Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night? Click here to sign up for our e-mail list.
After ObamaCare, it is amazing how quickly the liberals forgot their hatred for 5-4 decisions.
Tonight's Crazy Story:
There's a Bear in my Garage!
One California woman discovered that the noises she was hearing in her garage were due to a bear cub playing on the garage door's track. Even more frightening, Mama Bear came along and opened the garage door to let her baby out.
Topic One: Student Loans
The bubble is ready to burst: "Today, many graduates are already jumping the tracks to become skilled manual laborers -- plumbers, electricians and the like. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that seven of the 10 fastest growing jobs in the next decade will be based on on-the-job training rather than higher education. And they'll be hands-on jobs that are hard to outsource to foreigners. If you want your toilet fixed, it can't be done by somebody in Bangalore. People pursuing these careers will have greater job security in today's economy and will be free from the crushing debt amassed by their more educated peers. Bubbles form when too many people expect values to go up forever. Simply put, the cost of higher education has far outpaced its actual value. The bubble is going to burst."
Is rising tuition related to cuts in state funding? "How did we get here? The crisis actually developed over several decades. It began some 30 years ago when the federal government severely cut funding to states. States responded by drastically reducing their support of higher education, forcing public educational institutions to look elsewhere for funding. Raising tuition was a partial solution, one made easier by the availability of student loans. But shifting the cost burden onto the backs of young men and women simply postponed the crisis. It didn't cause it. It was caused by decreased levels of state funding."
I would concur in part with the above article, but I would disagree with the assertion that cuts in public funding are the major driver of tuition costs. Rather, the main driver of tuition costs are the lack of spending restraint being exercised by schools. Colleges have focused their efforts on expanding not only educational opportunities, but also recreational opportunities. My alma mater recently completed a new student union, which has a large game room containing multiple big screen televisions and gaming systems. While it is a nice benefit, it is wholly unnecessary. Salaries continue to rise, with the average salary for a college professor approaching a six-figure level and the highest-paid professors earning close to half a million each year.
In most businesses, the excessive spending done by colleges would be controlled by the cost of their output. However, this does not matter to students when their education is being financed by student loans and grants. Colleges can get away with annual tuition hikes that approach ten times the cost of inflation, and the students say little due to the "importance" of a college education and the fact that most of them are paying--if anything--only a small portion of the cost up front. It is not until the loans come due that the students care about the cost of their education, and by then, it is too late to do anything about it.
Yes, decreases in public funding may have had some effect on the tuition at public universities, but there are many more culprits to look at than the legislatures.
Time for a Laugh:
"A United Airlines passenger has filed a complaint after a maintenance man dropped superglue on her head on a flight to Houston. I don’t know what’s scarier — that a passenger got superglue on her head, or that United fixes their airplanes with superglue."
Topic Two: The Iran Embargo
Will the embargo make Iran fold? "But optimism about the impact the sanctions will have on Iran is not the same thing as an assurance they cannot endure them. As the Iranian attitude during the three rounds of the P5+1 talks with the West has illustrated, the ayatollahs are still under the impression that the pain inflicted on their people will not be enough to either topple the regime or bring the country to a standstill. Though Iran’s feeble attempt to flex its muscles in response to the sanctions by threatening oil tanker traffic in the Gulf of Hormuz isn’t scaring anyone — least of all the United States which is reinforcing its own naval presence in the region to remind the Iranians of their weakness — there is no reason to assume their belief they can hang on while continuing their progress toward the nuclear goal is not valid."
( As of Monday, July 2, 2012 )
Your share as a citizen: $50,753.02
Share per household: $139,087.00
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,261,864,809,907.56
Topic Three: The Bankrupt Cities
Will the Stockton bankruptcy lift the stigma for other bankrupt cities? "If Stockton, which filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy on June 28, can reach consensus with its creditors and craft a plan to exit bankruptcy quickly others may follow suit, legal experts said. ... Other cities and counties have gone bankrupt because of a bad investment or ill-conceived public works project, like the sewer system that sank Jefferson County, Alabama, into $3.14 billion of debt. But Stockton may be a new breed of failing city, swamped by routine costs, pension payments, a payroll for city employees, a years-long economic slide and depressed housing tax receipts - the same issues that currently face many other cities still struggling to recover from the cavernous U.S. recession."
