|Postmodernism||The Real Long War|
by Christopher Chantrill
July 22, 2007 at 12:00 am
A RISING tide lifts all boats. Thats what President Kennedy said in a happier time when he lowered tax rates.
But what about the rising tide of education subsidies? Last week the House of Representatives passed the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 by a vote of 273-149.
"This bill is a remarkable step forward in our efforts to help every qualified student go to college," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the education and labor committee and author of the legislation, in a statement. "With this bill, we are saying that no one should be denied the opportunity to go to college simply because of the price."
The bill increases Pell Grant limits, provides that graduates wont have to pay more than 15 percent of discretionary income in repayments and provides loan forgiveness for certain public servants after ten years and for everyone after 20 years. This will all be paid for by a reduction in subsidies to student loan lenders.
Of course, with more money sloshing into colleges theres a risk that some colleges might increase tuition. The bills sponsors have thought of that. Heres how Yahoos Anya Kamenetz describes their plan:
Starting in 2011, any college with high, outlying tuition increases would have to submit a report to the education secretary explaining why. After two consecutive years, the college would be placed on affordability alert status.
It doesnt take rocket science to see where all this will end up. It will encourage people to minimize payments on their student loans. It will encourage twentysomething slackers to put off the day when they grow up and get a real job. The reduction in subsidies to the student loan industry will wash through into higher payments for students. And the affordability alert status is a joke.
The beautiful thing about subsidies, from the point of view of an experienced political practitioner like Rep. Miller, is that they make people more dependent on the government. When you jack up the price of college with subsidies then more and more people find that they have to turn to the government for help in paying for their education.
Eventually the rising tide of subsidy puts everyone out of their depth.
Its the system that FDR set up in the 1930s, as Amity Shlaes points out in The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Politics had always catered to interest groups, of course.
But Roosevelt systematized interest-group politics... to include... labor, senior citizens, farmers, union workers. The president... ministered to those groups, and was rewarded with votes.
Schlaes observes that Roosevelts great landslide of 1936 was the year that peacetime federal spending first exceeded state and local spending. It was that fateful year that created the entitlement state and the central reality of politics today.
While Rep. Miller is flooding higher education with more subsidies teacher Nancy Coppock of Texas reminds us millions of students are out of their depth when it comes to basic literacy. Yet more money is not the answer.
Teaching reading is practically free. I used [a] class set of paperback young adult literature which cost between $75 to $125 per set, which were used year after year. The true value came from my own heart and soul.
As a special-ed reading teacher Nancy has a more down-to-earth view of education than Rep. George Miller.
[T]he best thing I could do for mid- to below-average students, many minority and poor, was to make sure they could read to the best of their ability.
The crisis in education is not that price is scaring kids away from college even though, to a member of the academic middle class, life without a college education is scarier than a Stephen King novel.
The crisis is not even the scary education spending numbers for 2007 from usgovernmentspending.com:
United States Federal, State,
and Local Government Spending
Fiscal Year 2007
Amounts in billions of dollars
|Spending: actual, budgeted, estimated, guesstimated|
The crisis is that the government spends $469.8 billion on K-12 education every year yet millions of mid- to below-average students dont ever learn to read.
You cant help feeling that somewhere out there in that $792.3 billion-a-year EducationLand someone just doesnt care about kids.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State