Slap me in the face harder


People who can’t imagine doing good for people are the worst kind of people. Philip Klein is resentful that Elizabeth Warren’s plans might benefit people.

Aside from the cost, which, like her child care proposal, she claims would be covered by her ultra-millionaires tax, the plan would be tremendously unfair to those who have been struggling for years to pay off their student loans.

Yes. It was tremendously unfair to hit a generation of students with excessive costs and dreadful loans. So where were you when those were imposed? Have you been crying out for decades about the unfairness of student debt? Looking at Klein’s usual pro-rich, conservative Republican op-eds, I rather doubt it. But now he’s crying for them.

There are those who may have taken higher-paying jobs they didn’t necessarily want to pay off loans.

Wait, what? They were forced to suffer by taking higher-paying jobs? I don’t think that’s a common problem.

And there are those who have cut expenses to the bare bones to pay off loans while watching their friends with similar salaries eat out and travel and de-prioritize paying off loans. Those who were more responsible will feel justifiably enraged at the idea that those who may have been more profligate will now get a bailout from the government.

Boy, I think this is called projection. Philip Klein is very concerned that slackers and deadbeats might beat the unfairness of the existing system, so we ought to keep that system to punish them. This is how bad systems persist, isn’t it? By this argument that “I suffered through it, so you have to suffer, too” which only perpetuates suffering.

Comments

  1. blf says

    I presume his diatribe was written with a reed pressed into wet clay — using, paper, quills, typewriters, or computers would be so unfair to all those long-suffering scribes who spent years learning this newfangled writing and reading. Those bizarre incomprehensible arabic numerals will never catch on, however…

  2. says

    I saw the tweet, and it looks like the article was about as awful as I thought. I’d like to say you couldn’t pay me to read it, but that’s a lie. I will read it for a very reasonable rate.

  3. J B says

    “I suffered through it, so you have to suffer, too”

    I had a coworker make the same argument in critiquing the #MeToo movement.

  4. kurt1 says

    Are Op-Eds some kind of multi-year collaboration of news outlets, where they try to show that meritrocracy does not exist? Because we know, they can stop paying these people. Even the NYT somehow feels the need to balance good reporting with inane opinions by dickwads like Bret Stephens or Bari Weiss.

    I was unfortunate enough to be part of the generation that had to pay (comparably minor) tuition fees in germany. They were in effect for a few years and not in every state. Sometimes I’m still pissed about that, but at the government and not the more fortunate generation, which had nothing to do with that.

    In conclusion ending indentured servitude was really unfair to those who did their time.

  5. eliza422 says

    This attitude – “I suffered through it, so you have to suffer, too” – I faced when I was right out of college. My company (now gone) hired us into a programmer’s training program. It was a 3 phase program, the second of which was our formal classroom training in COBOL and ALC (it was a while ago!). If you failed those classes you were fired from the company – and many people just quit instead of finishing. Mind you the prevailing hiring policy was to not hire CS majors because back then they wanted to train their own programmers.
    By the time I was hired and eventually went, they had softened the program some what, and a few coworkers (surprisingly, all men, but I won’t read too much into that) complained because they wanted to go through the “real” program. I guess their egos were outraged that they weren’t going to be able to brag about it. Who knows.
    I had already been taken to task for my “attitude” because one of my coworkers couldn’t handle it or something – it’s a vague memory. Basically he couldn’t handle my dry, sarcastic sense of humour.

  6. starfleetdude says

    Recent college graduates have not only had to pay tuition and fees that are higher than they’ve ever been before, but have had a tough job market thanks to the great recession. It’s not unfair to give them a break.

  7. anthrosciguy says

    This Emancipation Declaration is a horrible slap in the face to all those people who were held as slaves. And giving the vote to women? No, you won’t find me insulting women like that. Don’t even think of getting me started on gay rights.

    I’m just too good a person, I guess, because I refuse to slap people in the face by ending injustices. You bums, OTOH, want to make things better but with no regard to how that makes those who suffered feel. Surely they don’t want change.

  8. raven says

    U.S. Births Dip To 30-Year Low; Fertility Rate Sinks Further Below …
    https://www.npr.org/…/2018/…/u-s-births-falls-to-30-year-low-sending-fertility-rate-to-a…
    May 17, 2018 – The general fertility rate sank to a record low of 60.2 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 — a 3 percent drop from 2016, the CDC said in its tally of provisional data for the year.

