News and views that Americans should think about but are not reported on or discussed by the American mainstream media.
What is wrong with this picture?
Price of public college in 2012.
What is stunning about the above chart is the abomination of what has happened to the price of higher education in public universities in this country. What is wrong with this picture? Can anyone in their right mind explain why public college costs have increased nearly 750%? I understand that there have been some modest decreases in state funding of some of these schools, but 750% - REALLY? How many jobs are around where you can say that the pay for that job has increased by 750% over that period of time - not many that I can think of. When I graduated with an engineering degree, I received a starting salary of $23,000 which was aligned with the average for entry level engineers. Today's expected entry level salary for the same position is $56,000. A 243% increase. Most other jobs have seen either similar increases or probably less as engineers have remained in relatively high demand. How can these public universities justify such an increase? Technological advances have undoubtedly helped to keep the price of milk, eggs, and automobiles to relatively modest increases over time that are much more aligned with the 243% increase in salary, but what has happened to higher education where technology should be among the most advanced in the country? These are the places where many of the advancements should be taking place. What is wrong with this picture? I know that technology comes with a cost, but the farmers and car makers have similar costs to increase their technology but have somehow shamed these high institutions of learning by outperforming them by a ratio of approximately 3 to 1. That is, somehow they have managed their costs and associated increases 3 times better than than our public universities.
Price of college books in 2012.
I looked at the price of my engineering college textbooks that I had to purchase for college. Keep in mind that these are very specialized technical books and not a general subject class such as English. The average price of my technical textbooks was $20. I remember thinking that they were expensive back then. This past January, my daughter who is a freshmen at college paid $200 for a textbook on Spanish. Spanish does not change very much from generation to generation. I can actually understand how a technical book (such as books on computers or the sciences) may have to be re-written frequently to keep up with the advancements in technology... but $200 for a textbook on a language that has been around forever... What is wrong with this picture? Can anyone in their right mind explain why college text books have increased 1000%. I strongly suspect that these professors are stuffing each other's pockets by forcing the students to buy their buddy's book which printed about a thousand copies so that the cost of the book is not only maximized by the small printing run, but I am sure the profits are maximized as well because it is a closed market.
Where did I get that chart from?
It is not that difficult to find cost of some common items back in a given year. I have direct experience with the cost of a public college and a car over that time which may be more difficult to find. The chart is a collaboration of common published increases in cost and my own experience.
Cost of my college in 1977.
I graduated high school in 1977. I entered college that fall and studied engineering at an accredited public university in the USA. I lived on campus, so I had room and board costs as well. I was blessed with a summer job where I could earn enough to pay for almost all of my tuition/books/room/board costs for the school year. I worked as a mover for a national moving company. The total cost for tuition/room/board/books was about $3,000/year. I had to take out some student loans and borrow a small amount from my parents. By and large, I was able to pay for nearly all of my costs by working a summer job.
Cost of my car first car.
When I graduated, I bought a brand new base model car for $6,500. I recently bought a brand new car that is roughly equivalent in size to the $6500 car, but has a lot more options that I didn't have on that car such as power windows, power locks, air conditioning, automatic transmission, etc. The cost of that car was $18,700. The base model of that car (roughly equivalent to the $6500 car was $15,000.
Price of milk and cars.
Prices of everything goes up and everyone expects that. From the above chart, it is obvious that efficiencies due mostly to technological progress has held the price of milk down from increasing price to just a little more than 200% in 35 years. The cost of eggs and cars have had a similar relatively modest increases.
Big Oil Profits
Price of Gas.
Gas has gone up significantly mostly likely due to a world wide increase in demand for oil (more people in different countries can now afford cars) along with moratoriums on drilling in places where a very loud minority believes it to be a threat to the environment. Big Oil has little to do with the supply/demand of the natural resource (crude oil). Big Oil's objective is pump as much as they can so that they can sell as much as they can to maximize their share of the market and therefore, their share of the profits. They want to pump as much crude oil as possible. The government has direct input on the supply of crude oil and, hence has control over price of crude oil. How do they do that? By refusing to allow increased drilling which decreases the supply which, in turn, increases the price - it is the simple fulfillment of the basic economic law of supply and demand (which should still be taught in our schools, but many young people don't seem to understand it). In addition to the direct input on the price of crude oil, the government has even more direct control on the price of a gallon of gas - more so than than most realize. The tax on a gallon of gas makes up for 13.5% of the cost to the consumer. The government which contributes zero to the production of gas collects 2405% more than what Big Oil makes off of 1 gallon of gas (48.1 cents vs. 2 cents). If America wants to belly ache about the price of gas, we just need to look to the government and their outrageous taxing of it. Even with all the government control and taxing on the price of a gallon of gas, the increase in the price of a public university degree over the given time frame above outstrips the price of a gallon of gas by a whopping ration of 3 to 2. How can they possibly explain this?
