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The One Comic That Explains Just How Screwed America Is


Stashed in: General Wisdom, Economics!, Education!, Awesome, America!, We Are Doomed, Comics!, Best of Tumblr, Education, Rich people get richer., Student Loans

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You know that phrase, "If you think education is expensive, try the alternative"? Pretty sure we are.

Watching the MTV VMAs last night I was struck by the thought that they weren't dumbed down.

That they were on the level of the average American.

The expensive for-profit schools are particularly damning evidence that something is wrong.

California (population 10M more than all Nordic countries combined)  but 10x the GDP....go figure.  We must be doing something right. 

Until recently California's education system was the envy of the world in terms of value.

Well, apparently in California, the teaching cost per student is completely out of whack given the trend to specialized classes and narrow instruction; the Cal State system has an out of control salary and retirement system; the whole state system combined has major issues with reducing debt, reducing pension liabilities.  Almost all increases in state funding for higher education have gone directly into higher salaries the past two decades.  

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http://changinguniversities.blogspot.com/2013/02/where-does-uc-tuition-go.html

Hmmmm... GDP is really not a great indicator of much other than... GDP.  It's doesn't reveal anything to do with quality of life that matters for individual citizens and middle class families, just that there is economic vitality for companies.  It's like measuring how big your craps are to determine whether or not you are being fed delicious meals.  Any fool can eat sawdust and make a turd and any country can make GDP and live like slaves.  And California, not many middle class people left living independently by their own means in livable real estate these days... 10 x less, methinks.

As far as Nordic countries, aside from the crappy weather swing into cold darkness that plague all high latitudes in winter, their entire society enjoys middle class perks, first world infrastructure, rule of law, their own family homes/apartments and often a summer cottage in beautiful countryside with enough temperament for leisure and vacation time to enjoy it.  Either that or they hop a plane and go topless and dance poorly around the Med.  

True, the Vikings are not much for creating the next Silicon Valley and they have to put up with IKEA furnishings, but then again they don't have to worry about much more than that because they're sitting on oil reserves.

View with a skew, @rob I think your assessment of California and the economic mobility within might be a little off.  In particular, I'm interested in this view:  "And California, not many middle class people left living independently by their own means in livable real estate these days... 10 x less, methinks". Would be interested in more of your thoughts on that if you have time!

Anecdotal and aggregate evidence: I live in Austin where there is an ongoing net inflow of Californians immigrating and bidding up the housing market here.  I travel to Cali often and love everything about it, so nothing against Cali in my book.  Since the housing bubble popped I, like many others, have plenty of colleagues and friends who experienced the pain and similarly explained they left Cali because they simply can't afford to live there anymore, or raise a family on their incomes.

Calif is very nice if you have a trust fund, hedge fund or somebody else's funds to live on.  It's heaven on earth for the top tax brackets.

Moral - if you have kids and lots of student debt move to Scandinavia

How realistic is that option, actually? We want to stay and pay off our debt in a reasonable fashion.

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