Paper Club: A Criticism of the University System

We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d be millionaires and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” When I first saw Brad Pitt’s Fight Club as a college freshman, I did an odd thing: I immediately re-watched it. Beneath the violence, comedy and innuendo, the cult classic contains a powerful message. We, the millennials, are the first generation of Americans to be left a society worse than the one our parents inherited, both morally and literally bankrupt. I am Jack’s glistening tear ducts.

In 2007, the housing market crashed, and with it the American economy as a whole. This happened, in layman’s terms, due to a corrupt partnership between the federal government, the banks, and greedy every day Americans. Somewhere along the way, someone in our government (shout out my man Bill Clinton) decided to declare home ownership a basic human right. I guess James Madison just forgot to include that one in the Bill of Rights. Enter Fannie May and Freddie Mac. The government pressured and incentivized banks to make home loans to anyone and everyone who wanted them. The banks jumped on the opportunity, and began writing horrible loans, bundling them together, and selling them to the highest bidder. Americans took the bait hook line and sinker, buying homes way beyond their price ranges, and everything was good, for awhile. Then the foreclosures began. Eventually, no matter how debtor friendly your loan is, the bank is going to ask for its money back. Seemingly out of nowhere, the market crashed. All of those people lost the homes they couldn’t afford, and most of the big banks went belly up. Luckily, wall street funds most of our politicians, and Uncle Sam was there to pick up the slack. The government bailed out all the banks, to the sum of some 10 trillion dollars. There’s just one problem; governments don’t have any money. Taxpayers have money. The taxpayers of our generation will be paying this debt off for the rest of our, and our unborn children’s lives. I am Jack’s clinching fist.

Surely, after that debacle, the banks, the government, and human kind learned their lessons, right? Wrong. Now we have something called government backed student loans. Somewhere along the way, someone in our government (shout out Barack Obama) decided higher education is a basic human right. So President Obama got with the ole boys on Wall Street, and they decided it was time for the federal government to take over the student loan business, wholesale. Sallie Mae ramped up the issuance of $100,000 student loans to fine arts majors who won’t earn $100,000 in four years of work. And why not? If they can’t pay, the tax payer will foot the bill again. I am jacks furrowed brow.

However, this created a deeper problem than simply adding to the national debt. It created an oligopoly in the university system. See, the people who run colleges are usually pretty smart. Smart enough that they figured out that they can keep jacking up the price of education, and the government will keep lending students the money to pay for it. In a free market, prices rise to meet demand. Now there is limitless demand, because there’s no price the government won’t pay. Because everyone can go to college now, everyone has to go to college now. The average student who could have gone into sales or blue collar labor, and done fine before, now can’t even get consideration for many of those jobs without a diploma, without membership of the “Paper Club.” The Universities have a blank check with Uncle Sam’s, and your, signatures on them. I am Jack’s uneasy stomach.

With an unlimited amount of applicants, and the ability to block accreditation of cheaper online schools, the big universities have no reason to worry about the quality of the service they’re charging you a fortune for. The University of Tennessee sells three parking passes for every parking space. What are you gonna do about it, go to ITT Tech? The greedy universities are forcing business students to pay for years of biology and geometry they will never use, in the name of becoming “well rounded individuals.” I think I can find a much cheaper way to become well rounded. In no other industry does one pay someone to condescend to him, to be given an advisor who doesn’t fluently speak his language, to be told he can’t take a class he needs to graduate on time this semester. The service has been removed from this service industry, and it is time for a change. I am Jack’s sweaty palms.

So, what can we do? How do we beat a monopoly? We must elect candidates to our government who have real, radical ideas for education reform. Marco Rubio’s plan to help accredit small and online schools for much cheaper is the best plan I’ve heard. We must get the government’s hand out of this section of the economy, after they bust the education trust. The clock is ticking. Soon this industry will face an economic crisis as well. It is time for millennials to take interest in politics, and accept that if we want to achieve all that we were promised we could, it’s going to take sacrifice and personal responsibility’s. I am Jack’s waxing sense of optimism.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s