Is this the new American Dream⁉️

And you wonder why the wealth gap is increasing❓This may be part of the problem; young people accumulating massive debt for non- productive degrees and then having that debt forgiven in a more favorable way if they work in jobs that are less productive or less prone to contribute toward economic growth. Don’t we have this backwards⁉️

If we are going to forgive loans, why not give the advantage to productive STEM degrees and to people who are in key jobs or who are entrepreneurs who create jobs⁉️ How is it beneficial for society, especially the much talked about middle-class, to spend tax dollars forgiving loans for an actor working for a public radio station (or a government employee) ten years sooner than a college graduate who starts a small business and employs ten people or who works in a job developing new technology⁉️ No doubt the logic is that the former has a harder time repaying the loan than the latter, but is that the correct standard for using tax dollars and supporting the middle-class⁉️ Rather, it appears more a reflection of a misguided naive progressive mentality.

What we should be doing is putting our tax money where society gets the best ROI. Am I missing something?

Amira Nader grad­u­ated from Co­lumbia Uni­ver­sity in 2010 with a mas­ter’s de­gree in act­ing and nearly $190,000 in debt. She now works for a pub­lic radio sta­tion in New York City and waits ta­bles on the side.

Ms. Nader, 31 years old, who moved to New York nine years ago from Flor­ida, dreams of own­ing a home in New Or­leans. But like tens of thou­sands of other young Amer­i­cans, she is find­ing it hard to move away…

In New York, Ms. Nader is jug­gling her dreams and debt, which “looms over my head every day, es­pe­cially when I think about a home, or children, or send­ing those imag­inary chil­dren to col­lege.”

To save for a move, Ms. Nader has been work­ing 60 hours a week, in­clud­ing 35 hours an­swer­ing phones at WNYC. She pays about $1,025 a month rent for a Brook­lyn apart­ment she shares with two room­mates. On Sun­days, she hosts a clas­sic-coun­try radio show at Co­lumbia where she plays songs by Hank Williams and Dolly Par­ton.

If she works at a non­profit like WNYC for eight or nine more years, most of her stu­dent debt will be for­given by the gov­ern­ment un­der an Ed­u­cation De­part­ment pro­gram that promises to for­give debt af­ter a set pe­riod—10 years for those in non­profit and gov­ernment jobs, and 20 years for those in the pri­vate sec­tor.

Excerpt from “More Young Adults Stay Put in Biggest Cities” WSJ 1-20-15

7 comments

  1. $190’000 dollars in debt, a master’s degree in acting and a dream to buy a house in New Orleans.

    A problem easily solved in retrospect. Forget the acting degree; spend the $190’000 on lottery tickets. With a 190’000 lotto tickets, you will have a better probability of being able to buy that house in the Big Easy than you will making it big in Hollywood or on Broadway with a degree in acting.

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  2. There is so much wrong with this type of thinking. First of all, a college bachelor’s degree is what a high school diploma use to be. It is becoming more and more essential to even get a job at Starbucks. Second It considers that the creative artist is not a contributor to our society. But our society would be a lot poorer if we had only entrepreneurs and electrical engineers. No opera, no symphony, no theater, no literature, no artists, no ballet. I don’t hear complaints when public dollars are spent on stadiums and arenas or millions are spent at public universities to finance football and basketball teams.

    Just because you graduate with a degree in business does not mean you know how to run a business. If that were true, then we would not have so many major corporations going bankrupt. I’m talking banks among other corporations. We would not reward CEOs with large severance packages when they drive their companies into bankruptcy. We reward companies that gobble other companies by writing off the debt they take on. We let them write that debt off their taxes. Ten years after the merger many times we see the new company split off the company they bought.

    Another thing wrong with the thinking is that you don’t believe civil service is a worthwhile profession. I’m talking government employees. What would our society be without firemen, police officers, teachers, social workers, librarians, someone to process your social security application, surveyors, food inspectors, doctors and nurses for the V.A., air traffic controllers, forest rangers, water management, emergency management, officers in National Security positions such as the CIA and the FBI, NASA, and millions of Americans in the Armed Forces And hundreds of other positions that could be named in city, county (or parish), state and nation. Next time you get on an airplane, thank your lucky stars that there is an air traffic controller in the tower to guide your pilot. Next time you are lost at sea, who will you call. A government agency called the United States Coast Guard. If all those in government service went on strike for one day, we would be in pretty bad shape as a society.

    I suppose your Mom and Dad told you that you couldn’t be anything you wanted to be. My single mother did. Seems we became a great country because all types of people believed in that principle and worked for it.

    If you want more engineers, more scientists, more technicians, then it might be a great idea to encourage that by putting the money into public education. Instead we now have a public education system that teaches for the test. Instead of blaming teachers for the lack of education our public school students receives, why not give the schools the resources they need to turn out first class students. And i ought to know the quality of student that the schools are turning out. I work in a University. How can we expect high quality people in the teaching profession if all we do is lump our complaints on them for the failure of our public education system.

