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Cross-posted at Alevei.

The economist Luigi Zingales published an interesting op-ed in the New York Times back in June titled "The College Graduate as Collateral," in which he proposes a financial aid program in which venture capitalists would finance college attendance for students who can't afford to pay for it themselves. "In exchange for their capital," Zingales writes, "the investors would receive a fraction of a student’s future income," which would be collected on behalf of the investor by the IRS.

After my initial reaction (indentured servitude?), I temporarily shushed my inner skeptic and decided to hear him out because heaven knows we need some creative alternatives ASAP for helping non-affluent students pay for college without the risk of indebting themselves (and/or their loved ones) for the rest of their lives.

Zingales, the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and David G. Booth Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago, is critical of the "crony capitalism" that he says is driving the U.S. economy into the ground and threatening democracy in this country in the process (which is true, only not in the way he thinks). The equity-financing idea he discusses in the op-ed is explored in greater detail in his new book, A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity. (Reviews here and here. Fairly generous preview here.)

When I saw that A Capitalism for the People, a book whose central argument is (as Zingales puts it in an interview with the Independent) that "Entrenched big business interests are taking the country over, while lobbyists and political insiders make millions from their personal connections to an ever-expanding federal government," has been endorsed by 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, well, that turned out to be the kind of information that I could not possibly deal with in the brief aside I had initially planned for it. In my defense, though, there is no question in my mind that really all this stuff is ultimately about the same thing.

Ryan's endorsement of A Capitalism for the People is interesting on many levels. For one thing, just in case anyone had any question about it, the endorsement answers unequivocally that Ryan is in fact a man for whom irony, if it is not completely dead, is in a deep, deep coma or at the very least an ongoing drunken stupor. It would be a cliché to say that Ryan invented crony capitalism -- for one thing, he's a young guy and it has been around for a long time -- but his family history and his activities as a member of Congress suggest that he is certainly an enthusiastic and capable heir to the tradition.

And the guy on whom he has recently staked his own fortune (Oh, not literally, of course, ha ha. You can rest assured that he'll keep making plenty of bank no matter what happens in November) is no slouch, either. They are a wonderful team for representing a party whose astonishing hypocrisy has yet to find anything close to its bounds.

Here is Ryan's blurb for the book:

In A Capitalism for the People, Luigi Zingales exposes the pernicious collusion of big business and big government -- offering the sharp analytical perspective of a world-renowned economist and the unique personal perspective of an immigrant living the American Dream. This must-read for policymakers and citizens alike serves as a lucid call to action for rediscovering what makes America exceptional. 

Oh, wait, did Luigi say something else besides 'an ever-expanding federal government'? Sorry, I was busy trying to destroy Medicare as we know it. LOL!

OK, I added that last part.

But seriously, don't let the Paul Ryan Stamp of Approval stop you from checking out A Capitalism for the People. Might as well know what we're dealing with here, although I can definitely empathize with any reluctance you might be feeling if your mother raised you as mine did, which was to understand the extent to which we are all judged by the company we keep.

Anyway, I have heard that Ryan actually does read (which as we all know is not a prerequisite for the job of vice presidential candidate), so he might actually have read A Capitalism for the People. If he did, my hat is off to whatever mad skillz he would have had to muster in order to negotiate like the champ he is the cognitive dissonance that any normal human being in his position would experience in response to an actual critique of crony capitalism.

(Hint: It may be easier if you think of "crony capitalism" as something that people like Barack Obama engage in. Republicans, by contrast, create synergies in smart public-private partnerships. See the difference? You're welcome.)

But back to Zingales. As I mentioned above, I figured I would hear him out and give him the benefit of the doubt and not immediately write him off as one of those "let 'em eat indentured servitude" types who can't wait to dismantle the public funding of higher education or public education in general or public everything else or all of the above.

But his association with Paul Ryan is obviously troubling, as is his affiliation with the Manhattan Institute, the conservative think tank that published A Capitalism for the People and for which Zingales serves as a contributing editor for the Institute's City Journal (alongside such luminaries as the former New York Times reporter and Iraq war propagandist Judith "the aspens are turning" Miller). The Manhattan Institute even has its very own Center for the American University, which in August proclaimed that "Ryan's Plan Is Good for Higher Ed," which should give you an idea of what they're about.

