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Like getting marriage advice from a 40-year-old virgin

by: Eric B.

Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 15:03:20 PM EST


The Mackinac Center's college-educated professional intern graduated from a small private Christian college in Pennsylvania. Who better to help shape policy regarding Michigan's public universities! Now he says that state appropriations to universities is an upward transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy. Keep in mind that these are the same people who continue to refer to people whose tax liability is so low as to be non-existent because they're poor.

So taxpayer subsidies for higher education primarily benefit the people who either have the background or skills required to complete a university degree.

That he persists in referring to this as a subsidy is insightful. Referring to state appropriations for the state's public universities as a subsidy would be the same thing as referring to the state police budget as a state subsidy, or shared revenue as state subsidies for local government. Here on Planet Earth, this is covered in the state constitution.

The legislature shall appropriate moneys to maintain the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan College of Science and Technology, Central Michigan University, Northern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Ferris Institute, Grand Valley State College, by whatever names such institutions may hereafter be known, and other institutions of higher education established by law. The legislature shall be given an annual accounting of all income and expenditures by each of these educational institutions. Formal sessions of governing boards of such institutions shall be open to the public.

I included the relevant material in bold. If you can't get the basic terminology correct, there's no reason to take anything you say on an issue seriously. And, if you're willing to extend yourself so cavalierly on one issue, why take anything you ever say seriously. Credibility, folks.

Anyway, the point of the appropriations isn't just to maintain the universities, but to subsidize access to those universities for all the state's children. This is why, back in the 70s and 80s, the sons and daughters of Michigan's auto workers were going to college. The state appropriated enough money so that the universities could keep costs low enough that people from families without accumulated wealth could afford to put themselves through school without accruing an obnoxious amount of student debt. Where did the rich kids go? They went to posh private schools.

That's all changed since the state started hacking away at its support for public universities. By the way, the only thing even remotely accurate in the linked piece is that the movement to end free tuition started in the late 60s. It was soon after that states started cutting their support for university systems, and shifting the burden of paying for it from the state to students. What we have today with reduced appropriations is increasingly higher education out of reach of poor and middle class kids. In other words, the direct opposite of what the Mackinac Center's professional intern says happens.

Eric B. :: Like getting marriage advice from a 40-year-old virgin
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By calling it a subsidy (4.00 / 2)
They are moving toward calling for no state support of universities and colleges.  That's what the whole movement is toward - privatization of all education entities whether public schools k-12 or universities.  I can't decide whether it's for ideology or for political power or both though

That's exactly what they're doing... (0.00 / 0)
It's going in to a house you've been paid to remodel and just breaking up shit for no good reason. That's what they're really doing.

It's an attempt to win the messaging debate, like they have with so many things. That's why we need to continuously point out that it's an inaccurate, ahistorical term.

Among the Trees


[ Parent ]
Ah yes, now it is more clear: (0.00 / 0)
for-profit primary education, for-profit secondary education and for-profit post-secondary education.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
From the "Who we are" portion of the professional interns alma mater (0.00 / 0)
From its founding in 1876, Grove City College has provided its students with an excellent academic education in a thoroughly Christian environment. Committed to the individual freedom that is at the heart of American life, Grove City College remains true to its commitment of freedom from governmental influence and advocates a free market philosophy, both in the classroom and how the College runs its operations, keeping annual tuition and associated costs low for families.

Grove City College is committed to religious freedom and avoids narrow sectarianism, encouraging a diverse student body from a variety of faith perspectives, socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic heritage.

In other words, what they really want is everyone to attend Hillsdale College.

It's just dumb, and it's not how the world works, and it's not how the state was ever intended to approach higher education (which is precisely contrary to the theme these people insist on hitting), but there is it. They want to rewrite history, undo public funding for higher education on the grounds that no one benefits (least of all the people who have degrees), and then replace it with for profit private colleges that get no money from the state.

Among the Trees


[ Parent ]
Grove City College's claim to fame (4.00 / 1)
In Grove City College v. Bell, the college argued that Title IX should apply only to its financial-aid program (some of its students received Pell Grants) and not to its athletic department or any of its other programs. Grove City's appeal went to the U.S. Supreme Court which, in 1984, agreed with the college.

That wasn't the end of the story. In 1988, Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which effectively overruled the Grove City case by providing that if a college that accepts any financial aid from the federal government, all of its programs are governed by Title IX.

And yes, this will be on the midterm.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.


[ Parent ]
Without any U.S. Department of Education (0.00 / 0)
student loans, either, right?

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
"what they really want is everyone to attend Hillsdale College" (0.00 / 0)
Northwood University would probably also be acceptable.  In fact, aren't the Mackinac Center and Northwood really one and the same?  I think the former sends a steady stream of graduates to the latter as interns.

[ Parent ]
In 1974 (0.00 / 0)
Tuition at Michigan Tech was $570 per year.

No, that is not a typo.

You could easily save enough money working over the summer to pay for a year at a state university.


In the 1960s and 1970s (0.00 / 0)
most of the fifteen McGuinness children (my father's generation) attended Michigan State with a full ride, some on athletic scholarships when they did not go on to play for the university's team.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Yes, affordable college lifted lots of people into the middle class (0.00 / 0)
What we see today amounts to a broken promise. The American Dream was all about making sure your kids had a better life than you. In every measurable way, that's not happening. Part of that is making it harder to get advanced education. What the Mackinac Center wants to do is make it even harder.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]

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