Responsibility is so boring

Article Highlights

  • What do you think about #Collegedebtcrisis?

    Tweet This

  • Getting an American college education is a good deal

    Tweet This

  • People have the right to make choices they may regret—but the regret shouldn’t make them the government’s problem

    Tweet This

Click to see the original article and mark whether you agree with Rick Hess.

While the queries are intended to be provocative, they struck me as remarkably on-point. The thing is that claimants like being indulged, advocates like creating crises, and pols love to give stuff away. The fact is that getting an American college education for no more than ten percent of your annual post-college income is, by any historic norm, a ridiculously good deal. Moreover, by the time we consider low-cost post-secondary options and the fact that debt-laden students have frequently chosen to eschew cheaper alternatives for pricier options, one can argue that much of the problem is nothing more than students dealing with the consequences of short-sighted or unwise decisions.

It’s a free country, and people have the right to make choices they may regret—but the regret shouldn’t discharge their obligations or make them the government’s problem. The thing is, our leaders have little cause to tell voters to suck it up or to deal with it. The result is that advocates use cherry-picked lending figures to demand stuff, and craven pols eagerly express sympathy by ladling up the goodies—and borrowing to pay for ‘em. And nobody blows the whistle on any of this, because doing so is to assure that one will be labeled heartless, mean-spirited, an enemy of higher education, and, for good measure, an elitist.

Frederick M. Hess is the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Frederick M.
Hess

What's new on AEI

How the Common Core went wrong
image Election countdown: The mood, measurements, and mechanics
image Rubio's defense speech: Fearless, informed, and refreshing
image Sorry Kerry, there is little role for Iran in fighting ISIS
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 22
    MON
  • 23
    TUE
  • 24
    WED
  • 25
    THU
  • 26
    FRI
Monday, September 22, 2014 | 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Policy implications of the new US labor market normal

We welcome you to join us as a panel of economists discuss US wage and price prospects in the coming months and the implications for the Federal Reserve’s current unorthodox monetary policy.

Friday, September 26, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
#ModiInUS: Can Modi’s visit to the White House put US-India relations back on track?

Tune in for this Google Hangout discussion with three leading experts about the implications of the Obama-Modi summit. Tweet your questions and comments to @AEI with #ModiInUS.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.