|Postmodernism||The Real Long War|
by Christopher Chantrill
July 21, 2007 at 6:00 pm
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 Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
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
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
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
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