pirate wires #76 // breaking down biden's 300 billion dollar gift to the church of higher education, how we got here, and how to end the student debt crisis — forever
You got me fired up with this one!
Totally agree with you on the solution. The college system needs a huge bucket of cold water splashed over its head. There are so many people you talk to and their whole job seems to be explaining to you a list of things that aren’t their responsibility. Whole areas of study exist that aren’t real in any genuine sense because they don’t make any falsifiable claims and they don’t provide any sort of risk mitigation strategies that make anyone’s lives better and seem to be sustained mostly because people half fake statistics or make up nonsensical jargon languages and sort of just Wiley Coyote over the void. If schools were doing a good job of teaching kids about compound interest and job markets they’d nope right out of the whole conversation.
I roofed houses, worked in sawmills, and drilling rigs to pay for school so I wouldn’t have debt. Always thought it was kind of an absurd thing to pretend that someone talking in a room, splitting costs across hundreds of kids, generates the same economic value as those jobs. I would trip pipe for twelve hours a day, in the desert, during electrical storms, with no lunch or break but maybe a piece of venison, then in the Fall have to talk to the Vice President of Student Stupendousness who was making six figures so he could perform his one job of making sure I was really interested in organic chemistry. There was just this whole fairy tale apparatus built around a guy doing math on a whiteboard and then me doing math on a piece of paper and showing it to that guy that just kind of boiled my blood. Whenever you bring up something simple like “What if we actually tracked actions to their consequences and figured out how good of a job you’re doing at providing value to the society?” people look at you like you have three heads.
I know everyone likes to pick on Jason Stanley (who I strangely think is probably a pretty kind person) but like… am I supposed to pretend he’s really a professor? There are so many people like that where their expertise is really asking me to do a favor and pretend I don’t have any sense. If I were in some kind of mortal contest where I needed someone with me who was really competent and on top of things would I ever say “And I’ll tell you one thing, thank God that Jason Stanley was there” under any circumstances? The thing that should make someone an expert worthy of public trust is that they can show up somewhere and start talking and everyone goes “fuck, that dude is right! I understand the world better now!” or they do something that other people can’t do but increasingly it seems to be something like “Well, he filled out form 11-J, that’s the form for expert status. Expertise isn’t really about being able to understand things well enough to say what will happen in the future it’s really about existing in a state of Eleventy-Jayness and making sure you never get into a situation where you might be tested.”
It reminds me of that McDojo account where fake Karate experts meet guys who actually know how to fight.
God this shit fires me up.
Making student debt repayment tax deductible is not a good idea. It will not put downward pressure on tuition at all, which is the root cause of the student debt crisis to begin with. The best approach in my opinion, is to make the schools the lender, and have them perform the credit review on the perspective student. If the schools make a bad loan, they take the hit. It will eliminate degrees that have no value in the market place as well as knock out 40% of the students that have no business going to college in the first place. It will also reduce the number of schools we have, that are kept afloat by - - student loans.
Spot on with everything! I also always point out to people that the actual cost to the federal government to provide and service a student loan is around 0.5% to 1%. (Not that the government should be in the business of doing this, as you described.) However, the average student loan interest rate is around 6%. With the left so opposed to for-profit education -- or anything for-profit these days -- it's fascinating how nobody profits more on higher education than the federal government.
The same people who backpat insane policies like this are the same people who work at Facebook and privately congratulate their colleagues who manage to “ship something at scale”, like a fucking A/B test.
The Ivy League is fully demoralized. Its commissars will keep getting raises from our tax money while the endowments grow tax free: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/how-to-rank-the-top-npc-universities
Your plan is spot on, and I'm one of those rare gems who went to school, amassed 85K in debt, and paid it all back, BUT who still wants to see others not struggle. This plan would work, and it's sane. Especially "legalizing bankruptcy." Thanks again, Mike.
Solana Thiel '28?!?
Why this will never happen, in two words: disparate impact.