    .1. The US birth rate is now at 1.76 children per woman.
    It’s way below replacement at 2.1 children per woman.
    We are on trend to do a Japan and eventually have a declining population number.

    .2. There are a lot of reasons for this.
    One of them is that young people can’t afford to form households and have children!!!
    Student loans are a big part of this problem.
    Basically, we send out our college graduates with them dragging a huge anchor behind them, labeled student loans to pay off.

    .3. So, here is a good reason to fix our stupid and vicious student loan problem.
    To prevent the eventual emptying out of the USA.

    .4. FWIW, many of my friends ended up paying off their kid’s student loans.
    The kids were struggling with the New Gig economy and were heading towards having their student loans forever.
    It’s a great idea but not everyone in the USA can do this.
    Older people are struggling these days too.

  9. doubtthat says

    Ah yes, we can never improve anything unless we can improve everything all at once. Such a toxic perspective.
    The problem that this loan crisis is a symptom of is that a very few people have all the money. It’s held off from the economy, hidden away in investments and holdings. The way to fix that problem is to move that money into the hands of people who will spend it.
    Taxing rich people and distributing money to people who will use it is the civilized way to do this. The other is the guillotine.

  10. raven says

    I graduated from a good state University in the 1970’s debt free!!!
    Debt free!!! (and totally broke).

    .1. Nothing unusual about this.
    A whole lot of Boomers can make the same claim.
    The student loan racket wasn’t anything like it is today.

    .2. One reason was that tuition was heavily subsidized by the state.
    My first years tuition was something like $600 total.
    This is no longer the case, tuition is now something like $7,000.

    .3. We could do this in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and who knows even the 1980’s.
    We could do it again if we chose to.

  11. doubtthat says

    @raven

    It’s funny, the data you shared makes me think about my dumb red state’s higher ed situation: The population of graduating high school students is dropping and will stay very low for at least the next decade. The population loss has resulted in a government revenue loss, which has (combined with moronic tax cuts) caused cut back in spending on many things, but specifically higher ed (stupid egg heads in their stupid schools telling me I’m dumb because I think Satan put dino bones in the Earth to fool us)…
    In response, schools have to raise tuition and fees (lower state spending + smaller incoming classes). The higher cost of college leads to more loans…etc.
    Now, can anyone think of a direct way to solve this problem? Where could we find a population of people willing to come to the United States to work? It would be nice if they had kids or were younger and likely to start families. They would generate economic activity, increase state revenue, attend universities…
    Oh well, better to have the population of the state slowly dry up and vanish than invite people of a different ethnicity in.

  12. raven says

    Needless to say, this Philip Klein is your generic horrible GOP person.
    The two main lies of the GOP are that:
    .1. They are fiscally responsible.
    .2. They are pro-family.
    They are really just anti-human.

    The reasons to fix the debt slavery of our college educated children are obvious.
    .1. We keep handing our children a broken world and society.
    The student loan crisis is just part of it.
    The climate is also changing rapidly. We will be dead while they deal with it.
    We are also leaving them a huge National Debt at 23 trillion and growing rapidly.
    Nothing wrong with taking care of our children, is there?

    .2. It would help our society a lot.
    Our world is always getting more complicated and that requires educated workers.
    It’s been said that the post World War II GI bill paid for itself.
    More college educated people made more money and paid more taxes down the line.

  13. kome says

    The fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative:
    A liberal wants good things to happen to people who deserve it, even if it means good things happens to the occasional person who doesn’t deserve it.
    A conservative wants bad things to happen to people who deserve it, even if it means bad things happens to the occasional person who doesn’t deserve it.

  14. jrkrideau says

    Michael Hudson
    …and Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

    Now, to get my hands on his new book. I may even have to spent money.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To back up Raven@8 point .4., older people don’t have enough savings/401k/ira monies for their retirement.

    But the EPI data suggest that 50- and 60-somethings still have a long way to go. According to the research, the average retirement savings for the families of people in their 50s is $124,831 in 2018. For the families of people ages 56 to 61, it’s $163,577. These figures are far less than the $1 million that many experts recommend as a target for retirement savings.

