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Author Topic: Answering Ted Cruz's valid question
Greg Davidson
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quote:
SEN. TED CRUZ: This is not a cage match. How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?
What are the top 5 substantive, issue-based questions that all candidates in both parties should be asked in the debates?
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Greg Davidson
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(1) What do you see as the risks from climate change, and what steps (if any) would you take to address those risks?

(2) What were the causes of the economic collapse in 2008, and are there any further actions that you would take to address the risks of that happening again?

(3) What major changes would your proposals make to taxes or spending, and specifically (in billions of dollars) where would the savings or additional spending be?

(4) What are the three greatest foreign policy risks or opportunities that we face, and how would you address them?

(5) What are the three greatest domestic policy risks or opportunities for Americans, and how would you address them?

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Fenring
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(1) Do you believe in American exceptionalism and aggressive foreign policy?

(2) Do you believe in international law?

(3) What is your position on campaign finance and money in politics?

(4) Are American citizens entitled to privacy, and to the ownership of their own data?

(5) What is your position on the TPP?

Granted, these issues are more specific than Greg's and only address a few issues, but I personally consider these issues to eclipse all others in relevance by orders of magnitude. I didn't list tax plans among my questions since that is something the candidates were actually asked.

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jasonr
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These are all adequate questions, but it's irrelevant because any answers given will be meaningless platitudes. The media will not permit candidates to speak substantively on any subject so any response to questions will be meaningless.
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AI Wessex
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I remember watching the Nixon-Kennedy debates when they happened. You can still watch them online. Compare their manner and that of the moderator with any you've seen in the past two election cycles.

I will mention the famous assessment that Nixon "won" the first debate among people who listened on the radio and Kennedy "won" among those who watched it on TV. So clearly substance isn't the only thing that matters, but back then it mattered a lot more than it does now.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
I remember watching the Nixon-Kennedy debates when they happened. You can still watch them online. Compare their manner and that of the moderator with any you've seen in the past two election cycles.

I will mention the famous assessment that Nixon "won" the first debate among people who listened on the radio and Kennedy "won" among those who watched it on TV. So clearly substance isn't the only thing that matters, but back then it mattered a lot more than it does now.

I'm watching the Nixon-Kennedy 1st debate of 1960 right now, and it's like night and day between then and now. Aside from the fact that I'm not sure why the subjective assessment of 'who won' is germane to the discussion of the tone of debates nowadays, I should point out that Cruz's comments are in regards to primaries, whereas the debates you mention were party vs party for the Presidency. It wouldn't be feasible to have a Presidential debate where one candidate is treated rudely and the other cordially, but it seems that it's rather easy to get away with treating all Republican candidates shabbily at the same time. The uniformity of that treatment not only obscures the very fact of its presence due to lack of contrast, but can also be written off as the mere pointing out of facts by those who endorse partisan media participation.

That being said, the tone of the moderators in the Kennedy-Nixon debate seem to be entirely neutral, asked almost in a monotone, and the questions are simply vehicles to allow the candidates to speak their thoughts on why they should be elected. None of the questions I've heard so far have any negative tone, nor are they designed to attempt to show the candidate as being a good or bad candidate. Nixon was posed one question that asked him to verify a statement he had made, but it was posed in such a way as to ask him to clarify his comments and was not leading or suggestive in any way of what the answer should be.

In short the CNBC moderators were smug and almost sarcastic with their questions, and this isn't the way it used to be. It also bears mentioning that in the 1960 debate there are questioners present from various media outlets all there to participate at the same time, rather than having the minions of one network having their little go at the candidates.

