Contributor Post Created with Sketch. I Need an Intervention, I Think

 

As everyone knows, I can be a real squish. So let me stipulate, at the outset: I’m for a small, limited government. I’m for a flat tax. I instinctively recoil at government schemes and programs and mousetraps designed to shape and change human behavior.

And of course, it goes without saying that San Francisco Mayor Newsom is an absurd clown.

So, I’m asking for an intervention here.

Because I sort of like this. And I know it’s wrong, of course. But I still sort of like it.

Save me.

There are 19 comments.

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  1. Steve MacDonald Inactive

    Rob, if you are looking for negatives, I can contribute a few.

    1. It’s discriminatory – how do you determine what kids should be included at the outset and who gets left out? Why should one kid have more rights than another? if you are not going to do it for all, it probably makes sense to not do it at all.

    2. if San Francisco wants to spend it’s money in this manner, fine. The article is vague however as to how this decision is made. if it is a general referendum where citizens get to vote on whether to add to their growing debt burden as a result of this, then I do not have an issue with it. If America’s “favorite” Mayor, or the city council do this by fiat – given the poor current city fiscal situation, I think there are strong grounds on which to object.

    3. The premise that all kids should go to University and would if circumstances allow is absurd. Would we not allow Bill Gates to drop out to start Microsoft. Would you rather your plumber go to trade school to learn his/her craft, or study cultural diversity in the state system?

    • #1
    • May 29, 2010, at 5:09 AM PDT
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  2. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Nothing wrong with it at all except for the fact that it is funded by city tax money. If he set the program, and challenged the Nob Hill glitterati to stake the initial deposit, and got a billionaire to match funds, etc., it would be excellent- teach the kids the value of compound interest, a pot of money that is worthless for video games and beer, and so on.

    • #2
    • May 29, 2010, at 8:00 AM PDT
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  3. James Poulos Contributor

    Help us help you, Rob. Gavin Newsom “wants every child to go to college.” An avalanche of important questions follow.

    Is that really what we want? What counts as college? What’s the substantive aim, here? To be able to pat ourselves on the back for living in the kind of society ‘that sends every child to college’? Who is the ‘we’ entitled to make that choice — for every child, for every family?

    Doesn’t the more intelligent way to think about mass education and human flourishing start from a different set of political and moral premises?

    • #3
    • May 29, 2010, at 8:07 AM PDT
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  4. Rob Long Founder
    Rob Long
    Paul Corrigan: It’s interesting, we actually had something like these “savings accounts” when I was young. We called them “savings accounts.”

    Nice one, Paul.

    Daniel Frank: For me, here’s the money quote:

    “Getting a college degree now is pretty much comparable to getting a high school degree in the 1950s,” Cisneros said.

    Wouldn’t the money be even better spent if the city put its resources into making a high school degree pretty much comparable to getting a high school degree in the 1950s? · May. 28 at 8:36pm

    Also nicely done.

    In fact, I really do have to thank Ricochet readers for your help here. I wasn’t really wavering. All that much, anyway. But it was nice to read all of those intelligent responses with my Saturday morning coffee. And finally:

    James Poulos: Doesn’t the more intelligent way to think about mass education and human flourishing start from a different set of political and moral premises? · May. 28 at 7:59pm

    Which is a very sophisticated, Ricochet-like way to ask, “What are you, an idiot?”

    • #4
    • May 29, 2010, at 8:32 AM PDT
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  5. Morituri Te Inactive

    For me, here’s the money quote:

    “Getting a college degree now is pretty much comparable to getting a high school degree in the 1950s,” Cisneros said.

    Wouldn’t the money be even better spent if the city put its resources into making a high school degree pretty much comparable to getting a high school degree in the 1950s?

    • #5
    • May 29, 2010, at 8:36 AM PDT
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  6. John Boyer Member
    John Boyer Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Rob Long

    Nice one, Paul.

    Also nicely done.

    In fact, I really do have to thank Ricochet readers for your help here. I wasn’t really wavering. All that much, anyway. But it was nice to read all of those intelligent responses with my Saturday morning coffee. And finally:

    Which is a very sophisticated, Ricochet-like way to ask, “What are you, an idiot?” · May. 29 at 8:26am

    Are you cured Rob?

