Author Topic: General Society Got It Wrong  (Read 11393 times)

EscapeVelocity2020

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General Society Got It Wrong
« on: October 10, 2017, 09:15:15 PM »
Now that I'm a little bit older and hopefully wiser (or perhaps more acceptably confused), I have a few things that general society just got plain wrong.  Maybe I realized it from my international travels.  Maybe I suspected it in my youth and feel it even more strongly now...

I'll kick it off with this one - a university education cannot be freely provided to the aspiring youth.  I thought that a university education had to be expensive due to paying professors as specialists, until I lived in Norway for a short time.  After Russ, you get to go to Secondary Education for free.

Having a higher than general inflation rate for health care and education is how you slowly degrade a civilization.  Other countries value their youth and provide a respectable level of ongoing healthcare to their aging population. 

So yeah, I think modern America is headed in the wrong direction on healthcare, higher education, and other miscellaneous things (like guns, fair elections, etc.) - but misc. hopefully don't affect the everyday, until it does.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 01:09:16 AM »
Now that I'm a little bit older and hopefully wiser (or perhaps more acceptably confused), I have a few things that general society just got plain wrong.  Maybe I realized it from my international travels.  Maybe I suspected it in my youth and feel it even more strongly now...

I'll kick it off with this one - a university education cannot be freely provided to the aspiring youth.  I thought that a university education had to be expensive due to paying professors as specialists, until I lived in Norway for a short time.  After Russ, you get to go to Secondary Education for free.

Having a higher than general inflation rate for health care and education is how you slowly degrade a civilization.  Other countries value their youth and provide a respectable level of ongoing healthcare to their aging population. 

So yeah, I think modern America is headed in the wrong direction on healthcare, higher education, and other miscellaneous things (like guns, fair elections, etc.) - but misc. hopefully don't affect the everyday, until it does.

This is what we in Europe have been thinking for many years.  America seems like a country where people need to provide for themselves and that works mostly for those who have the means to do so. Some degree of socialism isn't such a dumb idea: letting society (the tax payers) pay for certain basic goods for a part of the population.

Dexterous

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 01:44:34 AM »
the federal government is so great at handling the other budgets... I'm sure they'll do fine at healthcare and education

jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 04:34:12 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.
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EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 05:03:44 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

Ugh!  Of course, but when society benefits in the long run, then steering a life toward productivity and away from selling drugs (for example) is as close to free (long run positive) as need be.  Or do we just deny opportunity to smart youths and see where that gets us?  What do you prefer or propose as a superior alternative?
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cantgrowone

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 05:11:23 AM »
The cost of education has skyrocketed over the past 20 years. In the 1980s you could work part time and actually pay for college with minor loans left over.

I have no right answer but the cost of education is too darn high.

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Cranky

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 05:38:45 AM »
Well, what "society" in America has decided is that state government would rather cut taxes than fully fund state universities.

Because I'm pretty old, but not *that* decrepit, and when I went to college, tuition at state universities was fairly minimal and they admitted all the qualified state residents who wanted in and then the leftover places went to out of state students who paid more. So, yeah, you could work your way through your local state university.

State legislatures have slashed that spending. If you want free college educations to be available, take it up with your state legislators.

jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 05:40:27 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

Ugh!  Of course, but when society benefits in the long run, then steering a life toward productivity and away from selling drugs (for example) is as close to free (long run positive) as need be.  Or do we just deny opportunity to smart youths and see where that gets us?  What do you prefer or propose as a superior alternative?

Let's start with recognizing that a college education is in no way the only way to have productive life away from selling drugs (for example). That plumber making 6-figures without a college education is probably more valuable to society than many underwater-basket weaving degree holders...

So, what about your "smart youths" (that apparently are too smart to be productive in society without college education)? Let's see, they could.... go to college like they do now? Get scholarships to help with the costs. Take out small loans for STEM degrees?

A student here (with decent grades) can go to public college for ~$14k/year (in fact, a friend's daughter is doing just that right now)... including room and board. Now, making minimum wage that's going to take almost 40 hours/week of work year round, so let's assume they can only cover 1/3rd of that and have to take out loans for the rest. After 4 years of college they'd have ~$37k in loans to pay back over many years in their new, college educated, career.