Which brings us to a June 2011 article that Zingales published in the City Journal, "The GOP's Strongest Candidate," which concludes thusly (and that's my emphasis in all quotes starting with this one):

Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan says that he’s not running, and I assume he means it, but the GOP clearly needs a candidate more like Ryan than like Mitt Romney, currently the party’s leading candidate and a favorite of the establishment. A candidate in Ryan’s mold, from the Jack Kemp tradition of libertarian conservatives who helped make the GOP great, would be a strong believer in free markets who is not beholden to the bailout-addicted big-business establishment. This kind of candidate, if the GOP could only find him, could win in 2012 and help get the nation’s economy back on track.

Oh, if they could only find him! But you probably see the problem here: He doesn't exist. That's why they can't find him.

I will concede that Paul Ryan meets the criteria for "a candidate in Ryan's mold," but that's as far as I am willing to go. And I would have to dispute any claim or even a polite suggestion that a candidate in that "mold" (and perhaps especially including Ryan himself) is somehow something other than "beholden to the bailout-addicted big-business establishment," because come on.

In another article from June of last year, Newsweek and Daily Beast White House reporter Daniel Stone explains "Ryan's Shrewd Budget Payday" for us:

When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the GOP blueprint for cutting government spending, he asked Americans to make sacrifices on everything from Medicare to education, while preserving lucrative tax subsidies for the booming oil, mining and energy industries.

This sure looks like it could be an example of beholden-ness. But no! It turns out that this part of Ryan's proposed budget has absolutely nothing! to do with doing any favors for Big Oil. As Stone reports, it is just about a man trying to provide for his family, like anyone would do! To wit:

It turns out a constituency within his own personal investments stood to benefit from those tax breaks, Newsweek and The Daily Beast have learned. The financial disclosure report Ryan filed with Congress last month and made public this week shows he and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan's budget plan.


Aside from the land-lease income, Ryan could also personally benefit from the package of subsidies and incentives he has fought to protect. According to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation, Ryan himself would be eligible to recover money from the government for investments the four family companies might make in such things as machines and maintenance if they didn’t pan out on the properties and failed to generate revenue.

See? He wasn't trying to help the oil companies in any way! Take that, naysayers!

(And I am sure I don't have to point out that having his investments guaranteed by the federal government should in no way be taken as an endorsement of "big government!" By that I mean it shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of the kind of "big government" that might help other people's families.)

But Stone has more:

Ryan’s office says the congressman wasn’t thinking about himself or the oil companies that lease his land when he drafted the budget blueprint that extended the energy tax breaks. “These are properties that Congressman Ryan married into*,” spokesman Kevin Seifert said. “It’s not something he has a lot of control over.”

(*Editor's note: Back in the olden days, they used to call that kind of thing "sleeping your way to the top." I mean, that's what they would have called it if a woman did it. LOL!)

But now I'm confused. Not thinking about oil companies? Not trying to provide for his family? Who was he thinking about, then? I mean, we're talking about a hugely expensive provision that ought to have been an easy target in a proposed budget that slashes pretty much everything else.  Are we really supposed to believe that it just sort of happened, miraculously and serendipitously, without any kind of thought or planning or intent, that the oil subsidies somehow escaped becoming one of Rep. Ryan's tough choices?

Yes! That's right! It is just a lucky, happy coincidence that sparing these enormous tax breaks for the oil, mining, and other energy industries (as long as they aren't green) would just accidentally happen to result in the continuation of lucrative benefits to the budget's author and several industries to which he is no way beholden! Alevei!

So I have to say, this all leaves me with a few questions about Zingales's judgment. And now that I have a better idea about the kinds of characters with whom he associates, it is much more clear to me why in the Times op-ed that this post was originally going to be about, he takes completely bogus shots at career academics (a group which, as he does point out, includes himself, although there is more to say about that and I will say a bunch of it below).

And who could be more credible than an actual professor when it comes to perpetuating the kinds of facepalm-inducing stereotypes of professors in which some on the right seem to delight in trafficking?

