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  #51  
Old 05-19-2020, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Money is fungible and government spending on education is at least partially rivalrous, so it's not hard to see how those who don't receive government largesse are in fact being harmed.

This is pretty easy to see if you change the groups who are getting the benefit.

Imagine that instead of "recently graduated students with loans" receiving money from the government, that a program was announced to retroactively pay the school bills of men, but not women. Or white people, but not black people. Would the outgroup not be harmed by that policy? Would they not have a legitimate grievance? It seems obvious to me that they would.

Now, as a policy matter, it still may make sense to have the government pay the college bills of the (relatively poorer) class of students who are in debt and not pay for the (relatively richer) class of students who aren't. Rich people already have plenty of advantages, and we can level the playing field a bit by supporting the poorer people at their expense.

Although, if you follow that logic very far, it seems likely that it's a bad expenditure of money in general. People who went to college tend to do better than people who didn't. If we're spending money on poor people, people who weren't able to go to college at all are likely far more deserving.
I'm not sure that your analogy fits, it's rather arbitrary. You could do that with any groups. You could also ask, "What if we only gave insulin to diabetics, and chemo to cancer patients?" Do those of us with healthy metabolisms and no carcinomas feel left out and aggrieved?

The reason that you would be forgiving student loan debt of students with student loans is specifically because those are the ones who are in an unhealthy financial situation. If you then add other stipulations, like gender or ethnicity, then they would have legitimate reason to be aggrieved, as they are in the same situation as the one who had their loans paid off, except they were denied solely for racist or sexist reasons.

How far should we go back? If people who have paid off half their loans object, should we pay them back what they paid already? If they just made the final payment, do we go back and return all the money that they just sunk in? What if they paid off their loans years ago? I have no problem with paying these back either, but it does start to get a bit complicated. I'd certainly put some sort of cap on it, equivalent to 4 years at a state school. If someone wants to go to a more expensive school, I certainly wouldn't stop them, but I do not see why the taxpayer should be on the hook for that.

The rich vs poor divide doesn't help either. I've never seen gate keeping like that actually work out well for the ones who need it. The one thing that the poor have over the rich is that there are quite a few more of them. For every 1%'er, there are 99 99%'ers. So, even though that 1%'er doesn't really need the assistance, giving it to them is ultimately going be be easier for everyone and probably cheaper to the taxpayer than trying to keep that 1% from taking what they don't need.

I've known people on public assistance, and they spend hours every week filling out forms. If they get anything wrong, a typo or an arithmetic error, they can lose their entire benefits for weeks. I am quite sure that they would be fine with the knowledge that someone else is getting something that they don't need if it meant that they got what they needed.
  #52  
Old 05-19-2020, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
The reason that you would be forgiving student loan debt of students with student loans is specifically because those are the ones who are in an unhealthy financial situation. If you then add other stipulations, like gender or ethnicity, then they would have legitimate reason to be aggrieved, as they are in the same situation as the one who had their loans paid off, except they were denied solely for racist or sexist reasons.
Except those who are in the unhealthy financial situation chose to be there. They could have chosen a profession that does not require a degree or chosen a more lucrative degree, or worked and saved up money, or gone to cheaper schools. They are getting a benefit that those who acted in more financially responsible way do not get.
  #53  
Old 05-19-2020, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
The reason that you would be forgiving student loan debt of students with student loans is specifically because those are the ones who are in an unhealthy financial situation. If you then add other stipulations, like gender or ethnicity, then they would have legitimate reason to be aggrieved, as they are in the same situation as the one who had their loans paid off, except they were denied solely for racist or sexist reasons.
Except those who are in the unhealthy financial situation chose to be there. They could have chosen a profession that does not require a degree or chosen a more lucrative degree, or worked and saved up money, or gone to cheaper schools. They are getting a benefit that those who acted in more financially responsible way do not get.
  #54  
Old 05-19-2020, 11:58 AM
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I'm not sure that your analogy fits, it's rather arbitrary. You could do that with any groups. You could also ask, "What if we only gave insulin to diabetics, and chemo to cancer patients?" Do those of us with healthy metabolisms and no carcinomas feel left out and aggrieved?
This seems like an even more off-the-wall analogy.

We can agree that people like money and giving it to them is good, right? Whereas medications for diseases you don't have are not good and often actively harm?

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The reason that you would be forgiving student loan debt of students with student loans is specifically because those are the ones who are in an unhealthy financial situation.
That's the policy argument for it, which is a reasonable one. But as I point out later, it's not a very good policy argument. People who have a bunch of college debt are on average going to do better than people who didn't go to college at all. Sure, temporarily their net worth is very negative, but the wage premium is going to dig them out of that hole.

It's only by comparing recent college grads with debt to the richest of the rich that they look like they need government assistance.

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If you then add other stipulations, like gender or ethnicity, then they would have legitimate reason to be aggrieved, as they are in the same situation as the one who had their loans paid off, except they were denied solely for racist or sexist reasons.
The man (quoted in an article above) who mortgaged his house to pay for his kid's education would argue that he has a legitimate reason to be aggrieved. Yes, he is financially better off than most in that he has a house with enough equity to pay for college. But he took a real financial hit to do so and I think is legitimately aggrieved. He literally has college loans that aren't getting paid off, except that he offered his house as collateral.

I think timing can go a long way here. An announcement that transitions from full private payment of college to full public payment over a decade, with the state absorbing say 10% of costs every year still creates winners and losers, but it doesn't create them right now immediately in people who are otherwise side by side.

Sharp discontinuities in policy more easily cause legitimate grievances for people on opposite sides of whatever bright line gets written.
  #55  
Old 05-19-2020, 11:59 AM
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  #56  
Old 05-19-2020, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
People who have a bunch of college debt are on average going to do better than people who didn't go to college at all. Sure, temporarily their net worth is very negative, but the wage premium is going to dig them out of that hole.
Yes, this. I feel like this needs to be the central argument against student loan forgiveness, rather than comparing two groups of people both of which have college degrees. Those who didn't got to college because they couldn't afford it, but also aren't getting a big government handout, are the ones coming out as losers here.

Let's torture this analogy some:

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Here's another hypothetical:

Elon Musk invents the YardBot.

Let's say it's well known that owning a house with a yard is a good financial investment. But maintaining that yard costs time, and money. Larry has good credit and a 9-5, and he figures it's a good investment, so he buys a house and takes out a big loan for a Yardbot. Sherri has a 9-5 but bad credit, so she buys a house and does all the work herself until she can afford the Flardbot knockoff years later. Mary, however, has no credit and she's working two jobs. She figures maintaining a lawn at this point in her life isn't something she can pull off, so she rents.

At this point, Larry is overwhelmed with Yardbot debt. However, he has the equity of his house. Sherri has no debt but also has the equity in her house. Mary has nothing. Who do you give $100k to?

Why are we debating whether or not it's fair to Sherri to give Larry the money in order to pay off his loan, when really we should be asking whether or not that's fair to Mary. SHE'S the one in the bad financial situation -- she was priced out of the housing experience altogether. Larry might be struggling but he's got the home equity to fall back on. Sherri might be cranky that she had to do yard work all those years but she's still in the best financial situation.

Last edited by steronz; 05-19-2020 at 12:22 PM.
  #57  
Old 05-19-2020, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Except those who are in the unhealthy financial situation chose to be there. They could have chosen a profession that does not require a degree or chosen a more lucrative degree, or worked and saved up money, or gone to cheaper schools. They are getting a benefit that those who acted in more financially responsible way do not get.
Yes, as an 18 year old, they were told that if they didn't sign these papers and go to school, then their life would be terrible in 27 different ways. Even if they went to the cheapest state school, and got a STEM degree, they are still going to be paying on that loan for quite a while.

In fact, it seems as thought the ones who should be aggrieved are the ones who did not get the opportunities that the older generations got.

In the last generation college prices have gone up by 1120%.


When you went to college, you didn't have to get a loan.