    Without debt relief, many of those still paying off student loans may also need to help support their parents in their retirement. How are those paying off their student debt and helping with their paerents supposed to contribute to their own retirement?

  16. Curious Digressions says

    Those who were more responsible will feel justifiably enraged at the idea that those who may have been more profligate will now get a bailout from the government.

    Ah yes, it is so difficult to distinguish the worthy poors from the profligate poors. We’d better punish them all just in case. If we MUST do something, we will need to put in enough hoops and indignities that lazy poors will be adverse to using or applying for the program. If they have enough energy to jump through the hoops, they have enough where-with-all to succeed without assistance. /sarcasm

    Is amazing how many conservative arguments can be summed up this way.

  17. cartomancer says

    An aversion to the financially irresponsible being given government bail-outs to keep them afloat? This guy must have absolutely hated the bank bailouts of 2008 then. Republicans and conservatives were against that one, surely?

    Anyone?

  18. says

    The US birth rate is now at 1.76 children per woman.
    It’s way below replacement at 2.1 children per woman.
    We are on trend to do a Japan and eventually have a declining population number.

    Am I here the only person who thinks that low birth rates are a good thing? On this planet there already are a lot of people who use natural resources to an unsustainable degree. Therefore, if humans voluntarily choose to breed less, that seems like a good thing for me. (Personally, I have chosen to have no children at all.)

    Although, frankly, with the current trends for the climate change, I believe that ultimately it won’t matter. The planet is going to become largely uninhabitable and humanity has already fucked itself. Fewer births right now simply mean that several decades from now there will be fewer people dying of starvation.

  19. Onamission5 says

    I don’t understand how canceling a debt I have been struggling to pay is unfair to me. Or does Klein think that people struggling to pay debt and people who will get their debt canceled are distinct categories? If someone has been struggling to pay a debt and then they discover they don’t have to pay it any more wouldn’t they be relieved? “Damn you, government, I wanted the satisfaction of paying the rest of that myself rather than buying a more reliable car, getting a safer apartment, or saving for retirement!” is not a thing I can imagine anyone would say here on planet reality.

  20. raven says

    Am I here the only person who thinks that low birth rates are a good thing?

    .1. That is a completely defensible position to argue.

    .2. We have no idea what the sustainable carrying capacity of the earth is.
    We won’t know until if and when we overshoot and find out what The Great (Human) Die off is like.

    .3. Even if it is high, say 7.4 billion at todays population or twice that, this doesn’t mean a huge population is desirable.
    We are rapidly crowding out all other 8 million or so species on this planet in The Great Not-Human mass extinction event.
    We could have a large population living in a post mass extinction world at not too far above survival level.

    .4. This is a side issue though and not really relevant.
    You can bet Philip Klein, the GOP, and the fundie xians look at a declining population as some sort of huge disaster.
    There are already a lot of whites talking about how the whites are disappearing due to their low birth rate.

  21. microraptor says

    Andreas Avester @19: Yes, lower birth rates are a good thing. Unfortunately we live in a society with an economic system built on the shockingly short-sighted delusion that it’s possible to sustain ever-increasing growth rates.

  22. raven says

    I don’t understand how canceling a debt I have been struggling to pay is unfair to me.

    In reality land it happens all the time.
    .1. People declare bankruptcy all the time.
    So do corporations.
    Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13 etc..

    .2. Trump himself declared bankruptcy something like 6 times.
    His failed companies ended up owing billions he never paid off.
    When he was called on this, he just said it was good business.

    The reason this is even an issue is that the one form of debt that you can’t get rid of by filing for bankruptcy is….
    Student loan debt!!!
    The laws were written to favor the student loan-banker complex at the expense of college graduates.

  23. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    There are those who may have taken higher-paying jobs they didn’t necessarily want to pay off loans.
    Is he saying the ONLY reason people take high paying jobs is to pay off their crippling student loans?
    That without the huge student debt load, no one would take high paying jobs?
    That no one would work after a free college education?
    Sweden joins me in disagreeing

  24. VolcanoMan says

    @kome (#13)

    That’s a good way to put it, but I’d add a third statement to it:

    A egalitarian wants to do away with the concept of “deserve” in its entirety, since literally NOBODY has earned their particular country of birth, the family into which they were born (and their family WEALTH), the colour of their skin (and other physical traits which can confer advantages or disadvantages in a given culture) OR the content of their central nervous system (giving rise to skills, interests, and personality…all unearned).

