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Subject: Other people getting stuff you didn’t rss

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Bill Cook
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Assume for a minute Elizabeth Warren has a magic want than can disappear $50k of all student debt. Nobody has to pay for it and there are no negative consequences. (If you don’t believe in magic wands, go start your own thread.)

A significant number of people would still be opposed to using the wand because... no fair. We are truely a strange species.
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Michael Pustilnik
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I was reading about her proposal just today.

Of course if there were no negative consequences, then it would be fine. But you are talking about magic, not reality.

Should the creditors end up losing their money?
Should the taxpayers have to pay for this?
Or just add to the public debt?
Or maybe just print the money?
All of these have negative consequences.

And what about the students who chose to go to less expensive colleges, or worked during their studies, just so they would have lower debt when they graduated? Is it fair to them that the students who chose to go into more debt will get their debts forgiven, at taxpayer expense?
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Mike Stiles
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Mike hits the one thing that bugs me. I took cheaper options to minimize my debt, but I know people that didn't.

I know the situation has changed since the '90s, but it's hard emotionally to just vanish unnecessary debt people took for not entirely rational reasons.

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David
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MikePustilnik wrote:
And what about the students who chose to go to less expensive colleges, or worked during their studies, just so they would have lower debt when they graduated? Is it fair to them that the students who chose to go into more debt will get their debts forgiven, at taxpayer expense?


This is exactly what the OP is asking: should we never provide a new benefit that can't be grandfathered because it's "unfair"?

Assuming a magic wand (which, as the OP pointed out, is a whole different argument), are you saying we shouldn't use it, because it's not fair that that magic wand can't go back in time?

"I didn't get this, so you shouldn't" is a really terrible reason for denying something. There may be many other much better reasons for denying it, but it sounds like a lot of folks think this is a good reason.
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Carl Parsons
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I constantly see spite being the primary motivator for a disturbingly large number of people.
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Mike Stiles
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Debt erasure is going to be hard, but fixing the system so debt is harder to accrue I think is a solid win.

Once we've fixed that part, we can figure out what to do with the outstanding debt.
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David
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windsagio wrote:
I know the situation has changed since the '90s, but it's hard emotionally to just vanish unnecessary debt people took for not entirely rational reasons.


I get this. It's why I look at a lot of solutions for people reaching retirement age and discovering they don't have enough saved up to retire, but are getting too old to work, and I think, "Well, I saved money, while you got to have nicer cars and more frequent vacations, and now you want me to bail you out, after you' got to have fun, with my savings."

It's a very compelling argument, and it's why my idea of what a social safety net should look like is in the penurious side.

But as you say, the situation has changed since the 90s. An entire generation was sold on the "wisdom" of going into debt for a college degree with a dubious ROI. Yes, they chose that, and yes, the smarter ones (or the ones with wiser parents) were able to steer themselves away from that debacle. But it's not realistic to just expect everyone to be smart, especially young people just starting out.

That doesn't mean I believe in Elizabeth Warren's magic wand, or that I want everyone bailed out of the consequences of their own mistakes. I just have some compassion for people who've made bad choices.
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Andre
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Perhaps I did not delve into her plan deeply enough, but so far I am missing one very important consideration. She calls for free tuition for all, but it's that tuition that ends up paying for the professors that teach. Exactly how is she proposing paying teachers? From the federal pocketbook? What she proposes may have merits in the end, but it's a sweeping overhaul of the system, that would essentially put private colleges out of business. Unless they are allowed to operate differently than public institutions. How does a private institution pay for their bills, under her plan? Or can students that go to those private institutions be charged, for their education? Her proposal may have a few holes in it, so far as I can see.
 
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Christopher Yaure
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abadolato01 wrote:


Perhaps I did not delve into her plan deeply enough .... so far as I can see.


So look further, before you start critiquing it.
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Andre
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actuaryesquire wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


Perhaps I did not delve into her plan deeply enough .... so far as I can see.


So look further, before you start critiquing it.


Well I was referring to news coverage of her plan, is there somewhere where she details the specifics? It does not appear to be on her official web page, which would be the likeliest place one SHOULD find it.

Edit - Her website does have a link, but it refers to an article that essentially discusses the student side of things. No mention is even made of how teachers will be paid in her plan. So I'd gather it's a work in progress.
 
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abadolato01 wrote:


Perhaps I did not delve into her plan deeply enough, but so far I am missing one very important consideration. She calls for free tuition for all, but it's that tuition that ends up paying for the professors that teach. Exactly how is she proposing paying teachers? From the federal pocketbook? What she proposes may have merits in the end, but it's a sweeping overhaul of the system, that would essentially put private colleges out of business. Unless they are allowed to operate differently than public institutions. How does a private institution pay for their bills, under her plan? Or can students that go to those private institutions be charged, for their education? Her proposal may have a few holes in it, so far as I can see.


