Elie Mystal on student loans:
Student loans haven’t made education “affordable,” they’ve made education accessible. That’s a huge difference. Once you access your education, you still have to pay for it. And if you’ve happened to access more education than you can afford, well, you’re going to have a hell of a time “accessing” other life goals: like a house, a car, or a modicum of financial security.
He calls bullshit on the ‘wise words’ from boomers with a Forbes article by Steve Odland:
Since 1982 a typical family income increased by 147%, more than inflation but significantly behind the huge increase in college costs. College costs have been rising roughly at a rate of 7% per year for decades. Since 1985, the overall consumer price index has risen 115% while the college education inflation rate has risen nearly 500%.
And then yesterday in The New York Times, Richard Pérez Peña tells us how rough it is for those special kids applying to elite colleges:
Enrollment at American colleges is sliding, but competition for spots at top universities is more cutthroat and anxiety-inducing than ever. In the just-completed admissions season, Stanford University accepted only 5 percent of applicants, a new low among the most prestigious schools, with the odds nearly as bad at its elite rivals.
The reality is college isn’t giving people the advantage it used to over people without college degrees, with our ever-shrinking job pool.
While computer automation is partly to blame, Tyler Cowen says that’s only part of the story:
Many of the new jobs today are in health care and education, where specialized training and study are required. Across the economy, a college degree is often demanded where a high school degree used to suffice. It’s now common for a fire chief to be expected to have a master’s degree, and to perform a broader variety of business-related tasks that were virtually unheard-of in earlier generations. All of these developments mean a disadvantage for people who don’t like formal education, even if they are otherwise very talented. It’s no surprise that current unemployment has been concentrated among those with lower education levels.
A new paper by Alan B. Krueger, Judd Cramer and David Cho of Princeton has documented that the nation now appears to have a permanent class of long-term unemployed, who probably can’t be helped much by monetary and fiscal policy. It’s not right to describe these people as “thrown out of work by machines,” because the causes involve complex interactions of technology, education and market demand. Still, many people are finding this new world of work harder to navigate.
I am constantly reminded of these words by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”