August 9, 2010

Obama's Affordable College Speech & Bush's Affordable Housing Speech

Barack Obama went to Austin today and gave a speech demanding the country increase the number of college graduates by eight million that is eerily similar to the one George W. Bush gave at a similar point in his first term (October 15, 2002) demanding the country increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million.

Obama's rhetorical spin is more conservative than Bush's (compare the emphasis on race), but the political intention is similar: a payoff to constituencies, a plan for increasing costs in the name of "affordability."

Obama said:
That’s why I’ve set some ambitious goals for this country. ... And producing 8 million more college graduates by 2020 so we can have a higher share of graduates than any other nation on earth.

In a single generation, we’ve fallen from first to twelfth in college graduation rates for young adults. That’s unacceptable, but not irreversible. We need to retake the lead. If we’re serious about making sure America’s workers – and America itself – succeed in the 21st century, the single most important step we can take is to offer all our kids – here in Austin, here in Texas, and across this country – the best education the world has to offer. ...

But we also know that in the coming decades, a person’s success in life will depend more and more not on a high school diploma, but on a college degree, on workforce training, on a higher education. And so, today, I’d like to talk about the higher education strategy we’re pursuing not only to lead the world once more in college graduation rates, but to make sure our graduates are ready for a career; ready to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy.

The first part of our strategy has been making college more affordable. I don’t have to tell you why this is so important – many of you are living each day with worries about how you’re going to pay off your student loans. We all know why. Even as family incomes have essentially flat-lined over the past thirty years, college costs have grown higher and higher. Over the past decade, they’ve shot up faster than housing, faster than transportation, even faster than health care costs. No wonder the amount student borrowers owe has risen almost 25 percent over the past five years.

So, how exactly is the government massively stimulating demand for college going to reduce the price of college? Similarly, the Bush Administration's 2002 campaign to reduce the downpayment required for homes in the name of fighting racism helped drive home prices to stratospheric heights.
This isn’t some abstract policy matter to me; I understand it personally. Michelle and I had big loans to pay off when we graduated – and I remember what that burden felt like. That’s why I’m absolutely committed to making sure that here, in America, no one is denied a chance to go to college, no one is denied a chance to pursue their dreams, no one is denied a chance to make the most of their lives because they can’t afford it. We are a better country than that, and we need to act like it.

And that no one is denied an opportunity to accumulate massive tuition debts.
...The third part of our higher education strategy is making sure every student completes their course of studies. Over a third of America’s college students, and over half our minority students, don’t earn a degree, even after six years. So, we don’t just need to open the doors of college to more Americans; we need to make sure they stick with it through graduation. Community colleges like Tennessee’s Cleveland State are redesigning remedial math courses, boosting not only student achievement, but graduation rates. And we ought to make a significant investment to help other states do the same.

Because the Chinese are quaking in their boots over what inspired engineering marvels Cleveland State Community College of Tennessee's remedial math students are going to invent.

Here are excerpts from Bush's speech at the 10/15/2002 White House Conference on Minority Homeownership. You'll notice from the garbled syntax that Bush, unlike Obama, isn't just reading off the teleprompter. He's winging this one from his heart:
THE PRESIDENT: …. I appreciate your attendance to this very important conference. You see, we want everybody in America to own their own home. That's what we want. This is -- an ownership society is a compassionate society.
More and more people own their homes in America today. Two-thirds of all Americans own their homes, yet we have a problem here in America because few than half of the Hispanics and half the African Americans own the home. That's a homeownership gap. It's a -- it's a gap that we've got to work together to close for the good of our country, for the sake of a more hopeful future.
We've got to work to knock down the barriers that have created a homeownership gap.
I set an ambitious goal. It's one that I believe we can achieve. It's a clear goal, that by the end of this decade we'll increase the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families. (Applause.) … And it's going to require a strong commitment from those of you involved in the housing industry. …
I appreciate so very much the home owners who are with us today, the Arias family, newly arrived from Peru. They live in Baltimore. Thanks to the Association of Real Estate Brokers, the help of some good folks in Baltimore, they figured out how to purchase their own home. Imagine to be coming to our country without a home, with a simple dream. And now they're on stage here at this conference being one of the new home owners in the greatest land on the face of the Earth. I appreciate the Arias family coming. (Applause.) ...