    • #6
    • May 29, 2010, at 8:51 AM PDT
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  7. HerrForce1 Coolidge
    HerrForce1 Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Newsom’s wish reveals the soft intellectual bigotry that lies within so much of what elites express in their utterances. I’m a middle school teacher and do prefer my own kids to eventually pursue higher education. But I’ve really learned to value the non-college former students that I’ve come across in the past 12 years, many of whom work around my town. Two guys in particular work in a local service station that I use and they’re good young men fully aware of what they’re doing in life. It makes me check and calibrate my own expectations so that when my kids leave the nest I’m a supportive parent. As long as they’re using their particular abilities and staying true to their faith and responsibility to be good citizens, what should I care what a diploma might say? Okay, that was long-winded, but this type of elite sentiment reeks among the elite classes. Mr. Frank’s money quote above is searing, but I defer to Ted Knight: “The world needs its ditch diggers too.” :-)

    • #7
    • May 29, 2010, at 9:14 AM PDT
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  8. John Boyer Member
    John Boyer Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Brady Kiel: Mr. Frank’s money quote above is searing, but I defer to Ted Knight: “The world needs its ditch diggers too.” :-) · May. 28 at 9:14pm

    Messrs Poulous, Kiel and Frank–I like the idea of Ricochet adopting a courteous formal standard of address; It makes arguments less personal–make excellent points and have stolen most of my thunder.

    If a high school education isn’t worth much, what is to be said of the worth of the college education which the students will receive? Much of the time will be spent teaching what should have been taught in high school or in even in middle school. Thus we will face, and are facing, the cheapening of the collegiate sheep skin.

    • #8
    • May 29, 2010, at 9:49 AM PDT
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  9. Profile Photo Member

    It’s interesting, we actually had something like these “savings accounts” when I was young. We called them “savings accounts.”

    The questions seem to multiply quickly — what happens if the kid decides not to go to college? What if the kid joins the military? Is the interest taxed? Will it all be confiscated, like our 401k accounts, to pay down the debt? Not to mention, if the government provides X amount of money for these accounts, won’t the price of tuition go up the same amount?

    • #9
    • May 29, 2010, at 10:43 AM PDT
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  10. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul Corrigan: The questions seem to multiply quickly — what happens if the kid decides not to go to college? What if the kid joins the military? Is the interest taxed? Will it all be confiscated, like our 401k accounts, to pay down the debt? Not to mention, if the government provides X amount of money for these accounts, won’t the price of tuition go up the same amount? · May. 28 at 10:43pm

    That is why it is a good idea, as long as it is privately funded- then it becomes a savings account, which can be accessed at age XX. And nostalgia for the old days when high school meant something does not change reality today. Some kind of post-secondary education is useful, whatever type it is. I went to a public university, a private university, a tech school, and a for-profit school, all very good.

    Regarding liberal college students, go read Mr. Barone’s Hard America, Soft America. We are all hormone-crazed idiots at 20, and enough of us grow up later.

    • #10
    • May 29, 2010, at 10:45 AM PDT
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  11. Charles Allen Member

    Although Brady beat me to the punch, I will repeat one of my favorite movie quotes:

    Danny Noonan: I planned to go to law school after I graduated, but it looks like my folks won’t have enough money to put me through college. Judge Smails: Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.

    I have always scratched my head at the idea from the anointed that everyone should go to college. To be perfectly blunt, we do need ditch diggers, burger flippers, assembly line workers, & car repairmen, etc. Otherwise we end up shipping hands-on jobs (manufacturing, textiles, etc) overseas, and end up with an imported permanent underclass for the rest of the ‘service industry’.

    Last week Fred Thompson had an interview with John Ratzenburger (Cliff from Cheers). In that interview Ratzenburger notes that “…we are running out of people who know how to build and make things, and if we run out of people who build and make things, its over for us, its done.” (Interview found here, political talk starts at ~5:30)

    So, forget programs to send everyone to college….spend money to bring back Shop class. College is not for everyone, and society needs those ditch diggers too.

    • #11
    • May 29, 2010, at 10:48 AM PDT
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  12. Scott R Member
    Scott R Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This program is a classic example of the government annexing what should be a basic responsibility of parenthood. Leaving aside the issue of whether it’s our place to deem college the “ideal”–personally I found the whole experience a complete frickin’ waste of time and money that unnecessarily delayed earning a living, starting a family, buying a home, and getting a life–it’s never a good idea to subsidize irresponsibility: you’ll get more of it. I understand it’s about the kids, not the parents, but just like school lunches, a program like this will grow into one more big ol’ citizen shrinker and thus will increase the pathologies that cause these problems in the first place. Heal thyself, Rob.

    And even if it were a good program the

    • #12
    • May 29, 2010, at 10:51 AM PDT
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  13. Scott R Member
    Scott R Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    (cont.)…..proper response would be, “Ya, whatever, too bad we can’t afford it.”

    • #13
    • May 29, 2010, at 10:56 AM PDT
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  14. John Boyer Member
    John Boyer Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    From a political perspective, most college students end up liberal and less informed about civics. ISI did a comprehensive study illustrating this point.