    The liberal, in accepting that some people are deserving of a better fate than they’re actually getting, is by default allowing the conservative to dictate the framing of the issue (I agree with the sentiment, but not the structure beneath it). We need to move away from that and towards a society that understands that all circumstances are undeserved, and all people are at the mercy of chance. Now you don’t have to go all the way to total free will denial in the process (though I do)…merely accepting that nobody chooses to own the particular personality they have (which is shaped by nature and nurture – both out of one’s control as well), with all its inherent strengths and weaknesses with respect to the culture in which we live, allows anyone with half an imagination and the tiniest quantity of empathy (i.e. not fascists or authoritarians…they have little imagination and no empathy) to understand that success or failure within that culture is at the very least MOSTLY out of an individual’s control. Egalitarianism strives to make sure that nobody’s potential is wasted…that everyone should have an equal right to every “need” outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (though I generally detest hierarchies, Maslow is a rare exception), especially self-actualization (whatever that looks like for an individual in a culture that supports everyone equally…which almost certainly will be a different outcome to what self-actualization looks like in a corporatist/capitalist framework).

    This is idealistic…but I fear that in the next few decades, sociopolitical/economic chaos + climate stress will cause a great upheaval in the social order (lots of death and chaos)…and afterwards, people are going to need to decide how society should be organized. Starting from scratch, I see no reason why communal egalitarianism (a form of anarchism really) couldn’t be wildly successful at producing the kind of outcomes our current system is really bad at. Like happiness. Fulfillment. A feeling of connection and community. Right now, our society is structured in a way to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands. And those people with that wealth, most of them aren’t happy either! Maximising monetary gain does not maximise human flourishing (obviously…but capitalism is only good at producing the former, while the latter is neglected). So while these ideas may not be politically feasible at the moment (there is a certain cultural inertia that’s keeping us moving at breakneck speed towards calamity), this may not always be the case. People should be aware that it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. We may not have free will, but that doesn’t mean that knowledge doesn’t impact the “decisions” we make. Having this knowledge available to us – knowing how badly the current system is at producing happy people, and being aware of a viable alternative – means that some people will conclude that this kind of social structure is worth exploring (whether they freely chose that perspective or not).

  25. cvoinescu says

    Make that tax 2.5% and give a partial reimbursement to those who paid off some or all of their student loans earlier than the average in their cohort. In other words, in addition to your outstanding student loan being forgiven, if you made repayments in the last decade, say, you get some of that back too (a larger share of recent payments, a much smaller one of older ones). A few people might make extra sacrifices to repay their loans more quickly than their peers, but I’m sure many of those who repaid more are simply better off and don’t need the help nearly as much (or at all). Still, the reimbursements would make the whole thing seem fairer, and cover some edge cases, at the expense of helping some people who don’t really need the help. Surely Republicans won’t object to giving money to people who already have money?

  26. chrislawson says

    Another really stupid thing about that op-ed: if everyone who graduated with student debt immediately got into a well-paid career, there would be no problem.

  27. consciousness razor says

    There are those who may have taken higher-paying jobs they didn’t necessarily want to pay off loans.

    Wait, what? They were forced to suffer by taking higher-paying jobs? I don’t think that’s a common problem.

    Says you. Some would prefer a lower-paying job, just like the dude said.

  28. unclefrogy says

    there is another more basic motivation for not advocating student debt forgiveness that is an identification with the holder of the debt and feeling that someone is going to cheat the creditors, since the conservatives are most likely holding some of that debt in the form of investments in bonds and bond funds, and investment in banking companies and other similar companies who hold the debt. The idea of debt forgiveness is seen as a threat to their own financial well being as well as eliminating a profitable credit market.
    it is about the money and only the money no one cares about people, the environment or to some even the country.
    uncle frogy

  29. doubtthat says

    It occurs to me that arguing we shouldn’t releave existing debt in others because we didn’t receive debt assistance, ourselves, is similar to arguing we shouldn’t give currently starving people food becuase no one gave us food in the past.

