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Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Education Scam- The Sunday Collage

A week or so ago, I was on one of the sites that I frequent, but for the life of me I can't think of which one it was. One of the commenters, a particularly ego driven guy, had written a long comment about how people should shut up and quit whining about the lack of good jobs. For his part this commenter said that he had gone back to college at age 42 and had gotten re-trained for a new occupation and that he was sick of hearing people whine about the lack of jobs. He did not specify what his new occupation was.

I have to tell ya, I sensed a little bullshit. So I asked him, "how did you pay for it?" Instead of just answering with the truth- he said something cynical about taking out loans for his education like everyone else. I wasn't able to open up a dialogue because he is just another guy out there in angry land.

With over a trillion in student loans due and payable- politicians and King Obama are now modifying the interest payments for outstanding student loans. Therein lies the crux of what I'd like to talk about today.

Doesn't it seem a little odd that with this fantastic economy that we are supposed to be enjoying- that millions of students can't pay back their student loans?

The field of education has been very fertile ground for predatory lenders. They know that people want to improve their economic standing and their lives. Standing to gain just as much if not more- were colleges and universities who could ratchet up tuition and fees to astronomical levels if lenders simply financed students in advance.

You want to talk about inflation? There is no other sector anywhere, including health care, where the costs have gone this parabolic. How does 500% since 1985 sound? On an annualized basis, student costs have been driven up nearly 18% per year for the last 30 years.

Talk about unsustainable. Maybe the government will pass another law forcing us to buy college tuition next.

There is nothing that compares to this. Interestingly enough, our government statistics regarding consumer price inflation do not include the insanely rising costs of education nor the interest people are forced to pay. Here's a great chart from Bloomberg.

The credentialing of America is one of the greatest scams of our lifetimes.

Here in Boise, at Boise State University, it costs 21,000 dollars a year to attend school. It would cost me 10,000 dollars to attend and my house is close by. The university forces students to purchase health care insurance, and how they are able to get away with that or have any standing in my health care needs, is beyond baffling and fodder for lawyers. Here's their cost schedule sans the force placed health insurance.

Colleges and universities are driving up costs wherever they see opportunity. 

One of the latest scams is the "Commercial Driver's License" or CDL. Back in my day, you simply took a written test and they added heavy trucks as an endorsement on your driver's license. Not any more. Now that the Federal Government has gotten involved, getting a CDL will cost you about 5000 dollars. The College of Western Idaho offers a course for that amount.

Let me be clear here. I don't mind that the government wants to license educated drivers. What I do mind is that bankers, colleges, and the government are conspiring and exploiting people for vast sums of money to learn how to drive a truck- something we used to be taught to do in a week of so. Learning to drive a truck is not rocket science.

The Williston Basin is absolutely screaming for water truck drivers and paying them 70-100k annually. They can't get them because of ridiculous costs and regulations such as this.

For those of you who have read "Atlas Shrugged" the author, Ayn Rand, may seem like a prophet. All of this was predicted by her decades ago. 

Which brings me to the heart of the matter. How is it that American corporations are able to demand credentialed employees while averting all of the costs of the education that they demand? How is it that they've been able to place the financial burden of education on prospective employees with not even a firm job offer?

Therein lies the greatest con of them all. You get to go out on a limb, pay 100 grand or so, to obtain whatever education corporate America demands- and then beg them for a job. Once hired, you find yourself in a 100 thousand dollar hole and you can't even afford an entry level home. Worse yet, you become an obedient little sheep. You do what you are told because if you don't- they'll jettison you for a vast pool of people most of which will be happy to become the next good little sheep and you'll wind up committing resume' suicide.

That in a nutshell, is the state of affairs in America. I'd like to leave you with one last thought.

When I graduated high school in the late 70's, you could land a good job with nothing more than a high school diploma and a lot of hard work. Since that time, corporate America took all of those jobs and off shored them. Think Apple and GE.

Ya wanna know what I think their next trick will be? As soon as they are able, American corporations will offshore all of the white collar jobs as well. At Boeing in Seattle, they are bringing in the Chinese. Someday soon, perhaps when 40 million or so educated Chinese or Indian people enter the workforce, you will see corporate America drive down the salaries of tenured and experienced employees. The educated people making decent money are going to be laid off and replaced with folks making half the salary of the workers they are replacing.

Without strong unions, there is no stopping this.

That's the false sense of security that comes with a 100k education nowadays. Employees are disposable and easily replaced. It happened to the high school graduates, it's going to happen to the college grads just as soon as their replacements have been trained.

Ross Perot predicted all of this and I'll be damned if the American sheep public would know what a decent human being looked like even when he told the truth. Instead we got Bill Clinton. We probably deserve all of this.

Somewhere in Texas, Ross smiles.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Donner, Party of One

Very often, while traveling hither and yon on my Harley, I spot some man or woman or both trapped in a vehicle. Maybe their kids are screaming or they are screaming. Maybe they are scowling or looking out the window maybe even playing the "I am not going to talk to you game" that 70% of adults use to solve their differences. Or maybe I hear the sounds of Milli Vanilli playing on the radio.

So in some smug, sort of secret way- I find myself feeling sorry for the occupants of cars. Unfortunately, today was not that day. Today, I felt sorry for me. Mr. Donner. The moron who decided to scale Lolo Pass from Lewiston to Missoula on his motorcycle. "Look honey, that guy must be freezing!"

Today the tables were turned.

There have only been two times in my riding life where I have had to throw on everything in the bag. Today was the second time. The first time occurred in Sept. 2007, during a blizzard which extended from Taos, New Mexico to Snowville, Utah. Back then, that was the pinnacle of dumbassery. With four inches of slush on the road- that day is still my crowning achievement. Today, just gets a silver medal.

As I am writing this, you should know that the heater is on high in my room. I have draped my jeans over that heater- jeans which actually got wet through my chaps.

The weather was a perky fifty five degrees or so which plummeted as I climbed the 215 mile pass. The declining temperatures were aided by multiple rain showers which together conspired to turn my nuts into a couple of caraway seeds. That I am able to even type right now is a testament to my dedication and commitment to my readers here at FG.  

Still free and worth every penny.

We tried to kill them- they killed us.

On top of Whitebird Hill where the cavalry got whipped

Lochsa River- approx. same temp as photographer

Snow on Lolo Pass

Like the Grizzly Motif


The Hillary Clinton Fund for Broke Politicians

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Keeping Name, Changing Content

I had a few people email me about my proposed changes.

A couple of them, especially Mark W., convinced me that the name- "Frankenstein Government" was sort of iconic and aptly described whatever type of nanny state government we have devolved into.

I came up with that name after the government, and especially Hank Paulson and Congress, wrote blank checks to all of the crooked bankers who should now be out of business or locked up. That those bastards are free and thriving- makes me sick.

When the criminals are made whole, and an innocent society is victimized, that's when you know your government has truly left the fucking rails.

But I am going to slowly change the content.

This week I want to talk about the corporate oligarchy preying on our culture. I think I'm gonna take a little trip on Elvis around Thurs just to get out of town for a while. Maybe I will do a little "on the road" piece with pictures of weird shit.

Yea. That sounds fun.