Student loans are really "a list of people liable to additional taxation after graduation"


I think it is fundamentally unfair that for many any degree has become unaffordably risky. After doing the math on what finishing my physics degree in-state would cost, I came to the conclusion that I can’t. I just can’t. The chance that something happens to me or I am unable to find a job or I find the work impossible for my personality is just too high and would bleed into the rest of my family. I think it is fundamentally unfair that society expects to be provided insight, innovation and progress by this generation but then forces them to assume all the (rapidly growing) risk.



This is exactly what happens in, for example, music. Doesn’t matter if you’re a small school that could never compete with major conservatories; if you want tenure, you need to recruit, hard. That means outright lying to students. It’s highly unethical, but that’s the incentives that have been set out for academia. Yes, many liberal arts majors go on to greatly satisfying careers in unrelated fields, but I can’t stress how important it is to set realistic expectations for prospective students. Maybe you’re studying something you love, but if you’re at a school that’s considered “good” but ranked say 12th in your field, consider that there are hundreds if not thousands of students who are at better schools who will be competing with you for a handful of the good jobs. I had fellow students who managed to eke out a living but were always faced with if this is the best situation I can find, I’d rather do something else.

Higher education is revered, but it is often a total racket run by faculty for their own benefit, barely worthy to be called a second rate confidence scam.

1 Like


Are you really appealing to The Bible as a serious argument?



My wife and I took turns working while the other got their graduate degrees. It worked out well for us, and the living conditions we endured make us appreciate what we have now.
It does look like the Navy has physics scholarships. It appears Los Alamos does as well. Of course none of that may apply to your specialty. My son has got a medical scholarship with the military. The catch is that he has to serve a number of years in active duty to fulfill his commitment. But the good thing is that he will be making decent money while fulfilling that obligation. I guess this seems horrible for those not keen on military service. but it is an option.



Yes he is, for the very good reason that the Bible is considered a source of righteous authority by much of the US electorate. While you are evidently far above such a quaint, class-defining viewpoint, try to understand the common sense behind his use of it.

The time-honored concept of jubilee has immense social capital. It even appeals to the rabid regulars in contemporary right wing movements. Why the hell wouldn’t someone bring it up here, in a discussion about multi-decade educational debt burdens?

Most of that hellish debt is being accrued by people with no money, but some modest ability, who are trying to get associates degrees in “criminal justice” or “early childhood education”, not master’s in Medieval literature. They are the kind of people who are likely to respect an appeal to Biblical mores and practices. They are more numerous than the doyens of BBS, and they are the ones who have the most at risk. Discussion of jubilee is reasonable in this context.



That’s a sickness of our times - the fact that studying something should be done for private profit (immediate or delayed) rather than for the hell of it. Universities have been morphed, by the recruitment industry, into work training - a role they fulfil very badly and at tremendous expense for our societies. This is the root of all illnesses, this association between degrees and salaries, something completely arbitrary that perverts universities, damages research, and unloads the cost of employee training on society at large.


#NeedsMoreLikes (formerly known as "All the Likes")

As well as what @hmclachlan said



Because the additional education cost to get me to that point has been tens of thousands greater than it has been for you so you’ve been subsidising me.



But you’ve started earning at the higher rate 16 years earlier.



But taxes go to all sorts of things, not just education. Everything else being equal, I have the same basic financial burden on the state as the other person who didn’t go to university but I also have these tens of thousands of additional costs that the other person didn’t accrue. Higher tax in the earlier years will offset a bit of it, I’m just questioning whether it sets off enough of it. Putting myself in the shoes of the other person who perhaps didn’t have the same opportunities as me so that university wasn’t an option (in the UK there is huge inequality in further education and it’s not simply down to the current financing system), I think I’d be a bit miffed to be subsidising the ones who did.



I thought that Ontario’s healthcare premium thing was ridiculous too. Again, just raise income taxes and pay for things out of the public pool. They can call a tax whatever they want, but it all goes to the same pocket. These boutique taxes and tax breaks make everything more complicated in the long run in the interest of being more politically palatable in the short run and the end result is… have you ever read tax law [shudder].



I’m not savvy with how Sweden does it but i have a Swedish friend and her taxes are easy. Sure they take a big chunk of her paycheck in taxes, but she makes a really decent living working as a graphic designer and assistant for a church and doing art on the side while living in Stockholm. She doesn’t even need to do her taxes, someone from the appropriate bureau is in charge of handling all of the legwork for it and all she has to do is sign off on it. I sure wish the IRS was that efficient, they already have all of my tax info and the government has most of my other personal info. I don’t understand why i have to torture myself every year worrying if i’m doing my taxes right.



Income taxes should be very easy, but we make them super complicated by using them as a policy instrument. The last Canadian government introduced a whole bunch of tax breaks for things like kid’s sports equipment and transit passes. They do that for two reasons:

  1. Everyone can get behind saying that it’s good to buy hockey gear.
  2. They get to announce a $300 tax credit but only have to actually give out $45 (a non-refundable tax credit basically pays you back at the lowest tax rate of 15%)

That kind of stuff drives me nuts. They do it the way they do it purely to deceive people and we all live with the results forever now because repealing that is never going to be palatable.

If you state these programs for what they are they sound insane.

The government has a list of things it thinks are good to buy and if you buy those things then they will refund you 15% of your purchase up to $300.

Or, for the subject at hand.

Let’s raise income tax by 9% on everyone below 75th percentile in income and use half the money to pay for publicly funded education, but give the other half to for-profit banks.

Who the hell thinks that’s a good idea?

And now, of course, in the US the Republicans keep talking about “tax reform” where they will basically take this horrible behemoth of a tax system an the obvious need to reform it and use it as an excuse to slash taxes for rich people.



I can see that.

I don’t have children. I still pay taxes which go towards paying for schools, nurseries, child benefit, libraries, etc, etc,

Should I be miffed to be subsidising people who chose to have children (I’m not by the way)?



Discussion I guess is always reasonable. And I will confess that I guess one could view this as appealing to Jewish tradition rather than the Bible, even though it would still have a religious component. So I would ask this: what do you think would happen to investment if debts and property rights were wiped out every 49/50 years?



aka the real grimoires which drive the reader insane and gibbering…

The Necronomicon, pfft, a harmless pamphlet! The Liber Paginarum Fulvarum? A handy doorstop.

Tolley’s? Run, screaming…

1 Like


The Bible, whatever it’s flaws, is also a historical document of people in the past. An imperfect and self-serving one, to be sure, but it’s not entirely without value for historians of the ancient world. Jubliee is a good example of that.



Maybe mere mortals wouldn’t be drowning in debt and could more fully participate in the economy?



That sucks. For you, and for the rest of us. Maybe you would have been the next (insert famous physicist here) or maybe not. But for the rest of us, it should be worth the money, especially if education would get back to educating and get out of the resort, advertising, public relations, and MBA employment business, be less expensive, and be supported by the rest of us. I feel my taxes are too low, and misused for really useless, stupid things.



Of topic, but I’ve recently been thinking about reading the full New Testament which I have never done. It occurred to me that it is the stories of my ancestors.

1 Like