A generation ago, if you had a HS diploma, you were eligible to have a job that would support a family.

Now, if you want to just support yourself, you really need a college degree.

So, it does sound as though the older generations got something that the younger generations are not getting.

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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
This seems like an even more off-the-wall analogy.

We can agree that people like money and giving it to them is good, right? Whereas medications for diseases you don't have are not good and often actively harm?
You chose to involve race and gender for some reason. I still do not understand why.
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That's the policy argument for it, which is a reasonable one. But as I point out later, it's not a very good policy argument. People who have a bunch of college debt are on average going to do better than people who didn't go to college at all. Sure, temporarily their net worth is very negative, but the wage premium is going to dig them out of that hole.
But that's both simplistic and looking at it backwards.

First, there are those who did not complete a degree, they have debt, and they do not have the increased earning potential.

Then there is the chilling effect. People choose not to go to college because they don't want to be saddled with debt.
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The man (quoted in an article above) who mortgaged his house to pay for his kid's education would argue that he has a legitimate reason to be aggrieved. Yes, he is financially better off than most in that he has a house with enough equity to pay for college. But he took a real financial hit to do so and I think is legitimately aggrieved. He literally has college loans that aren't getting paid off, except that he offered his house as collateral.
And so the solution is to make other people have to mortgage their homes? If there is a way we can find relfief for people like this, great. But the idea that someone will be upset that someone else doesn't have to go through a hardship that they did is really a non-starter when you are trying to reduce hardship.
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I think timing can go a long way here. An announcement that transitions from full private payment of college to full public payment over a decade, with the state absorbing say 10% of costs every year still creates winners and losers, but it doesn't create them right now immediately in people who are otherwise side by side.
I'd say we can and need to act faster than that. Community colleges and state colleges should be free to attend. Then, if you want to go to a fancier school, then you can take out a loan to pay for it, and I will see no obligation of paying it back.
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Sharp discontinuities in policy more easily cause legitimate grievances for people on opposite sides of whatever bright line gets written.
I look at the economics of a situation, rather than cater to people's emotions. And the economics say that if we have well educated people in their 20's and 30's with disposable income, then our economy will do far better than if most of that generation is uneducated, and the rest are saddled with debt.

Last edited by k9bfriender; 05-19-2020 at 01:08 PM.
  #58  
Old 05-19-2020, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I've spent the last 7 years paying a substantial amount of my pay towards paying off student loans. I have another 3 years to go.

If someone else doesn't have to go through that, then I think of that as a good thing.

There are basically two ways that people react to hardships.

The first is that they work towards making sure that no one else has to go through that hardship again.

The second is that they work to make sure that everyone has to go through the same hardship they did.

The first, is IMHO, a fundamentally superior way of looking at the world. YMMV.
Does your argument still hold true under this scenario?

While in college, you busted your ass on your studies and had maintained a 4.0 GPA. Your roommate a regular partier had a 2.0. A new president of the University is hired who institutes a new policy, whereby everyone's GPA's will be averaged out. You and your roomate will now have 3.0 GPA's, from which you will use to try and obtain jobs.

This will by your way of making sure that your roommate doesn't have to go through the hardship of studying like you had to.
  #59  
Old 05-19-2020, 02:54 PM
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Paying for something that others get for free happens all the time. If you resent each instance, you'll soon be embittered. I buy two cartons of juice and find out that if I'd waited a day, juice would be on a Two-for-One sale? So what! Happens all the time.

But that's not what's happening with student debt forgiveness.

Suppose you're in a burger shop eating the burger you paid for, and one family shows up, tricks the cashier, and gets burgers for free. Annoying — but let's just pretend that the family was poor and hungry. But the manager shows up, and comes out with "Because they didn't pay, that family gets free fries and shakes to go with their burgers!" Surely at some point grievance by those who did pay becomes legit.

I agree that taxpayers should subsidize college education. Perhaps the subsidies should apply mostly to the needy. But defining "needy" as anyone who couldn't, or chose not to, pay their student loans would sure seem unfair to me if I had scrimped to pay my debt.

I do understand that we're faced with a big problem that has no easy solution. Warren's debt forgiveness may be the best of a bad lot of choices. But it is intrinsically "unfair"; failure to acknowledge this makes "liberals" seem to lack common sense.
  #60  
Old 05-19-2020, 02:57 PM
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Does your argument still hold true under this scenario?

While in college, you busted your ass on your studies and had maintained a 4.0 GPA. Your roommate a regular partier had a 2.0. A new president of the University is hired who institutes a new policy, whereby everyone's GPA's will be averaged out. You and your roomate will now have 3.0 GPA's, from which you will use to try and obtain jobs.

This will by your way of making sure that your roommate doesn't have to go through the hardship of studying like you had to.
I'm not sure how to go into unpacking all of the misconceptions and false implications that are outright ridiculous in your "hypothetical". That has no relation to reality, nr to any sort of proposal. You might as well say "What if anyone with a 4.0 gets their legs cut off, huh, huh, is it fair now?" for all the relevance your "scenario" has to anything related to the topic.

How about this scenario, everyone also gets free cake on Fridays and tacos on Tuesdays?
  #61  
Old 05-19-2020, 03:23 PM
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I'm not sure how to go into unpacking all of the misconceptions and false implications that are outright ridiculous in your "hypothetical". That has no relation to reality, nr to any sort of proposal. You might as well say "What if anyone with a 4.0 gets their legs cut off, huh, huh, is it fair now?" for all the relevance your "scenario" has to anything related to the topic.

How about this scenario, everyone also gets free cake on Fridays and tacos on Tuesdays?
So your concept of relieving hardship only applies to financial situations?
  #62  
Old 05-19-2020, 03:41 PM
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Does your argument still hold true under this scenario?

While in college, you busted your ass on your studies and had maintained a 4.0 GPA. Your roommate a regular partier had a 2.0. A new president of the University is hired who institutes a new policy, whereby everyone's GPA's will be averaged out. You and your roomate will now have 3.0 GPA's, from which you will use to try and obtain jobs.

This will by your way of making sure that your roommate doesn't have to go through the hardship of studying like you had to.
Okay, so for a more realistic counter to your analogy.

You study every day and night, and get are getting a 4.0. Your roommate also studies every day and night, and is getting a 2.0.

Dyslexia is suddenly discovered, and your roommate is diagnosed. Now that he has responded amazingly to therapy, he is also now getting 4.0's. As part of the diagnosis, his old grades are also retroactively changed to measure what he would have gotten, had he not had a learning disability. So he now has a 4.0 as well.

Are you aggrieved?

Last edited by k9bfriender; 05-19-2020 at 03:42 PM.
  #63  
Old 05-19-2020, 03:42 PM
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So your concept of relieving hardship only applies to financial situations?
No, I do not consider learning to be a hardship.

If you got a 4.0, you are going to be be much better and go much further in the workplace than your slacker roommate, even if you both get a 3.0 on your transcript.

A hardship is suffering or privation. Studying is not suffering or privation. Homelessness or starvation due to unpayable student loans is.

Last edited by k9bfriender; 05-19-2020 at 03:45 PM.
  #64  
Old 05-19-2020, 03:53 PM
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When I went to college, I had to take out loans, and I also had to work 40+ hours a week.

Other people in my college had their parents paying their way.

I worked hard to maintain a 3.5 + GPA, all the way up until one day when I couldn't make ends meet anymore, and I had to take a term off, then another, then...

Should I be aggrieved that I had just as much homework, but far less time to do it than my classmates. Should I be aggrieved that, even though I had a better GPA, even though I worked twice as hard as they did, ultimately, they got degrees and I got a $450 a month student loan payment?

If so, then great, tell me how to alleviate my grievances. If not, if you think I should just suck it up and realize that life sometimes gives other people things that you don't think that they deserve, then I'd ask you to do the same.

I will also point out one more thing about your analogy, Little Omar, in your analogy, you are being taken from. Your 4.0 is being reduced to a 3.0. That doesn't fit in with anything proposed by politicians or posters. Lets say the exact same scenario as you described, except you keep your 4.0? Still aggrieved?