I'd also like to take a moment to agree with jasonr, insofar as the most pertinent questions will never be asked on network TV nowadays, and if important topics are addressed it seems to be done in a manner that doesn't permit significant answers.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Aside from the fact that I'm not sure why the subjective assessment of 'who won' is germane to the discussion of the tone of debates nowadays
Even those debates (which were like actual debates) were done to win the attentions of voters. The consensus view of historians is that Kennedy's telegenic performances gained him enough votes to win the election. That and machine politics in Illinois and Texas, of course. Kennedy carried almost all of the south and Nixon carried California and most of the west. Things have changed.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
Aside from the fact that I'm not sure why the subjective assessment of 'who won' is germane to the discussion of the tone of debates nowadays
Even those debates (which were like actual debates) were done to win the attentions of voters. The consensus view of historians is that Kennedy's telegenic performances gained him enough votes to win the election. That and machine politics in Illinois and Texas, of course. Kennedy carried almost all of the south and Nixon carried California and most of the west. Things have changed.
Fine. But I'm not talking about the fact that candidates can win or lose by how good they look in debates. I'm talking about the fact that the moderators appear to now be exploiting this fact by trying to make certain candidates look bad on partisan lines. It simply undermines whatever shred of credibility the debates had in the first place. We knew from before debates tended to be fluff (although I remember from Clinton/Bush/Perot they weren't the fluff they are nowadays) but now they're partisan fluff. I guess this was inevitable.
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AI Wessex
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It's not just partisan lines. FOX was (surprisingly) pretty tough in the first debate. I think they were trying to do a little self-serving "partisan" field winnowing by going hard after Trump, for instance. The media consensus in some quarters was that FOX themselves won that debate. In the second debate the moderators goal was to get the candidates to squabble with each other. Fiorina zinged her way to winning that one and saw her poll numbers jump the next morning, even though she didn't really say anything substantive. Many people believe the winner of the third debate was Clinton, because she didn't stand on the stage and make a fool of herself. Were any of them Presidential? Jeb's comment that the only one who did worse than him was CNBC applies to the rest of them, as well.

The candidates have decided that their own Party Central Committee can't even run a debate, so they're kicking the driver out of the clown car. This past Sunday they gathered by themselves to decide how to collectively plan the next debate, but that failed as miserably as everything else they've been doing. The fourth debate should be even more exciting, but I wonder if there will even be one now or if they will give up altogether.

In other words, don't blame the media for making them look like fools. They do that just fine on their own whenever they get together.

The reason I brought up the K-N debates is because what was then a civic exercise in understanding and internalizing serious discussion about the US strategic directions has "evolved" into something entirely different today. In the current world, news and commentary are hopelessly entwined with social/media entertainment. Infotainment rules the waves. We want to know the candidates ratings, not their facts.

[ November 03, 2015, 05:55 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
SEN. TED CRUZ: This is not a cage match. How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?
What are the top 5 substantive, issue-based questions that all candidates in both parties should be asked in the debates?
Since they ignore the questions anyway and talk about what they want to talk about, why does it matter what questions are asked?
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AI Wessex
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Yes,

Q: What is your biggest weakness?
A: Obama.. blah..blah Obama blah..blah..blah ****ing Obama blah..blah Clinton!!

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Seriati
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1) How are you going to increase income for middle class families?

2) How are you going to increase income for lower class families?

3) How are you going to contain and reverse the ridiculous increase in the cost of a college education?

4) How are you going to reform our (still) broken health care system?

5) What do you see as the role of the US in international politics, and how do you see that impacting the world's hot spots?

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AI Wessex
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Is it the job of the government to increase incomes? Isn't that what business is all about? All government can do is control taxes.

I also would like answers to your questions 3, 4 and 5.

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Fenring
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Why is income not the government's business but the cost of a commercial product (university training/education) is?
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AI Wessex
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Government doesn't set wages. Explain how government sets the cost of commercial education.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Government doesn't set wages. Explain how government sets the cost of commercial education.

You wanted an answer to Seriati's question about how the government will regulate the cost of going to college. I want to know why you think interfering in this part of the economy is ok but not in the income area?
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AI Wessex
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Reading comprehension alert: Neither Seriati nor I used the words "regulate" or "sets the cost" or "commercial" in regards to college education.
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Seriati
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In fairness it's not the job of government to increase incomes, however, the government has gone out of its way to interfere in the financial markets, lending market, housing market, health insurance markets, employment markets and pretty much anything else it can plausibly (or implausibly) justify, which has created the environment where real income has been going down for everyone but the wealthy. Given that background, it's perfectly reasonable to me, to ask a Presidential candidate about how they think the mess should be corrected. Philosophically, I'd expect the Republicans to say they want to unwind it, and the Democrats to say we need even more government interference, but any of the answers would be illuminating from a voting perspective.

I mean honestly, how can it be less relevant than the bad interview question "what's your biggest weakness"?

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Reading comprehension alert: Neither Seriati nor I used the words "regulate" or "sets the cost" or "commercial" in regards to college education.

