It used to be a different Amerika before the US Military fought the Vietnam War, and consequently became an all-volunteer force. The general population contained a lot fewer college graduates to put up with. You didn’t “need” the degree. People just assumed basics like personal grooming skills and adequate pedigree. The Bachelors Degree was not a required passport to enter the outer party.
This changed when Lyndon Baines Johnson committed a large mass of US forces to a war against the Communist insurgency in Vietnam, and — others would claim — all of the Communist Internationale as well. College became “the ticket out, man”. The ticket out of what? Getting handed a ticket to Vietnam.
The United States used to have universal military conscription to men eighteen years of age or older. It was a lottery, but it was a tiered system. People who were enrolled in colleges were more equal. They got drafted after the non-enrolled population got selected from first. They kept receiving deferments each year they were enrolled. The Seventh-Year College Senior was born in all its disgusting glory.
The end result of college being “the ticket out, man” was that the workforce was now awash in brand new college graduates. This made getting a decent or respectable job without a degree very difficult. A limited and noble population of scholars went to universities out of a genuine love of enlightenment and learning. A very large population of typical dudes who slept through Algebra Class want to have decent and respectable jobs. Universities thus got flooded with people that would never have set a foot on their campuses before.
The colleges and universities could have seen this in two lights. They could have rightfully viewed this exodus to their campuses in the quest for deferments and then afterwards for credentialing as a perversion. Universities rightfully exist to perserve the knowledge and lore of a land and a culture and to add new advances thereunto. There was no part of Harvard University’s mission statement that read “And we shalt put shiny, gold stars on the noses of rich mediocrities and declare them fit for incorporation into the society at large.” Instead, a vast majority of these colleges and universities took one look at this approaching mob and saw one thing: money. “The ticket out, man” was now “the ticket in.” Universities hold an oligopoly on the ticket windows. It has all become a racket.
Now, the colleges and universities wanted to run as many people through for as high a cost as possible. This enabled them to give every Jim, Bob, Dorinda, and Ricky that they knew a plush do-nothing job at University Inc. This credentialism leads to concerns over “equality” and “fairness”. How do the poor and the downtrodden get their decency stickers too? This leads to the predictable chisel of state being sunk into the holdings of better off people to send the offspring of less well off people through the credentialing mills. It also led to a major debt crisis as people borrowed astronomical sums of money to get their basic decency credentials from University Inc.
Like all good rackets it eventually collapses under the weight of all of its own malarkey. People see through the scam and start gaming the whole process. Allow this to continue, and the whole scheme crashes down like it did on Bernie Madoff. It’s here where Elizabeth Warren steps in. She’s currently attempting an inauspicious run at The Democratic Party nomination to oppose Donald J. Trump in Amerika’s next Presidential Election.
She’s had some trouble identifying her true tribal allegiance. It now has become obvious. She is of the Ancient and Loyal Order of Academia. A nation of people supported and supportive of the giant credentialing mill of the Amerikan Middle Class. It is her vital constituency, if she can bring out its legions in the Democratic Caucuses and Primaries. In order to show them her love and bribery, oops, I mean loyalty, she offers them the following $1.25T Hooligan’s Buffet.
Consider it a Marshall Plan for university administrators and professors. Warren would lavish another $1.25 trillion — why start at a billion when you can add another three zeroes?! — on the college sector, which few people mistake as productive or needy. Everyone involved would be invited to belly up to the federal trough. Washington would eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities. Government grants for student living expenses would increase by $100 billion. A special fund of $50 billion would be created for historically black schools. Write off most student debt, estimated to be about $640 billion worth. Up to $50,000 in student loans would be eliminated for students earning up to 100k a year. A portion would be eliminated for those earning up to a quarter of a million a year. “This touches people’s lives,” Warren exclaimed.
So why the big bailout? A walk around UCLA, The College of William and Mary, or any other reasonably well-regarded Amerikan university wouldn’t leave you with impression that any sort of Marshall Plan is exactly in order. If anything, universities have enjoyed Joseph’s prophesied seven fat years and then another three decades tacked on for good measure. They are simply too bloated, too currupt and too insensitive of the economic realities normal people deal with like the air that we breathe.
The problem is not that there isn’t enough government money going to higher education; the problem is that there is too much. Warren’s plan of debt forgiveness and free college would only expand the trough of federal cash at which higher education is gorging. Therefore Williamson suggests that we shut off the supply. Without a guaranteed pile of federal money available for every student, colleges and universities would be pressured to cut costs and reduce tuition.
What Senator Warren seems to sense is that the cut-off will soon happen. It doesn’t have to be Big, Mean Orange Man doing it. It could be any ratings agency that develops a spine. it could be the GAO, now that they’ve yanked the debt portfolios from Morgan Stanley, et al. Universities that have more administrators than faculty no longer exist to produce or preserve knowledge. They are self-licking ice cream cones. Funding goes in, no value ever pops back out.
When a rackett reaches an apex of corrupt cupidity, it goes bust-out. Somebody grabs for all the loot and power and tries to run out the door before it all goes Tower of Babel upon their pointy, little heads. Senator Warren is hijacking the racket to use as a zombie voter army this primary season. They, not Cherokee Nation, are truly Elizabeth Warren’s people. They are people who do nothing but create paperwork, to handle other paperwork, which is pursuant to an additional tasker. They contribute nothing anymore. They are Elizabeth Warren. She has found her true home.
Meanwhile, anyone hoping to find talent and intelligence for their corporate or private workforce will simply have to devise another screen than where some applicant got a degree from. Maybe that will have a positive effect on the intelligence and level of effort throughout society.