Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here's a colossally bad idea....

President Obama and the Democrats are apparently trying to push through a bill that would nationalize student loans and push the private sector out entirely. No kidding.

It's a horrible idea for a lot of reasons, starting with the fact that it would place the government in the awkward position of being the sole arbiter of whose course of study is valid or not--or abdicating that role and paying for anyone's school. Either way, it's ripe for abuse, and the government's history as a creditor (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FDIC, etc..) recently does not give confidence that they'd be able to do things well--never mind that they'd have to borrow money that the Chinese do not appear willing to lend in order to do so.

It also drives tuition inflation (generally about twice the overall rate), keeps poor students in college instead of learning a trade, and finally creates a professorial class of professional liars.

Yes, professional liars; most areas issue Ph.D.s on the basis that the student has documented a bit of truth previously unknown to man, but in many areas, there is only so much truth to go around. So when the pace of collegiate research exceeds the pace at which real discoveries are made, the aspiring professor has only one route; make stuff up, or prove the obvious and persuade an accomodating committee to grant a Mickey Mouse Ph.D. For a demonstration of this principle, visit the Department of Gender and Ethnic Studies, or "groundbreaking" research like "people with anal fissure shouldn't eat lots of hot peppers".

Again, if you want students in college who actually belong there, and professors worthy of that name, you've got to end remedial classes and end government subsidies for student loans. Until students need to convince a banker that they're a good credit risk, they're simply not going to, by and large, take seriously what they're about to undertake--and the country will suffer in many ways for it.

1 comment:

Pilgrim said...

re: professional liars

The Wife and I were discussing this the other night, as we read a little on the disputed authorship of the Pastoral Epistles. The structure of Ph.D. studies creates fertile soil for innovation where there should be none; in seeking to "add to the knowledge base," scholars overstate the differences between Paul's letters, lending to the confusion about what the Bible is and why it's important.