August 31, 2010

BACK TO SCHOOL: Walter Russell Mead on the Higher Education Bubble.

The upper middle class benefited over the last generation from a rising difference between the living standards of professional and blue collar American workers. This is likely to change; from civil service jobs in government to university professors, lawyers, health care personnel, middle and upper middle management in the private sector, the upper-middle class is going to face a much harsher environment going forward. Automation, outsourcing and unremitting pressures to control costs are going to squeeze upper middle class incomes. What blue collar workers faced in the last thirty years is coming to the white collar workforce now.

Yet as their financial prospects darken, students’ educational costs are exploding. Like the health care system, the educational system is being overwhelmed by rising costs and rising demand. And as misguided government policies contributed to the real estate bubble by artificially inflating demand, government programs are burdening students with unpayable loans and contributing to relentless and unsustainable inflation in school costs.

And so, dear students, welcome back! Your generation is going to have dig its own way out of the hole my generation has dug for you (thanks for the Medicare, kids, and sorry about the deficit!), but here are a few tips that may help you get the best out of your college years.

Read the whole thing.