Thursday, October 15, 2015

Free College For Everyone!

I didn't pay too much attention to the Evil Party debate this week.  Didn't watch a minute of it, but since I do keep up with the news, it wasn't hard to grasp the essence of the debate:  Free Stuff for All!  Free health care!  Free College!  Wage Inequality! Greed!  Free stuff for everyone, except of course those who have to pay for it.  Those people won't get anything. 

Matt Walsh, a blogger for The Blaze wrote a really good piece on the debate, "Democrats Are Godless Heathen Tyrant Maniacs Because That's What Voters Want" - I suspect that's a deliberately over the top title.  It's a must read.

I just want to address one thing:  Free College.  Now we know that Free simply means someone else pays for it, and Comrade Sanders says he's going to tax Wall Street.  Because those costs will never be passed on to anyone, right?  Still, it's a plan that's going to attract the coveted young moron demographic along with the "let someone else be responsible for me" crowd; both are core Democrat constituencies.

Here's a couple of rough numbers for you.  The college age population of this country is roughly 22 Million people.  That census data on Wikipedia is for 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 year olds; both ages were close to that.  According to this statistics page, just over 2,136,000 Associates and Bachelor's degrees were awarded  (not sure where they come from, exactly, but the date says April, 2015).  In other words, 1/10 of the eligible population completed two or four years of college.  I include the two year associates degrees because since Sanders said four years of public college should be free, I assume he meant "up to" four years.  

It's a straightforward argument that we have far too few seats in college for the number of butts that want to occupy them.  Why do I say that?  College costs have increased at three times the rate of general inflation so if prices are going up like crazy, there's shortage of supply.  The cost increase is aided by the's willingness to supply educational loans at a virtually infinite rate.  Colleges find themselves in the happy place of being able to charge anything they want for those seats, and the butts that are going to be sitting in them will gladly take all the money from the and transfer it to those colleges.   Of the 22 million college-aged people, vs. 2.1 million who graduate, how many would go to college if it was arranged for them?  Do we need to build more colleges and hire more staff to get more seats available?  For what? 

As we're seeing emphasized recently, a college degree doesn't guarantee a well-paying job; meaningful skills do.  There's a tremendous emphasis on STEM degrees, but my guess is we're graduating too many now.  Data is saying only 1 in 4 graduates is getting a job in one of those fields.  It's true that those pushing for more STEM graduates have included fields like psychology, and social science degrees such as economics, anthropology, sociology or political science; anything that can throw the word "science" into its name.  These aren't the type of jobs that Silicon Valley (or our own Silicon Swamp) is looking for.  

Besides, it displays a stunning ignorance of how the world works.  Comrade Bernie and Comrade Chancellor Hildebeest are saying that since some college graduates appear to have an increased value in the job market, we should create more of them.  This shows complete ignorance of the law of supply and demand.  If people coming out of college make more than those who didn't go, it's because they are worth more to employers.  To create more of them is to reduce their differential value and make college even worse of a deal than it is for so many graduates today.  
(Michael Ramirez in 2012, but just as valid today)


  1. As a fairly recent STEM grad (organic chemistry), you're right, we are graduating way too many people with STEM degrees. Any time you hear or read someone lamenting the lack of qualified STEM candidates, they are full of it. What they're really saying is that they'd like to find someone to fill their open job position, give them no training whatsoever, and pay them below market wages.

    If I had any kids, I'd tell them to learn welding and scuba diving.

  2. Your blog is terrific. Thank you for your diligence and please keep up the good work.

    Your cartoon example reminded me of something Einstein said. "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Given the enthusiasm with which the public as endorsed the dumbing down of the American populace, I don't hold out any great hope for us, the U.S.

    IF the upper level school systems were doing their jobs properly, graduates wouldn't be out in the world trying to work for someone else, they would be out there building and creating businesses such that they would hire others to work for them. That, IMHO, should be the goal. That is what a "superior" education should create - superior intellect that benefits, rather than parasites on, our social/financial matrix. As it is... well, I just know that I would probably hire, and get better performance from, a homeschooled high school graduate of good reputation than an Oxford graduate of social studies. Who do you think would have the better work ethic?

    Again, please keep up the good work and God bless.


    WR in So. Cal.

  3. The politicians are buying votes. The activists are changing the world, i.e. making us more socialist. The majority of Americans are allowing this to happen. Mostly because the MSM is covering up the distasteful part of these kinds of stories. The penalty for the citizens for not being informed and paying attention is that someone steals their money and their country.

  4. Anybody starting business in this regulatory climate should do one of two things- either get connected with the elites to get a pass, or go low and slow under the radar.

    The end point of the trajectory this country is on is similar to Zimbabwe.

  5. I am a staff technician at a northern California branch of the California State University system. I work in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The University is only interested in admitting foreign students as they pay a higher tuition than domestic kids. When they graduate, they usually take their education back home. The College will accept anyone into the program as long as they are breathing and can pay the money. Most of the faculty are only interested in their Union wages and benefits. There are a few good faculty, but not enough. This last year, the State pushed us to trim the Engineering degree requirements to 125 units and 4 years. Honestly? We are graduating only half an engineer. And most of the students are only interested in where the next party is. It might as well be free and you are signed up for welfare when you leave.

  6. Anon 1209 AM - first, thanks for that insight. The difference in your conclusion is the college is guilty of fraud against the students. The students are paying for it, and they might well have a case against the state university. Granted the history of winning suits against colleges is pretty bad.

    Now picture how bad it gets if the university system thinks they've just been given a money hose and they never have to worry about ever accomplishing anything again. They will gladly suck every penny out of our wallets in perpetuity.

  7. Your assumption that if college would be free everybody would attend is failed logic.

    It is free in most countries in South America, and it is free in most of Europe, and it is easy to measure that only those who want, attend.
    People do not feel compelled to attend.