  30. says

    We shouldn’t have social security because when they first implemented social security, there were a whole bunch of people who got social security without ever paying a social security tax during their careers. Really. Can you believe we didn’t just pro-rate everyone’s social security benefits until they had paid enough in? We just went to old people and people too disabled to work and said, “Here. Don’t sleep outside. Buy real food to eat.” It’s almost like we lived in a country that gave a shit about other people. Y’know, for a while.

  31. wzrd1 says

    The notion of, this hurt, enjoy it is odd to me.
    I was part of the generation that redesigned military training, being accused of issuing non-existent “stress cards”, which started in my generation and currently, retains currency in the new generation, where we lowered stress, rather than burn the kids out!
    So, hearing the same bullshit that our seniors claimed, but did not exist, was a bit offsetting!
    That took me a month of eroding other idiotic, rusting from my day, notions, as the senior NCO went to more advanced and newly changed training.
    As I and my peers designed that, monitored it and sabotaged careers of idiots attempting to fuck it up, we’re eager to see the potential results.
    Working with a later model of what we designed, we’re jelled immediately as a team.
    I’m educating the hell out of him, while a contract change lowers his educational time to holding a specific set of qualifications, he tends more toward wanting traditional education, while already being qualified for the certification he needs to retain his position.
    He’ll be my #3 to attempt to move onward, beyond the levels I prefer, good leader, excellent manager, just wanting schoolroom time, rather than learning as one goes along and I’m guiding and supporting that.
    #2 was lost, due to family stress issues, resulting in a very real threat of suicide of spouse and death of children, signed him off in a New York minute, despite him being #2, a cleaner clone than I of what is needed.
    Family is first, damn it!
    #2, still working on, from a civilian side address and the few are looking fairly good.
    Creative, think, box, whatinfuck is a box?
    First thing I taught, get one’s coordinates to ten digits, then know how to use the fucking radio, from there, thinking. Not to use brute force, but to use nuanced force, when required, brute when everything else fails and in between, blend things.
    Chief being, not needing to use force being champion.
    Managed to get two graduated to that.

    No clue as to how to handle loan debt, save via US service.
    Or getting a job at a Reno whorehouse.
    No, not really, that was a bad, totally black humor joke, that should fail.
    You have your degree, you are obviously bright, work the problem!
    If I’ve managed to do so well enough to do well, nearing 60, without a degree, you can succeed.
    Find your niche, own it, control, then fix it.
    Then, move onward.

  32. chigau (違う) says

    So, wzrd1.
    What do you do when a mother grizzly bear is doing that huffing thing at you?
    What about a three-year-old male griz in August?

  33. hemidactylus says

    First there is the commodification of education. Should be a fundamental right. It is at least “free” (supported by property taxes and other revenue) through high school and compulsory to a point (Amish have exemptions). Libertarians would like to privatize education of younger children altogether. As it stands in college realm we have tuition which is charged per credit hour, bought off the shelf like anything else at a store.

    Second there is virtualization of money, where some people make “money” off “money” via usury (formerly a sin). The need of college education which may be subsidized for in-state residents is exploited to burden people with debt, which they will struggle to pay off with jobs that may not pay them their full value, because employers (job creators) get to make profits off labor.

    Republicans (and many Democrats) are about protecting interests of credit industry and job creators. The students are just fodder (means) for wealth (ends). They are exploited in two ways: debt and wages. Depressing.

  34. Akira MacKenzie says

    As someone formerly from that side of the political spectrum, I recall the one concept that was drilled into rank-and-file conservative’s mind is the idea of “rugged individualism” and the “virtue of hard work.” That which you didn’t not earn from the sweat of your brow is undeserved. Furthermore, you are not supposed to complain about your plight, nor are you even supposed to want help. You are to toil away, no matter how difficult and degrading the task, until you’ve earned whatever you seek. Even if you don’t or can’t meet your financial goals–well, at least you didn’t sponge off the state like some lazy welfare queen.

    It’s that notion that Klein is playing off of. It doesn’t matter if you’re paying off those loans for the rest of your life. YOU must pay them off, otherwise you’re taking the easy way out and you don’t deserve your degree. If you can’t afford them–well, maybe you shouldn’t go to college if you can’t afford to pay the bills. “Someone has to clean the toilets.”

