My Upcoming Surgery?

 

I have made an appointment for surgery at the end of summer. I haven’t chosen which operation to have yet, but I know it’s going to be costly.  I don’t mean that I have to choose between two similar operations.  I mean I don’t have a clue in the world what kind of surgery I am going to get.  But I look at it like this: nearly everyone gets some kind of surgery at some point in their life, right?  So I went ahead and made an appointment on the assumption that I will eventually figure out what is the right kind of surgery for me.  I’m sure the hospital will have a guidance counselor or patient advisor who will make a good suggestion as to what kind of surgery would be a good fit for me.  There’s a government loan program for this, and if it turns out that the surgery was totally unnecessary, maybe I can convince some politicians to let me off the hook on repaying the loan.

The above paragraph is satire, of course.  I was listening to the latest episode of The Ricochet Podcast and at the end of it @peterrobinson talks about a conversation he had with a gentleman who went to Princeton.  Not knowing what he should do at Princeton, he let people talk him into getting a major in Hispanic Studies.  This degree was good for getting him a job driving a taxi.  This — in my opinion — is not an anomalous situation.  I have heard of many young people who have gone off to college with no idea of what they want to do with their life.  They just know that everyone goes to college, except for those . . . well, you know . . . dumb people who just aren’t smart enough to get in.  Usually, though, at least these young people are going to a more affordable school than Princeton.

I realize that some people may believe they know what they want to do with their life, then change their mind.  Charles Krauthammer, as a famous example, was a psychiatrist and decided he didn’t really care for it and became a writer and political pundit.  So I’m not criticizing young people for not knowing where they really want to be 20 years down the road.  But doesn’t it seem foolish to sign up for tens of thousands of dollars in debt (or get your parents to shell out that money) when you don’t know what you are going to use your education for?  I guess I’ve just seen too many people with a college degree, who then went on to sell carpeting, insurance, shoes, or cars for a living.  Or get a degree in mass communications and wind up dealing blackjack, before deciding to go through college again and get a nursing degree.  Has it always been like this?  Or has the easy money — either from generous parents or easy-to-get loans — taken pressure off of students to only go to school if they know what their goal is?

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    (1)  teach the student HOW to think.  Again … how to think not what to think.   Thinking is a transferable skill.

    Yeah, but. . .after we skip a generation once, after we don’t transfer the skill once, we have entered a dark age. And we have.

    And to shorten what you said considerably, “Bring back the Trivium!”

    • #31
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    I didn’t tell my kids, but I wanted them to hear which majors prepare one for waitressing etc.

    That, sir, is brilliant.

    • #32
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Juliana (View Comment):
    My mom had only an eighth grade education, but was a whiz with numbers. She was able to get jobs as a bookkeeper. I am pretty sure she was a bookkeeper for a mob front business for a while.

    My mother once collected a debt from a mob-front business. And the mobster came away with a serious case of respect for her.

    • #33
  4. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda: This degree was good for getting him a job driving taxi.

    This is a problem of 3rd party payers. If the kid was paying in cash, he would look ahead. If a bank was risking money, they would filter those majors. If the school was risking money, they would give better advice. Currently the financial risk is on the taxpayer and the opportunity risk is on the student and the school is free to give bad advice without any downside.

    Brilliantly put.

    I wonder what the max tuition loan amount would be for Queer Environmental Puppetry Studies if school loans were market-based. 

    Colleges have held hostage entry into the middle and upper-middle class and imposed rate hikes consistent with being an extortion racket.  But now they also want to keep squeezing their marks while (a) they produce damaged left-wing cupcake zombies (b) at a time when the market for generic college grads is already saturated and shrinking. 

    There are new lawyers and engineers who will have a real struggle paying off tuition loans.  What chance does a Critical [insert anything here] Studies/barista have?

    • #34
  5. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    I’m going to disagree a bit. A solid liberal arts education should (and I emphasise SHOULD) …

    (1) teach the student HOW to think. Again … how to think not what to think. Thinking is a transferable skill. And learning how can happen as easily in Philosophy or Calculus as Art History or English. So it’s OK not to have a specific career plan. One of the smartest people I know is of the opinion that a good, rigorous course of study in mathematics and Latin are all one needs to be prepared for anything life has to offer.

    (2) teach the student how to effectively communicate the results of that thinking to others

    and

    (3) to DO something productive. If the only thing the student knows how to do upon graduation is write a good History paper, getting a job is going to be difficult. So the student should learn something practical… how to calculate with a spreadsheet program, the basics of bookkeeping, how to manipulate a database, write a few lines of Code, how to do experiments in a lab… something that might be of use to an employer on day one.

    Unfortunately, such institutions are hard to find.