How does a government (more specifically, a President) "contain and reverse" the increasing cost of going to college, other than by introducing regulation? Maybe Seriati can answer what sorts of things he would expect to hear from such a question.

As for "commercial", college is a service offered for a price. I don't see how this isn't by definition commercial. You're saying you want government to presumably do something about the cost of this service/product. As for "regulation" let's see how Wiki defines this:

quote:
A regulation is a legal norm intended to shape conduct that is a by-product of imperfection. A regulation may be used to prescribe or proscribe conduct ("command-and-control" regulation), to calibrate incentives ("incentive" regulation), or to change preferences ("preferences shaping" regulation")
How does this not fit with what you're talking about? Student loans, for example, are an incentive to go to college. This is a kind of regulation (i.e. government interference in the free market). What else can the government actually do about tuition prices other than interfere in one way or another? I mean, other than telling people not to go to college, I guess. That's free advice.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
In fairness it's not the job of government to increase incomes, however, the government has gone out of its way to interfere in the financial markets, lending market, housing market, health insurance markets, employment markets and pretty much anything else it can plausibly (or implausibly) justify, which has created the environment where real income has been going down for everyone but the wealthy. Given that background, it's perfectly reasonable to me, to ask a Presidential candidate about how they think the mess should be corrected. Philosophically, I'd expect the Republicans to say they want to unwind it, and the Democrats to say we need even more government interference, but any of the answers would be illuminating from a voting perspective.

I mean honestly, how can it be less relevant than the bad interview question "what's your biggest weakness"?

You and Fenring think that all regulation (which are laws) are interference. That's the entire "business" of government, so you are painting everything government does with an exceedingly broad brush.

Fenring apparently thinks everything involving the exchange of money is commercial, so if government is involved in giving loans and scholarships that is a commercial activity. I think that it is instead support and assistance, though I think those programs should be reviewed and altered in some ways. The cost to students is far too high now.

Students don't have to attend school past the age of 16, so is everyone's senior year a commercial engagement because teachers are paid and buildings are maintained?

You both have such a negative attitude that it's hard to respond. My view is that government needs to do what only government can to make education more valuable and productive. That means some of spending money, some of regulating the "product" and some of holding schools accountable when they fail to live up to legal or public expectations. It's not a perfect system, not even close, so I'd like the candidates to talk about how to address that problem, as apparently so does Seriati.

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Fenring
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I'm not sure how you describe my replies as having a negative attitude since my first comment to you was a question. That question was about why you think government should try to affect one area of life but not another. When I explained my question a bit more I got the sarcastic reply from you "reading comprehension alert." And you still didn't really answer my question, not that you have to.
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AI Wessex
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You got the alert because you made three distinct errors about the contents of a single sentence. I thought my previous response was on point.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
You got the alert because you made three distinct errors about the contents of a single sentence. I thought my previous response was on point.

All 'three errors' were quibbles about terms which the definition I provided eliminated. I guess you're one of those people who doesn't like it when definitions to words are provided...
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AI Wessex
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I responded to that, too. The cost of a college education is way out of proportion to the incomes of families and their children who attend. As a result, the student has to take on sometimes enormous debt responsibilities that burden them for years, possibly decades, after they complete their studies. In decades past that debt burden was lower and the job and income prospects were higher than they are today. It is becoming a bad investment while at the same time employers increasingly expect new hires to have had that higher level of education. This is exacerbated by competition with foreign (mostly Asian) job applicants who can get the same level and quality of education in their home countries without the same debt liability. Since any hiree gets the same salary, that in turn means that foreign born and educated employees will have more money to spend and potentially a higher standard of living than their American office mates.

My daughter graduated college 15 years ago with substantial loans that I repaid. She then went through grad school to get an MFA in cello performance, which she is responsible to repay. She's a fine and talented musician, but that profession doesn't pay nearly as well as some others. The government terms of the loan take that into account, and she has been allowed to defer repaying them. If her income remains below a certain threshold for the next 20 or so years the loans will be forgiven. The rub is that if her income rises or she marries and her husband's income pushes her above the threshold she would immediately become liable for the full amount of the outstanding debt. Meanwhile, interest on the balance is continuing to accrue. Consider that it therefore makes financial sense for her to keep her income low or marry someone who loves her enough and has enough money to pay off her loans. Unless she wins the lottery or he's really rich, no home ownership for her soon, if ever.