Zingales does this by suggesting that student financial aid in the form of Pell grants (direct aid to students that does not have to be paid back) and subsidies that support federally guaranteed student loans (by keeping interest rates relatively low -- although I'd like to introduce you to mine sometime -- and paying the interest as it accrues on behalf of students while they are still in school) constitutes "an undue subsidy for the producers (universities)" that results in "the creation of a privileged class (professors like me) at the expense of everybody else (students and taxpayers)."

You know, because unlike "everybody else," professors are exempt from federal taxes! (You didn't know that?) And we are a completely distinct class of citizens from students because we have never been students ourselves! (Pay no attention to all those diplomas we had to get in order to get hired by a university.) And even if we ever had been students, we never needed financial aid! And even if we did, none of us are still paying back our student loans! And even if we are, it's not like any of us have been paying them back for 10 years and have already paid back twice what we borrowed in the first place and still aren't there yet!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Zingales and that "privileged class" of professors.

In the AAUP's 2012 survey of faculty salaries at 1,251 U.S. colleges and universities, Zingales's employer, the University of Chicago, ties with Columbia University for the #2 spot in the rankings of Average Faculty Salaries by institution for 2011-12. (Harvard edged 'em out for the #1 spot by just $600 at the full-professor rank. That's gotta hurt.) The AAUP reports the average salary for full professors (Zingales's rank) at Chicago as $197,800, which if you have ever met any professors, you probably will not be surprised to learn (or maybe you will be, I don't know anymore) is enough to earn Chicago the enviable designation of "far above median," reserved for institutions whose faculty salaries are in the 99th percentile nationwide.

I hope it is obvious from this that not all professors are "professors like" Zingales when it comes to their earnings and that most professors (i.e. the 99% of all U.S. professors who are not at institutions with salaries that are "far above median") are in fact not at all like him in terms of salary or membership in the "privileged class" in which he correctly acknowledges his own position.

And let's make it clear that I am making the case for his unique privilege among faculty members in the U.S. solely on the basis of the published median at his rank at Chicago, meaning that I am not even beginning to factor in the additional compensation that Zingales enjoys for his professional activities outside the university, which also serve to differentiate him (and his bank account) from most of the rest of us. Additionally, I am also not factoring in his status as the holder at Chicago of a named chair as well as a named fellowship ("named" indicating that these positions are funded by endowments) -- as I mentioned earlier, he is the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the David G. Booth Faculty Fellow -- which suggests that his salary is likely to be greater than the (already substantial) median for full professors at his institution, most of whom presumably do not hold an endowed chair or fellowship, let alone one of each.

In the AAUP analysis, salaries at the fine state university where I am proud to be a member of the faculty are classified as "far below median" for all academic ranks, including mine: associate professor. Associate professor salaries at WMU are in the 18th percentile, which even an English major like yours truly can easily see is indeed "far below median" (We're #339! We're #339!) and which is of course to say that

The average associate professor at 82% of U.S. colleges and universities earns more than the average associate professor at Western Michigan University.

(I highlighted that because seriously.)

So Dr. Zingales will have to forgive me for thinking that it is really something for him to imply that professors in general are central to the budget problems associated with higher education (rising tuition costs, increasing student debt) because we are pulling down so much bank, which please.

I mean, it is really something if that is in fact what he's saying. His phrase -- "a privileged class (professors like me)" -- is ambiguous as to whether he means that most or all professors are "like" him by virtue of our simply being professors, or whether he means to designate specifically and exclusively the few who are "like" him by virtue of their high salaries (by academic standards, anyway), which are actually quite rare in a profession in which salaries are overall relatively ungenerous when you consider that an expert with a doctoral degree at the absolute top of their game and the height of their career is considered to earn "far above median" with an annual salary that doesn't even crack $200K.

Still, within the academic world, as in most of the rest of the world, $200K is one hell of a lot of money, so if what he means is that we're all in it with him by virtue of our simply being professors, then it's a pretty disingenuous statement, since 99% of us professors will never get anywhere near the mythic "far above median" world that he enjoys. Even if he does not mean to imply that his extremely privileged situation is even remotely like the average experience of postsecondary faculty nationwide -- and the AAUP numbers and I can both tell you it is not -- that is a distinction that is going to be lost on a lot of his readers. ("After all," he says, "how can we scholars criticize crony capitalism when we benefit from it?" We scholars. Even we professors who aren't far above median are scholars.) It would be kind of adorable if so many people didn't already believe that we're all pulling down six figures and working maybe two hours a week and didn't already resent the living hell out of us for it. As prolific and celebrated a writer as this guy seems to be, I am thinking that he could have easily avoided that kind of ambiguity if he'd wanted to.

