My blog’s only been around a couple years now. When I started, student debt was under a trillion dollars…now it’s more like $1.4 trillion dollars. Our higher education system has been transformed from a system of education and research for humanity, into a system of massive wealth transfer into the pockets of higher education administration.
Months ago, ZeroHedge released a collection of charts, based on seldom published government numbers, showing that the often published government numbers detailing the wonders of the US economy are rubbish.
Donald Trump tweeted out these charts, implying strongly that Obama really hasn’t been all that wonderful. I’m no fan of Obama, and I agree the last 8 years have been bad, far worse than the general public is being told…but it’s not exactly Obama’s fault. The 2008 banking crisis did not create the immense falsehoods in our economy, it merely exposed them. This exposure was quickly papered over with massive money creation, but the rot is still there. Sure, Obama’s done nothing to fix these problems, but, nobody can fix this level of corruption without massive fallout, which hasn’t happened. All he’s done is delay the inevitable outcome of decades of ostentatious fraud. To criticize Obama’s failure here is as fair as criticizing someone for not saving himself from a fall because he didn’t flap his arms fast enough: any other person would fail in about the same way.
Anyway, a casual inspection of the graphs above (and these are more clearly represented at ZeroHedge) shows disturbing trends in the economic situation of most Americans, in ways most Americans can easily understand, without government sorcery like “hedonic adjustments” and “rent allowances” that give economic bonuses which apply to no actual human.
It really is amazing the mainstream media’s hatred for Donald Trump, leading to a bias that I thought would end, or at least slow down, after the election. Granted, Trump calling them all liars who should be ashamed of themselves (why wasn’t this in the news for weeks, I do-not-wonder), right to their faces, in person, while completely justified, probably didn’t help matters.
Anyway, these charts dispel the mainstream narrative of how wonderful Obama and the economy are, and have been more or less endorsed by Trump. So, of course, the mainstream media has to debunk them.
Here goes, from the Washington Post:
Donald Trump tweeted out 9 graphs proving that Obama failed. We fact-checked them.
–apologies for citing a fake news site.
The article preambles with the usual anti-Trump hate, and then moves on to the picture I’ve indicated above. The journalist (sic) lacks the rudimentary computer expertise of how to deal with small print, and has less mathematical skill that my most remedial students, and thus struggles with reading the graphs:
There are nine little graphs embedded in there, with hard-to-read axes and unclear provenance for the numbers, all of which are meant to bolster one argument: Barack Obama’s presidency has been bad.
Look, for example, at the graph at upper left, “Student Loans.” It’s almost impossible to make out the labels on the horizontal axis, but it’s clear that there simply aren’t any until the graph starts to rise. Which is … a bit deceptive
I’ll just be focusing on the student loan graph, although the anti-Trump hit piece goes over the others with just as much acumen. The journalist (sic) does the right thing, and tries to verify the charts are accurate:
So what I figured I’d do is try my best to recreate these charts with verifiable numbers,
Now, keep in mind, it took me all of 30 seconds to figure out these charts came from ZeroHedge…the journalist (sic) lacks even my paltry investigative skills and never even mentions ZeroHedge, and so then spends considerable time putting all the spin he can on how these charts are misleading by finding his own facts (instead of ZeroHedge, which cited its numbers from the government itself) and twisting things around.
Here’s the best the journalist (sic) could do:
So, doing the best they can, this fake news site still shows that student loan debt has basically doubled under Obama’s reign. The news article then says we shouldn’t blame Obama for this…perhaps so, but it’s clear Obama has done nothing here to help our kids, to keep them from being screwed into a lifetime of unpayable debt. I grant there are plenty of huge problems in this country, so perhaps Obama just had other priorities…but the other charts show similar inactivity by Obama.
It’s so strange to see the media behaving like this. Donald Trump, for good or ill, just succeeded in the greatest political upset in history (at least, if you think fake news was telling the truth about all the polls). It’s as bizarre as me getting into a full contact professional karate fight with 8 year old Honey Boo Boo, and getting knocked out within 10 seconds.
After such a beating, I would consider what happened. