Party of Neoliberalism

And it’s like that with everything. What is the whole “free college” scheme if not a way massively to enrich lenders?

If cheaper public universities like mine die (which they will once they aren’t allowed to charge tuition), what will prospective students do? Forego the idea of higher education? Obviously not. They’ll take out loans to go to expensive private schools, whether real or online. Nobody is banning them from charging tuition, which leaves the already struggling public schools like mine at an enormous disadvantage and completely dependent on yearly negotiations of state budgets.

And it’s the same with college debt forgiveness. It’s a massive gift from the state to the banking industry.

The Democrats have become the party of neoliberalism. They seem incapable of generating a single idea that’s not neoliberal. And that’s what I find so maddening.

16 thoughts on “Party of Neoliberalism”

  1. If cheaper public universities like mine die (which they will once they aren’t allowed to charge tuition), what will prospective students do?

    Public primary and secondary schools are not permitted to charge tuition. Why won’t the same model work for colleges and universities? Of course, they ought to be funded by a nationwide system, funded by federal tax dollars, so that poor states are not at a serious disadvantage.

    Sixty years ago, the University of Texas, for example, had a tuition of ten dollars a semester, according to a friend of mine who attended there. This is the equivalent of about $100 a semester today. This proves, at least to me, that such a system is possible. There is not a great difference between a tuition of $100 a semester and $0 a semester.

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    1. “Why won’t the same model work for colleges and universities? ”

      Because nothing after high school is part of compulsory education?

      And what has happened to public schools that are compulsory? Anyone who can (And many who can’t) move heaven and earth to not use them.

      I was lucky enough to be ground through the US public education system before private schools were a thing (they were around but a minor kind of presence) I would have ended pig ignorant and poorer than a mud fence (or more so than I am now) if the system now had existed back then….

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      1. What Bernie Sanders, for instance is proposing is that 60% of “free college” be funded federally, I think, and 40% by the state. Let’s assume there’s never any budget impasse on the federal level and let’s also assume he manages to raise this money reliably through taxation. This means that the next time our state legislature doesn’t manage to pass a budget, we are out 40% of our income.

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        1. An average student at my school pays $4,000 in tuition excluding lodging and meal plan. But Bernie’s plan doesn’t cover that anyway, so let’s put it aside. I very honestly don’t believe that’s too onerous. It can be done without getting into debt. The culture of doing it without getting into debt isn’t there but that’s another issue.

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          1. Your tuition + fees are actually about $12K this academic year. That’s about like us. Adjusting for inflation that is only supposed to be about 3x the tuition and fees we had when I was an undergraduate, although the minimum wage has only doubled and general cost of living is higher. It just seems that this money, which really and truly did not seem terribly hard to scrape together at the time, is harder to get, and private school costs have really gone up. But honestly, for public schools, stable public funding would really do it — the tuition-and-donor driven model is inherently unstable and it distorts the purpose of the institution. Private schools without big endowments also struggle, and if you look at the Epstein-MIT scandal, you see where the money chase lands even rich schools. I’m for permanently diverting some military-industrial $ into peaceful pursuits at the U.

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            1. Our students pay about $4,000 in tuition per semester on average.

              The state had enormous, unpayable and utterly ridiculous pension obligations. There is no way around it. Either the state defaults on these pensions or we continue cutting the financing on everything else. That’s the reality.

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    2. I thought schools were funded locally from property taxes + state funding. As far as I know, it’s half and half. The local funding from local taxation stands in lieu of tuition because not everybody goes to college while secondary education is compulsory and general. When state money isn’t forthcoming (as happened in Illinois only two years ago), secondary schools can still rely on local funding and survive. Our university’s only other source of income is tuition. If that goes, we won’t have anything to fall back on.

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  2. These are standard libertarian arguments. Scratch the surface of a public welfare program and you will see that the real beneficiaries are wealthy elites. Read Bryan Caplan’s Case Against Education.

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    1. “Why won’t the same model work for colleges and universities? ”

      Which boils down to “No education for thy children, private tutoring by tenured university professors for mine, eat it suckers!”
      I am so sick of these grifters in intellectual clothing… it’s enough to gag a maggot in a rendering plant….

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      1. I still haven’t any personal experience with public education system because Klara is too little. I see the products of this system in my classroom, and it’s scary. I don’t want to judge until I try but I don’t even know if I’ll try. Another mom of a local kindergartner confirmed yesterday that it’s 30 minutes of homework a day in kindergarten. That makes me livid. I’d just do Montessori if N weren’t opposed.

        I don’t know, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not working. I saw a 10-year-olds textbook in natural sciences, and it was scarily similar to our Soviet textbook in the same subject. After which I graduated hating natural sciences.

        I’m rambling but I’m just that confused and worried.

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        1. “haven’t any personal experience with public education”

          Back when I was of school age… there was IIRC one very small private catholic elementary school in the county and a small private high school (also catholic IIRC) in the next county…. and that was it. Everybody else went to public school 1-12 no matter the income level or race.
          It wasn’t perfect but now I thank the PTB for it. I honestly don’t think my parents would have been able to cope had private school been necessary (financially or in any other way – getting us to free public school everyday kind of on time and in roughly clean clothes and with lunch money was difficult enough for them).
          What does N have against Montessori?

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          1. Cost. His objection is the cost. He’s convinced she’ll need $250,000 for college and we need to save that. Although right now, at least, professor kids can go to any in-state public university for free. (Which none of my colleagues are choosing but still).

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      1. Because of decisions they’ve made and priorities they set. We’re looking at $11K per year in tuition and fees and this all has to do with a poor set of financial decisions by the state, poor priorities and also the influence of Lumina & other entities. The arguments that it was all “inevitable” and “just how things are now” aren’t true — it was overdetermined, sure, but the legislature & other powers which are were not forced to create the situation we have, they chose it. It’s also a question of what the principles and character of public HE are — is this a public-private credentialing service people pay for by fee, or is it a public entity working for the public good?

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