Zingales calls higher education "the least competitive and most subsidized industry of all." As an example of that, he notes that "Nearly eight million students received Pell grants in 2010, costing $28 billion." He does not mention that the maximum award is $5,500 for an individual student in an academic year or that the average award in 2011-12 was $3,711. Given that tuition and fees at public universities are usually in the neighborhood of about $10,000 [1] per year for in-state students (a figure that does not include room and board, estimated at about another $10K annually by several of the schools whose cost data I consulted on this topic), the Pell grant program may be costly, but the grants don't go very far when we're talking about actual students. As Thomas B. Edsall recently pointed out:

In 1979-80, the maximum Pell Grant covered 99 percent of the cost of a community college, 77 percent at a public four-year college and 36 percent at a private four-year college. By 2010-11, these percentages had dropped to 62, 36 and 15 percent respectively.

(Zingales also doesn't mention that if his favorite not-at-all-beholden strong believer in free markets had his way, the Pell problem he cites would be even worse, as Richard Kogan and Kelsey Merrick report in their April 2012 analysis, "President's Budget Would Reduce Pell Grant Shortfall; Ryan Budget Would Nearly Triple It.")

And Zingales asserts that "Just as subsidies for homeownership have increased the price of houses, so have education subsidies contributed to the soaring price of college. Between 1977 and 2009 the real average cost of university tuition more than doubled." That sounds a lot like what I read a few weeks ago in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which reports that GOP vice presidential candidate and Zingales BFF Paul Ryan "has been vocal in saying he thinks that increasing federal student aid enables institutions to continue to raise tuition."

So, is Zingales Ryan's point man on higher ed? You know what? I actually don't care whether he is in any official way or not. His op-ed is just the same old partisan hackery whether Zingales is an official campaign surrogate or not, only in this case it's dressed up as intellectual discourse and as such it represents a less-than-transparent attempt to legitimize Ryan's appalling budget proposal and his candidacy. No thanks.

And so I am holding off for the time being on my originally intended consideration of the relative merit of his proposal for equity financing of higher education, because I am pretty sick of Luigi Zingales right about now. I am the first to acknowledge that my position on this topic is political, and I really don't have a problem with his position also being political. The difference is that I am not trying to pretend mine isn't. [2]

To summarize: Some guys who have got theirs don't want anyone else to have what they have. You'll have to forgive me for suspending my disbelief temporarily and thinking that there might actually be something new and worth talking about in Zingales's op-ed. But no. Nothing to see here.


[1] The $10K figure is an approximation made on the basis of published tuition and fee schedules at nine state universities in various regions of the country surveyed for this post. The numbers in parentheses given for each school on the list below represent the total tuition and fees for one academic year (not including summer) and do not include costs for books and supplies, room and board, other living expenses, or any additional fees that may be required for particular majors or programs of study.

Arizona State University, Tempe ($9,724)

The University of Georgia, Athens ($9,842)

The University of Iowa, Iowa City ($8,057)

Kansas State University, Manhattan ($7,195)

The University of Maine, Orono ($10,594)

Rutgers University (NJ), New Brunswick ($13,073)

The University of South Carolina, Columbia ($10,488)

Washington State University, Pullman ($11,386)

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo ($9,138)

[2] Here in its entirety is the information about Zingales that accompanies "The College Graduate as Collateral," his June 13 New York Times op-ed:

Luigi Zingales, a professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, is the author of “A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity.”

Originally posted to alevei on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 07:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  awesome read (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, nomandates, palantir, commonmass

    You, sir, are a hell of a writer.

    •  why thank you! (4+ / 0-)

      I happen to be a lady-person, however. :-)

      •  I am suitably ashamed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nomandates, palantir, commonmass

        Please forgive the presumption. I don't often slip like that.