Of course, that assumes they come from a family that doesn't qualify for any financial assistance beyond the basic scholarship. For those with a poor family financial capability, it gets even cheaper as more grants and scholarships become available. So that less advantaged person can get a college education for as little as $0/year with our current system...

So, knowing that a child with no college savings can get a college education and only have a loan for about the same amount as a decently optioned Ford F150, why in the hell would someone think I need to further subsidize their education costs, AND do it through the notoriously inefficient and wasteful federal government??
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 05:43:17 AM »
The cost of education has skyrocketed over the past 20 years. In the 1980s you could work part time and actually pay for college with minor loans left over.

I have no right answer but the cost of education is too darn high.

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Personally, I'd call the loans that most students (who have loans at all) have as "minor" still. That people who borrow money to go to Harvard or other really expensive schools, and thus push up the "average" student loan, doesn't mean that it's "too darn high" everywhere.

Quote
The average balance of outstanding student loan debt for households with some debt was $25,700.  The median debt was $13,000, and seventy-five percent of borrowers had less than $29,000.  These burdens are relatively modest given the annual earnings of these households.  The average annual wage earnings among this population was $71,700.
https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-typical-household-with-student-loan-debt/
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 06:11:49 AM »
What I think society has gotten wrong here in the US is tipping. Pay waiters etc a decent wage and get rid of the B.S. tipping system we have now.
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chaskavitch

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 06:42:25 AM »
What I think society has gotten wrong here in the US is tipping. Pay waiters etc a decent wage and get rid of the B.S. tipping system we have now.

A lot of servers who work places with a loyal clientele would disagree with you.  They really can make excellent money if they've got happy regulars and a mid-priced menu. 

However, there are also places that make you want to gouge out everyone's eyes out with a spoon, because half of your restaurant patrons are cheapskates who pay the last dollar of their bill in dimes, definitely don't have enough for a tip, and treat you like a servant instead of a server.  Working in THOSE places would be much less unpleasant if the paycheck wasn't hanging on the whims of someone who will probably just round up to the next dollar and call it good, because you didn't give them exactly seven lemon slices with their water and 24 croutons, and you can't make your noodle soup gluten-free.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 06:43:10 AM »
So as not to take this in just a singular direction, we also know folks that have a daughter in college.  Their school was recently locked down after a police officer was shot.
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Timodeus

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 06:57:02 AM »
Now that I'm a little bit older and hopefully wiser (or perhaps more acceptably confused), I have a few things that general society just got plain wrong.  Maybe I realized it from my international travels.  Maybe I suspected it in my youth and feel it even more strongly now...

I'll kick it off with this one - a university education cannot be freely provided to the aspiring youth.  I thought that a university education had to be expensive due to paying professors as specialists, until I lived in Norway for a short time.  After Russ, you get to go to Secondary Education for free.

Having a higher than general inflation rate for health care and education is how you slowly degrade a civilization.  Other countries value their youth and provide a respectable level of ongoing healthcare to their aging population. 

So yeah, I think modern America is headed in the wrong direction on healthcare, higher education, and other miscellaneous things (like guns, fair elections, etc.) - but misc. hopefully don't affect the everyday, until it does.

Traveling abroad myself, I'd say public transportation (along with the other things you noted). Most cities here don't invest it in, and what they currently have sucks. I moved recently to Houston from Pittsburgh. Pitt had a larger network of public transportation but I could see it was declining. Talking to locals, over the preceding years they cut routes and increased fares which drove more people to drive and produced a declining ridership which you guessed it-made them cut routes and increase fares.  Houston as far as I can see is worse as can be expected, this city was built for cars not people. Traveling in Europe, even countries and small cities with a fraction of our living standards had superior public transportation networks. Vienna in my opinion was the best, amazingly easy to use and get to anywhere in the surrounding area in a short amount of time for minimal cost.

I never watched the show, but I recall the clip from The Newsroom where Jeff Daniels basically lays out in a rant that the US is not the greatest country in the world anymore. Fantastic presentation but it strikes a cord of truth, we aren't. Like you I had to travel abroad to see that we don't have the best of everything. I still love this place but man we have issues. I think the biggest is that most people here don't want to admit that what we've laid out in our posts are things wrong with our society and country. None of these issues will be fixed until a greater portion of people admit there are real problems here.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 07:29:30 AM »
Glad it's not just me Timodeus...
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 07:32:04 AM »
What I think society has gotten wrong here in the US is tipping. Pay waiters etc a decent wage and get rid of the B.S. tipping system we have now.

