Blood from Turnips, Money from the Broke

The government does not seem capable of practicing simple reasoning, here. My 10 year old niece could tell you that this is madness.


All those “smart” people in Washington–that “idiotic cerebral meritocracy,”–they can’t figure this out, or they just don’t care?

Of course, if the kind of federal paycheck you’re seeking is a social security check–you know, the thing you’ve paid into all your life in expectation that it will help to support you in your dotage–well, you might still get your check, but you won’t be getting the raises that the fed workers (and union members) continue to enjoy. No, oddly enough, for the social security set, they’re kind of in the same boat as us private sector folks: no raises for us.

I feel like my relationship to my son’s college is a microcosm of our relationship to the government. Every year tuition goes up appreciably, even though our salaries have gone stagnant. There are union workers on campus, you see, and they must get their raises, even if services to the students must be cut to ensure them. So, it’s cut services or bleed the students, and either way the cafeteria has too many carbs. The scholarships don’t go up, but the tuition does. We’re trying to keep his student loan debt down to about $30,000, so our contribution, year after year, just gets bigger and bigger.

No matter how you try, you cannot make a finite amount of income cover an ever-growing, undisciplined debt. You can’t do it in the household, you can’t do it in the schools and you cannot do it within government.

Why can’t our “smart policy,” ivy-league-educated betters in Washington figure that out?

I still believe that people can be creative and find ways to support themselves. I believe in entrepreneurship. It just seems like the government is making it more difficult to grow a small idea into something viable, doesn’t it? And the chattering classes cannot move from their entrenched templates.

As for Buster and his schooling, I thank God he only has one year left. What will Buster do with his degree, you ask? Good question. I actually wondered–half seriously–if he might not be better off dropping out of school and learning how to tend bar, but he convinced me that with three years under his belt, he might as well finish and at least have the degree to show for his loan payments. “Also,” he said, “there are no jobs right now, so if I left school, I’d just be one more person trying to find anything to do. I’ll get the degree. If I end up going into the service, it might help get me into officer’s training. And if worse comes to worst, hey, I’ll become a school teacher. Or a federal employee. Or a bouncer.”

My son, the bouncer.

Hmmmm…according to Joe Queenan, if he wants to be a bouncer, he’ll have to get in line with the Harvard grads.

I’m guessing the clubs are being patronized by the federal workers?

Meanwhile, the bad guys have clearly sniffed out the weak horse, again.

Maybe bartending is the way to go, after all. After reading all that, and looking at the dead dolphins on the beach, and watching the deliberate provocation of Israel, to what end one does not even want to imagine, I’m almost up for a Guinness. How about you?


In comments on another thread, Myssi reminds me of the psalm of the common man.

Over at Why I am Catholic, Webster Bull gives us something wonderful, true and wise
A must read

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • P. Buchta

    My nephew graduated college and tends bar. Having your own skill set is definitely the way to go. No matter what field you’re in, become a professional in it. People will always seek out your services. Right now you have all of these college grads with book knowledge but no professional skills. Learn a trade. Even master plumbers make six figures here in NY.

    [I have long argued that we need to get back to encouraging kids to take up the blue-collar work that does not risk "outsourcing" and will always be in need. My own husband wonders if he might not have been happier, in the long run, as an electrician than an electrical engineer. Both of my sons have come away from college convinced that unless you're pursuing medicine or the hard sciences, a degree is a waste of time and money. My Elder Son has made a very strong case for the de-emphasizing of degrees in favor of true competency certification (based not on education credits but true proficiency) for educators, the social sciences and business degrees, and artists--whether in fine arts or music--should be able to study as apprentices, journeymen, etc. My generation, of course, was raised to see degrees and advanced degrees as providing evidence of--if nothing else--a sense of discipline and a willingness to learn. Some will always consider a degree to be evidence of an intellectual superiority, but if that ever was true, it no longer seems to be. Increasingly, a college education demonstrates the ability to conform.

    My exceedingly bright "super genius" sons, who never have fit into molds and went to college to please us (because we were convinced that it mattered) have finally convinced us that one can self-educate to an exemplary level, and be quite content cleaning a schoolroom while reading Nietzsche and Aquinas and listening to Liszt. The goal of education (outside of the sciences and perhaps law) should be about nurturing the ability to think critically via exposure to other modes of thought, for the broadening of one's own ability to perceive and to think for oneself, and for personal enrichment. Really, one does not need a university to pursue all that, and learning should never end. -admin]

  • Anne

    My younger daughter has a college degree, and she is a server in a restaurant. Everybody else in that restaurant also has a college degree. She’s planning to go back to school to get certification to be an elementary school teacher, but of course there is no guarantee she’ll get a job with that, either. Fortunately, she loves to learn, so she’ll have that.

  • newguy40

    Two comments.

    First of all, I am cheered to report that both my teen age boys have concluded along similar lines. ie “if you ain’t got the $ coming in… then you cain’t spend what you ain’t got…” I am pleased they appear to have learned that lesson from Mom and Dad.

    Second, valuable skills include being a good problem solver and nimble thinker. Those skills translate to any job or career over the long haul. I got a BS in Biology 30+ years ago. I had and have a good grounding in scientific methods. I have never worked day one in the life sciences but instead I have been an engineer of one type or another for those same 30+ years with very little (Thank God) lost time to lay offs and factory closings.

    The idea is to stay relevant and keep your skills up to date AND translatable!!!

    Lookee… ALL the sheep skin means is that you are capable of dedicating yourself to a goal and sticking with it. All it gives you is a ticket to the get in to the dance. Nothing more. The rest is up to the new grad.

    [Joe Carter has written a post touching on this subject, today, which you might find interesting -admin]

  • http://!!!! kelleybee

    The goal of a University, in time past, was to educate an individual. Once educated in the letters, art and science, upon graduation one “read” with a lawyer, physician or engineer to train in the field. Today, I’m afraid many Universities are just degree factories that offer “courses” in many faux curricula. They are often populated with Marxists/socialists bent on the destruction of our nation.

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  • Texmom

    I’ve got one who just graduated and is making $8 an hour. Well, at least he’s working. One of his buddies dropped out and is making way more as a Subway regional manager now.
    I’ve got one with three years to go, lots of loans, and what will he have to show for it? We are questioning it, too. What a sad state we’re in.

  • Greta

    Our company stopped hiring those with college degrees a few years back unless they could clearly show they were not infected with many of the germs of liberal professors. We found that many educated in schools over the years with emphasis on self esteem at the expense of success and failure measures along with other liberal bent idiotic ideas destroyed the entreprenuer thought and in many cases the work ethic and killer instinct that leads to success or failure in the real world. That does not mean we sacrifice morals, virtues, or standards, only that we compete to win and expect people to work hard to pull their weight and be rewarded for what they deliver. Instead we have found that many older non college workers bring wonderful results. We have to get a way from the thought that some piece of paper means anything at all without some solid proof of ability and perserverance. I think many businesses are now looking at things in this way based on a lot of wasted dollars on kids that have been destroyed by the universities parents spent life savings to deliver.

  • salvage

    That’s great Greta, I’m sure those guys make wicked good waffles.

  • Johnny Coelacanth

    Did your son inherit the congenital ugliness of body and spirit that is writ so large over your fat face?