Detroit is out of other people's money: "As businesses have fled, government has become the city’s biggest employer. Detroit’s legacy obligations far outstrip its revenues. Its accumulated unfunded liabilities currently stand at $12 billion—about half of which are legacy costs. This puts Detroit’s debt-to-asset ratio at 33:1; GM’s was 22:1 when it went into bankruptcy. Bing and the city council have shown zero political will to tackle these costs thanks to fierce opposition by the city’s powerful municipal unions, which is precisely why Snyder wanted to bring in an outside board. This was much too threatening for city leaders, who joined hands with unions and professional race-baiters like Jesse Jackson and accused Snyder of orchestrating a white conspiracy to send Detroit’s predominantly black population "back to the plantation."
Tweet of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): Would you support extending the contract of an NFL coach who blamed chronic losing on everyone except himself? Then don't re-elect Obama.
Topic Four: Egyptian Aid
Should the US withhold military aid to Egypt? "In resuming aid, the Obama administration set a dangerous precedent. The administration, along with the U.S. Congress, had threatened to suspend aid if Egypt's military did not show a genuine commitment to democracy, including "implementing policies to protect freedom of expression association... and due process of law." Yet those threats proved hollow. The Egyptian military likely saw its suspicions as confirmed; in a tense standoff over democratization, the U.S. would buckle under pressure."
"Privately, U.S. officials justified their decision by claiming that they were saving their leverage for when it would matter most. They would continue to hold SCAF to its pledge to hand over power by July 1. Yet that deadline has come and gone and, once again, the same questions -- and doubts -- linger. The SCAF continues to undermine Egyptian democracy, apparently confident that there will be few, if any, real consequences to its relationship with the United States."
"It's not too late for the Obama administration to change this dynamic. The U.S. could still withhold military aid to Egypt. Leverage, though, is a tricky thing. After the U.S. backed down on its last public threat to revoke aid, the challenge is making the SCAF believe that it really could lose the aid this time. Therefore, the best way to restore American credibility -- and, with time, to restore leverage as well -- is to actually follow through on the threat."
Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must be, in practice, a bad government."
Topic Five: A Victory for School Choice
The New Hampshire legislature has passed the School Choice Scholarship Act: "The new programs grant 85 percent tax credits to businesses and individuals who donate to private school scholarship funds organized by nonprofits. The nonprofits award scholarships to low-income families to help them move their children out of failing schools and into schools that they feel would better meet their children’s needs. In New Hampshire, scholarships will average $2,500 for students whose families earn up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level."
"Though right now the scholarships and the number of students eligible are relatively small, the bill includes a provision for growth in the coming years. The program will be capped at $6.8 million for the first year, but the funds will increase by 25 percent every year that 80 percent of the cap is reached."
"What’s more, New Hampshire’s law provides first-in-the-nation support for homeschooling expenses. The Home School Legal Defense Association notes that this makes New Hampshire “the first state of the country to allow scholarship tuition organizations to provide for scholarships for homeschooled students to help defray expenses incurred by homeschooling parents."
This was not a Republican policy implemented by a Republican legislature and governor (a criticism applied to many pieces of state legislation passed recently.) This was a bipartisan legislative effort that obtained the support of 69% of the legislature, enough to override the governor's veto. Even more importantly, the law places no additional burden on the schools, allowing them the freedom to innovate. As Adam Schaeffer at the CATO Institute notes, "the lawmakers understand that direct accountability to parents and taxpayers is the most effective kind of accountability.
Tomorrow in History
July 4 - Obviously, the signing of the Declaration of Independence is the biggest event in American history to occur on this day, but there are many other historical events that also occurred on this day. Here are a few:
Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Obama's assault on the truth
Allen West and the Glock 9mm mandate
French law now mandates that drivers carry two breathalyzer kits
California considers legalizing having three (or more) parents
NYC's vote-counting problem
Judge orders Twitter to turn over Occupy tweets
Feds label liberty lovers 'terrorists'
McDonalds is going to the birds
Rand Paul argues that Senators aren't reading the bills
See how the Olympic medals are made
Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night? Click here to sign up for our e-mail list.