Ann Coulter reminds me of that old doggerel: There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid. When she gets too crude or abusive, I don't enjoy her and I don't think she does a good job getting her message across. However, when she stays on point and just relies on wit and logic, damn, she's good. Witness Ann writing about rising college tuition:
The two big topics on CNN last week were (1) high gas prices and (2) the high cost of college tuition. (Also a story about an angry Hispanic lacrosse player who vanished from a cruise ship during Bush's low poll numbers.)
CNN reports that college tuition has risen an astonishing 40 percent since 2000. But the proposed solutions to the exact same problem – high prices for gasoline and tuition, respectively – were diametrically opposed.
The only solution to high gas prices considered on CNN was to pay oil company executives less, perhaps by order of the president. But somehow, no one ever suggested that the solution to the high price of college – far outpacing inflation – was to pay professors less. In that case, the solution is for the government to subsidize college professors' salaries even more than it already does.
Based on CNN's special coverage of high gas prices, the unfolding crisis in college tuition ought to be reported like this:
Coming up, soaring prices at the colleges. Who's to blame? How can you keep your child in college and cash in your wallet? And Harvard outrage, big education makes big bucks, but we pay the price. So should President Bush limit prices?
…To our top story now. It seems like a summer ritual. Rising professors' salaries mean rising tuition prices. But this year, sticker shock at the tuition window is fueling more concern than ever. And it has many people asking where is it going to end?
JAMIE COURT, CONSUMER RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Every time you see the price of tuition go up, you can hear "ka-ching, ka-ching" in the bank accounts of the college professors.
That's how oil company profits are reported. Why not subsidize the oil companies, which provide a product essential to allowing 300 million Americans to live, and put a cap on the price of college, which seems designed to turn out more leftist parasites on the productive?
As economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University has demonstrated, every time the government subsidizes college tuition through tuition tax credits, college tuition rises by the precise amount of the tuition tax credit.
Coulter's absolutely right, of course. Rising tuition costs are a scandal, especially when one considers what slackers so many college professors are (not all, of course, but way too many). They work minimal hours; their jobs are protected against everything but a nuclear holocaust, meaning they have no accountability; and, because of constant government intervention, their salaries have little if no relationship to market forces.
An an old book, but one I bet is still as valid today as the day it was written is Christopher Sykes' Profscam(one of the books that was part of my journey to conservatism long before I realized I was a conservative). In it, Sykes' provides in painful (and often amusing) detail an indictment of the wage scale for professors in the late 1980s (that is, low work/output, coupled with high wage), a situation that is infinitely worse now.