All of us here in America should believe, and I think we do, that we should be, as I mentioned, a nation of owners. Owning something is freedom, as far as I'm concerned. It's part of a free society. And ownership of a home helps bring stability to neighborhoods. You own your home in a neighborhood, you have more interest in how your neighborhood feels, looks, whether it's safe or not. It brings pride to people, it's a part of an asset-based to society. It helps people build up their own individual portfolio, provides an opportunity, if need be, for a mom or a dad to leave something to their child. It's a part of -- it's of being a -- it's a part of -- an important part of America.
Homeownership is also an important part of our economic vitality. If -- when we meet this project, this goal, according to our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we will have added an additional $256 billion to the economy by encouraging 5.5 million new home owners in America; …

To open up the doors of homeownership there are some barriers, and I want to talk about four that need to be overcome. First, down payments. A lot of folks can't make a down payment. They may be qualified. They may desire to buy a home, but they don't have the money to make a down payment. I think if you were to talk to a lot of families that are desirous to have a home, they would tell you that the down payment is the hurdle that they can't cross.....
Secondly, affordable housing is a problem in many neighborhoods, particularly inner-city neighborhoods. … I'm doing is proposing a single-family affordable housing credit to encourage the construction of single-family homes in neighborhoods where affordable housing is scarce. (Applause.)

Another obstacle to minority homeownership is the lack of information. You know, getting into your own home can be complicated. It can be a difficult process. I had that very same problem. (Laughter and applause.) ...
And, of course, one of the larger obstacles to minority homeownership is financing, is the ability to have their dream financed. Right now, we have a program that all of you are familiar with, maybe our fellow Americans are, and that's what they call a Section 8 housing program, that provides billions of dollars in vouchers to help low-income Americans with their rent. It encourages leasing. We think it's important that we use those vouchers, that federal money to help low-income Americans go from being somebody who leases to somebody who owns; that we use the Section 8 program to not only help with down payment, but to help with continuing monthly mortgage payments after they're into their new home. It is a -- it is a way to help us meet this dream of 5.5 million additional families owning their home.

I'm also going to encourage the lending industry to develop a mortgage market so that this script, these vouchers, can regularly be used as a source of payment to provide more capital to lenders, who can then help more families move from rental housing into houses of their own. …
Last June, I issued a challenge to everyone involved in the housing industry to help increase the number of minority families to be home owners. And what I'm talking about, I'm talking about your bankers and your brokers and developers, as well as members of faith-based community and community programs. And the response to the home owners challenge has been very strong and very gratifying. Twenty-two public and private partners have signed up to help meet our national goal. Partners in the mortgage finance industry are encouraging homeownership by purchasing more loans made by banks to African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.

Representatives of the real estate and homebuilding industries, through their nationwide networks or affiliates, are committed to broadening homeownership. ...

The other thing Kirbyjon told me, which I really appreciate, is you don't have to have a lousy home for first-time home buyers. If you put your mind to it, the first-time home buyer, the low-income home buyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else.

For awhile, at least.
 

41 comments:

Severn said...

Because the Chinese are quaking in their boots over what inspired engineering marvels Cleveland State Community College of Tennessee's remedial math students are going to invent.


The Chinese do not care where stuff is invented. They know it will be made in China in any case.

Anonymous said...

I not as pessimistic about "affordable college" as in hindsight one should be for "affordable housing" for the following reasons even with the most pessimistic view of the value of college education for the dummy quintiles:
(1) It seems to me to be a more efficient redistribution of resources from dumber people to smarter people
(2) make-work may provide more stability than helicopter drop resource distribution, even for dummies that otherwise shouldn't be given money for college
(3) a lot of people feel more comfortable going in to low status career paths if they have a veneer of credentialed exclusivity to them, so it may be a cheap way to get people to stop thinking lawyer/doctor or bust.

I'm sure there are drawbacks, but I see community colleges as stabilizing forces that keep proles optimistic and busy, even if they don't offer the workforce retraining value one would hope for.


Hopefully Anonymous
http://www.hopeanon.typepad.com

Harry Baldwin said...