A lot of servers who work places with a loyal clientele would disagree with you.  They really can make excellent money if they've got happy regulars and a mid-priced menu. 

However, there are also places that make you want to gouge out everyone's eyes out with a spoon, because half of your restaurant patrons are cheapskates who pay the last dollar of their bill in dimes, definitely don't have enough for a tip, and treat you like a servant instead of a server.  Working in THOSE places would be much less unpleasant if the paycheck wasn't hanging on the whims of someone who will probably just round up to the next dollar and call it good, because you didn't give them exactly seven lemon slices with their water and 24 croutons, and you can't make your noodle soup gluten-free.

I'd argue that the "high end" places where the servers are making good money could use higher pay to attract better servers and the lower end places wouldn't offer as attractive an income for their servers. In the end, "overall" it could easily work just fine (like it does in most countries around the world) and would be a better system overall.

Oh, the other thing: prices that don't reflect what you'll pay. In many (most?) countries, the advertised/shown price is what you pay. Not what you pay before all taxes and fees etc are added on. I think the former is a much better system personally.
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A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2017, 07:58:11 AM »
Tertiary education is quite expensive in Norway, the bill is just footed by a different entity.


Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

The option we have now, which is low-interest loans backed by the US government, is a pretty good solution.

There are a large number of scholarships for gifted kids from lower classes. The US is extremely good at Hoover-ing talent, regardless of economic class, across the entire nation, and placing it in high-value economic clusters.

If there's something where we suck when it comes to university, it's telling upper middle class kids that they need to go to an out-of-state university and accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in debt for a crappy degree, otherwise they won't become a complete person. Most UMC kids don't do this, but there's some.

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2017, 08:07:15 AM »
I have conflicting thoughts on all this stuff.

On one hand, it's horrible that healthcare is so expensive, education has been going nuts, and the wealthy get away with murder (sometimes literally). It's easy to look at Canada or certain western European countries and wonder "why can they do it and we can't/won't?"

On the other hand, many of the innovations that have greatly improved the world were created in the US: farming technology, smartphones, internet access for most, medical tech and vaccines, etc. Those people created those things because they were supported by a government that values individual liberty and fosters business. I get that the US isn't the sole creator of new things, but it's undeniable the role that US inventors, researchers, and engineers have played.

My shaky conclusion is that maybe right now the world needs a country like the US. It's almost like we just need a few more years/decades to find ourselves in a post-scarcity Star Trek economy where nobody is hungry or without medical care, but we're not there yet. A country like the US that continues to foster innovation can help us get there.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 08:10:22 AM »
Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

Wow, I have never considered this.  However, it is easy to dismiss with a simple counter-example.  Let's say every American henceforward cannot get a college education.  Do you think America would still have a competitive economy if everyone here had a high school education?
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2017, 08:23:06 AM »
Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

Wow, I have never considered this.  However, it is easy to dismiss with a simple counter-example.  Let's say every American henceforward cannot get a college education.  Do you think America would still have a competitive economy if everyone here had a high school education?

Sure, as long as the ridiculous hypothetical also eliminates college education everywhere else in the world... ;)
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EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2017, 08:28:37 AM »
Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

Wow, I have never considered this.  However, it is easy to dismiss with a simple counter-example.  Let's say every American henceforward cannot get a college education.  Do you think America would still have a competitive economy if everyone here had a high school education?

Sure, as long as the ridiculous hypothetical also eliminates college education everywhere else in the world... ;)

My point was, a society benefits from having a college educated populace.  It is worth subsidy.  I'm not sure what your point is.
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2017, 08:33:21 AM »
Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

Wow, I have never considered this.  However, it is easy to dismiss with a simple counter-example.  Let's say every American henceforward cannot get a college education.  Do you think America would still have a competitive economy if everyone here had a high school education?

Sure, as long as the ridiculous hypothetical also eliminates college education everywhere else in the world... ;)

My point was, a society benefits from having a college educated populace.  It is worth subsidy.  I'm not sure what your point is.