What do you get from Big Education?
You hope to get a degree, and if you do, then you hope to get a job related to that degree. The price of room/board/tuition/books for the exact same local public university that I attended to get my degree at $3,000/year is now $22,250 for the 2013-2013 school year as published by that university. If one were to pay this amount for 4 years to get a 4 year degree the cost of that degree would be $89,000. A lot of product and services can be bought for this amount: A small house, a really nice car (or 4 nice new cars), 8,900 movie theater tickets, 25,400 gallons of gas, 492,165 eggs... you get the point. This is an outrage especially considering that many college graduates can't use their degrees because there is no demand for them.
Big Oil vs. Big Ed - What do you get from Big Oil?
You get a product that would have been considered invaluable in all previous generations before the automobile - you can easily drive 500 miles in one day whereas it would have taken you 25 days on foot. You can fly across the world in less than a day. Are Big Oil's profits outrageous? I consider a profit of $0.02/gallon of gas a much more reasonable profit than the profit being taken from a degree that costs $89,000.00. Does Big Oil ask $89,000 from you even during a lifetime of your buying gas?
Big Business vs. Big Ed - What do you get from Big Business?
What do you get from from Big Business? You get products/services that you want and product/services that you need. You get medications/services/products that can save your life. You get cool products that you want. What is Big Business actually made up of? Most of Big Business is just ordinary people like you and I who are just trying to make a living and provide for their family. Certainly there are high paid executives at the top, but they are not the core of big business and account for a nearly insignificant percentage of the cost of running that business. They that are high paid are very few in number while the vast majority are just us average employees - people who conceptualize a product or service, design the product/service, produce the product/service, and yes, sell that product/service for a profit are the core of Big Business. What is wrong with a business making profits if the profit is reasonable? Efficient Big Business is charging typical Americans considerably less for products that they desire and that they can actually use than inefficient Big Education or Big Government.
Wall Street vs. Big Ed - What do you get from Wall Street?
In many cases, Wall Street sticks their neck out to loan you money. Do they make a profit by loaning you money? Of course. Wouldn't you want to make money if you were loaning some with the risk of having it never paid back? If you don't want to pay the interest that Wall Street wants, don't spend the money that you don't have. Does Wall Street have fees that come anywhere close to $89,000.00? Not unless you are very rich and have taken out huge sums of money. Wall Street gives you opportunity to make a lot of money for yourself if you want to take the risk.
What do you get from Big Education part 2?
I understand that if you get the right degree, you can make significantly more money with that degree than without that degree. However, there are absolutely no guarantees and it seems less and less likely that you can find that job. When you buy a tank of gas, do you hope to get that tank of gas or is it "guaranteed"? If you buy a product or service from Big Business, do you have a guarantee on that? In the very large majority of time, you do. If you take out a loan, do you get the money? Of course. If you invest in a mutual fund, is it guaranteed? Not quite, but there is a good chance that you will at least get your money back. When you spend $89,000.00 for a degree, is there a guarantee that you will get a job or be able to earn that money back? No, and it is not even close to these other industries. How many other things do people invest $89,000.00 without getting at least some type of guarantee that you can at least put the product/service to use. So, why does Big Ed get a pass when people are always quick to criticize these other institutions that almost always give you your money's worth and more? I think it is because of a certain type of monopoly and because the American main stream media (Big Media or the National American Media) is nearly completely silent when it comes to the abominations going on with Big Ed.
The pseudo monopoly.