One of the reforms in the Obama's student loan reform that disturbs me is that it ensures that graduates will never have to pay more than 10 percent of their income in loan repayments, and that if they maintain payments for 20 years, the loan will be forgiven. Doesn't this simply mean that the federal gov't will pick up the tab for the difference?

If someone comes out of college with a degree in comparative religion and a debt of $120,000, and he ends up earning $30,000 a year as a truck driver, he will only have to repay half of the principal on his loan, let alone no interest whatsoever.

This would bother me more if I thought anyone in Washington cares about how we will pay for anything anymore. At this point, I'm assuming we're headed for a complete crash within a few years and this sort of nonsense will be irrelevant, and they all know it.

Nanonymous said...

Doesn't this simply mean that the federal gov't will pick up the tab for the difference?

Yes, it means exactly that. Under Obama's new program, it is federal government that directly lends these loans. It is very explicit about it. The whole setup is the surest way to further blow education bubble by rewarding irresponsible behavior.

Anonymous said...

Remedial math?! This is our hope for the future? Why not just close the high schools and start college at 15?

The prof's would hardly notice.

l said...

Encourage a lot of subprime students to go to college. Student loan bubble crisis, here we come.

Anonymous said...

We just don't have enough chemical engineering graduates assembling office furniture for a living.

Right?

Anonymous said...

Like other ponzi schemes, a Keynesian monetary system demands constant growth else it implodes rapidly.

This means that ever-increasing amounts of newly-created money must find their way into the system. The power elite doesn't care what the money is borrowed into existence for -- Cash for Clunkers, New Houses for Everyone, College for those who barely made it through high school -- it doesn't matter what it is, it just has to be something.

Often overlooked is the US Military's role in keeping the monetary gravy train flowing -- that is, keeping oil sold in dollars instead of other currencies as long as possible.

That system, in place since Henry Kissinger came up with it in the 1970s when we defaulted on our "good as gold" promise, is in the process of collapsing. Will it be tomorrow or next year or five years from now? I don't know, but when it happens it is likely to happen quickly.

Anonymous said...

It's really a vote-buying exercise.

However, I fear that it is misguided. I don't think the young bother to come out on election day during the mid-terms.

They might not even bother to come out during the next Presidential election.

Probably the money being doled out to keep teachers employed is better spent, from a vote buying point of view.

Anonymous said...

Harry Baldwin: This would bother me more if I thought anyone in Washington cares about how we will pay for anything anymore. At this point, I'm assuming we're headed for a complete crash within a few years and this sort of nonsense will be irrelevant, and they all know it.

I tried to make a similar point in another recent thread, but it looks as though Blogger/Blogspot ate up about half of what I wrote.

Anyway: Lately I am getting this persistent feeling that trends are accelerating, and that the Day of Doom is being moved up by about a decade - I had originally forecast it as arriving circa 2020 [when the peak of the Caucasian Baby Boom starts to retire], but now I am getting a very strong presentiment that it could be a whole lot closer to 2010.

Mike said...

We have far to many college graduates as it is. When Enterprise can demand - and get - college graduates to rent cars you know supply has overwhelmed demand.
Some of the dumbest people I have ever met have masters degrees. A girl I fired for being too dumb to competently answer a phone has nearly finished a masters.

Mystic Pizza said...

FEWER AND BETTER PEOPLE SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE. AND THERE SHOULD BE MORE COMMUNITY COLLEGES OR SOME SUCH INSTITUTIONS FOR VOCATIONAL TRAINING. EVEN MANY COLLEGE GRADUATES DO NOTHING WITH THEIR DEGREES.

Anonymous said...

I've just learned that Don Wakamatsu of the Seattle Mariners was fired. Don is half Japanese/Half White.

Question for the HBD-folks. Which half was responsible for his dismal performance?

Anonymous said...

"redesigning remedial math courses" = making the addition and subtraction even easier. Besides, who needs to balance a checkbook now that everyone has debit cards?

Anonymous said...

Mike said:


Some of the dumbest people I have ever met have masters degrees. A girl I fired for being too dumb to competently answer a phone has nearly finished a masters.