College is already heavily subsidized. Additional subsidies are not really needed imo and certainly not in the form of using federal government tax revenue to subsidize the costs of higher education. No one that I saw suggested getting rid of colleges or that have some of the populace college educated wasn't good for society... so I'm not sure what your point has to do with the discussion.
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panda

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2017, 08:37:17 AM »
Let's start with recognizing that a college education is in no way the only way to have productive life away from selling drugs (for example). That plumber making 6-figures without a college education is probably more valuable to society than many underwater-basket weaving degree holders...
Average pay for a plumber in the United States is $55,100 with the usual caveat about COLA and everything. However, most plumbers arne't turning six figures.

Quote
So, what about your "smart youths" (that apparently are too smart to be productive in society without college education)? Let's see, they could.... go to college like they do now? Get scholarships to help with the costs. Take out small loans for STEM degrees?
Corporations in the United States (and most of the world in fact) have effectively limited on the job training (OJT) for employees. At the turn of the 1900's you went to college for one of a short list of things: 1) engineering, 2) law, or 3) your family was wealthy enough for you to get a liberal arts education. Everything else was done through OJT or very short trade schools. Demand for college educations increased following WWII and the MGIB making college education more accessible for veterans.

Quote
A student here (with decent grades) can go to public college for ~$14k/year (in fact, a friend's daughter is doing just that right now)... including room and board. Now, making minimum wage that's going to take almost 40 hours/week of work year round, so let's assume they can only cover 1/3rd of that and have to take out loans for the rest. After 4 years of college they'd have ~$37k in loans to pay back over many years in their new, college educated, career.
The median student loan debt is only $13,000 and 75% of borrows have less than $29,000 (source). Thus, most of the students while shocking high amounts of debt are actually in the minority.

Quote
Of course, that assumes they come from a family that doesn't qualify for any financial assistance beyond the basic scholarship. For those with a poor family financial capability, it gets even cheaper as more grants and scholarships become available. So that less advantaged person can get a college education for as little as $0/year with our current system...
Which is entirely the point of those programs.

Quote
So, knowing that a child with no college savings can get a college education and only have a loan for about the same amount as a decently optioned Ford F150, why in the hell would someone think I need to further subsidize their education costs, AND do it through the notoriously inefficient and wasteful federal government??
First, historically it has been state governments that supported annual operating expenses for public universities, not the federal government. This has been shifting a bit, but it's not as simple as a blank check - a lot of federal funding is tied to research grants where as the state funding is basically a blank check. Second, federal student loans programs can be self-sustaining (even with grants involved) so isn't not even like the program would cost tax payers money on an annual basis.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2017, 08:38:46 AM »
Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

Wow, I have never considered this.  However, it is easy to dismiss with a simple counter-example.  Let's say every American henceforward cannot get a college education.  Do you think America would still have a competitive economy if everyone here had a high school education?

Sure, as long as the ridiculous hypothetical also eliminates college education everywhere else in the world... ;)

My point was, a society benefits from having a college educated populace.  It is worth subsidy.  I'm not sure what your point is.

College is already heavily subsidized. Additional subsidies are not really needed imo and certainly not in the form of using federal government tax revenue to subsidize the costs of higher education.

OK, so you agree with me that college should remain subsidized.  Thanks.
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2017, 08:40:16 AM »
Let's start with recognizing that a college education is in no way the only way to have productive life away from selling drugs (for example). That plumber making 6-figures without a college education is probably more valuable to society than many underwater-basket weaving degree holders...
Average pay for a plumber in the United States is $55,100 with the usual caveat about COLA and everything. However, most plumbers arne't turning six figures.

Quote
So, what about your "smart youths" (that apparently are too smart to be productive in society without college education)? Let's see, they could.... go to college like they do now? Get scholarships to help with the costs. Take out small loans for STEM degrees?
Corporations in the United States (and most of the world in fact) have effectively limited on the job training (OJT) for employees. At the turn of the 1900's you went to college for one of a short list of things: 1) engineering, 2) law, or 3) your family was wealthy enough for you to get a liberal arts education. Everything else was done through OJT or very short trade schools. Demand for college educations increased following WWII and the MGIB making college education more accessible for veterans.