  35. hemidactylus says

    Starting from a very pessimistic baseline I don’t fully agree with but it justifies being “childfree” we have David Benatar’s antinatalism, where I didn’t opt-in to this system. It was foisted onto me when I was born. The system I was born into is still fundamentally putting the blame on me for existing and implicitly casts my burden as original sin. I must court favor in the eyes of the gods of the market through my “work ethic”.

    And all of the narrative I’m countering was programmed into me from the moment I began to try to understand the world through cartoons and commercials after eating my media concocted bacon and eggs breakfast (pig and poultry industries covered). Hopefully that last bit didn’t run afowl of any food disparagement laws because we are not supposed to complain about our lot.

  36. Dunc says

    That which you didn’t not [sic] earn from the sweat of your brow is undeserved.

    Unless you inherited it, or made it on the markets…

  37. leerudolph says

    <

    blockquote>

    <

    blockquote>

    There are those who may have taken higher-paying jobs they didn’t necessarily want to pay off loans.

    Wait, what? They were forced to suffer by taking higher-paying jobs? I don’t think that’s a common problem.</

    Says you. Some would prefer a lower-paying job, just like the dude said.

    Says you. What I say is, most if not all of your last “some” would probably prefer that same currently “lower-paying job” at the higher pay scale. (Take this as a friendly amendment if you can.)

  38. Kagehi says

    Odd.. I went through the opposite of this – college which didn’t do its due diligence at informing us of certain facts, so I had to take out loans, when I could have gotten grants, so I spent years “out of” college with no/crap jobs, just trying to not default on the loans, before taking one I regret (and still work at), and doesn’t use one scrap of what I went to college for, just to pay the debt off. I got lucky, I suppose, I ended up back with my parents for a long time, with no real bills I had to pay, so could shell out more to pay it off than required, instead of having to choose which bills to pay with what I made at work.

    I imagine that, if I had gotten a shitty entry level tech/computer job, and stayed in the city, I would have been eating college food, to cut costs, and shopping at second hand stores, for 20 years, then still having to beg people to let me extend payment on some bills, just to make minimum payments on the loans.

  39. Akira MacKenzie says

    I imagine that, if I had gotten a shitty entry level tech/computer job, and stayed in the city, I would have been eating college food, to cut costs, and shopping at second hand stores, for 20 years, then still having to beg people to let me extend payment on some bills, just to make minimum payments on the loans.

    Ah, but imagine how much more virtuous your life would have been if you had! In the average right-winger’s mindset we are supposed to suffer until we earned the right not to suffer any longer.

  40. doubtthat says

    @22 microraptor

    Yeah, that’s the heart of it.
    There are a number of short term solutions to, specifically, the student debt crisis and the cost of education, as well as broader social issues (SS shortfall), but these are all temporary band aids.
    Long term, we have to move away from the infinite growth model. The world’s population growth has essentially leveled off. Only African countries are growing significantly. This is a good thing, unless the entire world economy is built around the concept of financing against future growth.

  41. consciousness razor says

    What I say is, most if not all of your last “some” would probably prefer that same currently “lower-paying job” at the higher pay scale. (Take this as a friendly amendment if you can.)

    Can I also add that some people would prefer to have a pet unicorn? Wouldn’t that seem a bit tendentious to you, considering that unicorns aren’t real?
    Look, for many people, the issue is that money isn’t everything. Note that this can’t be made into a friendly amendment to PZ’s response, because he simply treated it like an absurdity that anyone would have this attitude. That’s where my objection comes in.
    I didn’t have to worry about going deep into debt because of scholarships. So I was lucky. I studied music, although I was always interested in basically everything, and it wasn’t exactly an easy choice. Anyway, here’s your question: would I prefer to be paid more to write music? To a certain degree, yes, but I will be satisfied with just enough to scrape by. Becoming wealthy is emphatically not the goal. And in my case, there is no need for me to make so much that I can also pay back a large amount of debt. So perhaps we just have different perspectives on this.
    I don’t know what you think “the higher pay scale” is for writing music — especially given that a handful do make millions that way, while the vast majority don’t — but at any rate, that option definitely wasn’t on the table, when people like me decided what to do with ourselves in college. You can wish for it, like you can wish for a unicorn, but it doesn’t come along for the ride if you eliminate student debts (which I completely support, BTW).
    Do you get the point (the important one I think PZ failed to understand) that money isn’t everything, and because they’re worried about debt, some people do end up taking jobs they’d rather not take? Do you have any reason to argue against that?

