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Unites States National Debt - How Much And What For

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
Majoring in liberal arts is the folly of people with large sums of money to risk without concern for potential income generation possibilities. It's unfortunate, but it's how it is. I would never encourage my child to take on debt to finance a degree without specific concern for the income they can expect to generate.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Majoring in liberal arts is the folly of people with large sums of money to risk without concern for potential income generation possibilities. It's unfortunate, but it's how it is. I would never encourage my child to take on debt to finance a degree without specific concern for the income they can expect to generate.
As someone guilty of such “folly” (though without the large sums of money), I can assure you that some of us know exactly what we’re doing and have made quite successful careers for ourselves doing it. The kind of inverse snobbery you and others are engaging in here is no better than the belittling of those who choose not to pursue college degrees. My parents are business people who both left school at 16. Thank goodness they were open-minded enough to encourage me to study what I was passionate about rather than what made most sense to them on paper.
 

Willmark

Well-Known Member
Inverse snobbery, I don’t see it as that.

As I stated in the election thread the trades are a good example of not needing a college degree and being quite successful. The example I used is a family friend who is an electrician about 17 years younger than I who makes double what I make.

Point being (again) people are free to pursue whatever they wish in terms of a degree but they need to be prepared for the consequences of said choice. Some (one) were complaining in the other thread about how much debt they still had relative to their degree, That’s no ones fault but their own.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
Reagan believed in supply side economics (just didn't realize the math would get him in the end).
The debt increased under Reagan largely due to the policies of the Federal Reserve not the Reagan administration’s fiscal policies. The Fed went to war with inflation by hiking interest rates to unfathomable levels. This worked at getting inflation under control but it had to large consequences: (1) increased interest rates on our national debt, which means more spending on interest payments and (2) a recession, which decreases tax revenue and due to automatic stabilizers increases spending.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
As someone guilty of such “folly” (though without the large sums of money), I can assure you that some of us know exactly what we’re doing and have made quite successful careers for ourselves doing it. The kind of inverse snobbery you and others are engaging in here is no better than the belittling of those who choose not to pursue college degrees. My parents are business people who both left school at 16. Thank goodness they were open-minded enough to encourage me to study what I was passionate about rather than what made most sense to them on paper.
College was more affordable when you went to school. Today, it’s ridiculous.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
There has been 1 time in our nations history that this country has been debt free. 1. Andrew Jackson was credited with paying off the tab.

lol weren't we flat broke when we gained our independence? I see no reason to change formulas now
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
Majoring in liberal arts is the folly of people with large sums of money to risk without concern for potential income generation possibilities. It's unfortunate, but it's how it is. I would never encourage my child to take on debt to finance a degree without specific concern for the income they can expect to generate.
Then you start to hear the cry that "It's not fair that Muffy & Biff can just coast through taking easy courses, while I have to work hard to learn something useful because I'm going to have to look for a job rather than having family or friends offer me one." Life isn't fair, and students who think that they can behave the same as someone who has a rich family backing them are in for a rude awaking.

I went to college (community) when it was still possible to make enough working on the weekends to pay tuition. But, because my family was poor, I had to take a path that would lead to a job right after graduation, with no "electives." Every course was required, and people who were taking courses like Psych because they thought it would be " interesting" were left in the dust by the Nursing students who were required to not only take the course, but have at least an 85 or better grade to stay in the Nursing program.

We actually had a double bell curve because of this - the nursing students had a 90+ average (Psych was a much easier course than say, Microbiology)

My daughter had the luxury of being able to choose a major that she enjoyed - but she quickly learned that it was not going to generate the income she wanted, so took a post-grad course to attain more marketable skills that she could combine with her existing degree.

