As usual, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman does a splendid job dismantling the arguments of conservatives, who have become an irrational and illogical bunch. In today’s article, the columnist tackles the GOP’s inexplicable attacks on education. They really want America to be a dumb nation that fawns over religious idols and has contempt for anyone with actual knowledge.
First, Krugman addressed Mitt Romney’s stingy and oppressive views on higher education:
Here’s what the candidate told the student: “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And, hopefully, you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”
What Romney wants is a large underclass of undereducated people who can basically be his servants — fetching whatever he desires, while grateful for whatever bones he throws their way. For those who manage to make it through college, they will have rounded up enormous debt before they even begin their careers. This makes it almost impossible for young entrepreneurs to start their own companies and fulfill their dreams. Burdened by a choking level of college debt, they have no choice but to become corporate slaves with people like Romney serving as their masters. The debt will also make it difficult to change jobs or take risks, because it will always be hanging around the necks of the young debtors, like an unshakable albatross.
Even as the debt rises for students, the real value of a college education is decreasing, thanks to savage budget cuts by family values politicians who ensure that future families will not have the proper education to be upwardly mobile.
Adjusted for inflation, state support for higher education has fallen 12 percent over the past five years, even as the number of students has continued to rise; in California, support is down by 20 percent.
One result has been soaring fees. Inflation-adjusted tuition at public four-year colleges has risen by more than 70 percent over the past decade. So good luck on finding that college “that has a little lower price.”
On to the buffoon, Rick Santorum, who despite having more degrees than a thermometer, has hypocritically derided Obama as a “snob” for trying to enroll more Americans in college. Santorum is upset because he ignorantly and incorrectly believes that college is a threat to religious faith — which is rather demeaning because he is essentially calling religious people stupid.
It’s not hard to see what’s driving Mr. Santorum’s wing of the party. His specific claim that college attendance undermines faith is, it turns out, false. But he’s right to feel that our higher education system isn’t friendly ground for current conservative ideology. And it’s not just liberal-arts professors: among scientists, self-identified Democrats outnumber self-identified Republicans nine to one.
I guess Mr. Santorum would see this as evidence of a liberal conspiracy. Others might suggest that scientists find it hard to support a party in which denial of climate change has become a political litmus test, and denial of the theory of evolution is well on its way to similar status.
The current GOP is a mess and those who enable such idiocy are harming the Republican Party and the country. Without offering young people an affordable, superior education, America will go downhill rather quickly and will not even be a power, let alone a superpower.
But, maybe people like Santorum genuinely want America to become an ignorant, second-tier, superstitious nation that would vote for someone so outrageously extreme and absurd as Rick Santorum.