American Consequences - April 2021

They cannot, in most cases, even discharge the debt through bankruptcy. The legislation establishing student loan programs made sure of this... Some guy named Biden pushed that provision of the law. With total student debt at $1.5 trillion – and rising – the same political class that created the problem now proposes to solve it through debt forgiveness. After all it is only a lousy trill and half. Not even as much as we’re talking about spending on “infrastructure.” One wonders if it might be possible to claw some of that money back from the colleges that were enablers and drivers and make them start behaving with a modicum of frugality. Maybe start with Cornell where, as was recently reported, the young scholars could enroll in a rock-climbing course for a mere $2,000. The reports about this focused on some racial angle or another. Seems that white students were not welcome. The existence of a course in rock climbing at a school that cost $70,000 a year... that seemed, somehow, normal. Why, then, is college so expensive? Perhaps it is because we have forgotten so much of what those GI bill scholars had learned before they went to college. Geoffrey Norman is the author of 12 books of fiction and non-fiction, and many articles for periodicals including the Wall Street Journal , Sports Illustrated , National Geographic, Esquire, Men’s Journal , the Weekly Standard , and others.

the cost overruns on the latest fighter plane, or the number of lobbyists in Washington. There is something almost sweetly naive in the complaints about the costs and the corruptions of higher education. That people were shocked, shocked to learn that people like those soap opera actresses were paying bribes to soccer and lacrosse coaches to help get their kids into some swell school. Soccer and lacrosse coaches ? Really ? This was, doubtless, because those actresses didn’t have the kind of real money it takes to get into a school the sovereign way. Peter Malkin graduated from Harvard Law and his generosity to the school was sufficient that it named a building after him. All three of his children were surprisingly accepted when they applied to Harvard... as were five of his six grandchildren. Harvard is quick on the grift. It even took money from Jeffrey Epstein. And that, in the end, is probably the key to the question of “why is college so expensive?” The answer is... it’s about the money. And the colleges know they can get it. The people who want to go to college believe that it will buy them higher lifetime earnings, by a million or so, over what their contemporaries will earn. So they – and their families – will do what they need to do. Which means, in far too many cases, take on unsupportable debt. We have all read the stories about the high social cost of student debt. People who cannot pay back what they borrowed to go to college and are paying, into middle age, in pain.

American Consequences

American Co s quences



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