My daughter's predicament is hardly unique. Nationally, student loan debt is now over $1T, much higher than credit card debt. How we got ourselves into this mess is clear; how we get out of it isn't.

[ November 04, 2015, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Fenring
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No, I agree with the problem. My question was (honestly) why you think it's the government's job to deal with it?
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AI Wessex
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They have to be involved in the solution, since the federally insured loans that students get are a significant reason why college tuition has risen by (one estimate) 165% in the past 15 years while family incomes have stagnated or fallen. In other words, colleges know the government wants you to go to college enough to virtually guarantee you will be able to borrow to pay the cost, so colleges have raised those costs knowing that students will be able to get the money to pay. Colleges take no responsibility for what happens to the student or their loans once they graduate, hence they have no reason to hold down the costs.

It's a weird aspect of our "capitalist" economy that people want government to pay for things but at the same time don't want them to regulate the industries they subsidize.

[ November 04, 2015, 09:55 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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TomDavidson
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In the case of escalating college costs, the best thing the government could do is immediately get out of the business of subsidizing and guaranteeing credit.

Federally-subsidized loans seem well-intentioned, but they are causing this problem.

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AI Wessex
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That's extreme, but not far off. I think government should have the authority to regulate any industry they subsidize. Colleges aren't regulated, so the government has to find a way to help students get an education without giving colleges free rein to one-up them with tuition and housing cost increases.
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Fenring
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So let's say government got out of the business of giving out student loans, and let's even suggest that this would yield the positive result of colleges lowering their tuition by, say, 25% to compensate. Given the extreme magnitude of tuition this amount would still have to be paid for, and if it had to be paid upfront it would be unaffordable for most people. If they took out a loan to afford the new lower cost the amount would still be outrageous; imagine that it now takes 15 years to pay off the loan instead of 20. Further, we might even imagine private institutions beginning to offer special student loans at the same rate the government used to to fill the niche, and maybe tuition would even go back up again to what it was before.

The bottom line is that the cost of tuition itself is the nightmare. Government interference may have made it worse by incentivizing colleges to raise the amount, but either way the real problem seems to be that what used to be an upper-class shi shi luxury has become the new equivalent of high school. Aside from professionals that must train in a university or vocational school, all the rest of the people going into various liberal arts need to go whether or not their diplomas will be relevant in terms of the career their pursue. And the cost of that often-useless diploma is the next worse thing to buying a house (which thanks to student loans fewer people than ever can do).

So again - if government is supposed to do something about this (and I'm not out of hand saying it shouldn't) I'd ask just what you think that is.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
How does a government (more specifically, a President) "contain and reverse" the increasing cost of going to college, other than by introducing regulation? Maybe Seriati can answer what sorts of things he would expect to hear from such a question.

That's two unrelated questions (what I would expect to hear as responses - mostly ideological garbage - and what a government/President could do).

First, lets be specific, a President should be able to do very little directly. However, they have massive influence on direction and policy because of their ability to speak to and for the people with the lawmakers. A President can set big ideals or direct solutions, they just can't implement them alone.

I agree with Tom on this, the number one cause of rising costs is the ridiculous college loans policies of the Federal Government. We'd have been, and still would be, better off with straight grants (though even those would automatically and recklessly get sucked up by the schools as well). However, there are things, short of cutting the loans off entirely, that could work. Completely cutting the loans off could work but it would be hugely disruptive and probable lead to a lost generation.

Think of the impact a simple Title IX like change would make, no federal funding for any institution where the total cost of attendance (room, board and tuition) exceeds X dollars. Or phasing out all federal lending for an institution that fails to reduce such number by X% year over year until they are under a target. It would a big difference if people could pillage their 401k's tax free to pay their kids tuition (instead of having to use the crappy tax free accounts that are currently available or pay massive fees and punitive taxes). I can guarantee you'd see the vast majority of schools just make it in under the line (no matter where the line was set), and even those that choose to forego the funding would have material changes.