Last edited by k9bfriender; 05-19-2020 at 03:54 PM.
  #65  
Old 05-19-2020, 04:05 PM
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Suppose you're in a burger shop eating the burger you paid for, and one family shows up, tricks the cashier, and gets burgers for free. Annoying — but let's just pretend that the family was poor and hungry. But the manager shows up, and comes out with "Because they didn't pay, that family gets free fries and shakes to go with their burgers!" Surely at some point grievance by those who did pay becomes legit.
I'm trying to figure out how this analogy maps to student loan forgiveness, and am failing utterly.
  #66  
Old 05-19-2020, 04:22 PM
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I'm trying to figure out how this analogy maps to student loan forgiveness, and am failing utterly.
I think what septimus is saying is that forgiving the loans of students who had them and chose not to pay them, by defining them as unable to pay, is a perverse incentive. (Not the same as someone who simply cannot pay, period.)
  #67  
Old 05-20-2020, 09:32 AM
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You chose to involve race and gender for some reason. I still do not understand why.
Because our intuitions about fairness and societal harm are finely tuned to race and gender, having experienced many many examples of how society doesn't treat women and people of color fairly.

My point was not that richer people are an underclass like women and POC are. It's that giving something to one class and not another actually harms the class that doesn't get it. This is really obvious when you consider a policy like the one I suggested.

No analogy is perfect. There are always ways that the analogy isn't a perfect analog. But I don't think that imperfection makes the analogy invalid for some purposes.

I honestly don't understand how you think your analogy makes any sense at all. What is giving chemo to non-cancer patients supposed to be analogous to? Giving money to richer college graduates? How?

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First, there are those who did not complete a degree, they have debt, and they do not have the increased earning potential.
I am definitely in favor of debt relief for people who didn't get a degree. They are generally the poorest of the poor. No increased earning, lots of debt, and often other problems in their life (which is what caused them to fail to get the degree they attempted) too.

But we don't need to pay off everyone's college loans to help those people.

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Then there is the chilling effect. People choose not to go to college because they don't want to be saddled with debt.
That's an argument for making college free going forward, not an argument for paying off the loans of people who already decided to take on the debt. None of the people who didn't go to college because they didn't want to take on the debt are helped by retroactive debt relief. Arguably, they are harmed.

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Then, if you want to go to a fancier school, then you can take out a loan to pay for it, and I will see no obligation of paying it back.
I'm not sure how to parse this. Who's going to loan money to these students if they have no obligation to pay it back?

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I look at the economics of a situation, rather than cater to people's emotions.
This thread is about whether people have grounds for grievance. That's a different question than how much we should let their grievance dictate policy, but it's what was asked, and what I responded to.
  #68  
Old 05-20-2020, 09:56 AM
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I will also point out one more thing about your analogy, Little Omar, in your analogy, you are being taken from. Your 4.0 is being reduced to a 3.0. That doesn't fit in with anything proposed by politicians or posters. Lets say the exact same scenario as you described, except you keep your 4.0? Still aggrieved?
k9bfriender, you don't normally do shit like this but altering a poster's name is decidedly jerkish.

You are, right now, banned from this thread. Please don't do so again.
  #69  
Old 05-20-2020, 10:06 AM
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k9befriender:

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It would be more like, "We're buying everyone a car that wants a car!" And you saying, "I don't want a car, as I already bought one. Therefore, no one else can have one either."
No, it's like he's saying "I just bought a car. Can you pay just repay me the money I already paid for my car?" And if he's told "no", that is pretty unfair.
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  #70  
Old 05-20-2020, 10:30 AM
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Yes, as an 18 year old, they were told that if they didn't sign these papers and go to school, then their life would be terrible in 27 different ways. Even if they went to the cheapest state school, and got a STEM degree, they are still going to be paying on that loan for quite a while.

In fact, it seems as thought the ones who should be aggrieved are the ones who did not get the opportunities that the older generations got.

In the last generation college prices have gone up by 1120%.


When you went to college, you didn't have to get a loan.

A generation ago, if you had a HS diploma, you were eligible to have a job that would support a family.

Now, if you want to just support yourself, you really need a college degree.

So, it does sound as though the older generations got something that the younger generations are not getting.
Being held accountable for stupid decisions is the essence of adulthood, since 18 year olds are adults they should be treated as such.

While college prices have gone up, the college wage premium has also gone up. Someone with a cheap STEM degree will have borrowed around 20-30K and as a result will have a credential worth and extra 20-30K per year in salary. They have made a very good investment and have no right to feel aggrieved.

A large part of the reason college is so expensive is that loans are so easy to get. For every dollar in government aid, tuition goes up 65 cents.
College loans are one of the biggest causes of the disease they are trying to cure.
  #71  
Old 05-20-2020, 10:56 AM
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I will also point out one more thing about your analogy, Little Omar, in your analogy, you are being taken from. Your 4.0 is being reduced to a 3.0. That doesn't fit in with anything proposed by politicians or posters.
It still fits, as the politicians don't use their own money to payoff the student debt, they use mine, yours and everyone else that pays taxes.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:51 AM
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When I went to college, I had to take out loans, and I also had to work 40+ hours a week.

Other people in my college had their parents paying their way.

I worked hard to maintain a 3.5 + GPA, all the way up until one day when I couldn't make ends meet anymore, and I had to take a term off, then another, then...

Should I be aggrieved that I had just as much homework, but far less time to do it than my classmates. Should I be aggrieved that, even though I had a better GPA, even though I worked twice as hard as they did, ultimately, they got degrees and I got a $450 a month student loan payment?

If so, then great, tell me how to alleviate my grievances. If not, if you think I should just suck it up and realize that life sometimes gives other people things that you don't think that they deserve, then I'd ask you to do the same.

I will also point out one more thing about your analogy, Little Omar, in your analogy, you are being taken from. Your 4.0 is being reduced to a 3.0. That doesn't fit in with anything proposed by politicians or posters. Lets say the exact same scenario as you described, except you keep your 4.0? Still aggrieved?
Yes, Life gives it. Up until you try to make it policy. Then it isn't "life" anymore, it's you.

Bad choices should not be bailed out by the government every time some new thing is identified as making life hard. Can't afford kids, don't have them. Can't afford or pay the loans you get for college, do something else.

And yes, this is a little boot strappy but I grow tired of everyone wanting to use my money to pay for someone else's bad decision making.

Last edited by Kearsen1; 05-20-2020 at 11:54 AM.
  #73  
Old 05-20-2020, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
It would be more like, "We're buying everyone a car that wants a car!" And you saying, "I don't want a car, as I already bought one. Therefore, no one else can have one either."
Not quite. The idea is more that they're protesting the differential generosity. More like "I already have a car- why do they get cars and I get nothing?"

To use an extreme example-

Let's say that Neil and Bob both take out 50k in a 20 year student loan and graduate at the same time. Neil has been taught that debt is bad, and took it to heart, paying his loan off early in 12 years, at considerable financial sacrifice. Meanwhile, Bob has paid the bare minimum, and put in for deferments a couple of times, and still owes more than half of the loan by the time Year 13 rolls around. Some President and Congress pass an act to forgive Bob's student loan debt later that year.

You can't see why Neil might be a little pissed that the government came around and just paid off Bob's debt without giving him any compensation for his loans that he took out at the same time?

In effect, Neil was penalized for paying them off early- he paid more in more ways than Bob did, because the government hooked Bob up.

That's why people get pissed- it's the ones who are on schedule or who are ahead of schedule who get screwed vs. the people who get deferments, can't pay, etc...

Maybe if they paid BOTH groups in some fashion, you'd see less grumbling and outrage.

