We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, February 4. 2011
Like Congress, they don't want it but they want you to have it whether you want it or not.
I see light rail (subways, trolleys) and even commuter rail work very well in densely-populated areas. It should not be subsidized, though (and neither should highways, but we have enough of them now anyway).
Catron at American Spectator: Obamacare Unconstitutional? Roger That!
Why work 15hrs/day if you only make the same as an 8 hour day?
Insty: SAY IT AIN’T SO: The ever-increasing cost of education is not sustainable.
Where are the new ideas? My new-old idea: unleash the genius of the people and get government out of the way.
Obama issues global warming rules in January, gives GE an exemption in February
Yet another form of waivers for friends
Arianna Huffington’s Insulting Treatment of Minorities
Separate but equal?
Via Insty, is college a public good?
I say it is not. It's a private good, or perhaps not much good at all except for the 5% who really use it. Who ever said you need a school to learn stuff? I learn all I can, every day. Every night, too. As we always say here, knowledge comes from books and from The Teaching Company, and wisdom comes from engaging life to the fullest.
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"What happens to an arch when it loses its cornerstone? It collapses. The same fate awaits Obama in 2012."
Keystone, not cornerstone.
Agree on the terminology "cornerstone vs. keystone". What I am looking for from the educated elite commentators that attend this blog is a saying or term for what surely will happen with this article. That is, a small error in terminology is used to dismiss the whole of the article.
BUT, the fact is the misuse of the term does not invalidate the whole, and is in fact just a minor flaw.
BD. It is always interesting to think about what--if any--benefits you and your son are receiving for your repeated endorsement of Kenyon College. I'll bet the administration loves your contribution to their PR budget. And, of course, perhaps scholarship is just a little easier for your son. Y'a think? If that is the case--then perhaps you can understand an important facet of what has become the greatest corruption caper in the last fifty years--our university system.
"Why work 15hrs/day if you only make the same as an 8 hour day?"
Oh, you're referencing a business owner...... (if we get paid at all)
Is college a public good? Well, I think if you look back at the history of the founding of any of our old public or private universities, you would find that this was the justification. Often the public good was
"our society needs teachers" or
"our society needs preachers" or
"our society needs people to help all us farmers know how we can be most productive in the conditions we have here in this state"
In Jefferson's day it was "our society needs good citizens".
(I note that in the pure definition of public good a little sophistry is needed to make these qualify )
But the institutions themselves, aside from some "great books" type places, seem to recruit based upon "this is an investment by you and your family into you own personal future earning power".
You will see many allegations lately that what leaders of some foreign territory say in their own language is often opposite what they say in English for the benefit of the international press. I think universities tell you that they are a public or private good depending upon whether they see you in the role of a sponsor or the role of a customer.
Even then, many think that just having more people with increased personal earning potential is also a public good. When I lived in Ontario one social-democrat cabinet minister was heard to say that the goal was to get 100% of young-adults to attend university.
"When I lived in Ontario one social-democrat cabinet minister was heard to say that the goal was to get 100% of young-adults to attend university."
Society needs people to pick up the waste trash we discard, but do the people who perform this important task for society need a college degree to do their job or would an expensive college education be a waste of money for them?
Well, every social-democrat government I've lived under has had a higher-education policy that included "widening participation". In every case I couldn't understand the intermediate steps between "get (x) times as many students into university" and whatever desirable policy outcome was predicted to occur as a result. I thought it was just me.
On income inequality: let's consider a more meaningful measure of economic opportunity, lifestyle inequality.
People who are very wealthy often buy a larger house than I have, a bigger television set, have a newer and fancier car, and have more clothing in their closets. They also may travel to interesting places a lot more than I do.
But how much better do they actually live? A Rolls Royce will get me across the US in just about the same amount of time as my CRV. It will be a bit more comfortable but it won't be ten times more.
A bigger house would bring my family no more pleasure than the one we have now. Nice views count for something, as does privacy.
Ditto with a larger TV. Nice, sure, but only a little nicer than the one we have now.
Most rich people live a little better than I do. But even the richest of them live only somewhat better than I do, materially speaking -- their beds are slightly nicer, their chores get done for them, they can pick toys without worry. Still only a little ahead of me.
And that is more true as decades go by, not less. My wealthy grandfather had a home movie theater in the 1960's. Projection booth and all. My DVD player works better than his theater did. My grandfather could afford a movie camera of his own, to take a lot of photos and have them developed. I spent less than $100 on a camera that generates pictures at effectively no unit cost. And movies too.
Dick Tracy's two-way wrist TV is available for about $100, plus monthly service at around $80. My grandfather launched NBC into television (Lenox Lohr, you could look it up) and he never had a two-way wrist TV.
All but our very poorest, our sunken boats, have shelter and heat and blankets and decent food.
It's the policies of those who claim to love the poor, though, that make lifestyle inequality. If food is cheap, being rich is less of an advantage. If clothing is cheap, nearly all can dress decently and do laundry once a week. When gas is cheap, even the lower-class can travel. Yet every policy of the proglodyte do-gooders works against those goals.
Not that we are bitter.
As for college being a public good: the young men and women of WWII used the GI Bill to engineer America and themselves into great prosperity. I'd call that a public good.
One of my favorite quotes: "If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library." ~Frank Zappa
I find it hard to justify public (state) colleges and universities. If they are a public good like grade schools and high schools, why do state schools charge tuition? Why aren't they free, just like the lower schools? Why do they limit admissions? Except for age, state and local school jurisdictions impose no limits on who can attend; in fact, they require it. State teachers colleges may be justified, at least historically, since their graduates go on to serve an accepted public good by teaching in public schools. But should states be in the business of training lawyers or engineers or doctors or artists or football players who will go on to pursue careers that are exclusively in the private sector? I don't think that is a proper government function; the government should not be competing with the private schools that "sell" higher education, whether they are for-profit schools or not.