In Brazil ( as was related to me by someone who was studying to get accepted to a public university) the public universities are tuition free, paid out by taxes. Private universities exist and students pay to go.

There are merits to creating a post high school public education system. There are a lot of questions as to how that would work. On a dollar to dollar level, replacing tuition with tax dollars would work for our existing public universities and community colleges, it would be expensive but there is a case to be made for public good.

However, as currently constituted, our public universities don’t have the capacity to absorb private universities, and transferring tax funds to these schools would be extremely expensive and perhaps not appropriate.

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Mike Stiles
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No reason we can't have it both ways;

Free public, paid private.

But we have to make sure people that attend private universities don't then try to undercut funding to public ones.
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abadolato01 wrote:


Perhaps I did not delve into her plan deeply enough, but so far I am missing one very important consideration. She calls for free tuition for all, but it's that tuition that ends up paying for the professors that teach. Exactly how is she proposing paying teachers? From the federal pocketbook? What she proposes may have merits in the end, but it's a sweeping overhaul of the system, that would essentially put private colleges out of business. Unless they are allowed to operate differently than public institutions. How does a private institution pay for their bills, under her plan? Or can students that go to those private institutions be charged, for their education? Her proposal may have a few holes in it, so far as I can see.

I would expect to see an evolution to a system with both public and private schools, much like K-12 currently has. I expect there would be fewer private colleges than now, but there will always be wealthy folks who think their kids are too good for public schools.

Paying for it all is still a problem though.
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Andre
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Talmanes wrote:
abadolato01 wrote:


Perhaps I did not delve into her plan deeply enough, but so far I am missing one very important consideration. She calls for free tuition for all, but it's that tuition that ends up paying for the professors that teach. Exactly how is she proposing paying teachers? From the federal pocketbook? What she proposes may have merits in the end, but it's a sweeping overhaul of the system, that would essentially put private colleges out of business. Unless they are allowed to operate differently than public institutions. How does a private institution pay for their bills, under her plan? Or can students that go to those private institutions be charged, for their education? Her proposal may have a few holes in it, so far as I can see.

I would expect to see an evolution to a system with both public and private schools, much like K-12 currently has. I expect there would be fewer private colleges than now, but there will always be wealthy folks who think their kids are too good for public schools.

Paying for it all is still a problem though.


I agree that costs are the primary battle here, working against the enactment of her plans. Warren is an idealist, and although she has some "equitable" ideas, I think she is working against a system, that will not cater to her desires. Most of her plans call for slapping the wealthy in some way, and in general, they are the group that has the wherewithal to take those slaps, and dish them out in return. She's rolling the rock uphill, although I cannot fault her for attempting to do so. Her ideals are proper, but I think she's destined to fall short in the execution. But not for lack of trying.
 
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Mike Hunnicutt
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
windsagio wrote:
I know the situation has changed since the '90s, but it's hard emotionally to just vanish unnecessary debt people took for not entirely rational reasons.


I get this. It's why I look at a lot of solutions for people reaching retirement age and discovering they don't have enough saved up to retire, but are getting too old to work, and I think, "Well, I saved money, while you got to have nicer cars and more frequent vacations, and now you want me to bail you out, after you' got to have fun, with my savings."

It's a very compelling argument, and it's why my idea of what a social safety net should look like is in the penurious side.

But as you say, the situation has changed since the 90s. An entire generation was sold on the "wisdom" of going into debt for a college degree with a dubious ROI. Yes, they chose that, and yes, the smarter ones (or the ones with wiser parents) were able to steer themselves away from that debacle. But it's not realistic to just expect everyone to be smart, especially young people just starting out.

That doesn't mean I believe in Elizabeth Warren's magic wand, or that I want everyone bailed out of the consequences of their own mistakes. I just have some compassion for people who've made bad choices.


Wait. So you don't want to bail out people who reach retirement without enough savings (as if it is completely dependent on their personal choices) but you're okay bailing out someone who purposely overextended themselves chasing the promise of the riches that a four year liberal arts degree provides?

What's your stance on people whose bad decision was to spend their formative years in a marijuana haze? I'm asking for a friend.
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Moshe Callen
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The way it's supposed to work is that departments make the real money via grants paid by whoever wants a certain type of research done-- private individuals, corporations, or gov't. Tuition is not and never has been the big earner at a university. At teaching institutions that do no or limited research, it's different of course.

Tuition is supposed to be for administrative costs. It's also used at big name private institutions to weed out the hoi polloi. At a public institution, there's simply o excuse for the current levels of tuition.
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David
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Mr_Hunnicutt wrote:
Wait. So you don't want to bail out people who reach retirement without enough savings (as if it is completely dependent on their personal choices) but you're okay bailing out someone who purposely overextended themselves chasing the promise of the riches that a four year liberal arts degree provides?


That's not what I said. What I said was that my idea of a social safety net tends to be on the penurious side.

