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View Diary: Growing college graduation gap between rich and poor is one more sign the American dream is broken (63 comments)

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  •  I'm a middle class dad (4+ / 0-)

    with three daughters: the youngest will have her BA in May. I am a retired teacher with a waitress wife and we saved as much as we could to put towards education, meaning no vacations, crappy cars and heating with wood (free except for labor).
    All my kids will have graduated with a debt that made them sure to work right away, no wandering around for a year or two for them!
    The youngest got to have the entire college experience and went abroad for a semester. There she lived with international students who paid nothing for school and even got a small stipend to live on.
    Diversity in college today may reflect different skin colors more than different economic levels.
    Forty years ago we went to college without putting our parents in the poorhouse. Two summer jobs and work during the school year left you with a workable debt and a few bucks for a beer. My dad used to brag that his three kids all completed college and it didn't cost him a dime.
    For once, "the good old days" actually were.

    •  While the international students may pay nothing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fumie, adirtywar

      for tuition, and/or even receive a stipend for being a student, the tradeoff is (or was - I am more familiar with the situation 10 years ago, before Europeans started paying, or paying more, for higher education) high taxes.

      Effective tax rates of 40% or more for middle class Europeans were normal, along with 20% or more in sales tax (VAT).  Gas taxes?  Sky high.  Car licensing taxes?  Ditto.  Want to watch TV?  Pay taxes to have one authorized to be hooked up.  Etc.  (Additionally, with income far less polarized, good white-collar jobs paid what we'd consider very little.)

      This was the price for generous social systems such as parental leave, higher education, early retirements and pensions, state medical care, refugee and immigrant benefits, welfare for the poor and disabled, etc.  It wouldn't be financially easy, but I'd pay that price - the added long-term security and peace of mind would be worth the significant added financial hit.  But many Americans insist they are not, and want taxes cut more and more.  While there are many possible sources for government revenues, it is impossible to have sustainable government spending without sufficient government revenues.

      We are all reaping the results of a tax-cutting obsession and gross mismanagement of revenues, and I fear it will prove difficult to undo.

      •  I started adding up (0+ / 0-)

        all the crap that comes out of pocket (health care and school etc.) and I came up with about 52%. I'll have to keep the wood stove going for a while. Another $750 tacked onto health care just this year.

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