Last edited by bump; 05-20-2020 at 02:21 PM.
  #74  
Old 05-20-2020, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Maybe if they paid BOTH groups in some fashion, you'd see less grumbling and outrage.
And, again, they need to pay the 3rd group as well -- people who didn't go to college because it was too expensive in the first place. Otherwise this is just a big handout to the middle-class, college-educated crowd at the expensive of the non-college crowd.
  #75  
Old 05-20-2020, 04:21 PM
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I made real and painful sacrifices to help my kids pay for their education without ending up with crushing debt. In addition, their education was more expensive than others’ , because they did not qualify for needs-based assistance. Both were fine, because under the existing deal it seemed the right choice. I believe I have a grievance if the rules are changed retroactively, especially since I will also be paying for those forgiven loans.
Now, if going forward the government decides to give any enrolled student a flat 20k/year towards tuition and beer, I might be a little sour that my kids were born too soon to get some of that, but no legit grievance. It isn’t retroactively invalidating the choices made. I could vote for someone proposing the latter. Not the former.

The latter also avoids the unfairness of those who couldn’t attend college at all.

Last edited by Isosleepy; 05-20-2020 at 04:22 PM.
  #76  
Old 05-20-2020, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Not quite. The idea is more that they're protesting the differential generosity. More like "I already have a car- why do they get cars and I get nothing?"

To use an extreme example-

Let's say that Neil and Bob both take out 50k in a 20 year student loan and graduate at the same time. Neil has been taught that debt is bad, and took it to heart, paying his loan off early in 12 years, at considerable financial sacrifice. Meanwhile, Bob has paid the bare minimum, and put in for deferments a couple of times, and still owes more than half of the loan by the time Year 13 rolls around. Some President and Congress pass an act to forgive Bob's student loan debt later that year.

You can't see why Neil might be a little pissed that the government came around and just paid off Bob's debt without giving him any compensation for his loans that he took out at the same time?

In effect, Neil was penalized for paying them off early- he paid more in more ways than Bob did, because the government hooked Bob up.

That's why people get pissed- it's the ones who are on schedule or who are ahead of schedule who get screwed vs. the people who get deferments, can't pay, etc...

Maybe if they paid BOTH groups in some fashion, you'd see less grumbling and outrage.
Exactly this is an ongoing problem where I'm from.

We have a student loan scheme administered by the government. We also have a significant ex-pat community with large amounts of debt owed to the government, making it financially non viable for them to "come home" and contribute to the local economy.

There is ongoing talk about collecting on this debt (asking a foreign government for help) or "forgiveness" of the debt as an encouragement to come home and build local economic activity.

I know that I paid my own student debt, which took a fairly decent sacrifice, meanwhile I know of another person from my high-school graduating class that is hiding from her debt in a neighbouring country.

It would be annoying to me if her debt were to be wiped - I'd feel aggrieved. At the same time, I recall my old Management Science lectures and can't help thinking of the idea of sunk costs. All that matters is the financial benefit to the country moving forwards. Would we be better off collecting the debt or is it better to have the person back here contributing to economic activity?

I know that the calculation is a whole branch of economic theory - that the concept of "fairness" and not only financial benefit influences behaviour. I know that personally, I feel tertiary education should be close to free, HOWEVER - this tends to benefit the rich most all. With tertiary education being strongly skewed towards those that can most afford to pay for it, why should I as a only "working class" tax payer contribute towards the education of a child who has more than my own do?
  #77  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Because our intuitions about fairness and societal harm are finely tuned to race and gender, having experienced many many examples of how society doesn't treat women and people of color fairly.

My point was not that richer people are an underclass like women and POC are. It's that giving something to one class and not another actually harms the class that doesn't get it. This is really obvious when you consider a policy like the one I suggested.
A policy should have a goal

The goal of policies that involve paying off student debt are to have a productive and economically engaged workforce.

What is the goal of the policy that you suggested?
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No analogy is perfect. There are always ways that the analogy isn't a perfect analog. But I don't think that imperfection makes the analogy invalid for some purposes.

I honestly don't understand how you think your analogy makes any sense at all. What is giving chemo to non-cancer patients supposed to be analogous to? Giving money to richer college graduates? How?
Giving things to people who need those things, and not giving things to people that do not need these things. That was the entirety of that point.
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I am definitely in favor of debt relief for people who didn't get a degree. They are generally the poorest of the poor. No increased earning, lots of debt, and often other problems in their life (which is what caused them to fail to get the degree they attempted) too.

But we don't need to pay off everyone's college loans to help those people.
As one of those people, I would agree from a selfish standpoint.

But from a practical, pragmatic, and logistical standpoint, I have to disagree that that would be the best policy.

There are many out there and in this thread who ask why they should have to pay for someone else's poor decisions. I did not make the best possible decisions, and that was a large contributing factor to me not getting my degree. I'd imagine more than a bit of push back if that were the policy.

It also creates a perverse incentive, if you can take out loans to go to college, then drop out with one credit left to graduate, and get your loans repaid.

And honestly, even though I didn't get a piece of paper, I did receive personal benefit. I did learn a bunch of stuff. It may not convince an employer that I am up to their standards, but it has made *me* a much better employer. I doubt that I'd be able to run my business nearly as well without at least some of the things that I learned in college.
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That's an argument for making college free going forward, not an argument for paying off the loans of people who already decided to take on the debt. None of the people who didn't go to college because they didn't want to take on the debt are helped by retroactive debt relief. Arguably, they are harmed.
That just kicks the aggrievement can down the road. Lets say that tomorrow, we make college free. Doesn't the person who just graduated and has to pay a significant percentage of their income for the next decade or so have a legitimate grievance? It's at least as legitimate as someone who just finished paying off their loan who objects to a new graduate's student loan being paid off.

We should have addressed this decades ago. This should have not been a problem for the last generation.

That we are late to address this problem, however, is not a good enough excuse to continue to ignore it.
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I'm not sure how to parse this. Who's going to loan money to these students if they have no obligation to pay it back?
I meant, that if you take out a loan to go to a fancier school, then the government and taxpayers would have no obligation to pay off your loan for you.

I could have phrased that better.
Quote:
This thread is about whether people have grounds for grievance. That's a different question than how much we should let their grievance dictate policy, but it's what was asked, and what I responded to.
The thread is about legitimate grievance, not just hurt feelings. And in my eyes, a legitimate grievance is something that should be considered while crafting policy. Just hurt feelings, not so much.

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Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
k9befriender:

No, it's like he's saying "I just bought a car. Can you pay just repay me the money I already paid for my car?" And if he's told "no", that is pretty unfair.
If I buy everyone a Kia, and I offer to buy you a Kia as well, but you say, "No, I just bought a Mercedes, and I would like you to repay me the money I already paid for it", then is that still unfair to you?

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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Being held accountable for stupid decisions is the essence of adulthood, since 18 year olds are adults they should be treated as such.

While college prices have gone up, the college wage premium has also gone up. Someone with a cheap STEM degree will have borrowed around 20-30K and as a result will have a credential worth and extra 20-30K per year in salary. They have made a very good investment and have no right to feel aggrieved.
Tuition has gone up over 1100% from 1980 to 2014 (most recent year I could find such a comparison, I assume that it has gone up by more than that by now.) Pay for STEM degrees has not gone up by nearly that much.
Quote:
A large part of the reason college is so expensive is that loans are so easy to get. For every dollar in government aid, tuition goes up 65 cents.
College loans are one of the biggest causes of the disease they are trying to cure.
I agree that there are some poorly thought out incentives involved in the student loan scheme. It is the fault of the colleges, it is the fault of the banks, it is the fault of businesses inflating their requirements, and it is the fault of the government for allowing this situation to continue. The one group that is not responsible for the situation are the students, who haven't even had a chance to vote yet.

The beneficiaries of our current system are the colleges who get the money, the banks who get paid on guaranteed loans, and the businesses who get an educated workforce. The ones who have to pay for this system are the students.

I argue that the responsibility for a broken system is being put on the shoulders of those least responsible for it, and least able to afford to pay for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
It still fits, as the politicians don't use their own money to payoff the student debt, they use mine, yours and everyone else that pays taxes.
Yes, including the businesses that benefit from getting a trained workforce. Personally, I think that they should be the ones paying the bulk of educational costs.