    If college amounted to a few thousand dollars, sure. Or if someone has been working, is already financially set, and they go to college just for the joy of learning, great. I just think it’s crazy to see people who graduated from college ten or twenty years ago still paying off their student loans, and working at jobs that could be done equally well by someone with a 10th grade education.

    The local AM news station had a segment on college student’s expectations regarding how much they would make in their first job. Those poor fools have been living in a fantasy land. The most disconnected from reality was the journalism majors. According to the reporter, their estimates were about twice what a realistic starting salary will be. 

    • #35
  6. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Arahant (View Comment):
    My mother once collected a debt from a mob-front business.

    Aren’t you from Detroit?  

    Are there other kinds of businesses there?

    • #36
  7. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Believe it or not, I think this might be getting a little better, thanks in part to folks like Mike Rowe and the increase in cost for a 4+ year degree. High school guidance counselors push the need for a college education to get a decent job. I know mine did. Now I see more kids either going to work first and/or going to community college first. I’m sure there are plenty going just to be going. My freshman year in college, the only people who knew what they were going for were us nursing students and the music majors. The rest were just there for the ride and many didn’t stay around for the whole time. My niece is going to college and she doesn’t know many that haven’t already declared a major. It’s hard to turn the big bus around, but I think it is starting a slow turnaround. Now to just get employers to quit asking for a degree where one isn’t needed (BSN).

    Actually, I do think change has happened in how high school students view their options and the advice they are given, partly due to the tremendous publicity the student loan crisis has shone on that form of credit.

    The collective student loan debt the government is looking at is mostly old debt, some two and three and even four decades old. These loans were written like the original dishonest credit card loans. Some guy stood up in Congress–wish I could the link to the story–during the Bankruptcy Reform Act debates and said he tried to pay off an unsecured credit card debt just making the minimum payment and he could never pay it off.

    These student loan debts snowballed to include fees and fines and interest charges. And they were included, by the way, in the Bankruptcy Reform Act so that education loans could never be included in a bankruptcy. To me, that was a solid indicator of how corrupt the relationship was between the universities and colleges and the government. Why should the universities be exempt from bad-loan losses? No one else is.

    And because of that guarantee, the schools had no vested interest in ensuring that the student would ever be able to pay it back. How all of this mismanagement and corruption has born down on individuals is a sorry story. It was the students (and parents in the case of PLUS loans) who were left holding the bag.

    It has been a mismanaged program that has much in common with the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loan programs. Whenever an organization doesn’t understand whether it is a charity or a business, mismanagement and harm ensue.

    I wonder how big the debt would actually be if we stripped away all the fees and penalties and we just looked at the principal.

    • #37
  8. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    BDB (View Comment):

    IMHO, college should usually not be a vocational school — we have vocational schools for that.

    I don’t want to hear economics from a person who can’t explain how a carburetor works, but I’ll gladly have a carburetor fixed by somebody who can’t explain economics. Higher-level education should be general at least in its foundation. Most 4-year degrees should be as wide as possible.

    Yet the degree should still be useful — ___ Studies and political agitation as “study” don’t count. if your well-rounded education hasn;t prepared you to understand the necessity and some tools to make yourself useful in the economy, then that’s not the education I’m talking about.

    Carburetors? That is my generation from the 60’s/70’s. These days it is EFI in all of it’s various permutations. The current de Rigour is direct injection into the cylinder head under very high pressure, just like Diesel engines, and that come with all of the expenses and high techory issue of those engines. Working on a car these days is not for the faint of heart or the unskilled.

    • #38
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    My mother once collected a debt from a mob-front business.

    Aren’t you from Detroit?

    Are there other kinds of businesses there?

    I live in the Detroit area now. I grew up in Joliet, near Chicago.

    • #39
  10. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Ma… (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    IMHO, college should usually not be a vocational school — we have vocational schools for that.

    I don’t want to hear economics from a person who can’t explain how a carburetor works, but I’ll gladly have a carburetor fixed by somebody who can’t explain economics. Higher-level education should be general at least in its foundation. Most 4-year degrees should be as wide as possible.

    Yet the degree should still be useful — ___ Studies and political agitation as “study” don’t count. if your well-rounded education hasn;t prepared you to understand the necessity and some tools to make yourself useful in the economy, then that’s not the education I’m talking about.

    Carburetors? That is my generation from the 60’s/70’s. These days it is EFI in all of it’s various permutations. The current de Rigour is direct injection into the cylinder head under very high pressure, just like Diesel engines, and that come with all of the expenses and high techory issue of those engines. Working on a car these days is not for the faint of heart or the unskilled.

    I used to work on cars in the 80’s, just when fuel injection was coming out.  It never worked, so we called it “fuel infection”.

    • #40
  11. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    My mother once collected a debt from a mob-front business.

    Aren’t you from Detroit?

    Are there other kinds of businesses there?

    I live in the Detroit area now. I grew up in Joliet, near Chicago.

