Tuition Loan Debt Is Corporatism at Its Worst
The left accuses the right of fascism, the right accuses the left of socialism, and both engage in corporatism.
Corporatism is the organization of the body politic and the economy by interest groups, such as farmers, corporations, banks, media, labor unions, educators, government agencies, and professional guilds.
It’s difficult to find a more sobering example of corporatism than how Wall Street, the federal government, college sports, and private and public universities engaged in a feeding frenzy over tuition loans. They tied a bloody roast to the backs of gullible students, tossed the students into an ocean of debt, and feasted on the remains
Community leaders and reporters were not only oblivious to the thrashing and gorging but applauded their local college for spending the loot on swank residence halls, expansive food courts, state-of-the-art exercise facilities, and huge stadia and training facilities for pampered athletes in need of remedial high school.
Of all the guilty parties in the criminal enterprise of student loans, college administrators and faculty deserve special derision. Exhibiting hyper-hypocrisy, they preach equity, social justice, critical race theory, and communitarianism while being awash in money generated by high tuition, which in turn was generated by student loans.
Their hypocrisy extends to climate change. While warning of the existential threat of global warming, college administrators and faculty are silent about massive campus buildings being heated and cooled 24 hours a day and 365 days a year but used just a fraction of those hours and days. Shift work seems to be a foreign concept to them, and so is the economic concept of getting a higher return on assets by using assets for more hours every day and more days every year.
There is no doubt that the cost of college could be cut in half if assets were better utilized, if there were tiered pricing that offered a steep discount to students who attended class on late-night shifts or wanted a bare-boned education without all the bells and whistles on campus, and if tuition money from student loans didn’t go to bloated bureaucracy and money-losing sports programs.
Granted, the larger culture of panem et circenses drives the madness of the college sports industry-and I’m not speaking of just March Madness. Sports fans don’t realize that it’s madness for their sons and daughters to go deep into tuition debt so that some of the money subsidizes sports programs. A surefire way of being seen as a fuddy-duddy or skunk at a party is to point out the madness at a social gathering.
Speaking of madness, the former CEO of Sallie Mae has it in spades. Recently, a Wall Street Journal article explores his late-in-life epiphany about the unholy partnership between the student loan provider Sallie Mae, the government, and banks. This is a guy with the smarts and drive to make it to the top of the giant company, but he couldn’t connect the dots between student loan debt and the increase in college tuition-just as noted politicians and commentators couldn’t connect the dots.
When these people were kids and played the paper-and-pencil game of connecting the dots, they ended up drawing a worm instead of the correct figure of an elephant.
Now there is a push for the government to excuse all tuition debt. What that means, of course, is that working stiffs who didn’t attend college will help pay the debts of those who took out loans to attend college; likewise, those who worked their way through college will help pay the debts of those who didn’t. If this is equity, please keep it to yourself and don’t share it with me.
It would be true equity if those who benefited financially or politically from student debt-such as the CEO of Sallie Mae, bankers, politicians, and college administrators, faculty, and coaches-had to pick up the cost of the write-off. But that won’t happen under our corporatist political and economic system.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.