        I do not know why this diary did not get more views, comments, and recs. It's so well-written and the points so well-argued.  

      •  Hello lady-person (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        palantir, commonmass

        from another lady-person who went to college eons ago when it was still affordable . . .

        What do you think is the cause (or one of them) of the tremendous increase in higher education costs - which obviously haven't been matched by increases in median wages over the past 30 years?  One thought I've had about it is the tremendous computer infrastructure which has become necessary, but that can't explain it all.

        TIA for any light you can shed on this.

        •  the short answer is state divestment (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          palantir, commonmass, dadadata

          State support (in the sense of budgetary support) for public colleges has traditionally subsidized tuition, which results in lower costs to students because the state covers a substantial share of the overall financial burden. This has traditionally been the point of public colleges and universities: to subsidize the costs of higher education on behalf of the citizenry, which benefits from increased access and affordability. State universities are thus essential to any society that intends to be truly democratic.

          But when states reduce their funding of public colleges and universities, a larger share of the cost burden is shifted to the "end user" (i.e. students and their families) in the form of increased tuition and fees.

          State support has always fluctuated with the economy, but in recent years there has also been a major shift in ideology with respect to higher education as a public good.

          This means that in a lot of cases, the cuts during economic downturns may go further than they need to and that once the economy rebounds, funding is not always restored right away and in many cases is gone forever. Much of this shift is ideological more than economic and is largely attributable to the decreasing status of public education and increasing resentment of public employees on the part of the GOP and especially among GOP-dominated state legislatures, along with a "starve-the-beast" small-government mentality that has become a hallmark of the Republican party. (Except, of course, when it comes to subsidies that benefit themselves and their friends. See the links in my diary above re. Paul Ryan for some examples.)

          If this is a topic that interests you, there's a lot of good info in the Demos report linked here. One of the points it makes regarding the link between state support and tuition is this:

          Because state appropriations generally contribute a much larger share of public university revenue than tuition, any specific percentage reduction in state aid requires much larger percentage rises in tuition. Such increases price low- and moderate-income students out of higher education (while also eroding state support for higher education).
          Hope this helps, MNsmartgirl!
  •  Freshwater University (4+ / 0-)

    Once the reader learns that Zingales teaches at Freshwater University, they have learned all they need to know.  Freshwater University's business school pretends to be an institution of learning when it really runs a brothel for right-wing business interests.  They haven't been right about anything for the last thirty years and they've just about pushed the United States into the economic abyss through their incompetence.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 08:35:10 AM PDT

  •  Two things will happen when investors (7+ / 0-)

    control who pays.

    1. The curriculum will be geared toward their preferences. Young students are highly suggestible in terms of majors. They often take what advisors gear them toward. With money coming from investors, I'd assume there'd be a heavy lean on certain majors over others.

    2. This private money slowly crowds out public money and takes over the face of the university.

    Anyone out there thinking that being a professor is lucrative and a good field to get into, you might want to reconsider.

    You make $10k a year from the age 24-34, then if you're one of the "lucky" 20% of PhDs who land a job, you start in the low 50ks, with a 3% increase yearly if you're lucky (though academics haven't seen any increases for the last 4 years), and $3k bumps for achieving tenure or full professor.

    This likely means that at the age of 44 you'll be earning mid-60s, again if you're lucky.

    Add it all together:

    $10k a year for first 10 years of worklife.
    $58k a year average for the next 10.
    $68k a year average for the next 10.
    $78k a year average for the next 10 (assuming there are increases in the future).
    $88k a year for the next 3 (retirement at 67).

    That's $2.3 million earned over working life. Subtract $300k for student loans (I had $60k, have been paying $5k a year for 12 years and am now down to $50k, and add lost interest on that money), and you have $2 million earned.

    $2m / 43 years = $46,500 a year.

    Note: I haven't even taken into account the first 6 years post-high school until the age of 24 when most begin graduate studies.

    If you earn, say, $25k a year as an apprentice plumber/plumber in those 6 years, you are already ahead of the future professor by $150k.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:52:14 AM PDT

    •  yes and yes, upstate NY! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      upstate NY, palantir, commonmass

      I can't thank you enough for your comment. You've really articulated some critically important points here.