What percentage of your pay will go to taxes to pay off student loans? Unless it is 25%, then your analogy is hyperbolic.

If we were going to use your analogy mapped onto the real world, then it would be like having your GPA reduced from 4.0 to 3.9999(999?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kearsen1 View Post
Yes, Life gives it. Up until you try to make it policy. Then it isn't "life" anymore, it's you.

Bad choices should not be bailed out by the government every time some new thing is identified as making life hard. Can't afford kids, don't have them. Can't afford or pay the loans you get for college, do something else.

And yes, this is a little boot strappy but I grow tired of everyone wanting to use my money to pay for someone else's bad decision making.
The difference is, is that I do not considered going to college to be a bad decision. People are told that they must. They are told that they have to take out these lions. It is hard to see that it is a bad decision when it is your high school counselor who is telling you to fill out these forms.

I do feel as though the wrong people are punished with attitudes like you profess. "Can't afford kids, don't have them." punishes the kids for something entirely out of their control. Making college only accessible to the wealthy has some effects that I would consider to be negative to our society.

If you go out and get a $50,000 cash loan and spend it all on strippers and drugs, then yeah, I see no reason to bail that out. If you take on debt because it is what society expects of you, because that is what you are told you need to do in order to move forward, then I do feel that society has an obligation to not leave you on the hook for it.

Should people also have to pay for primary and secondary education? Is providing elementary school too anti-boot strappy?

If so, then we can have that argument. If not, then why do you accept that we provide k-12, but do not provide the rest of the education that employers require?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
Not quite. The idea is more that they're protesting the differential generosity. More like "I already have a car- why do they get cars and I get nothing?"

To use an extreme example-

Let's say that Neil and Bob both take out 50k in a 20 year student loan and graduate at the same time. Neil has been taught that debt is bad, and took it to heart, paying his loan off early in 12 years, at considerable financial sacrifice. Meanwhile, Bob has paid the bare minimum, and put in for deferments a couple of times, and still owes more than half of the loan by the time Year 13 rolls around. Some President and Congress pass an act to forgive Bob's student loan debt later that year.

You can't see why Neil might be a little pissed that the government came around and just paid off Bob's debt without giving him any compensation for his loans that he took out at the same time?

In effect, Neil was penalized for paying them off early- he paid more in more ways than Bob did, because the government hooked Bob up.

That's why people get pissed- it's the ones who are on schedule or who are ahead of schedule who get screwed vs. the people who get deferments, can't pay, etc...

Maybe if they paid BOTH groups in some fashion, you'd see less grumbling and outrage.
As I said earlier in this post, the fact that people have been harmed by the broken system is not, IMHO, a justification for not fixing the system. That it should have been done long ago is no excuse for not doing it now. The longer we wait, the more people will be harmed, and the more that would be aggrieved that other people do not have to be harmed by the broken system. This reminds me of the "how do you tell a soldier that they are the last to die" arguments against pulling out of pointless wars.

I am not against paying people back 100% of all tuition payments made, say, for the entirety of your life. If you went to school in 1980, and it cost you $9k, then the govt can send you a check for $9k. That's what I suppose we would need to do to make sure that there is no one that can say that it was unfair. I don't know how practical that is, but if that is what is decided is needed to prevent people from punishing the next generation for their personal grievances against schools, banks and the govt, then so be it.

How far back do you think we need to go, whose debt do we have to pay off, that the resentment will not prevent us from having a productive and economically engaged workforce?
  #78  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
The difference is, is that I do not considered going to college to be a bad decision. People are told that they must. They are told that they have to take out these lions. It is hard to see that it is a bad decision when it is your high school counselor who is telling you to fill out these forms.
apparently I missed this sentence in editing.

Though I suppose it would actually be a worse system if college grads had to fight in the lion pits.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:47 AM
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I think the guy who paid for college has a legitimate grievance if others get their debts paid off by the government. I think the Mercedes example is a very fair comparison. One guy already paid for it, so he is told “you don’t get the same reward as everyone else, even though you did just as much to earn it”

If you want to tackle college loan debt and the reason is that the whole system has become unfair and education is too expensive, I think the correct way to address it would be to give tax credits retroactively for money spent on college education, and the credits could reduce in value based on how long ago they were enrolled.

This way, we focus on helping all those who have paid for education, whether they are still in debt or not. Deciding whether or not to give someone a benefit based on whether or not they have already paid for that same benefit seems inherently unfair to me.
  #80  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
The difference is, is that I do not considered going to college to be a bad decision. People are told that they must. They are told that they have to take out these lions. It is hard to see that it is a bad decision when it is your high school counselor who is telling you to fill out these forms.
If you get an art degree and work at Starbucks and complain about paying your student loans, this is different than someone with a materials engineering degree paying San Francisco rents complaining about student loans while making Model S payments.

University attendance is certainly correlated with higher incomes, but that doesn't mean that everyone is fit for a university education, especially if they waste bailout money on unmarketable degrees. We might 10,000 materials engineers, but how many anthropologists is there a market for?

We need to incentivize marketable degrees, if we're going to spend our own money to do it.
  #81  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post

That just kicks the aggrievement can down the road. Lets say that tomorrow, we make college free. Doesn't the person who just graduated and has to pay a significant percentage of their income for the next decade or so have a legitimate grievance? It's at least as legitimate as someone who just finished paying off their loan who objects to a new graduate's student loan being paid off.
No because the person who got the loans and the person who saved instead were presented with the same tradeoff, money vs degree. Both chose the degree. The only people who should feel aggrieved about free college are those who would have gone if it had been free, and the people who are actually paying for it.

Quote:


I agree that there are some poorly thought out incentives involved in the student loan scheme. It is the fault of the colleges, it is the fault of the banks, it is the fault of businesses inflating their requirements, and it is the fault of the government for allowing this situation to continue. The one group that is not responsible for the situation are the students, who haven't even had a chance to vote yet.

The beneficiaries of our current system are the colleges who get the money, the banks who get paid on guaranteed loans, and the businesses who get an educated workforce. The ones who have to pay for this system are the students.

I argue that the responsibility for a broken system is being put on the shoulders of those least responsible for it, and least able to afford to pay for it.
The college student has received a great benefit already, their degree. They valued it more than the tens of thousands they took out in loans. For most of them it was a good deal, why should they get an additional benefit?
Quote:
The difference is, is that I do not considered going to college to be a bad decision. People are told that they must. They are told that they have to take out these lions. It is hard to see that it is a bad decision when it is your high school counselor who is telling you to fill out these forms.

I do feel as though the wrong people are punished with attitudes like you profess. "Can't afford kids, don't have them." punishes the kids for something entirely out of their control. Making college only accessible to the wealthy has some effects that I would consider to be negative to our society.
Most people don't go to college and manage to survive. Those that go and graduate receive a diploma which helps them get a better job. For people who don't get a diploma or get one that is not worth what they paid for it, they made a bad decision.
Quote:

If you go out and get a $50,000 cash loan and spend it all on strippers and drugs, then yeah, I see no reason to bail that out. If you take on debt because it is what society expects of you, because that is what you are told you need to do in order to move forward, then I do feel that society has an obligation to not leave you on the hook for it.
Spending 50 grand on hookers and blow is not an investment, usually. A college degree is. If college is a good investment, there is no need to reward people who have made it, if it is not a good investment then we should be discouraging people from going.
Quote:

How far back do you think we need to go, whose debt do we have to pay off, that the resentment will not prevent us from having a productive and economically engaged workforce?
How does going to college make people productive and economically engaged? The purpose of college is to show potential employers who the smartest and most conscientious people are. Some people learn things to help them be productive, but most don't.

