Government Doing The Same For College Education As it Did For Homeownership

I thought it was bad enough when government meddling created the housing bubble. After reading this I realized that it's also created the higher education bubble in the same fashion as it did the housing bubble, and the aftereffects are going to be just as devastating as those seen after the housing market collapsed. It seems our politicians can't help themselves when it comes to solving a 'problem' that isn't. Too bad their help often makes things worse than if they'd left well enough alone.

Politicians seldom resist the urge to “make things better” with the money and power at their disposal. That is how we got the great housing bubble. Many politicians figured that since successful people usually own their homes, home ownership itself must be good and contrived to wreck the old lending standards so that nearly everyone could obtain a mortgage. They’ve done the same thing with higher ed, Davies and Harrigan observe: “Getting the causality backward again, government acts as if a college degree causes, rather than results from, success.”

No one ever claimed these folks were geniuses, but to think that only the result matters without making sure the process itself was sustainable shows just how ignorant our politicians have become, or worse, have always been. Homeownership or a college degree aren't the cause of success, but the effects of success. There's no shortcut around it, just as too many 'homeowners' found out once the housing bubble deflated. They found themselves in over their head, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars they had no hope of paying back and unable to sell their too-expensive-to-pay-for homes at any price because the buyers and mortgage lenders disappeared.

The same can be said of college education, where money was readily available through student loans. The large supply of money drove college tuition and other related costs through the roof, rising at many times the rate of inflation. The problem is that many students wasted their time and borrowed money on courses of study that had little hope of preparing them for life out in the real world. The were handed their sheepskins, assuming the graduated at all, and then found they were only qualified for jobs they could have had right out of high school. There are a lot of barristas and pizza delivery guys out there with expensive Bachelors Degrees in the Liberal Arts that are having a hard time paying off their student loans. Some of those loans total almost as much as some home mortgages and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so these folks will be working low paying jobs for 30 years to pay off the money they borrowed for their useless degrees.

All of this thanks to the clueless government folks in Washington who have absolutely no grasp on the concept of cause and effect.