Heck, just letting people borrower from their own 401k's/retirement (and pay interest and principal back to their own benefit) instead of a bank would have a huge impact (though not necessarily an economically fair one).
quote:
As for "commercial", college is a service offered for a price. I don't see how this isn't by definition commercial. You're saying you want government to presumably do something about the cost of this service/product.
Is it though? Is a service offered for a price? Or is it required credentialing regardless of native ability for a trade off of debt slavery. It's pretty easy to leave a 4 year institution with six figures in debt and low five figures in annual income. Is it really sensible for our credentialing system to require 20, 30 or 40 years (or more) of debt slavery? What part of that is actually a commercial transaction - ie for how many people is the primary purpose of college to obtain skills rather than a degree? How many would take a college education for half off if it barred them from getting the degree? How many would pay for a degree and skip the required years if they could do so?
quote:
What else can the government actually do about tuition prices other than interfere in one way or another?
They could stop inflating them? Stop incentivizing the increases?

They could de-incentivize credentialing requirements based on degrees entirely - like for example by letting anyone sit for a professional exam and letting anyone who can pass it practice the profession. You may have to make the exams more difficult and thorough to ensure you still get qualified practitioners. How would such a free market solution be characterized as more regulatory?

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AI Wessex
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I honestly don't know, but if I were running for President I would think I'd be obligated to give it some thought. That's what Greg was asking us to think about.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The bottom line is that the cost of tuition itself is the nightmare.
And the expectation that colleges are required for personal and professional advancement.

College should not be an expectation. It should also not be subsidized.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
I honestly don't know, but if I were running for President I would think I'd be obligated to give it some thought. That's what Greg was asking us to think about.

I agree and maybe some of Seriati's ideas are good. I wasn't passive-aggressively telling you that government shouldn't interfere with the college situation. I was legitimately asking why the government should interfere in one area of the economy but not another. You shouldn't take that to mean I think it should be in neither; maybe I think it should be involved in both. But honestly I just wanted to know what you thought and wasn't passing judgement.

quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
As for "commercial", college is a service offered for a price. I don't see how this isn't by definition commercial. You're saying you want government to presumably do something about the cost of this service/product.
Is it though? Is a service offered for a price? Or is it required credentialing regardless of native ability for a trade off of debt slavery. It's pretty easy to leave a 4 year institution with six figures in debt and low five figures in annual income. Is it really sensible for our credentialing system to require 20, 30 or 40 years (or more) of debt slavery? What part of that is actually a commercial transaction - ie for how many people is the primary purpose of college to obtain skills rather than a degree? How many would take a college education for half off if it barred them from getting the degree? How many would pay for a degree and skip the required years if they could do so?
At present I believe zero people would attend college at any significant price if the degree didn't come with it. For professional training they obviously need the training for their careers, but they absolutely cannot work without the degree/diploma. An engineer, for instance, who knows the content of all the courses but just never completes his last credit and graduates, will probably not find work. And it's worse in the liberal arts, where the degree is basically everything. An English, poly-sci, economics etc etc degree isn't worth jack outside of academia except to increase the student's knowledge about the world. In most cases this knowledge will not impact how qualified they are to do the job they end up doing, with business degrees probably being an exception.

There are two standards for why to go to college, and the fact that they've been conflated is the crux of the problem. On the one hand people are told they should go so that they can become educated. This is an aristocrat mentality where the idea is to spend time and money simply improving the quality of the person exterior to the idea of financial gain. In fact, the element of creating social contacts there was a chief reason for the upper classes to attend, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with one's career. On the other hand, we are told that to get most jobs a college degree is needed, and consequently most people who can go to college because they know that failing to do so will cripple their career options. This is an entirely separate and distinct reason from the aristocrat's reason, and in fact is in conflict with it directly. The latter reason is one born of need - need for income, and the former is precisely one where income is a non-issue.

In our time the amount of people for whom income isn't an issue is probably very low, which means that the primary driver for people to go to college is likely job prospects. If this is the case then the degree itself is the only relevant thing, which makes attending college more like buying a product even than hiring a service. I just called it a service before since what you're actually getting is the time of the teachers along with access to the facilities, which seems service-like aesthetically. But at the end of the day 'education' surely cannot be worth a 6-figure debt when the entire reason for going for the majority of people is to give themselves career opportunities.

