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No college for the “middle” class!

There is a great graph in the CNNMoney article entitled “Surging college costs price out middle class.”

But since only the top 1% of income earners has made real progress since 1980, there IS no middle class….

The data seem to show that keeping “middle” class kids from a college education is intentional.

In 2008, the latest data available show that the median income in the U.S. was $33,000. Adjusted for inflation, this income is ACTUALLY $400 LESS than the median income in 1988! If incomes had kept up with college costs, the median income would be $77,000 a year. Tuition and fees at public universities soared almost 130% between 1988 and 2008. And THAT doesn’t include books or room and board….

I blame my generation, the Baby Boomers (oh, and of course, the “super rich:-) )! After all, a lot of us Baby Boomers completed a Bachelors degree (sometimes as the first person in our family to do so), and many of us also achieved advanced degrees. Our education caused us to “question” :-) a lot of things and to have the numbers to back up those questions. And educated people are MUCH harder to “rule….” :-)

Meanwhile, the amount of federal aid available to help students has failed to keep up. “Since 1992, the maximum available through government-subsidized student loans has remained at $23,000 for a four-year degree.” However, a college degree STILL remains desirable.

“College grads, after all, have much lower unemployment rates than high school grads. And they earn $1 million more over their lifetimes, according to a much-quoted figure from the Labor Department.”

Around 2/3 of students who graduate with 4-year degrees have loans, and those loans AVERAGE $23,186, according to (I have talked to students who graduate from Art schools owing $100,000 to $130,000, and unlike doctors and lawyers, it just MAY be hard for artists to EARN that much! It’s hard for ANY graduates to pay back loans, save for a home or retirement, and save for the education of the NEXT generation, especially with a DECLINING median income, adjusted for inflation.

According to CNNMoney:

“Economists speculate that one reason unemployment is so high is because the American workforce lacks the skills needed to fill the jobs that are open. As a result, companies may shift these jobs overseas, where wages are often cheaper.”

If true, it looks like the economists are “clueless,” again! :-) Unemployment is so high because jobs were offshored SOLELY because of cheaper wages! The American workers with the needed skills were LAID OFF, largely because executive management lacks the education, intelligence, and foresight to appreciate those skills and to see beyond the numbers of the current fiscal quarter. (Note added June 14, 2011: “Coincidentally,” :-) many of those skilled workers happened to be those well-educated Baby Boomers who were laid off [or not rehired] as the result of rampant, illegal age discrimination in American business. Now, as the result of demographics, there WILL not be enough American workers to replace them [as I wrote in 2007], a fact that WOULD have been obvious to executives with 1. education, 2. intelligence, and 3. foresight. :-) ) The quoted paragraph above [revisionist history] is mere justification, in hindsight, for an offshoring experiment that in many cases now appears to have been a MAJOR mistake.

The Myers-Briggs “thinking-judging” personality types that comprise upwards of 90% of upper management are often incapable of accepting responsibility for their actions, and need a scapegoat. (Sound pretty “childish” to you? They ARE. “It’s HIS fault! No, it’s HER fault!” :-) )

I still advise students to try to get a college education, a Bachelor’s degree, any way that they can. Even though government and industry CLAIM that there is a shortage of people with advanced degrees, they continue to fail to reward such people, making the problem WORSE. Yes, those people with advanced degrees will probably wind up working for a C-student with a Bachelor’s degree in business (but he/she WILL be a Myers-Briggs “thinking-judging” type). :-)

Besides giving you a shot at a better income, a decreased chance of unemployment, and a deeper appreciation of the world in which you live, a Bachelor’s degree will also provide you with a weapon to use against that upper 1% of income earners that is trying so hard to hold you (and your children) down. Another weapon will be your own intelligence, which is NOT distributed according to income.

-Bill at

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