Quote
A student here (with decent grades) can go to public college for ~$14k/year (in fact, a friend's daughter is doing just that right now)... including room and board. Now, making minimum wage that's going to take almost 40 hours/week of work year round, so let's assume they can only cover 1/3rd of that and have to take out loans for the rest. After 4 years of college they'd have ~$37k in loans to pay back over many years in their new, college educated, career.
The median student loan debt is only $13,000 and 75% of borrows have less than $29,000 (source). Thus, most of the students while shocking high amounts of debt are actually in the minority.

Quote
Of course, that assumes they come from a family that doesn't qualify for any financial assistance beyond the basic scholarship. For those with a poor family financial capability, it gets even cheaper as more grants and scholarships become available. So that less advantaged person can get a college education for as little as $0/year with our current system...
Which is entirely the point of those programs.

Quote
So, knowing that a child with no college savings can get a college education and only have a loan for about the same amount as a decently optioned Ford F150, why in the hell would someone think I need to further subsidize their education costs, AND do it through the notoriously inefficient and wasteful federal government??
First, historically it has been state governments that supported annual operating expenses for public universities, not the federal government. This has been shifting a bit, but it's not as simple as a blank check - a lot of federal funding is tied to research grants where as the state funding is basically a blank check. Second, federal student loans programs can be self-sustaining (even with grants involved) so isn't not even like the program would cost tax payers money on an annual basis.

I have no idea what you're trying to say other than to maybe agree with me that we don't need the government to "make college free"? ?
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jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2017, 08:42:15 AM »
Alternative view:
The majority of Americans have not graduated from a 4 year university, and the majority of the benefits accrue to the graduate, who tends to be more well-off than average. So, government-financed university is a regressive measure, and there are other, more equitable ways, of the government spending its money (hiring better primary and secondary school teachers, which almost everyone uses, for example).

Wow, I have never considered this.  However, it is easy to dismiss with a simple counter-example.  Let's say every American henceforward cannot get a college education.  Do you think America would still have a competitive economy if everyone here had a high school education?

Sure, as long as the ridiculous hypothetical also eliminates college education everywhere else in the world... ;)

My point was, a society benefits from having a college educated populace.  It is worth subsidy.  I'm not sure what your point is.

College is already heavily subsidized. Additional subsidies are not really needed imo and certainly not in the form of using federal government tax revenue to subsidize the costs of higher education.

OK, so you agree with me that college should remain subsidized.  Thanks.

I was under the impression that you were trying to say costs were too high with the current subsidies and that it should be "free" like in Norway... if all you wanted to say was that things are fine and don't need to change, then I apologize for misunderstanding your posts..
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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2017, 08:52:48 AM »
I remember coming back from my first 2-week trip to Europe many years ago thinking... man, we have ridiculously huge cars in the US.


ixtap

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2017, 09:03:04 AM »
I remember coming back from my first 2-week trip to Europe many years ago thinking... man, we have ridiculously huge cars in the US.

And houses.

Timodeus

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2017, 09:11:30 AM »
I remember coming back from my first 2-week trip to Europe many years ago thinking... man, we have ridiculously huge cars in the US.

Me too. My wife's family is from Russia. I drive a Honda Accord, a very much mid-sized family sedan. When they first came here (first trip outside of Russia) to visit her they were amazed at how large our car was. I was like wait until you see some of the King Ranch style Ford trucks. Their mind=blown. My father in law calls them crocodiles, no clear idea why.

When I came back from Europe I had a cheeseburger straight off the plane, Tony Stark style. I enjoyed Europe but somethings America just does better.

wenchsenior

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2017, 09:29:53 AM »
So as not to take this in just a singular direction, we also know folks that have a daughter in college.  Their school was recently locked down after a police officer was shot.

Our friends were performing a live music concert on campus when that was happening. DH found out it was happening as he watched on livestream as his friends stopped the concert and locked down the concert hall, while I got the emergency alert on my phone.  It was a scary couple hours.  Could have been worse, though.

Although this incident didn't relate to the fact that the university allows concealed carry of guns by students on campus, I'm waiting with misery for the inevitable one that does.

talltexan

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2017, 09:41:39 AM »
I remember coming back from my first 2-week trip to Europe many years ago thinking... man, we have ridiculously huge cars in the US.