For most people college is a giant sorting mechanism. If you lower the barrier to entry and let more people in to college you have just made the sorting mechanism less efficient. Thus people need more degrees to send the same signal. At some point graduate school will become what college is now. Then you are taking people out of the workforce for 6-8 years instead of the current 4. That is the opposite of having a productive workforce, not to mention all the money wasted on additional people in college.
  #82  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
We need to incentivize marketable degrees, if we're going to spend our own money to do it.
One issue with that is, part of what makes a degree maarketable is supply and demand. If we incentivize certain degrees, would we increase the supply to where there's no longer a demand for them?
  #83  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:49 PM
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On the original question, it's my understanding that many of the people complaining about the unfairness of current folks getting their debt forgiven are older folks who long since paid off their student debt.

Specifically, older folks who paid a fifth as much for tuition. Yet, oddly, you don't find them complaining that they underpaid, and remarkably few of them are demanding that they be charged the additional amount to make up the difference now, after the fact.

Prices change. It's "unfair" when that happens. Inflation is definitely "unfair". Lots of things are "unfair". But when people are conspicuously only complaining when this unfairness benefits others, that's "full of shit".


Regarding the alternate question of whether reducing the absurd price of college would alter incentivization in a bad way, I can only observer that attempts to deliberately incentivize or de-incentivize one thing or another often have unanticipated and often negative externalities.
  #84  
Old 05-22-2020, 03:08 PM
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We need to incentivize marketable degrees, if we're going to spend our own money to do it.
In large part, the job market already does that. There's a good reason that STEM graduates come out and make good (great?) salaries with bachelors degrees, and other academia-only or teaching-only masters degree holders do not.

The catch is that what if someone decides in high school that they want to be a computer engineer, and gets to college and finds out that they REALLY like poultry science? (for the sake of argument, let's say that computer engineering is in high demand, and poultry science is of moderate demand)

Do we yank that guy's loans? Do we jack up his interest rate? What about the low-income student who has the potential to be the next Louis Leakey or Abraham Maslow? Do we deny them loans because they're not in a "marketable degree" field?

I think maybe there ought to be some limits- for example, I disagree with the idea that student loans should be funding multi-hundred-thousand dollar liberal arts degrees at expensive private institutions. I mean, there's no reason someone should be taking out hundreds of thousands of dollars for English degrees at say... Baylor, if they can go down the road to A&M or UT for considerably less. It's risk mitigation I'd say, unless someone can prove that getting their English degree at Baylor sets them up considerably better for a career in English than A&M or UT does.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sterling Archer View Post
I think the guy who paid for college has a legitimate grievance if others get their debts paid off by the government. I think the Mercedes example is a very fair comparison. One guy already paid for it, so he is told “you don’t get the same reward as everyone else, even though you did just as much to earn it”
If you took that from the Mercedes example, you didn't understand it.

My point was that you can still get that free Kia. But you want your Mercedes paid off instead.
Quote:
If you want to tackle college loan debt and the reason is that the whole system has become unfair and education is too expensive, I think the correct way to address it would be to give tax credits retroactively for money spent on college education, and the credits could reduce in value based on how long ago they were enrolled.
We currently do have tax credits toward educational expenses. I'd have no problem with this, but it probably would end up costing the taxpayer more than paying off loans.
Quote:
This way, we focus on helping all those who have paid for education, whether they are still in debt or not. Deciding whether or not to give someone a benefit based on whether or not they have already paid for that same benefit seems inherently unfair to me.
It seems a bit roundabout, and I have some concerns for how it would effect those who do not make enough money to pay federal taxes, but this seems a reasonable way to work towards the goal of having productive and economically engaged citizens.

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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
If you get an art degree and work at Starbucks and complain about paying your student loans, this is different than someone with a materials engineering degree paying San Francisco rents complaining about student loans while making Model S payments.
Again with the art degree slams. You know who wrote the Avenger's movies? It wasn't a person with a STEM degree. The idea that only STEM is worthwhile and productive, and that anything else is a waste that will leave you working a MW job is a rather harmful stereotype, IMHO. It certainly seems to blind those who hold it to the reality that most degrees have a job waiting for them.
Quote:
University attendance is certainly correlated with higher incomes, but that doesn't mean that everyone is fit for a university education, especially if they waste bailout money on unmarketable degrees. We might 10,000 materials engineers, but how many anthropologists is there a market for?

We need to incentivize marketable degrees, if we're going to spend our own money to do it.
Well, according to a quick look, anthropology is a growing field, with about 400,000 people in it.

We can incentivize, sure. Companies that really need STEM students can put out marketing material that says that they are hiring, and at what rate. Companies that need liberal arts majors can do the same. That's incentives.

But using the power of the government and its funding isn't incentivizing, it is mandating. If you (you are the govt in this instance) say that you will pay for a STEM degree but not a gender studies degree, then do the companies that need gender studies majors not have a legitimate grievance?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
One issue with that is, part of what makes a degree maarketable is supply and demand. If we incentivize certain degrees, would we increase the supply to where there's no longer a demand for them?
I doubt that, but we can de-incentivize certain degrees to the point where there is a shortage of them.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:31 PM
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No because the person who got the loans and the person who saved instead were presented with the same tradeoff, money vs degree. Both chose the degree. The only people who should feel aggrieved about free college are those who would have gone if it had been free, and the people who are actually paying for it.
But there are not so many people that are able to save for college these days. Basically, what you are implementing is a system where only those who can afford to go to college can do so. Meaning that only the wealthy get to send their kids to higher education.

If your parents were poor, and you really want to go to college so that your kids will have a better life, and they say, "Nope, sorry, got to pay up front." then how do you break out of that cycle.

Lets say your parents are not poor, but that they demand that you conform to their ideals as to who you are for them to pay for your college. Now, I'll agree that that is their right, they don't have to pay for their kids college if he won't stop being gay. But I do not think that it is in society's best interests to also bar him from bettering himself academically.

And whatever proposal you have in mind should be something that someone of average capabilities and means can do. If you only have a way out for those who are exceptional in some way, then you are not breaking the cycle of poverty, only exploiting it.
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The college student has received a great benefit already, their degree. They valued it more than the tens of thousands they took out in loans. For most of them it was a good deal, why should they get an additional benefit?
Because education should be a public good. I'm not sure why you ask this over and over. If you don't think that we should have public education, then that's fine, that's your stance. But if we should have public education, why are we cutting it off early?
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Most people don't go to college and manage to survive. Those that go and graduate receive a diploma which helps them get a better job. For people who don't get a diploma or get one that is not worth what they paid for it, they made a bad decision. Spending 50 grand on hookers and blow is not an investment, usually. A college degree is. If college is a good investment, there is no need to reward people who have made it, if it is not a good investment then we should be discouraging people from going.
The pay rate for those that do not go to college low, and going down. It was true 20 years ago that you could eke out a living without a diploma, and 20 years before that you could even thrive with just a GED. But that is not today's world anymore.

How about someone who does graduate from a STEM program, but does so in the bottom quarter of their class, so they don't have all that great a job prospects. Did they make a bad decision? If so, how do we make sure that no one is ever in the bottom quarter of a class?
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How does going to college make people productive and economically engaged? The purpose of college is to show potential employers who the smartest and most conscientious people are. Some people learn things to help them be productive, but most don't.
I'm not sure how to take this. Are you actually saying that college has no value to the student? That most don't learn anything at all during their stay.

Huh, you know, it was decades ago, but you may have explained what my problem was with college. I was there to learn, others were there to try to show off.

Going to college gives people the ability to get a better job. Whether you think that is because they get pieces of paper that they can barely read, or because they actually learn things that will make them more useful to the employer is irrelevant. Not being saddled with debt makes them economically engaged, where they will be buying houses, cars, and other things that are hindered when half your pay goes to the bank.
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For most people college is a giant sorting mechanism. If you lower the barrier to entry and let more people in to college you have just made the sorting mechanism less efficient. Thus people need more degrees to send the same signal. At some point graduate school will become what college is now. Then you are taking people out of the workforce for 6-8 years instead of the current 4. That is the opposite of having a productive workforce, not to mention all the money wasted on additional people in college.
Could it actually be that in our increasingly complex world, that that increased education is actually necessary to perform the tasks that employers will be asking of you?

