People are complaining, as they should, about how tuition prices are shooting up far faster than inflation…in fact, how they went up even faster while the economic depression had prices stagnant or falling, nationally.
It seems that the more the government increases grants and student loans, and gives special breaks to students or parents to help them pay for college, the more those prices shoot up and undo that benefit.
But this is not a coincidence. It’s exactly what must happen, because of those student benefits…and the more the government hands out student aid, the more the laws of Supply and Demand and of Unintended Consequences will force tuitions higher:
When you give away money to help people buy something in an industry, it’s technically called a “Subsidy“…and the primary function of a subsidy is to raise prices. The government, unfortunately, often does just that, on purpose, giving a subsidy in an industry because it’s been bribed by lobbyists to place the profits of the producers over the needs of the members of society (aka consumers). Farm subsidies are how it keeps milk and other staples too expensive for poor people to buy without the government’s own “help”, for example.
The way a subsidy works, of course, is that you increase the number of dollars available to buy the product, while the actual demand for that product, and therefore its supply, stays more or less the same. If people generally choose to spend a one hundred million dollars per year on apples, and they average $1 a pound, then the government offers people an extra fifty million dollars to “help” them buy apples, the average price of apples can increase to $1.50 a pound, driving up prices of pies, and giving poor people one less healthy snack they can afford. That’s a bit oversimplified, but pretty much how subsidies are used.
People didn’t actually want beet sugar more than cane sugar, the government simply threw more money at it, so that there was more to spend, and prices rose to a new level. Why? Bribes from beet farmers.
Of course the poor benefit from the inexpensive calories of sugar, so this hike in prices caused them to go hungrier…but they don’t have lobbyists as powerful as the more corrupt and irresponsible farm organizations do.
But money poured into an industry to pay for its goods is a subsidy, with the price-boosting impact, no matter whether that’s the official intention or not:
Health Care Prices
For example, Bush’s own socialized medicine plan, Medicare Part D, threw hundreds of billions of dollars at pharmaceutical companies, for the same medicine that was already out there. Naturally, prices went up even higher, helping precipitate the “crisis” that was used to pass Obamacare…and the Obama administration now admits that, indeed, the added money from Obamacare has caused health care prices to shoot up even faster, even in the short time since it was enacted…and contrary to the claim that it had to be rushed through to reduce prices.
In fact, if you track health care prices through the past century, they shoot up each time the government imposes a program to “help” pay. The largest increase was immediately after Medicare was implemented.
Therefore, it’s really no surprise that college tuitions go up each time government grants and loans increase, even when the economy is weak and driving many other prices down.
In fact, with the government’s fake “student loans” and grants now making up the majority of all money spent on tuition, it would be impossible for tuition prices to do anything but be inflated by many times what they would be if colleges had to actually compete for student money, directly.
People are, right now, complaining loudly about how tuitions are going through the roof…but Big Brotherment’s response has simply been to throw even more money at tuitions, like Obama’s recent, unconstitutional Executive Order, even though this will just increase tuitions more.
It’s as if your doctor’s proposed response to emphysema was for you to chain smoke, because the nicotine will make you feel good.
Blame the Parents
Statistically, parents really do spend less time with their families, these days. Because of this:
- Social conservatives, and some others who blame Hollywood, the music industry, and public schools for the decline in “family values”, condemn parents for not spending more time with their kids to offset those bad influences.
- Teachers, in a dramatic demonstration of how to serve as an irresponsible role model, prefer to blame parents, not themselves, for the decline in public education’s results. Those parents just aren’t spending the time with their offspring that they once did.
- Police like to blame parents for the trouble kids get in after school…they’re not spending enough time with them as role models.
- Technophobes blame newfangled televisions, video games, the net, and mobile phones for, well, anything cultural or behavioral…and blame the parents for not screening such entertainment, not knowing what the kids are seeing.
And, statistically, there’s no question that there’s some strong correlation between the amount of time parents spend with kids, or families in general spend together, and many other things, like drug use and success later in life. The more family time, the better-off the kids are.
It isn’t clear which way the causal relationship goes, but there’s certainly something happening there.
Prosperity-haters therefore blame most of society’s problems on how Greedy Materialists in America spend all day working, both parents, therefore leaving the children in the hands of day care help that is luck to keep the kids healthy and sane, much less serve as good role models and teachers.
If only they were willing to do without many of the nice things in life, like a second car and TV, they’d raise better kids.
They’re halfway correct.
The problem isn’t that people are so greedy as to wish to have decent lifestyles for themselves.
Working Man’s Burden
The actual cause of this decline in family time is taxes.
You thought the title was simply hyperbole to drag you in, didn’t you.
The typical main breadwinner in the US pays about 28% of his income in Federal taxes.
The typical second earner in the US brings in 27% of the first earner’s income, after taxes.
This means that the second parent is actually gone all day just to pay the first parent’s taxes.
And that’s only counting Federal taxes taken directly out of each earner’s check.
It doesn’t count the massive local tax burden they both pay for the public school that is failing their children, the state income taxes, and the many other tax and regulatory burdens we all shoulder outside of the direct hit on our paychecks.
But what it all adds up to is that, if not for high governmental costs, the second earner would not have to work at all, and yet the family would still have more money than it does now.
One of You Labors ONLY For Government
In fact, the second earner’s ENTIRE after-tax income is only a fraction of their household’s governmental burden.
Just cutting the tax and regulation-compliance burden in HALF would allow the second earner to stay home completely, or both earners to work far less than they currently are, and therefore spend more time with the kids…or even each other.
The greed is not on the part of the people who want to live better lives, but the government bureaucrats and the selfish people who support their massive spending (calling for expanded government, voting for politicians who bring home pork), therefore a tax burden so huge that people need to spend all day working, neglecting their families.
The death of the family is yet another problem caused by Big Brotherment, not simply bad parents.
Social conservatives, cops, teachers, and everyone else who is concerned about absent parents and family values should focus first on freeing parents to do something other than toil for the tax man.