Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Is it time to restructure colleges and the media?

Victor Davis Hanson writes at National Review,
n media land, Donald Trump is a reckless tweeter; Barack Obama’s outreach to GloZell and rapper Kendrick Lamar is just kicking back and having fun (Lamar’s latest album portrayed the corpse of a judge to the toasting merriment of rappers on the White House lawn). In media land, Donald Trump risked world peace by accepting a phone call from the democratically elected president of Taiwan; Barack Obama’s talks with dictators and thugs such as Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Raul Castro were long overdue. In media land, jawboning Carrier not to relocate a plant to Mexico is an existential threat to the free market; not so when Barack Obama tried to coerce Boeing to move to Washington State to produce union-made planes, or bullied a small non-union guitar company, or reordered the bankruptcy payouts of Chrysler and essentially took over the company.

The university and the media share two traits: Both industries have become arrogant and ignorant. We have created a climate, ethically and professionally, in which extremism has bred extremism, and bias is seen not as proof of journalistic and academic corruption, but of political purity. The recent election, and especially its aftermath, embarrassed journalists and academics alike — and should not be forgotten.

If both the media and the campus are unconcerned by their obvious bias, or, indeed, brandish it proudly (recall that there were no campus lamentation centers after the presidential election in 2008 or 2012), then the public and president-elect Trump should show no reluctance in addressing their incompetence and conceit.

Higher education has a $1 trillion sword of Damocles hanging over its head in the form of aggregate student debt. The staggering sum drags down the economy, delaying marriage and child-bearing, discouraging young buyers’ home and car purchases, prolonging adolescence, and subsidizing mostly vacuous (and costly) “-studies” courses that manage to impart little knowledge but lots of superciliousness.

Any government reform should require federally subsidized colleges to reform their budgeting and keep costs well below the rate of inflation. Given colleges’ culpability for the debt, they should use their endowments and budgetary dollars to pitch in to help pay down the liability. Their prior budgets were not transparent. Annual tuition costs customarily outstripped inflation. Student borrowers were not fully apprised of the conditions and various interest rates of their Byzantine debt packages, and schools gave little if any information to inexperienced borrowers about their own likely ability after graduation to pay back such huge sums. Taxpayers who have chosen to forgo college should not be asked to subsidize the debacle created by their supposedly educated betters.

Colleges should have to follow the same rules as local car dealerships or home-mortgage lenders.
Read more here.

1 comment:

Infidel de Manahatta said...

Arrogant and ignorant. That's a bad combination.