— Round 1 —
My only point of debate is this, Yes all of these things are problems but they are some of the same problems that the world has encountered since lets see......forever. Wars have always been about only a couple things, hate or money. The point in this article seems to only be about making people paranoid about what is happening in the world. I wonder can you prove that these problems are new or haven't been repeated in the past? These issues seem to be a pattern that humanity has trouble solving. My only point in saying all of this is that I think we need to take a look at history and be willing to accept the fact that we have little to no control over what other countries and people groups do. We only have control over what WE do. For instance college debt, that is a voluntary choice that a student makes on their own. They are not forced to go to an expensive school or even forced to have a certain career that requires them to get an expensive degree. Said students also have the choice to live simpler lifestyles without incurring debt and instead saving for school or paying for it on their own. This is a lifestyle choice. Its voluntary. Its not the governments or anyone else's fault that this debt is incurred. The government is also a subsidiary of the people and the people in office are as irresponsible with tax dollars as their constituents are with their own private funds. The governments debt is a reflection of how the people in this country like to live, and that is above its means. And now because of our poor money management, we are forced into very difficult decisions....decisions like should we start a war...or be involved in a dispute that we have no reason being in.....when we know it could bankrupt our country....sounds a lot like an empire from a long time ago.....called Rome.
Civil Unrest and Political Divide
The signs of civil unrest are evident throughout parts of the United States, and for good reason. Trust is government is hovering near historic lows, trust in mainstream media is at an all time low, and our political system is utterly broken. The political polarization of our country is absolutely presenting unique problems. People used to "disagree" about politics but now they show disdain and see political opponents as enemies (source here).
36% of Republicans view Democrats as a "threat to the nation's well-being" while 27% of Democrats view Republicans a threat to the nation's well being. Is our two-party system working? Disagreeing about politics is one thing but viewing the opposite party as an "threat" is dangerous. A divided nation does not bode well for the future.
The distrust between Americans and the government presents a very unique situation. The root cause of many conflicts is arguably a lack of trust. The lack of trust often creates great doubt, unrest, and a general sense of anxiety. Governments only work well when people trust and believe in that government.
To posit that we have no control over the aforementioned situations is inappropriate at best. Voting matters. Unfortunately, most people pay no attention to politics until they profoundly impact them. Politicians are not held accountable because people allow them to make decisions and write legislation that pads rich peoples pockets at the expense of the average middle class American. Americans need to stay more informed about politics and how our government operates (source here).
Economy and College Debt
I wholeheartedly agree that Americans should take ownership in helping create the conditions of a debt-ridden society. However, corporate greed and people in power deserve more blame. College tuition has risen 1,120% since 1978, which is rapidly outpacing the cost of food and medical care. Do Americans have control over how much college tuition has risen? Again, greed deserves a fair share of blame. The average college student graduates with $30,000 in debt and the average amount of student loans issued has risen 6x since 1970. That is hardly affordable. The cost of college tuition is heading on the same path as health care (but even worse) and is reminiscent of the housing bubble of 2007, which led to the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Change must occur. And it does start with helping students make sound financial decisions. But it ends with making college more affordable.
The worst indicator of the economy is the unbelievable divide between the rich and the poor (source here). If inflation measures were the same as it was in 1980 would be near 10%, not sub-2% (source here). Since 2008, the wealth distribution has dramatically shifted in favor of the top 1%. That is not a good sign for any economy.
Let's not make the same mistakes as many "experts" did before the great recession and ignore clear indicators that change is needed. We are still paying for those mistakes.
— Round 2 —
I will agree with almost all your points aside from college tuition. WE Collectively can change things. But I singularly can only change certain things. For instance it is my CHOICE to attend a frighteningly expensive university when there are cheaper options out there. My career field is my CHOICE as well. Meaning that I can choose what I do for a job. Back in the day your job was your job. In America we are enthatuated with the "dream job" idea so much so that we are willing to go into astounding debt to secure a diploma in order to do that "dream job." I disagree with this philosophy. Yes it is important to love what you do. However I think it is also important to understand that excessive debt is crippling, VOLUNTARY, and can lead to a host of problems both physically and mentally. When I was a kid I didn't understand these issues. however now as a grown adult with large family responsibilities I find myself working a job I like. I did not get a degree for the job I am working, I could have worked this job without even having gone to college, and I am earning enough money in order to be stable financially. That said I have tremendous college debt which I CHOSE to incur because I thought I needed to in order to get my DREAM job. I think there are alternatives to the overly priced education which you are speaking of and one does not HAVE to go into tremendous debt in order to receive their degree. There are options out there. If one has to choose between a lower paying job which allows them financial freedom and paying hugely for a degree which may or may not provide them with a job, I think this should be an easy choice however it is one that not everyone makes frugally. Admittedly I wish I was a more frugal person in my youth. It is costing me BIG time right now. Corporate greed is battled easily, when the price is too high, it is time to stop buying the product. Or find it somewhere else for cheaper. Like it or not higher education is a product, one we can be smart about buying. If we teach teenagers to buy frugally, the cost for admission to these schools will have to drop, because the demand drops. Corporate America is not the problem they are only being smart, and making money off of people who are making dumb purchases. Just like the salesman at a car lot with a person who doesn't understand that they don't NEED a brand new car that they CANT afford.
Rising Cost of College is an Issue
The average cost of attending a public university per year is about $29,110. Again, the cost of education has risen more than healthcare and dramatically more than any other commodity. Since 1978, the average cost of college has risen 1,220%. That is simply astounding. To claim that the cost of education really does not matter because people have a "choice" is absurd. Tending to that assertion lends to failing to recognize the broader issue...society has a collective responsibility to make costs affordable.
Obtaining a four year degree is almost a necessity in today's world. Not only are kids pushed into college, it is expected that they attend and graduate with a degree. If the cost of food rose 1,120% since 1978, would you be singing a different tune? Better yet, if the cost of housing rose 1,120% rose over the same time frame, could you afford a house?
Regardless of what you claim about the level of college tuition rates, it is clearly becoming a major problem which we must deal with. Collective college debt recently surpassed credit card debt to take second place in overall debt for Americans. The total bill stands at over $1.2 trillion. Why is this an issue?
17.8% of the 38.8 million Americans with student loans are seriously delinquent on their payments.
6.2 million Americans are at serious risk of defaulting on their student loan debt.
Seriously delinquent student debtors owe a combined $113 billion in student loans. 35% of millennials are delinquent and are close to defaulting.
The TOTAL state government support for higher education in 2012 was only $72 billion.
Admittedly, personal responsibly is an issue. But combined with a poor high-skill job market and a sputtering economy (for middle class Americans), nearly half of all recent college grads are underemployed or unemployed. No wonder they cannot repay their student loans.
The last time people ignored a bubble like this, it caused the greatest financial crisis since the great depression. The housing market, and corresponding bank loans, prior to 2008 allowed many people to borrow money for houses they could not afford. And the cost of housing, due to ridiculous credit lines, allowed housing costs to go through the roof. If we do not somehow address the rising cost of college tuition, we may end up in the same place.
I do not wish to diminish the role of making sound, financial decisions whatsoever. But why are we ok with spending ridiculous amounts of money on war but balk at supporting public education?
Regardless of how much of a role personal responsibility plays in paying for college, the cost of attending a university must be addressed. The education system should not be about making money off of students who see education as a necessity. Greed must not play a pivotal role in an institution that is so vital to our success as a people and as a nation.