And houses.

And the space in between those houses.

scantee

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2017, 09:48:32 AM »
Peering into my crystal ball, my prediction is that the economies that will do best over the next few centuries will be those that are flexible and nimble enough to adapt a rapidly changing world. One of the biggest benefits of making health care and education (all types of education, not just college) affordable and accessible is a healthy workforce, in both mind and body, that can address and thrive in an environment where technological progress is ever-increasing.

My concern for the US is that there is a huge percentage of the population who does not want to accept this fact, instead hoping to make things better by romanticizing and trying to return to the way things were 70 years ago. That's just not going to work. And if it does "work" it will only be due to some sort of authoritarianism that severely restricts our freedom. What will probably happen is that we'll continue to have the same old fights about the same old things, we'll become even sicker, less educated, more violent, in comparison to other countries, and those countries will take that opportunity to ride on past us to become more successful. There probably won't be a dramatic fall from grace, rather a slow slide into no longer being the only, or the top, global power. Historically, it is pretty much inevitable that this will happen. The question is really when.

J Boogie

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2017, 09:56:48 AM »
Tangential, but I think it's interesting that we've used the word "General Society" in place of "The United States" and no one has batted an eyelash.

So.. are we, the United States, general society?

Timodeus

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2017, 10:13:22 AM »
Peering into my crystal ball, my prediction is that the economies that will do best over the next few centuries will be those that are flexible and nimble enough to adapt a rapidly changing world. One of the biggest benefits of making health care and education (all types of education, not just college) affordable and accessible is a healthy workforce, in both mind and body, that can address and thrive in an environment where technological progress is ever-increasing.

My concern for the US is that there is a huge percentage of the population who does not want to accept this fact, instead hoping to make things better by romanticizing and trying to return to the way things were 70 years ago. That's just not going to work. And if it does "work" it will only be due to some sort of authoritarianism that severely restricts our freedom. What will probably happen is that we'll continue to have the same old fights about the same old things, we'll become even sicker, less educated, more violent, in comparison to other countries, and those countries will take that opportunity to ride on past us to become more successful. There probably won't be a dramatic fall from grace, rather a slow slide into no longer being the only, or the top, global power. Historically, it is pretty much inevitable that this will happen. The question is really when.

I think you put it really well. Very rare is it when you realize something big is happening. I always like saying that I doubt people woke up the day after the last Western Roman Emperor was deposed in 476 and said "Hey! We're in the dark ages now!". Very few actually cared and it didn't mean much at the time, only looking back do we see these big milestones in history. This is all speculation but I think the year 2000 will be a big milestone for our country's history, it's a nice round number but it also saw some big things happen that year and shortly after (Bush winning contested election, huge stock crash, China entering the WTO, 9/11, start of longest war in our history to name a few). I agree it will move slow, not like the doom and gloom people think it will when they imagine our currency crashing. It will be gradual, less people getting healthcare they need, less people getting education or a quality education. Like inflation over time it will eat at our overall living standards and the general outlook on life. While our country will look similar it will gradually diminish like your favorite bag of chips that seems to get smaller while the price stays the same. It doesn't have to happen of course, but the general feeling I get from how people think and express themselves these days leads me to believe we're on that path.

Dexterous

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2017, 10:39:20 AM »
What I think society has gotten wrong here in the US is tipping. Pay waiters etc a decent wage and get rid of the B.S. tipping system we have now.

I've lived outside the USA for 4+ years (in many different countries)... and service is one of the things I miss most about the states.  Service is WAYYYYYY better there than in most European countries.  My wife is from Europe and agrees with this post.

Dexterous

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2017, 10:43:37 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

^ this is the best post.  The entire OP is factually incorrect, because the education is not "free". 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2017, 11:07:57 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

^ this is the best post.  The entire OP is factually incorrect, because the educ
ation is not "free".

Uh, because educating youth is worth doing.  Just step up and calculate the break even cost
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

partgypsy

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2017, 11:19:06 AM »
I agree that the US is in decline, when it doesn't have to be. We are backward in our entire healthcare system, in public education and how our tax law is structured, so for example salaries and work are taxed at a much higher rates than passive income, inheritance, and corporate earnings, accelerating the income inequity in the US. The U.S. was ranked the 6th worst among 173 countries (4th percentile) on income equality measured by the Gini index.[34]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

I encourage people to read this summary. Economists say the level of wealth inequity currently experienced in our country reduces economic productivity, economic mobility, and also fosters a less democratic political system, as power is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, who then pass laws to maintain or increase that inequality. The free market does not work in this situation. We do not have a free market situation. The CEOS and board have hijacked it for their own gain.

