Parents like my wife and I…
My youngest is 18, just finishing high school, and ready to move on to…what?
There was a time not too long ago, I felt that in being an American we had unlimited potential. You could be anything you wanted, providing you were willing to work for it. If you were willing to sacrifice and put in the long hours, you could get good grades in school. If you got good grades in school, you could get into a good college where, if you repeated the cycle of hard work and good grades, you’d land a good job. More hard work, long hours, you would be ready for a family of your own if that’s what you wanted. Eventually, you’d be watching your kid step out into the world, and…what?
Today, I’m not so sure if any of the above is possible. I know the changes that are coming for her generation, due to the malfeasance and ineptitude of the earlier generations, will leave them struggling just to survive.
We’ve really screwed things up. All of us. Whether we woke to what was going on behind our backs too late, or we were in on it, we did this to our kids. We helped create the entitlement society, which was created by pandering for votes in the quest for power. When it was/is our guys in charge, we largely kept our mouths shut. Yay team.
For myself, I apologize, kids. All I can offer you at this point is a Rally Point. Wherever mom and I are, that’s where you go when the crap hits the fan. We’ll figure it out from there.
His post below is particularly significant to, for example, my youngest daughter (in other words, pay attention), because the school she wants to attend is a for profit institution. The person who signed her up is likely going to be getting a commission, and likely couldn’t care less that my daughter is about to sign for a mountain of debt that she’ll owe to the federal government. The federal government is a machine that will grind a person up to get it’s money back. They kick old people out in the street on a daily basis. In attending this school, one has to be ready to get good grades at all costs (no pressure, right?), and once it’s completed, to be ready to hit the ground running and make a living at what they teach her. Did I mention she’ll be competing with every other kid in that class for the same jobs? Oh yeah…that too.
So with that, so most of what Mike Rowe writes in his Facebook post below is good, and there’s just no way to highlight certain paragraphs, you have to read it all. I will start you off with one, though. He compares the current student loan situation with the previous decade’s housing crisis:
It’s hard to look at the universal push for college and not think of the universal push for home ownership. It began the same way – with a growing belief that buying a house was something more than a practical, financial decision. Somewhere along the line, home ownership started to feel like an expectation, and then a “right.” Our leaders began to talk about it at every turn. President Clinton kicked it off in ’94. He said, “More Americans should own their own homes, for reasons that go to the heart of what it means to harbor, to nourish, to expand the American Dream.” A few years later, President Bush doubled down on that same sentiment. “We can put light where there’s darkness, if we work together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home.”
Eventually, it became politically incorrect to even suggest that someone of modest means might be better off renting. So America’s leaders encouraged people with no collateral and little savings to assume a mortgage. Vast sums of money were spread around with little or no downpayment required. Institutions structured loans that no sane person would agree to, but because the underlying beliefs about owning a home were so powerful, sanity was overlooked. Of course, the whole thing was a house of cards, the taxpayers got stuck with the tab, and we’re still arguing over who’s to blame.
Is the student loan bubble really so different?
Read the rest…