My son paid attention to what his sister went through, so majored in something that gave him a fairly well paying job right after graduation.
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
As someone guilty of such “folly” (though without the large sums of money), I can assure you that some of us know exactly what we’re doing and have made quite successful careers for ourselves doing it. The kind of inverse snobbery you and others are engaging in here is no better than the belittling of those who choose not to pursue college degrees. My parents are business people who both left school at 16. Thank goodness they were open-minded enough to encourage me to study what I was passionate about rather than what made most sense to them on paper.
My daughter committed the same "folly" - but she had parents who could foot the bill without going into debt, and she quickly learned that her degree would not get her financial security. She is also smarter than the average bear, which was an unfair advantage that gave her a better chance to succeed in both gaining an education and life in general. Along with a privileged background - with one of the most important factors being parents who read to her, and instilled a lifelong interest in reading. My feeling has always been that literacy is the absolute essential skill for getting ahead in life - unless you were born so privileged via wealth, looks, or talent that you can sail through life even if you are uneducated. Or stupid. Or both.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
As someone guilty of such “folly” (though without the large sums of money), I can assure you that some of us know exactly what we’re doing and have made quite successful careers for ourselves doing it. The kind of inverse snobbery you and others are engaging in here is no better than the belittling of those who choose not to pursue college degrees. My parents are business people who both left school at 16. Thank goodness they were open-minded enough to encourage me to study what I was passionate about rather than what made most sense to them on paper.
Snobbery? Seriously? Not even sure how you get there. This is about the unfettered increase in the price of college, precipitated by the influx of easy to obtain loan money. People can't control that cost, they can only control their own personal calculus in determining the cost to benefit ration of any given degree path.

It's great when someone gets a liberal arts degree and finds a nice paying job. It's great when they get a degree and have well connected parents who can hook them up with a cushy position. It's great when parents are there as a backstop if things don't go well. Its great if parents have 80K (or much more) to invest in a degree without slam dunk earning potential. It's not great when a kid takes out 50, 60, 70K in loans to make it happen. It's not great when they graduate and find themselves making 30 or 40K. My friend's son came out of a mid level state school with over 60K in loans. He's now about 7 years out of school and very unhappy with his life because every step he takes in life is hampered by that debt.

I'm thrilled it worked out for you. But quoting your own success is just anecdotal evidence. I don't dispute that you can make a good living following your dreams. I love when that works out. But getting a decent paying job with a liberal arts degrees this day is not a slam dunk. Investing 80K (on the low end) plus for an English or history degree without an eye toward what careers that will open up for you is very risky. Especially if a big portion of that is loan money.

My daughter loved her Greek history class she took freshman year. Started having some doubts about the engineering degree she is pursuing. All I did was ask her to get online and research what her career opportunities would be with some sort of a Greek studies degree. Teaching was about it. Which would be great. But the number of openings teaching Greek history are, shall we say, limited. In the end she decided to stick with engineering and take some great trips to Greece later with the nice salary she will be making.
 

Laketravis

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Perhaps those who want to introduce accusations of snobbery and espouse the virtues of certain degrees could take their missives to the "Education" thread.
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
Snobbery? Seriously? Not even sure how you get there. This is about the unfettered increase in the price of college, precipitated by the influx of easy to obtain loan money. People can't control that cost, they can only control their own personal calculus in determining the cost to benefit ration of any given degree path.

It's great when someone gets a liberal arts degree and finds a nice paying job. It's great when they get a degree and have well connected parents who can hook them up with a cushy position. It's great when parents are there as a backstop if things don't go well. Its great if parents have 80K (or much more) to invest in a degree without slam dunk earning potential. It's not great when a kid takes out 50, 60, 70K in loans to make it happen. It's not great when they graduate and find themselves making 30 or 40K. My friend's son came out of a mid level state school with over 60K in loans. He's now about 7 years out of school and very unhappy with his life because every step he takes in life is hampered by that debt.

I'm thrilled it worked out for you. But quoting your own success is just anecdotal evidence. I don't dispute that you can make a good living following your dreams. I love when that works out. But getting a decent paying job with a liberal arts degrees this day is not a slam dunk. Investing 80K (on the low end) plus for an English or history degree without an eye toward what careers that will open up for you is very risky. Especially if a big portion of that is loan money.