    Oh – much better…

    • #41
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    Oh – much better…

    Yep. And my father was a cop. Oh, the stories!

    • #42
  13. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Yes yes yes I know about fuel injection.  Fuel injection is Keynesian engineering — MOAR STIMULUS!  Carburetors teach conservatism — the system reaches a new equilibrium based on a single input signal, without requiring some central brain.  For extra points, an economist could describe how a single water valve is what the navy uses to control nuclear reactors, but that would be unreasonable.  Requires knowing about coolant, moderator, and reflector.

    Carburetors are still widely used.  Just not in the cars we drive.

    • #43
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I like the Northeastern University and the Rochester Institute of Technology coop programs in which companies employ and pay for the students’ education. Those students have been leaving those programs with a job and almost no debt for thirty years at least. What’s wonderful about this is that if at some time in the future those students want to go to their local expensive colleges on their own to take some lofty liberal arts courses, they will have the money to do so. :-)

    Mike Rowe is a great guy and I love his message, and he acknowledges that we live in a highly specialized work world in which the guy who fixes the farm owner’s combine needs a lot of expensive education.

    There aren’t enough people who are sufficiently wealthy to afford higher education to give our country a running reliable supply of combine repairmen. We need some student financing program available.

    • #44
  15. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda: This degree was good for getting him a job driving taxi.

    This is a problem of 3rd party payers. If the kid was paying in cash, he would look ahead. If a bank was risking money, they would filter those majors. If the school was risking money, they would give better advice. Currently the financial risk is on the taxpayer and the opportunity risk is on the student and the school is free to give bad advice without any downside.

    Brilliantly put.

    I wonder what the max tuition loan amount would be for Queer Environmental Puppetry Studies if school loans were market-based.

    Colleges have held hostage entry into the middle and upper-middle class and imposed rate hikes consistent with being an extortion racket. But now they also want to keep squeezing their marks while (a) they produce damaged left-wing cupcake zombies (b) at a time when the market for generic college grads is already saturated and shrinking.

    There are new lawyers and engineers who will have a real struggle paying off tuition loans. What chance does a Critical [insert anything here] Studies/barista have?

    I paid as I went to get my Engineering degree (two jobs, one at Burger King, the second a campus computer support job). I graduated in 81 (1.5 years late from a major change mid way thru) with two degrees and no debt (UofMD only let me count one, but I had all of the credit hours for a secondary, they did not do that at the time).

    Even during the ugly years of Carter recession (and early Reagan) I have never been unemployed. My youngest also got his degree in Engineering a few years ago, and also has not been for want of a job. Since I cover most of the costs for both of my boys, we said reimbursement 100% for A’s, 80% for B’s the rest was on their shoulders, and we had a veto on choice of degrees (basic anything that was remunerative upon graduation). They lived at home, chore free, to conservative money (and we could insure no goofing off). The eldest also had no problems getting and staying employed with a degree in Accounting.

    My peers have criticized us for being hard butts with them but I think is was just early lessons in how the world works once they were no longer under my roof.

    Call me a mean old bad dad.

    • #45
  16. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Ma… (View Comment):
    we said reimbursement 100% for A’s, 80% for B’s the rest was on their shoulders

    Brilliant.  Simple.  Therefore brilliant.

    • #46
  17. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Ma… (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    IMHO, college should usually not be a vocational school — we have vocational schools for that.

    I don’t want to hear economics from a person who can’t explain how a carburetor works, but I’ll gladly have a carburetor fixed by somebody who can’t explain economics. Higher-level education should be general at least in its foundation. Most 4-year degrees should be as wide as possible.

    Yet the degree should still be useful — ___ Studies and political agitation as “study” don’t count. if your well-rounded education hasn;t prepared you to understand the necessity and some tools to make yourself useful in the economy, then that’s not the education I’m talking about.

    Carburetors? That is my generation from the 60’s/70’s. These days it is EFI in all of it’s various permutations. The current de Rigour is direct injection into the cylinder head under very high pressure, just like Diesel engines, and that come with all of the expenses and high techory issue of those engines. Working on a car these days is not for the faint of heart or the unskilled.

    I used to work on cars in the 80’s, just when fuel injection was coming out. It never worked, so we called it “fuel infection”.

    And yet today you think nothing of the fact that you car starts immediately on the first crank, no matter what the weather is like. Try starting one of these bad boys when it is 25F outside, and think about that heater which was barely adequate for the British Isle.

    This is what I owned in college and need for the daily commute. It was a character building experience.

    • #47
  18. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):
    Now to just get employers to quit asking for a degree where one isn’t needed (BSN).

    I agree 100%, Blondie. You may know that I just moved to Tennessee. For about the last 1.5 years I had been a produce inspector at a grocery distribution warehouse. About a month ago I saw the job posting to replace me back in Fargo. One of the things it said was college degree preferred. Why? If they have two applicants neither of whom has been a produce inspector before, and one went to college decades ago, that one would be given preference? Just what would someone have learned in college — perhaps 20 or 30 or 40 years ago — that would make them a better produce inspector today?

