In 1977 and before, it used to be a summer job could pay for college.
That meant that you know that working your ass off as a dishwasher, waiter… often in the service industry was what paid for your tuition. If you put that many hours and commitment to go to school, you don’t take the costs of college lightly.
From the GI Bill after World War II through the Carter administration, most government money went to help people and unfortunately quagmires like the Vietnam War.
After the Reagan/Thatcher “Revolution”, Trickle Up Economics started in the Orwellian doublespeak of “Trickle Down Economics.” Since then more and more taxpayer money has gone to corporations. Whether it’s the farm subsidies under Richard Nixon that took incentives to end the balance of a family farm to give subsidies for monoculture like Roundup Ready Corn which isn’t delicious and hardly edible. THe amazing soils made my buffalo poop over eons washing into the great Missouri and Mississippi River Delta. Why? Because big ag wants huge feed lots for pigs and cattle where animals wallow in shit and the stink goes for miles. And basically concentration camps for chickens and eggs. Why? Big profits.
Feeding chickens and especially cows corn is insane. Chickens are designed to eat grubs and keep insect populations in balance. Cows, buffalo and other big grass eaters have stomach that can turn the light energy content of cellulose into nutrition and give the grass the poop it needs to grow again. It’s the circle of poop and it comes and goes. And it makes the soil ever richer. Making topsoil grow and things improve.
Now, we are wasting the earth just so people who are millionaires can become richer. A satisfied mind and a satisfied life is knowing that you are enough and have enough. People in Central Maine and many working place know that although the kids are idiots, the dogs and birds are annoying, the bills are piling up and the snow never starts falling that they have a house, they have a car, they are making do.
The culture of many of the very privileged that go to elite colleges often have strong connection and end up in places like Wall Street are to see who has the most toys. Having 20 Rolexes, 10 Supercars, 4 houses and, and, and just means you are buying shiny to hide misery. An absurd number of millionaire athletes are dead broke a few years after their career ends. If the type of players that go to the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats want to learn to be a pro basketball player, they should play in Europe, China or Russia and learn humility. When you are playing with 10 year veterans and you are the talented 18 year old American, guess what, you will learn humility. Humility is what lets a five star recruit like Brandon Jennings realize after a year or two in Europe that a condo near the practice facility and a Ford Edge are enough. He has learned that although talented, he has a lot to learn about being a pro.
Right now we take upper middle class and rich kids to places like Harvard, Bowdoin College, Stanford, etc. where they expect to be coddled. When I heard Bucknell had student laundry service they immediately left my college list. When Penn State admitted their students were just numbers that did too. I feel in love with the Gray Gothic of the University of Chicago and it’s rich history. But, I wasn’t ready for graduate school level rigor. I also think I was emotionally quite young. Although, I have never been a place where anyone wanted to attack a professor’s question like it was chum. Kids at Rutgers are smart too, but they are students that sit back and listen and have to be prompted for questions.
I hope we gain more sanity. I think we need to go back to the times before Reagan/Thatcher in both the UK and US. There is nothing wrong with living in council flats or section 8 housing. Not everyone is going to be rich. My mom was on food stamps when we were babies and dad was a graduate student. People involved in welfare were there to help, not constantly suspicious of fraud. Nixon made us “tough on crime and brought in farm subsidies which destroyed the family farm, which was a tough life but was balanced with the earth. Now we look at “welfare fraud” and blame the poor. Meanwhile big coal is blowing up billion year old mountains literally with dynamite for coal so that the owners can make huge profits, college campuses and Wal-Mart live their lights on all night for “security” and light pollution makes it hard to see the stars.
We need sanity. I think we need to have a flat tax, maybe a VAT and enough of a gas tax to pay the cost of infrastructure. It has not changed in a long, long time. It probably needs to be above the break even point because we are so behind. Less money in gas taxes, means worse roads, means more wear on cars and suspensions and higher auto repair bills. It’s cheaper to have good infrastructure and keep things maintained then have to fix something broken. Think of a house that is well maintained with a hoarder or any house left vacant by foreclosure.
The purpose of the federal government is not to debt collectors can make 18.5% when students get behind on student loans so colleges look fancier and get more applications. It’s time to go back to the GI Bill days for big colleges like Ohio State. They used to accept everyone, but guess what look to your left and right, on average one of you won’t make it.
And guess what, if you aren’t meant for a liberal arts degree there is a glut in the market. It’s why a BA in Sarah Lawrence can work in hotel reception, a Starbucks or a call center.
If you are someone good with your hands, plumbers, contractors with a great reputation and auto repair shop owners make more than someone with a BA in History, Philosophy and English. Only in America to bars say “if you so smart, why ain’t you rich?” Guess what, poets and philosophers have always been broke and needed benefactors. It’s still true in the arts today.
May we have a more sane world in the future where people look out for each other and get by in old mill towns with deep roots and working class values like the Ansonia which was once the capital of brass and copper in America where I live. Despite what the WTO thinks, tariffs are a good thing, it paid the cost of government for years. It wasn’t until Woodrow Wilson that we had income taxes. And higher tariffs might mean places with strong working class values and family loyalty like Westbrook, Maine (SD Warren paper), Ansonia, CT (The Ansonia Brass Company) and Waterbury, CT had people who were unionized had a good salary and deep roots in the community. The purpose of government is not to make multinationals billions in money. The purpose of a corporation is not solely for shareholder gain.
The puppet security courts do not help the 2nd Amendment. I realy wish Supreme Court Justices were subject to review by Consitutional lawyers and scholars which sadly includes Barack Obama. Everyone who voted for People’s United clearly missed the preamble of the US Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Nothing there says that the government is for profit. That means that conservative justices who are entertained by corporate interests that voted for People’s United: Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas the silent (he almost never says anything during cases) and John Roberts should be off the court. With lifetime appointment Antonin Scalia has been a justice for a very, very long time since 1986 and John Roberts who is likely to be Supreme Court Chief Justice for a long time he is only 60 years old.
Maybe we should have ten year appointment instead. The Constitution is broken at this point, the Bill of Rights demolished (1st and 4th Amendments for Security, the 4th Amendment for the War on Drugs, and no one seems to understand that a well regulated militia to me implies that their should be some restrictions on firearms and militias which are similar to State National Guards today.
I will say more but I have said my piece. I am almost at 1500 words.
Take care of yourself and each other, and remember to always work to be excellent to each other. We are all in this together.
I am a very worried man.
Blessed be as the green ones return soon, I hope we have a rebirth on sanity, we need it.