My daughter loved her Greek history class she took freshman year. Started having some doubts about the engineering degree she is pursuing. All I did was ask her to get online and research what her career opportunities would be with some sort of a Greek studies degree. Teaching was about it. Which would be great. But the number of openings teaching Greek history are, shall we say, limited. In the end she decided to stick with engineering and take some great trips to Greece later with the nice salary she will be making.
My son's passion is History - but like your daughter, he realized that it would take a lot of connections - and luck - to be able to make a living doing anything other than teaching. So he works to earn a living, and his passion is now his hobby. Sometimes, things fall together so you can have the best of both worlds. I hope it happens for him some day..

This is my dentist's hobby -


His passion is history, but being a dentist pays the bills.
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
Perhaps those who want to introduce accusations of snobbery and espouse the virtues of certain degrees could take their missives to the "Education" thread.
The two topics are interwoven, as despite the increasing national debt there have been suggestions that forgiving government backed education loans, and providing "free" college education, be added to the tab.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Majoring in liberal arts is the folly of people with large sums of money to risk without concern for potential income generation possibilities. It's unfortunate, but it's how it is. I would never encourage my child to take on debt to finance a degree without specific concern for the income they can expect to generate.
So here's the problem. Every one cannot be engineers, lawyer, doctors or Indian chief. So what do we do with the rest of the kids that are not STEM bent.
 

TheDisneyDaysOfOurLives

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
No, you can’t. This is just a silly talking point that you and others are perpetuating for no good reason.

1) How am I perpetuating anything? If you took a second, you'd realize I have time and time again swatted that way.
2) It's actually a class you can take at Northwestern, not so much a degree.
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
So here's the problem. Every one cannot be engineers, lawyer, doctors or Indian chief. So what do we do with the rest of the kids that are not STEM bent.
I would also argue that the intense focus on STEM over the last 8 years will have negative earning potential on those careers in about 10-15 years as the glut of STEM focused graduates enter the workforce. With the glut of stem graduates on the horizon, trades will be in high demand for a long time.

When STEM started to be pushed by the government, I was voluntold to teach my son's robotics class. Out of 8 5th graders in the class, only 2 had any business being in the class. My son was not one of them.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Snobbery? Seriously? Not even sure how you get there. This is about the unfettered increase in the price of college, precipitated by the influx of easy to obtain loan money. People can't control that cost, they can only control their own personal calculus in determining the cost to benefit ration of any given degree path.

It's great when someone gets a liberal arts degree and finds a nice paying job. It's great when they get a degree and have well connected parents who can hook them up with a cushy position. It's great when parents are there as a backstop if things don't go well. Its great if parents have 80K (or much more) to invest in a degree without slam dunk earning potential. It's not great when a kid takes out 50, 60, 70K in loans to make it happen. It's not great when they graduate and find themselves making 30 or 40K. My friend's son came out of a mid level state school with over 60K in loans. He's now about 7 years out of school and very unhappy with his life because every step he takes in life is hampered by that debt.

I'm thrilled it worked out for you. But quoting your own success is just anecdotal evidence. I don't dispute that you can make a good living following your dreams. I love when that works out. But getting a decent paying job with a liberal arts degrees this day is not a slam dunk. Investing 80K (on the low end) plus for an English or history degree without an eye toward what careers that will open up for you is very risky. Especially if a big portion of that is loan money.

My daughter loved her Greek history class she took freshman year. Started having some doubts about the engineering degree she is pursuing. All I did was ask her to get online and research what her career opportunities would be with some sort of a Greek studies degree. Teaching was about it. Which would be great. But the number of openings teaching Greek history are, shall we say, limited. In the end she decided to stick with engineering and take some great trips to Greece later with the nice salary she will be making.
Yes, snobbery of the inverse kind. And no, my evidence isn’t merely anecdotal:

 

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