      Two things will happen when investors control who pays.

      1. The curriculum will be geared toward their preferences. Young students are highly suggestible in terms of majors. They often take what advisors gear them toward. With money coming from investors, I'd assume there'd be a heavy lean on certain majors over others.

      2. This private money slowly crowds out public money and takes over the face of the university.

      You are absolutely right on both counts. I take some of this up in my next post, but (spoiler alert) I don't make the case nearly as well or as succinctly as you've made it here.
    •  Try "journalist" sometime. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      upstate NY, alevei

      and BTW, broadcast media are probably a good analogy for investor-owned education.

      Speaking of which, note how the Zingling One cleverly puts the IRS In the position of enforcing what would appear to be a private contract, or to use the old term ... Indenture.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:09:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would not be surprised if they succeeded (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I will note that both President Obama and VEEP Biden are firmly on the bandwagon of professors are paid too much. They've said exactly that in their critique of universities.

        I really think all this will come to pass in the near future.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 06:25:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've been wondering about that. (0+ / 0-)
          I will note that both President Obama and VEEP Biden are firmly on the bandwagon of professors are paid too much. They've said exactly that in their critique of universities.
          You're right, and I have to wonder whether Dr. Jill Biden takes that as the slap in the face that it is. I mean, if my husband went around saying publicly that the work I do is not worth as much as I'm paid to do it, I know I'd be pretty righteously pissed off!
      •  I had not thought of it that way (0+ / 0-)
        broadcast media are probably a good analogy for investor-owned education.
        That's a great point.
  •  Try pushing the start of that track off... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates, palantir, commonmass

    couple it with teaching in rural Appalachia and see what happens.

    What that means is not breaking $40,000 any year into your 40s (and most years, not even breaking $30,000...

    Doctorate in process--won't be finished until I'm almost 50. Won't bump up salary into 50K range around here anytime soon.

    To say that teaching is a labor of love does not really do it justice.

    I think Zingales' "privileged class" cannot not be used to describe all of academia.  Here (as in everything these days) there are "have mores... there are socio-economic/class issues even in faculty circles.

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 10:31:26 AM PDT

    •  great point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      palantir, commonmass, mommyof3
      I think Zingales' "privileged class" cannot not be used to describe all of academia.  Here (as in everything these days) there are "have mores"... there are socio-economic/class issues even in faculty circles.
      Indeed. And even among the faculty on a single campus, what you've said applies. For example, at my university, there is a significant disparity between business faculty salaries and those of pretty much everyone else. Many of their recent faculty hires have come in as first-year assistant professors with starting salaries that are twice what I earn now as a tenured associate professor at the beginning of my ninth year of service. And I don't think this kind of thing is at all unusual on university campuses in the U.S.

      Thanks for your comment!

  •  I generally don't think of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNsmartgirl, palantir, commonmass

    professors as being highly compensated. In fact my impression is the opposite and I imagine they put in a lot of extra hours.

    That said, you covered a lot of ground here. The part about Ryan legislating himself bank is just......foreign to me. I was not raised that way, I don't inhabit that plane.  There oughtta be a law. There oughtta be entire ethics degrees as minors for poli-sci.

    There's so much in this diary I don't know where to start.

  •  It's late, I'm tired, and I didn't read it all. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadadata, alevei

    But my initial reaction is to take a step back, and consider that in most of Europe, higher education is basically free for those who qualify academically.

    Yeah, I know we are exceptional, we are different, emulating Europe is the path to perdition and all that, but I can't help but wonder when we are going to reenter the civilized world.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 11:36:23 PM PDT

  •  part of the problem is that "Venture" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    capitalists are supposed to be taking RISKS to get big gains.  Buying future slaves isn't the same thing, at all.  Introduce some risk, some chance the graduates could get out of the devils-deal, then maybe.  Maybe.

    •  great point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You are definitely on to something here. Why would they want to take any actual risk? I think they just want the subsidies that under the current system still go to individual students and public institutions. This idea is just one more scheme to try to shift public money into private hands.

      I get into some of this a bit more in my Sept 22 post. (Apologies if it is bad form to link to it.)

  •  Fabulous essay of fabulistic thinking. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:04:43 AM PDT

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