  42. doubtthat says

    Do you get the point (the important one I think PZ failed to understand) that money isn’t everything, and because they’re worried about debt, some people do end up taking jobs they’d rather not take? Do you have any reason to argue against that?

    This is exactly why programs like public loan forgiveness were created: Doctors and Lawyers exit school with so much debt, they’re essentially driven to the higher paying parts of the profession.
    I 100% know that what you say is true, but it is also 100% true that is no reason to oppose Warren’s plan.

  43. hemidactylus says

    I think the predicament best encapsulated in bumper sticker: “I owe, I owe it’s off to work I go.” which is an ironic subversion of a Disney song given Disney, after buying Fox, is grabbing a larger share of the culture industry where we escape into Fantasyland (or South Park’s Imaginationland). Baudrillard made me think of a contrast between the Disneyland utopia of our childhood and the prison industry reality many citizens will eventually get stuck in, but that’s an aside.

    A friend used to joke about another friend’s affluenza afflicted lifestyle as “lifestyles of the poor with credit” which does get to the tragic bottom of things.

  44. doubtthat says

    To break it down more clearly, the folks I entered law school with all had visions of filling important public roles: public defenders, service for indigent clients, environmental law…
    But we graduated with $100,000+ of debt (even with some scholarships).
    Now the choice between trying to live in a major city making $60,000 with an insanely high debt load or signing up for one of the 20 firms paying 6 figures that were all over our campus every day becomes much different. I know dozens of people who rather have been doing something useful than sitting in a skyscraper looking over discovery documents in some massive litigation between two giant companies, but they didn’t want to live like Gandhi.
    This is a real problem, but the shittiness in the past shouldn’t stop fixing it for the future.
    It’s like opposing voting rights because past generations couldn’t vote.

  45. doubtthat says

    But, I should add, that I think it’s important to state that choosing a higher paying job, even one you don’t really want, is not some great injustice demanding of such an immense amount of societal respect that it prohibits us from solving the problem in the future.

  46. consciousness razor says

    but it is also 100% true that is no reason to oppose Warren’s plan.

    Yes, if anything, it’s just a reason to support a plan like that. In law, like you said, there would be fewer lawyers who had to do the kind of useless/undesirable work you described. They would be free to pursue whatever important or interesting work they like, whatever presumably inspired them to study law in the first place. For some people, maybe it was only ever about making tons of money, but even they could benefit, since they wouldn’t need to compete with all the people who are currently doing it out of necessity.
    Who doesn’t benefit? I don’t know…. Bankers, I guess. Lobbyists. Anybody who has a grudge against college students or higher education in general.

  47. leerudolph says

    CR: “Do you get the point (the important one I think PZ failed to understand) that money isn’t everything, and because they’re worried about debt, some people do end up taking jobs they’d rather not take? Do you have any reason to argue against that?”

    Of course I got that point, I have no reason to argue against that, and I wasn’t arguing against it! I was arguing for a modification of it.

    I agree, money isn’t everything. And I know that some people would rather have the job they do have—say, Job X, paying them Y—than another (perhaps the only other) job—say, Job A, paying them Z where Z is greater (perhaps much greater) than Y, even if they hate Job X. I was one such person (even as the conditions of Job X changed for the worse, my choices of A remained few, eventually became non-existent, and were always even more hateful to me); money certainly wasn’t everything to me.

    BUT, I find it hard to believe that many people would ever prefer “Job X paying them Y” to “exactly same job X, paying them more than Y”. (Of course there are some such people; one of my former colleagues, a member of the War Resisters League, arranged with the university to keep his salary very low and to direct whatever money would otherwise have gone to increases in his salary—eventually, quite a lot—towards funding for the Peace Studies program.) That was my only point.

  48. zetopan says

    For Philip Klein, like all obscurantists, any excuse will do no matter how totally moronic. I’ll bet that he was a Trump “University” scam supporter as well.

  49. lynnannrosehuntington says

    Decreasing population is feared by the economic elite because of the pyramid scheme of eternal growth they are supporting.

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