    I’m sure many of the jobs I have been applying for are also giving preference to people who went to college, even though the subjects they studied have nothing to do with the work in question.

    Government has made it more difficult to hire people by making certain questions or factors punishable if used to consider who to hire. Employees turned to college degrees as proof a person can learn and stay on task. That is some expensive government interference. 

    • #48
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Red Herring (View Comment):
    Government has made it more difficult to hire people by making certain questions or factors punishable if used to consider who to hire. Employees turned to college degrees as proof a person can learn and stay on task. That is some expensive government interference. 

    I wonder what percentage of employers actually even verify that someone did graduate from the school they listed on their application.  A guy I know claims that he once got a job where he made up the name of a college on his job application, and was never asked about it.

    • #49
  20. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    My mother once collected a debt from a mob-front business.

    Aren’t you from Detroit?

    Are there other kinds of businesses there?

    I live in the Detroit area now. I grew up in Joliet, near Chicago.

    As did I.

    • #50
  21. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    Oh – much better…

    Yep. And my father was a cop. Oh, the stories!

    My uncle the Sheriff.

    • #51
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Juliana (View Comment):
    My uncle the Sheriff.

    Which one?

    • #52
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):
    Now to just get employers to quit asking for a degree where one isn’t needed (BSN).

    I agree 100%, Blondie. You may know that I just moved to Tennessee. For about the last 1.5 years I had been a produce inspector at a grocery distribution warehouse. About a month ago I saw the job posting to replace me back in Fargo. One of the things it said was college degree preferred. Why? If they have two applicants neither of whom has been a produce inspector before, and one went to college decades ago, that one would be given preference? Just what would someone have learned in college — perhaps 20 or 30 or 40 years ago — that would make them a better produce inspector today?

    I’m sure many of the jobs I have been applying for are also giving preference to people who went to college, even though the subjects they studied have nothing to do with the work in question.

    Maybe they figure that if someone got through college, they have at least some experience with getting to classes on time and such?  Apparently that’s a big problem with trying to get people to work a regular shift in some locations:  they never learned to be on time for things.

    • #53
  24. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    I wish we could get back to an apprentice system. Instead of paying colleges for useless degrees, we should be paying businesses to take on apprentices. It seems like a no-brainer; the businesses would benefit by getting essentially free labor, and the apprentices would be prepared for an actual career (and in many cases would be able to skip the whole job-hunt process entirely).

    I can only assume there must be legal reasons why it can’t be done.

    Probably legal reasons as in lawsuits, from colleges etc.

    • #54
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Django (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    I’m going to disagree a bit. A solid liberal arts education should (and I emphasise SHOULD) …

    (1) teach the student HOW to think. Again … how to think not what to think. Thinking is a transferable skill. And learning how can happen as easily in Philosophy or Calculus as Art History or English. So it’s OK not to have a specific career plan. One of the smartest people I know is of the opinion that a good, rigorous course of study in mathematics and Latin are all one needs to be prepared for anything life has to offer.

    (2) teach the student how to effectively communicate the results of that thinking to others

    and

    (3) to DO something productive. If the only thing the student knows how to do upon graduation is write a good History paper, getting a job is going to be difficult. So the student should learn something practical… how to calculate with a spreadsheet program, the basics of bookkeeping, how to manipulate a database, write a few lines of Code, how to do experiments in a lab… something that might be of use to an employer on day one.

    Unfortunately, such institutions are hard to find.

    If college amounted to a few thousand dollars, sure. Or if someone has been working, is already financially set, and they go to college just for the joy of learning, great. I just think it’s crazy to see people who graduated from college ten or twenty years ago still paying off their student loans, and working at jobs that could be done equally well by someone with a 10th grade education.

    The local AM news station had a segment on college student’s expectations regarding how much they would make in their first job. Those poor fools have been living in a fantasy land. The most disconnected from reality was the journalism majors. According to the reporter, their estimates were about twice what a realistic starting salary will be.

    Only twice?  I’ve heard some truly absurd expectations from people who asked Kevin Samuels for advice on his youtube videos.

    • #55
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kedavis (View Comment):
    they never learned to be on time for things.

    Can’t get whiter than that.

    National Museum of African American History and Culture Promotes Racist ...

    • #56
  27. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Juliana (View Comment):
    My uncle the Sheriff.

    Which one?

    Is it this one?

    • #57
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Is it this one?

    😆

    That one is a Sharif.

    • #58
  29. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Is it this one?

    😆

    That one is a Sharif.

    Oh of course. Never mind. :-)

    • #59
  30. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Oh, and…

     

    • #60
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