[ November 04, 2015, 12:15 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
An English, poly-sci, economics etc etc degree isn't worth jack outside of academia except to increase the student's knowledge about the world.
Which was, of course, the reason colleges came into existence to begin with. My degree is in English Lit. and Philosophy. Without that background I never would have had the discipline to master the profession I ended up in.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
An English, poly-sci, economics etc etc degree isn't worth jack outside of academia except to increase the student's knowledge about the world.
Which was, of course, the reason colleges came into existence to begin with. My degree is in English Lit. and Philosophy. Without that background I never would have had the discipline to master the profession I ended up in.
Well, college as such was originally trade school in the middle ages through the Renaissance, pretty much exclusively for doctors, lawyers and theologians. I think it started to be a social scene and fancy-pants gentleman's education later on, although I'm not that knowledgeable on the topic. This thing about college being 'for everyone', it seems to me, began after WWII.

As for what it did for you, to each their own and different people get different things out of it. If one learns discipline there then that's a good thing, but I'm not really sure how many people learn that in college. I would also like to think that learning and thinking skills are developed there which can help with one's job, but I'm also skeptical that this is really the case in reality for the majority of people who attend. In any event I don't think the tuition costs are reasonable just to learn work discipline; that's an awfully expensive price tag for something that you could learn in a trade school or even in an apprenticeship/internship. I still think that if not for the diploma in hand and the doors that opens the whole thing wouldn't be worth it to most people.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I still think that if not for the diploma in hand and the doors that opens the whole thing wouldn't be worth it to most people.
It should be noted that even with a diploma in hand and theoretically opened doors, it turns out that college has not been "worth it" for at least a decade -- and even longer, if you take certain jobs that use college as a form of professional certification (like engineering, medicine, etc.) out of the equation. The salary differential between an art history major or music performance major and someone without a college degree working in the same non-academic field (i.e. excluding professors) is negligible, and has been for some time.
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scifibum
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In a high unemployment scenario, those college degrees are sometimes a foot in the door that makes the difference between having a job and not having a job, even if they don't make for a higher salary.

Of course, if you're going to get a degree so you can out-compete high school graduates, a cheaper degree might be the best option. The quality of the education doesn't make much difference to the call center hiring drones.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I still think that if not for the diploma in hand and the doors that opens the whole thing wouldn't be worth it to most people.
It should be noted that even with a diploma in hand and theoretically opened doors, it turns out that college has not been "worth it" for at least a decade -- and even longer, if you take certain jobs that use college as a form of professional certification (like engineering, medicine, etc.) out of the equation. The salary differential between an art history major or music performance major and someone without a college degree working in the same non-academic field (i.e. excluding professors) is negligible, and has been for some time.
Right. Maybe what government can do is start to tell people they don't need to attend college automatically. This can be a social change just as much as a policy one. Right now people sort of seem to think they have to go, or that if they don't they'll lose out, and this is a perception thing along with a somewhat real thing. But if perceptions change maybe this could help mitigate the amount of people who end up deep in debt and frankly had no business going there in the first place.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Well, college as such was originally trade school in the middle ages through the Renaissance, pretty much exclusively for doctors, lawyers and theologians. I think it started to be a social scene and fancy-pants gentleman's education later on, although I'm not that knowledgeable on the topic. This thing about college being 'for everyone', it seems to me, began after WWII.
I won't quibble since you're generally correct, but my reading of the Medieval college environment had the trivium and quadrivium curricula during the same period as the guild (mysterium) scholastic movements. If you want to waste a perfectly good hour check out the etymology of the terms "mystery plays" and "mystery sonatas". I've wasted plenty of my own hours on things like that.

You're definitely correct about the movement toward college "for everyone" that it came after and as a direct result of the prosperity drive and emergence of the middle class following WWII. Us boomers knew we were going to college even before we got to high school and were channeled into college prep courses as many of our (male) friends were pushed toward artisan and mechanics programs.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:

There are two standards for why to go to college, and the fact that they've been conflated is the crux of the problem. On the one hand people are told they should go so that they can become educated. This is an aristocrat mentality where the idea is to spend time and money simply improving the quality of the person exterior to the idea of financial gain.

This is an element of education which industrialization has pushed out as a need for everyone. The more specialized and repetitive certain jobs become, the greater the need to compliment them with education to prevent the damage that mindless work can otherwise cause.

quote:
In fact, the element of creating social contacts there was a chief reason for the upper classes to attend, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with one's career.
NOthing do do with your career? There are few things as important to a person's career as their network of contacts, both in terms of being able to learn where work is available and in terms of being able to use them to be noticed and advance through hiring processes.
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