Go back 100 or so years, and a 5th grade education was pushing Ivory Tower status. We have public education so that we have productive workers. As the needs of businesses increased, the minimum educational requirements increased as well. This is simply the same progression. The only difference in it that I can see is that this part of a student's education takes place after they have turned 18.

If you lower the barrier to entry, then more people are able to become productive and economically engaged citizens. You seem to think that there is a static number of jobs, and that we need to find a way to sort them to save HR some trouble.


This is also a problem that is getting worse. If we were looking at it, and tuition rates were going down, staying steady, or even matching inflation, then we could consider it a known problem baked into the cost of society. However, tuition is not staying steady, nor merely keeping up with inflation. It vastly outpaces inflation. So, even if you don't think that this is a problem now, then next year or next decade or next generation, it *will* be a problem that even you cannot ignore, and at that point it will be even harder to fix, with even more stakeholders to feel aggrieved.

Do you think that anything at all should be done about this problem? If so, what is that?
  #87  
Old 05-23-2020, 07:56 PM
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Again with the art degree slams. You know who wrote the Avenger's movies? It wasn't a person with a STEM degree. The idea that only STEM is worthwhile and productive, and that anything else is a waste that will leave you working a MW job is a rather harmful stereotype, IMHO. It certainly seems to blind those who hold it to the reality that most degrees have a job waiting for them.
I'm not a comic book movie fan, so I could care less. And that's only one guy with an arts degree. And there was only one Einstein. Look, we've got to Pareto where we spend our money, and someone with an arts degree isn't going to know what I mean by that.
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:56 AM
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I'm not a comic book movie fan, so I could care less. And that's only one guy with an arts degree. And there was only one Einstein. Look, we've got to Pareto where we spend our money, and someone with an arts degree isn't going to know what I mean by that.
Economics is a liberal art and a social science. As a person with an English degree who teaches economics, I know what it is.

Past that, I know people with arts degrees that are very successful and people with STEM degrees that are working low wage jobs, because their abysmal people skills make them unemployable. Correlation isn't causation. Liberal arts degrees can be rigorous . I took mine very seriously, and I learned a ton. I will conceded that they are often easier to bullshit through with a C, and so attract slackers. But have two scales where one is funded and the other isn't and all those slackers will find their way to the easiest funded option, and that will be the joke degree.

Furthermore, there are tons of jobs out there for creative types. Shit is so much more designed and produced than it was 20 years ago. Grocery stores have aesthetics now. Someone is getting paid to do all that.

Finally, we kinda need a lot of teachers. It's already a job where the ROI doesn't justify the college degree. You want to make that harder?
  #89  
Old 05-24-2020, 11:04 AM
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On the original question, it's my understanding that many of the people complaining about the unfairness of current folks getting their debt forgiven are older folks who long since paid off their student debt....
Cite? I think most folks complaining that debt forgiveness is unfair are very much making "apples vs apples" comparisons. When retroactive rebates are proposed, it's with a schedule that diminishes very rapidly with age.
  #90  
Old 05-24-2020, 02:12 PM
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Unfair <> grounds for grievance

Let's say we manage to get universal healthcare. Overnight, people go from paying hundreds each month in premiums and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for services not covered by their insurer to paying a few extra hundred in payroll taxes each year and never having to worry about medical costs. What about the good responsible people who managed to pay off their medical debt the day before UHC becomes effective? Are those people entitled to reimbursement? If we write those people a check, what's to stop people from asking for a refund for their premium payments? At some point, we just need to accept that the unfairness of a policy will be mitigated by the improvements that flow from that policy and keep it moving.
  #91  
Old 05-24-2020, 06:27 PM
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Furthermore, there are tons of jobs out there for creative types. Shit is so much more designed and produced than it was 20 years ago. Grocery stores have aesthetics now. Someone is getting paid to do all that.

Finally, we kinda need a lot of teachers. It's already a job where the ROI doesn't justify the college degree. You want to make that harder?
Touche, but we have to either have central management (not good) or no management (let nature take its course). So, do we incentivize useful degrees for all/some/none, or keep hands off. Or maybe we follow the German pattern, and identify non-college potential early on an steer them away from University. That seems like a human rights violation to me.
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:45 PM
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So is my English degree useless? I have a good career, make good money, provide a needed service. Who the fuck is going to teach school or design grocery stores in your model?
  #93  
Old 05-25-2020, 07:53 PM
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So is my English degree useless? I have a good career, make good money, provide a needed service. Who the fuck is going to teach school or design grocery stores in your model?
My model is hands-off, so in my model, the people who earn English degrees without sucking at the government's teat is going to do that. The people who earn STEM degrees without sucking at the government's teat are going to build things.

It's other models that I have objection to. But I guess with your English degree, you weren't able to parse that? What a wasted degree, in your case.
  #94  
Old 05-26-2020, 11:08 AM
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My model is hands-off, so in my model, the people who earn English degrees without sucking at the government's teat is going to do that. The people who earn STEM degrees without sucking at the government's teat are going to build things.

It's other models that I have objection to. But I guess with your English degree, you weren't able to parse that? What a wasted degree, in your case.
The issue shouldn't be with the degrees themselves. There's nothing so inherently superior about a STEM degree, save marketability in today's job market versus liberal arts.

In some ways, liberal arts better prepares people for success- you get a more well-rounded education in many ways, even if it's much more generalist and non-technical. Similarly, most STEM degrees are hyper-specific, and prepare students for work in a single field, or at best, a set of closely related fields.

The real issue is that the student loan system was set up in an era of widespread state-level subsidies and/or tuition caps for in-state tuition, and that for the vast majority of students, there was a real likelihood that they could go to their local state school, get loans, and study whatever they wanted without incurring crushing debt.

For the most part, the subsidies are now gone or very diminished, so that students are bearing a larger share of the cost of their education, and often that's more than they can handle once they get out, if they're not very prudent about what they study and what job they get once they're finished.
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:00 PM
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I know people with arts degrees that are very successful and people with STEM degrees that are working low wage jobs, because their abysmal people skills make them unemployable. Correlation isn't causation.
I think it's important to distinguish between the incorrect claim made by some that a humanities degree is worthless (without value) and the correct claim that it is worth less (of less value). You are absolutely correct that humanities degrees are valuable. But it is also dramatically demonstrably correct that STEM degrees are on average more valuable in the market.

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I will conceded that they are often easier to bullshit through with a C, and so attract slackers.
The harder the science, the less amenable to bullshit it is. You can't bullshit an equation. You can't bullshit a compiler. You are either right, or wrong. Code either works to spec or it does not.

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But have two scales where one is funded and the other isn't and all those slackers will find their way to the easiest funded option, and that will be the joke degree.
I find it really hard to believe that this will be the case.

It is demonstrably not true in graduate studies. Graduate programs in STEM fields are generally funded, while those in other fields are generally not. But the slackers have somehow resisted the easy-street to PhDs in hydrodynamics, astrophysics, or cryptography.
  #96  
Old 05-26-2020, 01:03 PM
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But there are not so many people that are able to save for college these days. Basically, what you are implementing is a system where only those who can afford to go to college can do so. Meaning that only the wealthy get to send their kids to higher education.

