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“It’s easy to talk to a horse if you understand his language. Horses stay the same from the day they are born until the day they die. They are only changed by the way people treat them.”


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They’re dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?

-Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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“I didn’t mean… I didn’t want a free one on account of you being cut up and all… What I said the other day about you looking like me, that ain’t true. … You ain’t ugly like me. … It’s just that we both got scars. … But you’re a beautiful woman and if I was to want a free one, I’d want it with you. I guess, more then them other two. … It’s just that I can’t on account of my wife.”  - William Munny - The Unforgiven. 

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    • Scale back the Federal backing of student loans. Allow students to default like any other loan. Universities can offer loans in conjunction with private banks. The universities would be responsible for making sure they have good, sound programs and solid students who can then get appropriate jobs after graduation to repay the loans. If a university pushes too many marginal degree programs to students who have questionable academic talents, they will pay the price with high defaults that hurts their bottom line. That is the only way to change this. There is nothing stopping universities coming up with endless silly programs, recruiting foolish or desperate people to take out huge loans that they will never be able to repay. We have laws against the payday loan people abusing the poorest in society, but here we are abusing the naïve youth of our nation who lack experience at life. Additionally, too many people go to universities. Some schools have programs for the mentally challenged and learning disabled. Why saddle them and their parents with useless debt? In some cases this has become a system rigged to fleece a class of people and the government is complicit. We are allowing the government at the state and federal level take advantage of its citizenry. With the government backing this scheme, prices naturally go up. If the government allows these loans to be written off, the prices will go higher thereby compounding the problem. I have 4 children who have earned a total of 7 university degrees and none have had any student debt, so I have thought a lot about this. I have also interviewed a lot of new graduates some of who have had loan amounts that are ridiculous. Two guys in particular with BS in mechanical engineering with loans just under $200k. To me that is a red flag they won't be able to solve basic engineering problems.  
    • Definitely.   Respectfully disagree. IMO, when there is this much money and pressure on the line, athletes will do whatever possible to win. The result of BDC winning tournaments because of his driver might influence future pro golfers to get strong fast. Some might chose PEDS. Again, not saying BDC did anything - I have no idea, and you may very well be right about him.
    • WA state put in place caps on state schools so they couldn’t keep raising tuition. In 2008, out of state was around 27,000 for WWU. 2019/2020, it was 25,000. Hope that holds for when my kids decide their futures.  I talked to a buddy of mine who worked his ass off during college and paid for what he could at cosco 40hr/wk. He and his wife have good jobs and have nearly paid off all their student loans. It would be a rather hefty slap in the face to all of a sudden know it could’ve disappeared on its own. I do think costs are way too high right now across the country, but WA has a good plan for it.  I also think people need to have some financial responsibility for their decision to attend college.
    • I've been thinking a lot about this topic myself. I have two kids, ages 5 & 7 and I have been pretty diligent about putting money away into their 529 college savings plan. Even so, if tuition inflation continues at it's current rate, I would probably need around $800,000 to be send them to any college they want debt-free. That's just not going to happen.  I don't agree that schools don't have to compete on price, but I do think that society's emphasis on a 4 year degree as a pre-requisite for success has led to a "cost be damned" mentality when it comes to choosing schools. For the last 30 years, it was never a question that the value of a degree was greater than the cost for most parents. Now we are starting to see chinks in that armor, as more stories of college graduates who are living under the crushing burden of their debt come to light. I think the real change will start to happen in several years, when this generation of 20 and 30 somethings, who lived and raised families while paying down their 6 figure student loans start to send their own kids to college. They are going to know that burden first hand and are not going to want their own children to have to deal with it. I think the middle tier private schools will be the first to feel the pinch. Will Dennison be able to charge $100k per student in 10 years? What about Claremont McKenna in California or Brandeis in Massachusetts? I think it's unlikely. Dave Ramsey has been beating this drum for awhile and I happen to agree with him. If you aren't going to Harvard/Yale (or a peer institution), or a state school, you are probably getting ripped off for your college degree. Once parents start to realize this en masse and speak with their checkbooks, the dominoes will start to fall. 
    • My college was about 50% Natalie's cost. An order of magnitude would be crazy. I don't think that rule of thumb holds up. 10x over 20-25 years? That's so far out of whack I can't imagine it. Denison costs about $75,000 per year. No way it cost only $7500 in 1996. Allegheny almost as much, and no way did it cost < $7k 25 years ago. It's gone up but I have no belief it's an order of magnitude.
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