This Should Come As No Surprise

As many of you have probably already seen, the NY Times ran this article a few days ago about how a university education is rapidly becoming so expensive that practically no one can afford one.

For me, this is probably the most concise statistical summary of the legacy of Reaganomics:

"Over all, the report found, published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007 while median family income rose 147 percent."

You get that? 147% That's the raw percentage, not adjusted for inflation or cost of living.

Everyone knows that they're supposed to go to college, but it's now reached the point where it isn't clear if it's worth the 50,000+ in debt it takes to get that BA in art history. In a sense, it's a assault on the possibility of democracy, if we think of democracy, at least in the social sense, as a state in which there is a reasonable chance for any given person to achieve the same things as any other person, regardless of background.

As a (would-be) historian, what drives me crazy about this shit is the fact that things really did get better from about WWII - 1980. Income was distributed more equitably, and despite everything that was wrong with that period culturally, American society was closer to the democratic ideal than it ever had been and, quite possibly, ever will be again.


On a happier note, the Onion AV club ran this interview with rapper Kool Keith and DJ Kutmasta Kurt (who is from Santa Cruz) in which it was revealed that of his many pseudonyms, Kurt's favorite for Keith is "Fly Ricky the Winetaster." I have one thing to say about that:



Trust in Steel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trust in Steel said...

Democracy is a lie anyway, it hasn't existed for thousands of years if it ever did at all. Unfortunately, the mindless masses enslaved by the pop culture don't deserve any better anyway. Now, I'm off to the movie studio to use pop culture to line my own pockets. It's good to see my moral compass is still broken. Tell the French they're a betrayal of the noble soil of barbarian Gaul and their language is a bastardized backwater version of Latin.

kungfuramone said...

I'll be sure to pass the word along. Of all the nations, they're probably most beholden to the thousands-of-year-old lie of democracy, so they clearly need the reprimand most.

Austin Rich said...

Guess who's currently in school struggling with these problems, as we speak?

The biggest concern (for me) is that what all of this means, in the long run, is that higher education will now become a privileged of those who can afford it. While we talk about class struggles in this country, this is a very real example of how the poor will not be able to have what the rich have. I suspect that in 10 years, people like me will not be able to make the decision, at 30, to go back to school, simply because there won't be any resources left for anyone who can't pay out of pocket.

Oh well. We'll need more Gas Station attendants then, anyway.

{boo, hiss}

What, too soon?