If your parents were poor, and you really want to go to college so that your kids will have a better life, and they say, "Nope, sorry, got to pay up front." then how do you break out of that cycle.
There are other ways to pay for college, loans, plans that require a percentage of income. There are other ways to break out of poverty than college, such as skilled trades, apprenticeships, small businesses. Furthermore you are just assuming that the because those with college degrees are unlikely to be poor that the degree is the reason and not other reasons.
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Lets say your parents are not poor, but that they demand that you conform to their ideals as to who you are for them to pay for your college. Now, I'll agree that that is their right, they don't have to pay for their kids college if he won't stop being gay. But I do not think that it is in society's best interests to also bar him from bettering himself academically.
They are not barred from academics, they just have to pay for it themselves.
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And whatever proposal you have in mind should be something that someone of average capabilities and means can do. If you only have a way out for those who are exceptional in some way, then you are not breaking the cycle of poverty, only exploiting it.
Someone of average capabilities should not be going to college. If a diploma means you are normal then it has less meaning. The fewer people have a credential the less it means.
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Because education should be a public good. I'm not sure why you ask this over and over. If you don't think that we should have public education, then that's fine, that's your stance. But if we should have public education, why are we cutting it off early?
If some level of education is a public good then it does not follow that every level of education is a public good. What is clear is that it is a private good, in that it benefits the person getting it, much more than everyone else. Simple fairness is that those who receive the benefit should pay for the cost.
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The pay rate for those that do not go to college low, and going down. It was true 20 years ago that you could eke out a living without a diploma, and 20 years before that you could even thrive with just a GED. But that is not today's world anymore.
The reason that is not today's world is that as more people achieve each credential those credentials mean less. In a world where only the top 20% of intelligent people get a high school degree having one means alot. In a world where 50% of people have a college degree having one means little. In a world where 50% of the people have a Phd from Harvard, it becomes the entry level requirement.
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How about someone who does graduate from a STEM program, but does so in the bottom quarter of their class, so they don't have all that great a job prospects. Did they make a bad decision? If so, how do we make sure that no one is ever in the bottom quarter of a class?
If being in the bottom of a class means no job prospects then too many people are in the class.
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I'm not sure how to take this. Are you actually saying that college has no value to the student? That most don't learn anything at all during their stay.

Huh, you know, it was decades ago, but you may have explained what my problem was with college. I was there to learn, others were there to try to show off.

Going to college gives people the ability to get a better job. Whether you think that is because they get pieces of paper that they can barely read, or because they actually learn things that will make them more useful to the employer is irrelevant. Not being saddled with debt makes them economically engaged, where they will be buying houses, cars, and other things that are hindered when half your pay goes to the bank.
People learn alot in college, I know I did. If you want to know about Native American religion, the history of psychotherapy, themes in the poetry of Milton, or the book Viper's Tangles, then getting the same degree as I did would be great. None of that made me a better worker.
From a strictly economic point of view it does not matter if they are sending the money to the bank for a mortgage or to repay a student loan.
Quote:
Could it actually be that in our increasingly complex world, that that increased education is actually necessary to perform the tasks that employers will be asking of you?
Go back 100 or so years, and a 5th grade education was pushing Ivory Tower status. We have public education so that we have productive workers. As the needs of businesses increased, the minimum educational requirements increased as well. This is simply the same progression. The only difference in it that I can see is that this part of a student's education takes place after they have turned 18.

If you lower the barrier to entry, then more people are able to become productive and economically engaged citizens. You seem to think that there is a static number of jobs, and that we need to find a way to sort them to save HR some trouble.


This is also a problem that is getting worse. If we were looking at it, and tuition rates were going down, staying steady, or even matching inflation, then we could consider it a known problem baked into the cost of society. However, tuition is not staying steady, nor merely keeping up with inflation. It vastly outpaces inflation. So, even if you don't think that this is a problem now, then next year or next decade or next generation, it *will* be a problem that even you cannot ignore, and at that point it will be even harder to fix, with even more stakeholders to feel aggrieved.

Do you think that anything at all should be done about this problem? If so, what is that?[/QUOTE]

If you look at the curriculum of high schools 100 years ago, they are more advanced than most colleges today. It is a credential treadmill, the more people get a credential the less it means so there needs to be a higher credential, and eventually what was only for the elite becomes the minimum requirement. A college degree has gone from something only intellectuals have to the minimum requirement for a good job. It becomes more valuable so greedy college administrators raise the price. The solution is not to switch who pays. The only solution to a treadmill where you have to run faster to stay in the same place is to get off the treadmill.
  #97  
Old 05-26-2020, 01:20 PM
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Go back 100 or so years, and a 5th grade education was pushing Ivory Tower status. We have public education so that we have productive workers. As the needs of businesses increased, the minimum educational requirements increased as well. This is simply the same progression. The only difference in it that I can see is that this part of a student's education takes place after they have turned 18.

If you lower the barrier to entry, then more people are able to become productive and economically engaged citizens. You seem to think that there is a static number of jobs, and that we need to find a way to sort them to save HR some trouble.

<snip>

If you look at the curriculum of high schools 100 years ago, they are more advanced than most colleges today. It is a credential treadmill, the more people get a credential the less it means so there needs to be a higher credential, and eventually what was only for the elite becomes the minimum requirement. A college degree has gone from something only intellectuals have to the minimum requirement for a good job. It becomes more valuable so greedy college administrators raise the price. The solution is not to switch who pays. The only solution to a treadmill where you have to run faster to stay in the same place is to get off the treadmill.
These two sections appear to be arguing opposing positions.

The first one is arguing that higher education actually makes people more productive by teaching them skills for the modern world. We should subsidize it and all be better off. The second one is arguing that higher education is primarily credentialism, and that subsidizing it is a waste that will not make society better off.
  #98  
Old 05-27-2020, 08:45 AM
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These two sections appear to be arguing opposing positions.

The first one is arguing that higher education actually makes people more productive by teaching them skills for the modern world. We should subsidize it and all be better off. The second one is arguing that higher education is primarily credentialism, and that subsidizing it is a waste that will not make society better off.
Misplaced the quote tag. The first part of that should have been a part of the quote I was responding to in the second part.
[Obama]Let me be clear[/Obama], subsidizing higher education is a waste that will make society worse off.
  #99  
Old 05-27-2020, 01:13 PM
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A college degree has gone from something only intellectuals have to the minimum requirement for a good job. It becomes more valuable so greedy college administrators raise the price.
I spent three decades working at public universities, and I never saw a "greedy administrator." What I did see was a consistent downward trajectory in the level of state funding. We were constantly dealing with budget cuts, recissions, hiring freezes, lost positions, deferred maintenance, etc. Over the course of my career, "state-supported" universities essentially became "state-sponsored." The money to run a university has to come from somewhere. If the state won't hold up its end of the deal for whatever reason, then the alternatives are raising tuition, hitting up donors, and hollowing out the school by cutting programs and personnel and allowing buildings to deteriorate.

I can't speak to what goes on at private universities, but when I went to conferences and talked about our budget woes with colleagues, the people from private schools would stare at me uncomprehendingly or say dumb things like "Why don't you just ask for more money?"

I don't have a solution for any of this, but I agree that the paradigm of "everyone must go to college" has to change. I hate to say that, because I strongly believe that it is a public good to have an educated, enlightened citizenry.
  #100  
Old 05-28-2020, 12:34 PM
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I spent three decades working at public universities, and I never saw a "greedy administrator." What I did see was a consistent downward trajectory in the level of state funding. We were constantly dealing with budget cuts, recissions, hiring freezes, lost positions, deferred maintenance, etc. Over the course of my career, "state-supported" universities essentially became "state-sponsored." The money to run a university has to come from somewhere. If the state won't hold up its end of the deal for whatever reason, then the alternatives are raising tuition, hitting up donors, and hollowing out the school by cutting programs and personnel and allowing buildings to deteriorate.

I can't speak to what goes on at private universities, but when I went to conferences and talked about our budget woes with colleagues, the people from private schools would stare at me uncomprehendingly or say dumb things like "Why don't you just ask for more money?"

I don't have a solution for any of this, but I agree that the paradigm of "everyone must go to college" has to change. I hate to say that, because I strongly believe that it is a public good to have an educated, enlightened citizenry.
Over the past 30 years state and local funding of higher education has gone from 63.1 billion dollars a year to 86 billion dollars a year adjusted for inflation.

If you didn't see any greedy administrators you may not have been looking hard. The number of college administrators doubled from 1987 to 2015 and their salaries have gone up as well.
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