Earlier this week, a pretty interesting and telling exchange took place at a Mitt Romney town hall meeting. A student asked Romney what he would do to make college more affordable for students who struggle to pay for it. Romney’s reply was jarring:
“It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” he said, to sustained applause from the crowd at a high-tech metals assembly factory here. “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.”It’s a brutal response. One reason, of course, is that college is a form of public investment. We have a shared stake in a more educated population, which ultimately produces higher living standards for all. Treating college affordability as a question of simple personal responsibility is an act of collective economic suicide.But Romney’s answer, and the enthusiastic reception it triggered, also reveals something important about the Republican coalition. Here were Romney, and his supporters, treating a struggling prospective college student with almost gleeful hostility, like a bum looking for a handout.
You ever notice that the approved enemies list for Republicans in 2012 consists solely of groups that voted for President Obama in 2008? Minorities, women, poor people and people under 25? Yeah, there's a reason for that. And Mitt Romney? He's the opposite of all those groups.
Funny how that works out. The Kroog weighs in on this too:
But what about people like Mr. Romney? Don’t they have a stake in America’s future economic success, which is endangered by the crusade against education? Maybe not as much as you think.After all, over the past 30 years, there has been a stunning disconnect between huge income gains at the top and the struggles of ordinary workers. You can make the case that the self-interest of America’s elite is best served by making sure that this disconnect continues, which means keeping taxes on high incomes low at all costs, never mind the consequences in terms of poor infrastructure and an undertrained work force.And if underfunding public education leaves many children of the less affluent shut out from upward mobility, well, did you really believe that stuff about creating equality of opportunity?So whenever you hear Republicans say that they are the party of traditional values, bear in mind that they have actually made a radical break with America’s tradition of valuing education. And they have made this break because they believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt them.
You don't say. An ignorant populace is a compliant and controllable populace. Just tell them that the real problem is all those awful union employees who make more money than you do, then destroy them. Sure, it means that we have an increasingly stupid and unskilled workforce, but that's what India and China are for.