I don’t consider myself Hemingway, nor am I trying to write daily for the New York Times. I am not getting paid to put my thoughts down so there are long……….breaks in between times I sit down to write. Part of that may be that as I age, I find myself just shaking my head at life rather than feeling I need a podium or pedestal to scream from. I mean how many times can one yell and see the lesson to fall upon deaf ears? You come to find that you are only wasting your breath and energy. I remember when I got stationed at the Pentagon in 1999. I had to carpool with my wife at the time, to her job when I would go in. She was used to me cursing, honking at cars, and screaming out the window at people who simply did whatever they wanted to do in traffic. She would sink in the seat at some of my outbursts. By the time I left in 2003, I didn’t honk, curse, or say a word. In fact she would lay on the horn for me or ask why I wasn’t flipping out. Thing was, I started to get that age thing. Who am I teaching? No matter the length of time I scream, attempt to belittle or shame someone on the road, the only person it affected was me. My blood pressure rose, my heart beat faster, and my stomach tied in knots. So, I created my own world of anxiety where I was the only resident. Hell, I paid taxes, was the mayor, and even ran against myself for President in my own little world. The world of one.
I went to college over the years I was in the military. Through multiple classes at varying places, I eventually was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree before I left the service. Afterward, I used what was left of my post 9/11 GI Bill to complete my master’s degree. During the time I was in college, I used a series of military benefits to take courses. Many of those courses were from a program called “top up”, where a portion of the class was paid for by the military while I was to pay for the rest of it out of pocket. I also had to take out a student loan for about 5k to finish my bachelor’s degree. What bothers me now is the idea that the government is going to forgive certain debts to certain people. If you qualify, 10k of your student loan debt will be eliminated. If you have children attending college or are attending yourself, you would know that 10k doesn’t pay off enough to even cover an associate’s degree. What it also does look at is the astronomical rise in education prices over the past 30 years to even attend college. There is nothing that I know of that will keep colleges from seeing this relief effort and deciding to raise tuition enough to cover for that 10k to be tacked on as well. What does this spell? A president is attempting to give you a 10k off your loan coupon. He hopes you will remember this come election time.
What our President has not explained is where that money will come from to pay off 10k of debt for those individuals. A given would be that it will come from taxpayer dollars. Some of those dollars would be from people who didn’t go to college, couldn’t afford to send their own kids to college, or both. So, how does that set with you? I didn’t want to saddle myself with debt that I feared I could not pay back, so I chose not to go to school. But, I will now have money I am taxed go towards those who dove head first into the pool without checking the depth of the water. The same could have been said for banks that “were too big to fail” or homeowners who refinanced their homes to buy big cars, boats, and lavish vacations. That is until the value of their home plummeted and they were not able to pay the difference between what they owed and the homes new value.
Somehow, responsibility for personal failure has become the governments problem. If things are going great, the government is told to stand aside and stop slowing things down. The minute that the “too good to be true” things are indeed too good to be true, everyone wants to point the finger at the government and tell them they should have been there to protect them from themselves. It is where I feel the fall of our country will come from. Don’t be around when I am able to run freely, but when I stumble, be there to ensure I don’t fall on the ground. Have a bed there, and a warm blanket. Could we have some iced tea and a good book to read as well? The more we adult, the more we attempt to become children. We want all the perks and toys without the job of keeping them squared away and clean. If they break, we should be able to just turn it in for a brand new one. It doesn’t matter that we broke it on purpose just to see how it was put together. It was someone else’s fault for having built it shabbily to begin with.
Colleges are state or private institutions. Their tuition is decided based on in state or out of state means. Private schools are ran with private money and therefore should be able to sustain themselves. State sponsored schools should protect the ability of students to receive an education without saddling them with an enormous amount of debt. But in doing so, the U.S. government decides certain loans to be made to people. The same people that if they attempted to buy a car for the same value of the college they are applying for would be denied. You are in essence giving money to someone with little to no work history with the stipulation that they will pay it back. This is without having any way of knowing if they possess the ability to do so. The bill comes due once college is done. Since there is a push to forgive debt, it would seem that we are going to school for the wrong profession, or we need that money we said we would pay to go to college to effectively survive in society.
There are plenty of trades that require no college degree. Many of them are more apprenticeship than anything. If the government wanted to be efficient, paid apprenticeships to allow a trade would be more beneficial than money on degrees that lead to dead end jobs. Its important to understand if you are interested in a profession that pays little to nothing with a degree, you should weigh the fact of that before you continue into that field. Its not the governments fault that the profession you chose pays so low. Its something the individual should consider rather than put blame somewhere it is not deserved.
As in many instances that have been decided lately, I believe its time for the federal government to step away from the decisions being made in education matters. This needs to be addressed at a state level. If its a state run school, you need to put up a good product at a competitive price. If you charge more, you may lose attendance and tuition. This may force you to close your doors. Coming from someone with a higher degree, I can tell you I have never learned more in a classroom than I have on the job. Experience in society is the greatest motivator and teacher of anything. Its also time for people to stop looking at degrees as hard as they do and look to the experience a person can bring to the classroom. I’d rather have a COO of a Fortune 500 company teach a course in finance than a tenured professor who has ran nothing in the last 30 years.