation that went through the Great Depression (that is, who saw what happened to foolish debtors from the 1920s) learned to ask the questions WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IF I HAVE TROUBLE PAYING THIS DEBT? and DO I REALLY HAVE TO HAVE THIS NOW BEFORE I'VE SAVED UP FOR IT? As a result, their mind set was the Saver's mentality, and even though America emerged from WWII with the most massive (and permanent) government debt ever, the American consumer had saved so much money during the war it led to 25 years of inflation-free prosperity just spending all those savings. Then the debt binge took off.

Since the government is obviously not going to change it's ways regarding permanent debt, it's up to each American household to face their own credit addictions and stop borrowing themselves into destruction. Perhaps after the coming Greater Depression a new generation will re-introduce Household Saving to America.

Allen/Vancouver

It is so depressing to read the essay and comments. We live in opposite universes it seems. What is this american fixation with free market, private enterprise bullshit anyway? What happened to the simple ideal of the "commonwealth"?

Canada is a capitalist nation in general, but with a very entrenched notion of the common good. Maybe it comes with the realization that nobody survives a harsh land without help and sharing. We take it to be a Fundamental Right that no one suffers financial dislocation due to health problems. Universal Health Care is more sacred to us than the right to bear arms - by a long shot.

We consider Education to be a national investment in our collective future as a society. University education is not free, government loans play a large part but there is nothing like the usuary noted above. The loans are quite re-payable and the schools are very good.

I graduated in architecture from a very elite/private US university in 1967 with virtually no debt, but a 4 year obligation to USAF. I assume ROTC programs are still alive and well.

The economic picture is also viewed from opposite poles. Western Canada is still in boom times thanks to commodities and world trade/demand: oil and gas, coal, grain,
fertilizers, uranium. Locally, skilled construction workers make between $24 to $38 per hour per qualifications. Tower crane operators earn $80,000/yr. In the Alberta oil fields, welders earn $85/hr for 4 weeks in and 1 week out. Fried chicken franchises are going belly up because no one will work for $15/hr.

We know that nobody will escape the effects of a US meltdown, and we keep looking over our shoulders knowing that a cool-down is inevitable, but western attitudes are still positive because we deal with real stuff, not fantasy paper.

Best of luck to all of you.

Paul S

One more thing> I mention this because it's really gallimg. When you still have tuition payments in you, the University will tell you,'Your education is very valuable to your future employers.' This galls me because I distinctly remember a speaker at the University--a University emplyee--telling us, the about to be newly minted graduates,"Tell the folks they are going to have an extra mouth to feed for the next 6 months or so because the job competitiion is keen." When the jig is up, they change their tune. I suppose I should be thankful they didn't laugh and spit in my face as I picked up my diploma. The arrogance. I mean, really. Even a used car salesman will give you a car in the deal and alot of states have "lemon" laws on cars, so if you get a worthless car, you have an avenue to pursue. BUT: with the much costlier University education, there are no avenues for grievances. The University types will just stand there and tell you--with snirks on their faces, "Hey, we made NO guarantees." State funding should stop with THEIR guarantees. After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. (Never happen. System too corrupt.) I can remember when a local TV station did an 'investigative report' on the University's Facilities Management operations. Their first report showed HUGE inefficiencies and out and out wasting of the taxpayer's money(Example: guys sleeping for 2-3 hours while on the job.) University promises to clean things up. Right. Three years later, the same TV station does a follow-up investigation. Result? Things are even WORSE than during the first investigation. Big surprise? Not really.

Buffalo Ken

Yeah the colleges are no longer the locations for getting the most cost-effective education.

Serves em right.

Education should be FREE. Education is an investment in the future. Duh.

In a way, on the internet, education is free. That is why the internet - a free internet - is so important. I'm going to get a Linux setup. I want to figure out other systems. Even so, the internet is awesome and we should be happy that we have this tool for communication.

Peace,
Ken

master resale rights

The concept Personal injury is a branch of tort law that encompass any wrong or damage done to another, whether in his person, property, rights, or reputation.

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