You know how someone keeps saying Make America Great again? And so many people think back about the post war boom of the 1950-1980, where there was a feeling of general prosperity for all? Those years corresponded to when income inequality was at its lowest area. We are never going to make America great again in the current situation. 
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 11:26:09 AM by partgypsy »

nemesis

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2017, 11:31:48 AM »
General society elected Trump... I think they got that pretty stunningly wrong, lol.

GuitarStv

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2017, 11:32:44 AM »
Tangential, but I think it's interesting that we've used the word "General Society" in place of "The United States" and no one has batted an eyelash.

So.. are we, the United States, general society?

The rest of the world is so used to Americans thinking that they're the alpha and omega that we just let things like that slide now.  :P

BigHaus89

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2017, 11:33:42 AM »
I'm surprised at all the shitty Fox News talking points in this thread. Education isn't really free? No shit. On a financial independence forum, it's safe to assume that everybody clearly knows that. However, if you look at from a long term investment perspective of educating the general population, the cost of education is dwarfed by the (much more)positive of a healthier and more intelligent society. Innovation, empathy, taking care of oneself, and a broader view of the world come from more education. The whole "underwater basket weaving degree" significantly downplays the less tangible aspects of higher education like the ability to better form and articulate ideas, interacting with a diverse group of people, and a multitude of other benefits.

dresden

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2017, 11:45:36 AM »
A large chunk of the population can go to college without debt by going the community college + 2 years at a university while living at home route.   This is what I did 30 years ago and while itís more costly now relatively there are also more credits available.

When I told people this was my plan in high school I was told I would never get a good job with 2 years of community college on my record.  It was a non-issue.  The only limiting issue for me would be lack of masterís degree at some companies which was independent of the community college thing. 

With Obamacare healthcare is affordable but the people sqeezed out are the ones that are offered healthcare by their employers but canít afford it.   My understanding is they canít get subsidies.  I will avoid further discussion on healthcare as it usually gets too political for me.

scantee

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2017, 11:47:24 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

^ this is the best post.  The entire OP is factually incorrect, because the education is not "free". 

I assume what the original poster meant by free is affordable. Assuming that is the case, do you have a substantive contribution to this discussion about the importance, or lack thereof, of affordable education and health care?


jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2017, 11:54:22 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

^ this is the best post.  The entire OP is factually incorrect, because the education is not "free". 

I assume what the original poster meant by free is affordable. Assuming that is the case, do you have a substantive contribution to this discussion about the importance, or lack thereof, of affordable education and health care?

I have seen nothing in this thread that lends me to think that is a valid assumption. If it were, I think my earlier post outlining just how affordable education currently is would be a substantive contribution about the affordability of education... since no one has refuted that post (which since it's based on verifiable factual numbers isn't surprising) and the OP specifically stated that he believes we are "headed in the wrong direction" on higher education, I'd say my posts outlining how the status quo can/is actually quite affordable.

Do you
have anything of substance to add to that discussion?
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panda

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2017, 11:56:01 AM »
When I told people this was my plan in high school I was told I would never get a good job with 2 years of community college on my record.  It was a non-issue.  The only limiting issue for me would be lack of masterís degree at some companies which was independent of the community college thing.
That makes no sense to me. If someone's resume say "BS, State U., 2017" I have no idea if they spent two years at community college or not. The only thing that matters is your highest applicable degree.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2017, 12:33:28 PM »
When I told people this was my plan in high school I was told I would never get a good job with 2 years of community college on my record.  It was a non-issue.  The only limiting issue for me would be lack of masterís degree at some companies which was independent of the community college thing.
That makes no sense to me. If someone's resume say "BS, State U., 2017" I have no idea if they spent two years at community college or not. The only thing that matters is your highest applicable degree.