    And one of the things needed in the high schools and lower grades is required courses that cover handling money and investment.

    Today real work is not encouraged. Our best students are encouraged to go to Wall Street to make money by trading money, to come up with esoteric ways to steal money from clients, and to use technology to gain the advantage. Real work is not glamorous. As far as folks being a part of that 47%, many of those people can’t get forty-hour-a-week jobs. And even if they do, it still takes two pay checks to get by.

    There has to be a better way of judging investments that just by economics. I would prefer to judge a society by how happy our people are. And man, our society sure fails in that department.

    Sorry for being so long but you said you wanted to know.

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    1. You have many valid points. However, I certainly believe the arts are desirable, indeed essential in a society and I do not degrade public jobs out of hand, many, especially some you cited, are vital. But we need to set priorities and look at our assumptions and balance that with our resources. A blanket throwing money at college is a waste, it needs to be targeted. As you noted, graduating with a certain degree is no guarantee of success or competence. Much more important is the individual and their initiative, motivation, etc. Graduating with a degree in art, acting, the humanities and then expecting society to shoulder the cost at a rate greater than more valued degrees without regard to how that degree is used is a luxury in my view.

      You are 100% correct about the courses needed in high school and I would add some courses on life choices as well. And also a greater emphasis on history (which directly impacts us today) and civics.

      The fact is a college degree is no guarantee of success or contribution to society or responsibility or much of anything else. All that lies within the individual. How many graduates spend their lives in areas unrelated to their education? How many are successful without a degree? How many good high paying jobs actually can prove the need for a degree?

      Regardless of all the above I am all for a well and diversely educated society, but there are various ways to do that. We need to rethink the four year college for college sake, the way professors are compensated, what they are paid to do and how they do it and much more.

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    2. Don,
      I agree with what you have said here. Regarding education, testing was a response to a system that was already broken. For 50 years we have been throwing money at education hoping that would fix it That didn’t help so they instituted testing to make the system accountable for all of the additional dollars. It is clear to everyone who looks that all of this additional money has not done a thing to make it better. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know more money without a very different plan than anyone has had for the last 50 years is definitely not the answer. Remember the definition of insanity: doing the same things you’ve always done hoping it will turn out different this time. That doesn’t happen anywhere, not even in education.

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    3. Don,

      I agree with some of your points and disagree with others. I agree that the world need artists and actors because it is their creativity that fuels the dreams that science chases.

      Would there be a flip cell phone or a 3.5″ computer diskette if it was not for Star Trek 25 years before they were invented?

      What I disagree with, as a parent, a student, and a taxpayer is spending $190k on an master degree for acting. Do any big actors have acting master degrees to justify that expense? I could almost accept $190k if it was spent learning their craft at acting classes and playhouses, that is I would almost agree. But I feel that $190k is just a rip off by the college that will never have the ROI and as a taxpayer I should not have to foot the bill for an actor want to be.

      I managed to pay my way through college and I understand the cost of college. For people who want to be the only expert in field of academia, let them pay their own way. I think Hollywood has other methods to determine who the experts are in the field of acting and often rewards them with big contracts or award statues. The taxpayer investment in an actor does not guarantee that an actor is going to help society as a whole. While there is no guarantee in any of the science or social science fields either, I think I rather have a trained engineer inspecting our bridges to protect our daily commute if he can’t find it himself to invent the next great thing. While I would be upset at spending $190k on an engineering degree at least there is some chance that society will have a ROI.

      I also agree that personal finance needs to be taught in high school. Kids will have to fund their own pension plans and waiting to age 50 is too late. I am not sure you will be able to get a high school student to think past the afternoon bell, but maybe they will remember enough to avoid getting into bad loans.

      I am sorry if I am long winded and I do not want to seem like I am attacking you. I value your points and I know society must find the middle ground here because I fear that America has been sold a bill of goods in regards that a college education is a must. I already seen that jobs that were given to high school dropouts now require college degrees. We have either made high school worthless or we have too many college degrees at a huge financial cost to American society.

      Now if you reply that Ronald Regan got an acting degree before his first movie contract, I’ll have to eat my words, and colleges should double the price.

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  3. I think the problem is even worse than that. Why do we still let children go to college for degrees where there are either no jobs or the job opportunities are very limited? In our generation people who did that quickly found that there was no work, gave up on the fantasy of being a famous actor, athlete, etc. and transitioned to a job that would pay the bills. The majority of the current generation has been told from their earliest days that you can be anything you want to be, just hold onto your dream and keep trying. Ms. Nader appears to be one of them. Hold on to the dream, don’t give up no matter what the circumstances. And Uncle Barry will take care of your debt.

    Is it any wonder that guys like him keep getting elected? Mitt Romney was right about the 47% that the government takes care of. Unfortunately, I suspect that percentage is MUCH higher now.

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    1. Exactly! It is the mentality of the naive left that ignores reality, unintended consequences and most of all, human nature.

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