But what was her masters in? Public Health Management Policy?

HeinleinFan said...

"Why not just close the high schools and start college at 15? "

Will never be done, but is about the best thing that could be done.

Golden Coach said...

Isn't it time to call them "Party Schools"?

I think Obama thinks this way because too many like him NEVER LEAVE COLLEGE. He's still in the 'big man on the campus' mode at the Oval Office.
After Harvard, he was at University of Chicago and he hung around 'intellectual' types all his life. Never dealing with reality or the real world. Just reading, discussing, feeling privileged and know-it-all, filled with big ideas but no idea of what society is really like, etc.
College professors and students have this conceited view of themselves as SPECIAL: while most of the world is wearily grubbing for money, they are into TRUTH, JUSTICE, MEANING, AND FUN!!!! College parties with beer, pot, and Che Guevara posters are pretty routine. "Marx and Coca-Cola" as Godard once said of 60s radical youth. I suppose it's "Guns and Jesus" on the Right.
Since college life is what Obama knows best, his big idea of making the world better is to turn the whole world into a big never-ending teachable moment. IT TAKES A CAMPUS.

Though Clinton served as governor for 2 or 3 terms, he and Hillary were forever in the college radical mode. And Dubya was forever in the fratboy mode. And judging by the Iraq War, it's as if a bunch of fratboys planned it over pizza and beer.

College was supposed to turn young people into thinking adults. Today, it keeps adults from ever growing up.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the proposal is a 30,00ft. cruising altitude solution to a worsening on-the-ground unemployment problem - e.g., put more people in college and keep them out of the job market for awhile.

DCThrowback said...

@ Severn
Or, more appropriately, it will be stolen by Chinese. Get it right.

The coming education bubble has been discussed at great length by several folks, most notably Professor Glenn Reynolds, who wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner this past Sunday.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Glenn-Harlan-Reynolds-Further-thoughts-on-the-college-tuition-bubble-100216064.html

Anonymous said...

It is like he is writing off the bottom half of society.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese have been stealing American technology for years. Regardless of where the stuff is invented, it'll be produced in China. Then those produced goods will be sold here and, since we have low tarrifs and barriers to trade, those goods will dominate our market. Then, to buy those goods, Americans will go into debt to Chinese creditors. Then, to build houses to store those goods, America will bring in illegals to build more houses. Then, to help NAMs afford those houses, we'll put more regulations on lending/banking companies and subsidize subprime loans. Then, when everything collapses again, the Chinese will buy more our bonds.

End process: Americans invent, Chinese own.

To paraphrase Gordon Gekko from Wall Street: "I create nothing. I own."

Anonymous said...

Visited the left coast liberal bastion cities recently and there were ZERO Obama b umper stickers on display.

Jack Aubrey said...

George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and about 80% of Congress deserve to be put on trial for economic crimes against humanity. This country is just circling the drain. I want to get my hopes up by reminding myself that the GOP is going to retake Congress this Fall, but who am I kidding? They'll just continue to F it up like they did under W.

Elbrac said...

OT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/nyregion/10riverside.html?_r=1

Just like Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation and Obama in politics? If it works socially and politically, why not sexually?

White people are suckers for the 'well-heeled' black guy or girl. Obama smiles and he's president. Oprah hugs and she's a billionaire. Morgan Freeman does the noble negro routine and white people slobber all over him.

Anonymous said...

Visited the left coast liberal bastion cities recently and there were ZERO Obama bumper stickers on display.

Good point. I live in the "Berkeley of Midwest" (Madison, WI). Hardly any Obama stickers at this point. That's quite a change from what seemed every other car. Unprecedented for sure.

chicagopeasant said...

The graduation rates for colleges are very dismal. In Illinois the four year graduation rate for most of the major state colleges is less than 30%. This is as most people have paid up to $80,000 for 4 years of college. The high schools continue to push everyone on to college. The counselors never give out the non-graduation rates. My advice; If you are providing your son or daughter college education money, make sure you have access to their grades. AT the first sign of slacking off, do not provide them with any more money. Save yourself from further monetary loss.

Paul Mendez said...

Somewhere, (this blog?) I read about a young guy who racked up a big pile of debt and spent 4 years of his life getting an accounting degree, but who couldn't find a job.

