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Solving Student Loans and College Costs
Plus: Rand Paul’s gross remarks about college athletes.
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Tim Miller: When it comes to our college system, politicians are making y’all carry around a bunch of bullsh**. Let’s empty out our backpack of burdens.
Lisa Simpson (from The Simpsons): This system is really rigged against us.
Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Hey y’all, somehow school is around the corner.
Peter Griffin (from Family Guy): No, I’m not ready.
Miller: So I wanted to address this summer’s SCOTUS news, on student loans and affirmative action, since it’s gonna directly affect some of you.
Randy Marsh (from South Park): Gotta do what’s best for my young’ns.
Miller: But we’ve got to look at these rulings in the context of the broader problems in our college system. We must acknowledge U.S. colleges definitely do some things right.
Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting): Oh, I suppose so.
Miller: There’s a reason that Chinese youth want to come to our schools, and there aren’t a lot of American kids clamoring to go to Nanjing U. At the same time, our system has gotten progressively worse in a lot of ways that politicians and college presidents are unwilling or unable to fix. So let’s roll through ’em, and at the end I want to hear your takes too.
Phillip Frond (from Bob’s Burgers): Issues to discuss, feelings to process.
Miller: So here’s the first shit sandwich to unload from our backpack: college costs. The price of going to college these days is fucking absurd. Here’s how much college costs have gone up, compared to other goods and services. And here’s how much the cost of college textbooks have gone up compared to other books.
Simpson: Something smells fishy.
Miller: Now this is where my conservative side hits hard. The only explanation for this is colleges are running an oligopoly propped up by the government. In a free market, there’s no world where the cost of an Astronomy 101 textbook would go up 200 percent while the cost of Moby-Dick goes down 4 percent. Has the value of textbooks increased 200 percent?
Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen in Pam & Tommy): No.
Miller: Has the demand for them increased that much?
Data (Brent Spiner on Star Trek: The Next Generation): Unlikely.
Miller: Is there a limited supply?
Winston (Ian McShane in John Wick: Chapter 3–Parabellum): I think not.
Miller: The prices go up because colleges know they have students and the government by the balls. Young people need a degree to get credentialed, and politicians ensure they’ll have the loans to cover the bills.
Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West on The Wire): F***ing game’s rigged.
Miller: A onetime student-loan holiday is not going to fix this problem. Frankly, it’s only going to make things worse. It’ll incentivize colleges to hike prices more, because they’ll assume another bailout’s coming on the backend.
Johnny Cage (from Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge): Great, so, we are screwed.
Miller: We need to do one of two things. The first option is a more free-market system for colleges, where the government gets out of the loan business. The second option is the government capping tuition at public schools, and creating a low-cost competition. My preferred solution is obviously the former. But if that’s too libertariancore for America in 2023, then daddy government needs to step up and do something.
Eric Forman (Topher Grace on That ’70s Show): Thank you, Daddy.
Miller: Anything beats the current system, which only benefits university administrators, their bloated HR departments, and nobody else.
Ricken Hale (Michael Chernus on Severance): It’s just fat cats making fat kittens.
Miller: So the next thing in our bag: the failed student-loan bailout. For the reasons that I just hit home, I’m sympathetic to people facing huge student loan bills, but particularly those that take on jobs that are good for society and require higher education—you know, jobs like teachers, nurses, public defenders. But the Biden bailout was obviously not legal. Even Nancy Pelosi thought so.
Nancy Pelosi: People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not.
Linda O’Hara (Gigi Perreau on The Brady Bunch): Is there a problem at home?
Miller: So how about this: Congress should come up with a deal that caps student loan payments at 5 percent of your income. That way people don’t have to be slaves to the man to pay off the college debt that our idiotic system thrusted on them.
Kip Dynamite (Aaron Ruell in Napoleon Dynamite): That sounds pretty good.
Miller: Let’s have a look at our last item for this week: college athlete pay.
Rand Paul: We used to be proud, many of us love watching amateur athletes that weren’t paid. Now everybody that plays basketball in college is going to be driving a Bentley or a Rolls. We’re going to be seeing rap stars instead of basketball stars.
Miller: Say it with me now—
Purple Falcon (Brenda Song on Key & Peele): That’s racist.
Miller: Fuck you, Rand Paul. For some reason, the only group that free-market conservatives want to prevent from getting paid for the value they bring in is young black athletes.
Herbert Garrison (from South Park): Isn’t that an amazing coincidence?
Miller: We need simple rules for college athlete pay that let all student athletes get whatever endorsement bag they can, as long as it’s all above board, transparent, and legal.
“Raul Castro” (from Mike Tyson Mysteries): Like a free-market system.
Miller: And even more than that, I think all athletes should get a cut of the massive TV revenue these schools have been bringing in.
Queen: I want it all.
Miller: Come back next week for affirmative action and the rest of our backpack of burdens.