Sunday, May 12, 2013

Selling our children into slavery

There are few places on planet earth where the young are not royally screwed.  50% unemployment rates are fairly common.  But very few places rival good old USA for the evil treatment of their children.

Case in point—education.  In places like Minnesota, middle and high school education is well-funded and quite luxurious.  There are dozens of organized activities devoted towards personal enrichment.  Athletic teams often travel in coach-type buses.  In the town where I last lived, the high school had an enormous arts wing that included practice rooms, a theater, and a video editing complex that had two dozen Final Cut Pro editing suites.  In spite of the built-in trauma of being 15, these years may be the most comfortable and stimulating of many student's lives.  Unfortunately, while high school like this can be a lot of fun, the students graduate knowing FAR less of anything as academically rigorous as their grandparents had to know to graduate the eighth grade.

No problem.  They can all just go to college.  Nice plan but college can cost upwards of $50,000 a year.  Who can afford that?  Well, almost no one but hey, there is always the trip to the friendly arms of the moneychangers.  And so to get the education they should have gotten in high school, they go into massive debt.  And not just any debt, mind you, but debt that can never be discharged with bankruptcy.  Kids who simply want to obtain the skills they need to survive in today's society must sell themselves into debt slavery to get them.

And while our banks can borrow at nearly 0% interest, the poor, overwhelmed students must pay something close to the rates for consumer debt.  The government has been subsidizing the rate to keep it at 3.4% but the rates are set to double to 6.8% July 1st.  Elizabeth Warren seems to think that student loan interest rates should be closer to .75%.  She isn't about to address the naked rip-off of the young by an education business that charges $50k / year for a mostly worthless diploma, but at least she understands the concept of usury.

Here, Assif Mondvi looks at what students are actually getting for their high-priced educations and suggests that kids would be much better off staying out of school, seeking more practical alternatives, and not selling themselves into debt bondage.  For something out of a comedy show, this is intense and powerful.

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