He was quoted as saying something like, "I wish I had gone to jail for 4 years. I wouldn't have all this debt and I might have learned a trade."

Severn said...

Here's a story on the Countrywide topic, Steve.

2+2=5 said...

Mr S: You are a cock-eyed optimist. It's remedial arithmetic, math(-ematics) is for graduate school.

David Davenport said...

The coming education bubble has been discussed at great length by several folks, most notably Professor Glenn Reynolds, who wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner this past Sunday....

Yes, U. of TN law school prof. Glenn Reynolds, who frequently blogs -- often during workweek hours -- about the lack of jobs for lower tier law school graduates, the need for fewer government employees, and the virtue of laissez-faire business and free market employment.

When is Glenn going to resign from his day job?

Anonymous said...

elbrac,

great link.

“Just two companions who enjoy each other company to explore the beauties of life,”

immigrant english: socially awkward, grammatically incorrect, jingoistic, maudlin

I think the new hip swpl thing should be putting orbite tv on your resume

Anonymous said...

What a great way to wreck the economy, again! However, I think I would prefer this country defaulting and going into a severe decades long economic depression to discourage any further immigration, than prosperity and more immigration and displacement of Americans.

So, way to go Obama!

P.S - Or we could get prosperity and closing the border/immigration restrictions, which is a virtual impossibility.

SGOTI said...

Typical Obama hogwash.

Sounds: noble, uplifting, egalitarian.

Reality: expanded thirteenth grade paid for by the few, already overextended taxpayers left.

I'd be less depressed if our "leaders" talked about useful vocational training rather than churning out another huge batch of B.A.'s with few skills relevant to a modern economy.

Jonathan Silber said...

Watch out world: I may be able to pass remedial math and reading!

headache said...

Follow the money. Who's going to turn a profit off student loans? My guess is the same banksters who got Barry elected and left us holding the after housing bubble.
I guess they've sufficiently recovered to start looking fo new playing fields.
I don't think Barry is pandering as much to the racial underclass as he is making sure is donors are happy.

elvisd said...

It's funny the talk about Cleveland State, and how some commenter suggested ending high school and starting college at 15.

Well, my son's 15, and he's starting at Cleveland State, though only for one class in a dual enrollment program. Just picked up his American Govt. book, which looks like it took People magazine for inspiration.

And no, I don't think the Chinese are going to be quaking in their boots over anything going on there.

Evil Sandmich said...

"Cleveland State Community College "

It's Cleveland State or Cuyahoga Community College, not both...er...oh it's joke, sorry!

I do find it amusing here locally that Cleveland State has such a hard time in trying to be more respectable than 'Tri-C' when down in Cincinnati no one would ever confuse Cincinnati State with UC.

David said...

Having a college diploma makes you smart.

Therefore, to spread smartness, we need only distribute college diplomas to everyone - toss them out of flying helicopters, even! Shower the people!

This is not more than a modern Cargo Cult mentality.

(I say "diplomas" instead of "degrees" because a degree will not retain its current value if anyone and everyone must be graduated. There will be "degree-inflation." The only constant will be the piece of paper.)

Kirby Jon said...

the other thing Kirbyjon told me, which I really appreciate, is you don't have to have a lousy home for first-time home buyers. If you put your mind to it, the first-time home buyer, the low-income home buyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else.

the other thing Obama and the Democrats promise, which I really appreciate, is you don't have to have be very bright or work hard to get an PhD in theoretical math or physics physics. If you put your mind towards working the system, people without the qualifications or ability can have just as high falutin degrees as the talented elites

David Davenport said...

Do as I say, not as I ... dept.:

DON’T GO TO THAT LAW SCHOOL: It’s Too High-Ranked! I didn’t follow this advice — I turned down free rides at Duke and Chicago to go to Yale on substantially less attractive financial terms, but I’m sure it was a good move on my part.

Posted at 9:44 pm by Glenn Reynolds
( 10 August 2010 )

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/

Mike Courtman said...

As Pink Floyd should have said,

Hey, humanists... leave us kids alone!

and no, you can't have any pudding with your media studies degree.