It is no secret that in order to get many well paying jobs, employers require a college degree. That does not mean that there are no openings or good jobs out there for people who do not have college degrees. However, good jobs that do not require college degrees are increasingly hard to find especially for young people. Good jobs with a college degree are even increasingly hard to find, but not as hard as not having a degree. So, colleges have managed to put themselves in charge of a pseudo monopoly controlling well paying good jobs for young people. Many young people feel like they have to get a college degree to get a good job. Hence, if you have to go to college to get the degree, then they have you "by the short hairs" and can charge whatever they would like. Sounds a lot like a monopoly. I realize that there are more than one college out there so one may ask "How can it be a monopoly?" It is actually more like a cartel or monopolistic competition. That is, they all seem to have similar tuition rates that are all high. All happened to have increased at a rate that is astronomical vs. the cost of living increase over the past 30 years. All also happen to have one thing in common - they are all in bed with the government via student loans and dependence on government funding. Could this be the real cause for the obscene hikes in costs over the years? Perhaps fodder for a future article.
Big Media* and Big Education
Where is the public and National American Media outcry over the obscene rise in public college costs? Why isn't there an outcry of the likes that that happens every time the price of gas goes up a quarter? Why does Big Education get a pass when their profits and increases in cost to the consumers eclipses anything that Big Oil or Big Business ever dreamed of? It is because the institutions of higher learning are considered virtuous and beyond reproach while Big Business is typically portrayed as evil greedy polluting institutions. Who put that notion into people's heads? College professors, teachers, and the National American Media. They almost universally condemn Big Business while praising Big Education and Big Government. I am challenging America to re-think the stereotypical view that Big Business is evil. The institutions of higher learning are the ones who are charging $89,000 for a degree that the graduate may or may not be able to use. Big Media and Big Government identify with Big Education in that they believe that they also are among the most virtuous of all people and certainly more so than those of greedy Big Business. Big Media, Big Gov, and Big Ed are all self righteous institutions. Big Ed and Big Government consider themselves above greed when they are among the greediest. Big Media which so quickly points out the evil of Big Oil is all but silent when it comes to the outrageous increase in public college costs/profits, so most people fail to think about it and never make the connection that while the media has them in a frenzy over a nickel at the gas pump, the real thieves are reaching into their wallets and removing $89,000 per degree. America, please wake up before it is too late and think for yourselves instead of swallowing everything the media is spoon feeding to most of America. Recognize how biased the National American main stream media is and think for yourselves.
*Disclaimer: When I use the term Big Media, main stream media, or the National American Media, I am referring primarily to the movers and shakers of the industry. I am talking about the news chiefs at the big TV networks, the NY Times, Chicago Tribune, LA times, Time magazine, AP, most cable news network chiefs, etc. I am not referring to responsible journalists who put their bias aside and actually report the news - unlike their journalistic brothers and sisters who tell America what they think America should think about the news - in other words, they editorialize instead of report. I am not referring to news people in the smaller markets like a local TV station or paper who typically report the news rather than editorialize.
Cesspool of immorality.
On top of gouging their consumer's parents, Big Education does little to promote morality on their campuses. Many professors purposely pit their children against the values and views their parents instilled in them in the name of "education". Tolerance is king on these campuses. All things are to be tolerated to promote "free" thinking. While in most cases they may not directly promote drinking, sex, and almost every other perversion out there, they certainly tolerate it. In the case of most public universities, they do not discourage any of this. In fact, they encourage some of it. They burden our children with all kinds of issues and temptations that accompany housing males and females in the same dorm. They say "this is what the students want". Well, since when do the students know what is best for them? Believe it or not, students are still children who have no idea what the real world is about. The adults in charge at these universities are actually cowards who are afraid to recognize any sense of morality or responsibility. What do they think is going to happen when they throw hormone crazed children together in an unsupervised environment? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. These evil institutions that charge a fortune to promote man's most base desires and shun the Almighty God are disgusting and need a moral enema.
The purpose of this article.
This article doesn't talk about the Bible. However, this article is concerned about the social, moral, and monetary injustices that are happening by Big Ed and Big Government in America and will continue to happen unless Americans awaken from their slumber. Americans need to pay attention to what their political and other leaders are really doing. Chose whether or not you support what they are doing. If you don't like it, then stop them by voting for someone who will more closely represent your views or stop them by not buying their product. Or, better yet, get involved and run for office if you are gifted in that way. I implore you not to just sit there though otherwise we will lose this country and our freedom. At the very least, you can vote.