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Sun Jul 6, 2014, 07:04 AM

Ronald Reagan stuck it to millennials: A college debt history lesson no one tells

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/05/ronald_reagan_stuck_it_to_millennials_a_college_debt_history_lesson_no_one_tells/



Dramatic, awful changes occurred on my generation's watch -- and it amounts to a fiendishly successful conspiracy

Ronald Reagan stuck it to millennials: A college debt history lesson no one tells
Peter Lunenfeld
Saturday, Jul 5, 2014 10:00 AM EST

~snip~

The students Reagan loathed were the beneficiaries of a consensus that paired the GI Bill with the post-Sputnik explosion of higher education to offer no- to low-cost access to public institutions, and aid to those who needed it to make private college possible. Students were not expected to shoulder the burden of their educations alone, and this freed them to explore who they wanted to be and the kind of America in which they wanted to live. There were many adults, of course, who despised them for just this freedom, and powerful forces terrified of the changes they saw coming.

By the time Reagan was elected to the nation’s highest office a decade and a half later, these powers had devised perfect tools to make sure the spirit of 1960s protest would never again erupt on campus. During Reagan’s two terms as president, dedicated funding for outright grants-in-aid decreased, federal guidelines pushed individual loans, and private bill collectors were brought in to ensure that hardest kind of debt to escape was whatever you took on for your education. Even more important was the shift in tone and expectation. Public goods became private services, and by the end of the 1980s, the anti-tax, infra-structure-starving, neo-liberal Weltanschauung meant that as states cut their budgets, support for higher education was thrown into a cage match with every other necessary public good.

Had anyone at my reunion complained about the complacency of today’s students or bragged about how they got through school without taking on staggering debt, I could have reminded them that the class of ’84 was the last to have a higher percentage of grants than loans. Today’s imbalance leads too many students to buy the lie that the humanities are exclusively for rich kids. They worry that those in the 99% studying Aristotle or Virginia Woolf are destined for permanent residency in their parents’ basements and, if they are lucky, positions as baristas.

These same students are pressured to major in “practical” subjects like business or the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), even though this year, more than 80% of all students, regardless of major, didn’t have a job lined up a month before graduation. Worst of all, these students’ sense of the future is constrained by planning for and then paying down their student loans, often for decades. Economists are waking up to the fact that when young Americans enter the workforce burdened with over a trillion dollars in cumulative debt, they become risk averse, unwilling to move, less able to make major purchases, and slower to become homeowners. Not coincidentally, they don’t feel safe enough to register any major protests against the society that’s done this to them.

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Reply Ronald Reagan stuck it to millennials: A college debt history lesson no one tells (Original post)
unhappycamper Jul 2014 OP
hueymahl Jul 2014 #1
heaven05 Jul 2014 #2
ReRe Jul 2014 #3
tymorial Jul 2014 #4
pangaia Jul 2014 #5
Enthusiast Jul 2014 #6

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 09:30 AM

1. Great article - this is still not getting enough attention

College debt has made a lot of headlines recently, but it is still underreported. The consequences of this crushing debt load on people who for the most part don't truly understand what debt means is a tragedy, not just for the individual but for society as a whole.

I had not considered the relationship between student activism and debt load and the manipulative effects of debt. It is a sobering thought, and one that makes perfect sense, even if it is mostly speculation. Whether it was an intended consequence of purposeful actions by those in power or an unintended consequence of poorly thought out policies matters little at this point as the effect is the same.

There is no good reason that post high-school education should not be free or highly affordable - yet another casualty to to corporate influenced public policy.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 09:46 AM

2. man, the RW

 

in this country is just evil and hold up completely evil people as heroes. I am so sick of these people.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 10:15 AM

3. K&R

..simply because everyone needs to see this article! I think CA is the worst around when it comes to state grants/financial aid for in-state students.

And did anyone watch Steve Karnake (sp?) show on MSNBC this am? He had a Reagan-praiser on there this morning. I turned the station and never went back. If I want to hear about Ronald Reagan, I'll go to Fox. And I'm NOT a FOX watcher, need I say?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 10:19 AM

4. Its true that this started in the 70s.

Prior to and into the 1970's it was possible for students to "work their way through school." Perhaps this wasn't the case with private institutions but most certainly it was with most state sponsored high enducation facilities. Back then the majority of funding for State Universities and Colleges came from the State which drove down the cost of tuition and fees. Individuals could work full time during the summer and with part time salaries be able to afford tuition each semester. This started changing around the mid seventies when states started cutting back their high education budget allocation. The rest is pretty much as it is defined above.
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I do want to point out that while yes, Generation Y has had it tough, their challenges with unemployment and college debt wast not a recent occurance. In fact, while the cost of tuition has continually increased, the interest on student loans has remained relatively low in comparison to the first part of the 21st century. With all of the economy boom of the later half of the Clinton years came historically high interest rates on college tuition. The cusp generation left college with almost equal college debt to what is experienced now by Millennials while also having interest rates above 8%. I graduated in 2000 and due to an in accident 2003, I was unable to work for almost 3 years. I had to hold college loan payments and I wasn't even able to afford interest rate payments to keep the loans at the same level. BY the time I was healthy enough to start working, I owed significantly more given that my consolidated rate was 8.5% which I still have to this day. I came out of college owing 40K. I'd kill for the rates that graduates have today.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 10:30 AM

5. John Adams and educatrion in America.

First, please remove that photo. It makes me sick.

Moving on.


After his early years as a farmer in Braintree, MA, graduating from Harvard with a degree in law and practicing in New England for several years, including successfully defending the British soldiers in the ‘Boston Massacre,’ serving as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, being one of the primary writers of the Declaration of Independence, serving as an American representative to the court of Louis XVI during the War for Independence, and joining Thomas Jefferson and John Jay in crafting the Treaty of Paris that ended that war, serving as the first US Ambassador to the Court of St James, where he was introduced as such to George III, having read and studied the ‘classics’, Greek, Roman, French and English- in their original languages - he sent his eldest son, John Quincy, who had been with his father in Europe for some 6-8 years, to Harvard. Interestingly enough John Quincy was at first denied admission, and told to study up on his Greek! (Oh if only that were a problem these days, eh!)

This is some of what John wrote to his son in Boston who, like his father, had an insatiable appetite for knowledge.. and is taken from “John Adams” by David McCollough –

“He must not study too hard, Adams cautioned kindly. 'The smell of the midnight lamp is very unwholesome. Never defraud yourself of sleep, nor your walk. You need not now be in a hurry.’ What was essential, Adams advised, was an inquisitive mind. John Quincy must get to know the most exceptional scholars and question them closely. ‘Ask them about their tutors, manner of teaching. Observe what books lie on their tables… Ask them about the late war…or fall into questions of literature, science, or what you will.’

"The more Adams thought about the future of his country, the more convinced he became that it rested on education. Before any great things are accomplished, he wrote to a correspondent,
‘a memorable change must be made in the system of education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher. The education of a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many.’ “


(Any mistakes in quoting are my own.)


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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 06:47 PM

6. Yes, Mr. Obama, Reagan was transformative.

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