    We saw the results in 2008. College students overwhelmingly voted for Obama.

    Granted that Obama’s historic candidacy, the press portraying him as lightworker, and his charisma made young voters feel voting for Obama was cool–a stark contrast to John Kerry, who was only cool insofar as his last name wasn’t Bush.

    But why did they catch the fever? In no small part because academia is filled with lefties. The rich intellectual tradition of conservatism isn’t flourishing and feeding young minds because most of our modern academies are filled with professors clinging to their dusty dreams of Marxist dialectic.

    I propose that one reason they aren’t being rudely uprooted from their positions (tenure aside) is continual federal funding of universities. The absence of market forces in education means outmoded and discredited leftist philosophies are propped up. How many parents of the kids Newsom wants to help would pay out of pocket for their child to emerge four years later saturated in post-structuralism and bearing a degree in queer studies?

    • #14
    • May 29, 2010, at 11:03 AM PDT
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  15. Morituri Te Inactive
    Brady Kiel: Mr. Frank’s money quote above is searing, but I defer to Ted Knight: “The world needs its ditch diggers too.” :-) · May. 28 at 9:14pm

    Thanks for the shout-out, Mr. Kiel! :-)

    In America, we do have our ditch-diggers: They’re called “illegal immigrants.” Everyone else — including their children — should go to college. Right?

    An economy is a sort of emergent human ecology, in which individuals find their way into competitive niches based on a combination of education and natural abilities. Liberals, who blithely shut down huge segments of the economy to save a single endangered fish, think nothing of importing a non-indigenous human population to drive an entire class of citizens out of their niche in this “ecology.” So blinded are they by their belief in the fundamental equality and plasticity of human abilities and character, that they expect these displaced Americans to simply occupy some other remaining niche, to which many are as unsuited as would be snail darters to living in trees.

    If humans are that plastic, then why not import illegal immigrants to become college professors and big city mayors? Couldn’t they do these jobs more cheaply? At least they might not believe so many silly things.

    • #15
    • May 29, 2010, at 11:14 AM PDT
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  16. Peg C. Inactive
    I think the current government (all of it at all levels) is a good example of what happens when people who have no business going to college do, and then need something to do. Because it’s a fairly agreed-upon axiom that many folks who are incapable of thriving in the private sector end up as bureaucrats and political mediocrities.The problem is no one respects or aspires to be (or aspires for their children to be) burger-flippers, ditch-diggers and garbage collectors, however much society needs them. I disagree that all kids should go to college, but it is still part of the American Dream, as endangered as that is. For the government to want to basically codify it into law is another step on the road to tyranny. And they want to make sure they have the opportunity to brainwash ALL kids, including those who would otherwise go into the military, labor, auto mechanics, etc.
    • #16
    • May 30, 2010, at 9:14 AM PDT
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  17. Melanie Graham Contributor

    Rob, turn off the Peter, Paul and Mary music and come back to us.

    • #17
    • May 31, 2010, at 10:09 AM PDT
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  18. Andrea Ryan Member
    Andrea Ryan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Quote from the article…”City officials point to a study from the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis that found children who had just some savings set aside for college were about seven times more likely to go.”

    This is because any savings at all is an indication that the person saving sees value in higher education and has a desire for their child to pursue that course. The amount saved is most likely based on the person’s discretionary income. So “some savings” is…hello!…saving for college. That quote is pathetically weak. Show me the evidence that the control group *would have gone to college* had they had any kind of fund, as well. Let parents send their children to college. Let motivated children find their way through school. Let the free market sort it all out.

    • #18
    • May 31, 2010, at 11:38 AM PDT
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  19. Bruce Telles Inactive

    I’m not sure that making “affordable education” available to everyone is going to work out any better than making “affordable housing” available to everyone. Part of the reason college is expensive is that when the state subsidizes college education the same thing happens as if we decided that transportation is essential and gave all car-buyers a $10,000 tax credit: prices go up. Of course, colleges claim that “costs” go up but “costs” just means whatever colleges decide to spend money on. New sports arenas, new science facilities, new faculty lounges, new administrative positions – all of these are “costs” but only some of them are what the average consumer thinks of as “costs going up” – that is, a rise in the price of the same goods and services previously employed in providing an education. Some of these costs may of course be legitimate – every now and then you’re just going to have to replace outdated facilities with new ones. But I suspect that the more money taxpayers pour into higher education, the more frequently university administrators are likely to find it necessary to construct new facilities, establish new layers of administration, and remodel their offices.

    • #19
    • May 31, 2010, at 12:42 PM PDT
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