That's why you say "tell me about yourself," so you can get all sorts of information you aren't allowed to ask about.

dresden

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2017, 12:42:23 PM »
When I told people this was my plan in high school I was told I would never get a good job with 2 years of community college on my record.  It was a non-issue.  The only limiting issue for me would be lack of masterís degree at some companies which was independent of the community college thing.
That makes no sense to me. If someone's resume say "BS, State U., 2017" I have no idea if they spent two years at community college or not. The only thing that matters is your highest applicable degree.
i was told a lot stuff that made no sense when I was in high school.  I am glad I was a skeptical free thinker.

effigy98

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2017, 01:36:47 PM »
The lack of financial education and what is happiness and how to get it is the biggest problem in America. Instead of boring memorization of useless knowledge that any web browser can replace now, we should make it a strong focus to weave the lessons of FI into public education K thru 12. College is a crutch for a crappy public school system and lack of apprentice programs. Kill the borg drone, assembly line worker eduction. The only thing it is teaching is to endure your crappy life in a job you hate for shit you don't need so you can collect more stuff to make that crappy life a little easier.

Johnez

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2017, 01:55:29 PM »
I honestly don't get why students don't take their first two years of college at the local community college/Junior college. It is way cheaper. The instructors are just as qualified (some teach at a nearby university even). Most first year courses of any major can be taken there. Nooooooooo, we need to get away from the parents, pay for a dorm, buy all kinds of crap we don't need and get boozed up every weekend lol. I realize half that isn't true for many 4 year students, but college really isn't that expensive if the first 2 years are at Junior college.

Jrr85

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2017, 02:20:16 PM »
Now that I'm a little bit older and hopefully wiser (or perhaps more acceptably confused), I have a few things that general society just got plain wrong.  Maybe I realized it from my international travels.  Maybe I suspected it in my youth and feel it even more strongly now...

I'll kick it off with this one - a university education cannot be freely provided to the aspiring youth.  I thought that a university education had to be expensive due to paying professors as specialists, until I lived in Norway for a short time.  After Russ, you get to go to Secondary Education for free.

Having a higher than general inflation rate for health care and education is how you slowly degrade a civilization.  Other countries value their youth and provide a respectable level of ongoing healthcare to their aging population. 

So yeah, I think modern America is headed in the wrong direction on healthcare, higher education, and other miscellaneous things (like guns, fair elections, etc.) - but misc. hopefully don't affect the everyday, until it does.

This is what we in Europe have been thinking for many years.  America seems like a country where people need to provide for themselves and that works mostly for those who have the means to do so. Some degree of socialism isn't such a dumb idea: letting society (the tax payers) pay for certain basic goods for a part of the population.

I haven't been to any of the nordic countries, so maybe they're different.  But comparing the US to other western european counties, I'd say that doesn't appear to be true.  The poor seem no worse off in the U.S., and the rich don't seem different, but the middle and upper middle class/lower upper class seem much more affluent in the U.S.  This is anecdotal, so grain of salt and all that. 

I think I've seen PPP comparisons between the U.S. and western european countries that back this up.  Basically at the 5th percentile, the after tax and transfer PPP in the U.S. tends to be higher and continue to be higher up the earnings scale compared to european countries.  But I can't put my fingers on     it right now, so I'm not positive exactly what it showed.  It may have compared rich states to rich western european countries and poor states to poor countries. 

 I will say it appears that our safety net is much more hodgepodge than other countries.  I think the political antipathy to "handouts" in the U.S. has resulted in welfare programs being spread across disjointed and sometimes duplicative programs in different departments.  Add in the difference between federal and state programs, and I'm guessing it's harder to navigate in the U.S. than in most western european countries. 

o2bfree

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2017, 02:21:30 PM »
I honestly don't get why students don't take their first two years of college at the local community college/Junior college. It is way cheaper. The instructors are just as qualified (some teach at a nearby university even). Most first year courses of any major can be taken there. Nooooooooo, we need to get away from the parents, pay for a dorm, buy all kinds of crap we don't need and get boozed up every weekend lol. I realize half that isn't true for many 4 year students, but college really isn't that expensive if the first 2 years are at Junior college.

Agreed. I've attended both. Had some really excellent courses at a CC, and some really crappy ones at a university where the profs seemed too distracted by their research to prepare for lectures and come up with instructive assignments.