Scattered Thoughts of the Moment

Updated on December 14, 2020 in General Stuff
10 on December 13, 2020

More evidence of The Inversion from Kevin Williamson.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/12/the-college-debt-debate-is-a-culture-war-battle/

My thought of student loan forgiveness is generally pretty generous. I think the system treats students like “mules”. They exist to funnel cash from the feds to universities. I’d forgive all the loans IF we could concurrently eliminate the programs. Otherwise? NFW.

A quote: “Take as your model the example of Michelle Obama complaining about having to repay her college debt. Mrs. Obama attended Princeton, and, like many Ivy League students, she attended at a discount. For the relatively small part of the expense of her education that she was expected to pay, she was provided with loans at a subsidized rate on very easy terms. (Perhaps she was the world’s most credit-worthy teenager.) A Princeton degree is not a guarantor of a happy and successful life, but it puts you right at the front of the line. Mrs. Obama went on to scale the commanding heights of American social and economic life, and when she complained — quite bitterly — about simply having to repay the generous loans made to her at a subsidized rate in order to provide her with the best undergraduate education money can buy, thereby easing her way into a life of genuine privilege, her complaints were met with general sympathy rather than with revulsion at her audacious ingratitude.”

On a related note (and more evidence of The Inversion), Democrats continue to push for restoration of unlimited deductibility of state and local taxes…ie, they are pushing for huge tax cuts for the rich. As Californians continue to flock to Texas and New Yorkers continue to flock to Florida, that feature of “Trump’s tax cuts” (capping SALT deductions) may be one of his enduring legacies.

Just a few chapters in to the new Charles Murray book. He starts with a review of some basic statistics, then goes into sex differences in personality.

My immediate reaction is an old one: For all the concern about rejecting “science” with regard to evolution or the environment or any of the other areas the IFLS crowd us worried about, no anti-scientific view has gained more traction or done more damage that “the blank slate” (the idea that the brains of baby boys and baby girls are identical, and apparent sex differences in personality and preference are entirely culturally created).

I also find myself a little depressed that Murray thought it necessary to review and explain the statistics stuff. It’s pretty elementary, and (going back to the student loans) something is wrong when a society spends as much as we do on education yet can not assume a basic level of numeracy among the population.

 
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0 on December 13, 2020

I do feel sorry for kids with massive debt who go to expensive schools to obtain a degree in a field for which there’s no market. In a way, it’s “their fault,” yes, or at least their problem. But it’s also true that they got hustled when they were 17 or 18. If you ask Google what you can do with a _______ degree, it will tell you that fantastic opportunities abound. Certainly the university’s catalog plays it up. But if that were the case, there wouldn’t be a problem paying off the loan.

On the “gender is only a social construct” issue, it would be interesting to see how many people outside of academia, and I don’t mean engineering and business students and faculty, actually subscribe to it. Maybe they believe it and just don’t say it out loud.

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0 on December 13, 2020

I agree completely with the notion that we’ve got a generation of indebted students who essentially fell for a con. That’s the “mule” reference. We treated them as mules, and sold them a lie.

In that sense, I am sympathetic.

But if all that is true, and all that serves as justification for forgiveness, then its impossible to “go there” without structurally reforming the system that heaped all that abuse on the students. The idea that on the day all loans are forgiven, some poor sap signs up for a new loan is absurd.

(A housekeeping question: Did the paragraph breaks in my initial post go away?)

Back to higher education, some apt thoughts from Scott Galloway.

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1 on December 13, 2020

BTW, the central fact that Galloway missed/ignored is that the starting salaries he listed have not only failed (dramatically) to keep up with tuition cost increases, they have failed to keep up with ordinary inflation.

That tells me that things are way worse than he admits. He is still invested in the idea that things like MBAs are worth getting. I think the employment marketplace is saying something different.

On the subject of biology denialism, Colin Wright has been leading a rather courageous charge.

https://colinwright.substack.com/p/the-dangerous-denial-of-sex

on December 13, 2020

The paragraph breaks look fine from here.

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0 on December 13, 2020

I have not had anywhere near enough coffee, nor done enough work today, to give my thoughts on academia (from inside the can) fair due. I’ll have to return later.

What i can do, however, is some mighty fine drive-by shitposting on the California exodus topic. 🙂

https://calmatters.org/economy/2020/09/anti-california-dream-moving-industry/?

“I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not moving out of California to a third-world country,” Morris said. “I’m leaving a third-world country to join America.”

 

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1 on December 13, 2020

The California flight stuff seems pretty real.

I wonder if that’s part of why the value of my humble little home here in Omaha is (if Zillow is to be believed) rocketing up in value. I know houses in ny neighborhood that go on the market are sold within a week or so, tops.

Or maybe it’s because the Fed us pumping trillions of dollars into the economy and they have to go somewhere.

In potentially related news, the big excitement locally is that Offutt AFB has been selected as one of six finalists for the new Space Force Headquarters. The reporting seems to suggest that Colorado Springs has the inside track, but Omaha has a strong chance.

on December 13, 2020

You once made a comment about checking uhaul for the discrepancy between one-way rentals of a given size between cities. The difference coming my way from Seattle was jarring.

Probably why our place is worth well over 2.5x what we paid for it.

On the academy, I shall await the announcement of special Cornell drinking fountains for BIPOCs…

https://freebeacon.com/campus/cornell-offers-minority-students-exemption-from-mandatory-vaccine/

 

 

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0 on December 13, 2020

Is 68 too old to join the Space Force?

Discrimination!

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0 on December 13, 2020

The low interest rates are also fueling the housing rally.

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0 on December 14, 2020

Anything that goes up for sale in our obscure burg generally lasts roughly 2 days. Got to say, I love what it’s doing to our little place. From what I understand, it’s being driven by exodus from all the east coast mega burgs, DC, New York, etc.

Which is causing some consternation among the locals because. Big city bail outs bring big city attitudes and beliefs. And this is a place where the neighbors mud bog thier 4 wheelers and target shoot on thier back 40s. 80% of the state has already declared themselves 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries. Should be interesting going forward.

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