Yes, I want to bail out people who reach retirement without enough savings. I think we should provide at least basic housing and medical care to everyone. I am not in favor of letting people die on the streets.

But I am in favor of allowing them to live in extremely reduced circumstances that are not at all what they anticipated or think they deserve.

Also, I'm not really in favor of the magic $50K debt forgiveness either. But I acknowledge Warren is trying to address a real problem. And again, the premise of the OP was not "Is this is a good idea?" but "Why are people opposing it just because they didn't get it?" If I could make everyone else's student debt disappear by magic, with no impact on myself, I would not begrudge them that just because I had to pay off my own debt.
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Bill Cook
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MikePustilnik wrote:

And what about the students who chose to go to less expensive colleges, or worked during their studies, just so they would have lower debt when they graduated? Is it fair to them that the students who chose to go into more debt will get their debts forgiven, at taxpayer expense?

This is exactly what I was talking about. Not picking on you; this is a very normal and ingrained attitude. But if you think about it, it’s monstrous
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If we lock down future progress to ensure that no one gets a sweeter deal than their predecessors did because it's not "fair", then that's a commitment to never improving anything ever.
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Moshe Callen
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EMBison wrote:
MikePustilnik wrote:

And what about the students who chose to go to less expensive colleges, or worked during their studies, just so they would have lower debt when they graduated? Is it fair to them that the students who chose to go into more debt will get their debts forgiven, at taxpayer expense?

This is exactly what I was talking about. Not picking on you; this is a very normal and ingrained attitude. But if you think about it, it’s monstrous

Also, if I may use myself as an example. I did work during college and I chose less expensive places to study. I did everything I could to lower by student loan debt.

Unfortunately although I had a definite plan for the future, it did not work out the way I expected. That kind of stuff happens.
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You could look at the introduction of Social Security. There had to be people who were old and at death's door, getting only one or two checks, and seeing all those younger people who looked forward to a decade or two of checks arriving. It would bother some, but as time passed that transition pain would fade.

In following Andrew Yang and his UBI plan, I'd love to see it implemented for a number of reasons, including that my family could really use an infusion of $24,000 through my wife and I. Being 47 I'd want that reality to come sooner rather than later because the cutoff is 64 for UBI. I want my money!

Still, if it came later then so be it as I see it as having a lot of value for out society. I can see people who are passed the 64 year mark being really annoyed that they missed out, but once again, that transition pain fades over time and we move on as a community.
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Mike Hunnicutt
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
Mr_Hunnicutt wrote:
Wait. So you don't want to bail out people who reach retirement without enough savings (as if it is completely dependent on their personal choices) but you're okay bailing out someone who purposely overextended themselves chasing the promise of the riches that a four year liberal arts degree provides?


That's not what I said. What I said was that my idea of a social safety net tends to be on the penurious side.

Yes, I want to bail out people who reach retirement without enough savings. I think we should provide at least basic housing and medical care to everyone. I am not in favor of letting people die on the streets.

But I am in favor of allowing them to live in extremely reduced circumstances that are not at all what they anticipated or think they deserve.

Also, I'm not really in favor of the magic $50K debt forgiveness either. But I acknowledge Warren is trying to address a real problem. And again, the premise of the OP was not "Is this is a good idea?" but "Why are people opposing it just because they didn't get it?" If I could make everyone else's student debt disappear by magic, with no impact on myself, I would not begrudge them that just because I had to pay off my own debt.


You're right about the original premise of the OP. In that light, I don't begrudge a magical $50K going to anybody. And I am also not in favor of it.

I do, however, think that the elderly and infirm should be made comfortable and not punished for whatever happened in their past to put them in their situation, whether it was a result of their choice or not.

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whac3 wrote:
The way it's supposed to work is that departments make the real money via grants paid by whoever wants a certain type of research done-- private individuals, corporations, or gov't. Tuition is not and never has been the big earner at a university. At teaching institutions that do no or limited research, it's different of course.

Tuition is supposed to be for administrative costs. It's also used at big name private institutions to weed out the hoi polloi. At a public institution, there's simply o excuse for the current levels of tuition.


I took a look at a good British university, Bristol - just the first I thought to try. (Oxford or Cambridge would have been significantly different. Otherwise I suspect this is fairly typical at the top end.)

Its income in 2018 split as:

Tuition fees and education contracts: 266.9
Funding body grants: 87.3
Research grants and contracts: 168.6
Other income: 131.5
Investment income: 3.5
Endowment donations: 0.1

Unexplained other income (on the simple table I've copied - it may be in the text) is a bit large to draw many conclusions. But you can conclude that both tuition and research are essential to the balance sheet.

(Million pounds in case not obvious.)
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I should have my last bit of debt for grad school paid off in 2020. If all I get is a "well, good on you," I'm OK with that.
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As I said, that's how we as people doing research are told it's supposed to work. I did not claim it really does. Most departments outside of the sciences don't bring in a net gain. Theoretically they're supposed to but they just don't.
 
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