Thursday, October 20, 2011

The One Trillion Dollar Question

During the 2010-2011 school year, students took out over $100 Billion dollars in education loans to pay for college.  That's Billion... with a B, and over twice what was taken out in 2000.  The total amount outstanding: Over 1 Trillion Dollars.

It's troubling: The proliferation of profiteering colleges, young people delaying marriage / children / homeownernship, pushing up wages to cover monthly loan payments (or, not?), and generally sinking people in a financial hole before they start.

Looking for someone to blame for the situation?  How about the Baby Boom?  The parasitic behavior of that generation has been eroding society since they all got full-time jobs and mortgages.  Flower power, my ass.

In 1964, when the first boomers attended college, including my mom, tuition at the University of Illinois was $165 per semester.  It took 200 hours of minimum wage work to come up with tuition for the year - or 5 weeks.  When I attended in the Fall of 1997, tuition/room/board was $5,265 for the semester - or 1,000 hours of minimum wage work.  That's 25 weeks - half a year - for half a year of school.  Now, in 2011, when the baby boom is retiring, tuition alone is $11,104 per year, with an extra $12K for room and board.  That's $33,000+ per year, or 4,551 hours of minimum wage work - over 2 years full time.

What happened?  Well, once the baby boomers were out of school - school heavily subsidized by state governments - they no longer wanted to pay the taxes to support access to public education.  The result is shrinking support of higher education, and a shifting of the burden to the individual student.  Remember, the Baby Boomers were in their late 30s and early 40s for the Greed is Good heyday of the 1980s.  If the 99% is looking for someone to demonize besides Wall Street, how about the guys who benefited from strong social investments, then dismantled these institutions after they were done with them.  No wonder the Greatest Generation clashed with their children so much - what a bunch of selfish A-Holes!

Now, the One Trillion Dollar Question:  With such an unsustainable model, when does this collapse, and what will this mean for society?

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