One of the Most Heartless Articles I’ve Ever Read

By: Inoljt,

The rising cost of higher education is one of the main ailments affecting America. The earnings differential between those with college degrees and those without has become greater during this recession. This is because the recession hit jobs like construction, which don’t require a college degree, especially hard.

So as college becomes more expensive and more important, it becomes harder for the poor to climb the economic ladder. American inequality is a fundamental problem today, and the rising cost of college doesn’t help.

With this context in mind, I recently had the displeasure of reading one of the most heartless articles I’ve ever looked at. This article, by conservative commentator Michael Barone, argued that the rising cost of college is due to government subsidies. Specifically, college is so expensive because the government keeps on giving money to poor people so that they can attend college:

…government has been subsidizing higher education with low-interest college loans, Pell grants, and cheap tuitions at state colleges and universities.

The predictable result is that higher education costs have risen much faster than inflation, much faster than personal incomes, much faster than the economy over the past 40 years.

What is Mr. Barone’s presumed solution? Stop giving federal aid to poor people who want to attend college! After all, “government subsidies can go too far.”

Firstly, Mr. Barone is wrong on why college costs are rising so exponentially. The value of “government subsidies” has in fact gone down as college tuition has risen. The federal Pell Grant gives low-income students money to attend college. When it was first introduced in 1979, it covered three-fourths the cost of the typical four-year university. Today it covers only about one-third the cost of a typical four-year university. For private universities, it amounts to barely more than one-tenth the cost.

But that’s almost beside the point. What this article really brought to mind is my fundamental problem with conservatism and the Republican Party. Mr. Barone’s article lacks a single note of empathy for the poor. Indeed, in today’s political climate, conservatives have actually made the phrase “helping the poor” sound like a bad thing.

And this pattern is not just related to the poor. It always seems that conservatives and Republicans are against actions helping those society has left behind – whether it be minorities, immigrants, the poor, women, or whomever. Fundamentally, and to speak impolitely but honestly, they just don’t give a damn about anybody unlike themselves.



The Warrior and the Eloquent Fool

Cross posted atNo Quarter

Warning: This is a long diary. It contains substance. If you are fact challenged or allergic to truth go elsewhere. This diary may be harmful to your health.

US News has a very important and extremely enlightening article about the strength of the respective candidacies of Hillary and Obama. While no one can deny that Obama has carried more states, his actual strength in many of the states has been very concentrated, not widespread as the campaign would have you believe. Michael Barone states that Obama Appeals to Academics and Clinton Appeals to Jacksonians. And yes, the title speaks for itself. Obama's support is largely concentrated in areas where among other things he has vast African American support. While Hillary's support is more widespread across the country.

In reviewing the maps of the Democratic primary results, in Dave Leip's electoral atlas, I was struck by the narrow geographic base of Barack Obama's candidacy. In state after state, he has carried only a few counties--though, to be sure, in many cases counties with large populations. There are exceptions, particularly in the southern states with large numbers of black voters in both urban and rural counties. But overall, the geographic analysis has pointed up to me a divide between Democratic constituencies--a divide as stark as that between blacks and Latinos or the old and the young--which has not shown up in the exit polls. It's a division that helps to explain the quite different performances of Obama and Hillary Clinton in general election pairings against John McCain.

As an example of Mr. Barone's very detailed analysis, let's take a look at Michigan where Obama withdrew from the race but encouraged his supporters to vote "Uncommitted."

There's more...

GOP Redefining 2006 Election, Pt 3 - Will Ike, Tony or Ross Win in '08?

Will the next president be like Ike (Eisenhower), emerging as an attractive and experienced presidential choice to a nation weary of war?

Or will the winner in 2008 redefine their party as Britain's Tony (Blair) did in the mid-1990s, establishing the foundation for a new governing majority in America?

Or will a third party choice arise similar to Ross (Perot's) 1992 populist-driven candidacy, scramble the political matrix, and attract enough support to enable a candidate to win the White House with less than 45% of the popular vote?

These three wildly different scenarios were proposed recently by an influential political scientist as possible precedents for the 2008 presidential contests.

Make the jump to learn the who and the WHAT???!!!

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GOP Redefining 2006 Election, Pt 2 - A New Majority?

This is the second of three posts analyzing Michael Barone's cover story "Open-Field Politics"in the current issue of The National Journal. In the article Barone, lead author of the Almanac of American Politics, is working hard to rewrite history, diminish the importance of the 2006 midterm results, and resurrect the Republican Party.

It is important to note that Barone, a conservative political scientist, has undue influence on shaping the worldview of the 'Inside the Beltway" crowd. He claims to be the first pundit/political commentator to describe America as a 49% nation - a country evenly divided between two partisan factions. Through his writings in US News & World Report and The National Journal (not to mention his appearances on Fox News) he presents his conservative "spin" on election results, typically hyping Republican advances and diminishing Democratic gains. Often, these ideas become the conventional wisdom of the DC political class.

Why is this important?

There's more...

GOP Redefining 2006 Election, Pt 1 - The Myth of the Bitter Divide

This week's National Journal cover story, "Open-Field Politics" is written by Michael Barone, long-time author of The Almanac of American Politics. It is a lengthy article that merits considerable discussion and analysis among politically active Americans. He makes some broad observations about recent election results, the current presidential campaign, and the new political playing field that may have emerged from the 2006 midterm results.

Barone is a member of the DC punditocracy and in recent years his analysis has become increasingly biased toward conservative partisan views. He is a semi-regular Fox News talking head and he posts over at This fact makes it all the more important to review his article, as it reveals how the conservative "thinkers" are hard at work framing the current political climate.

There's more...


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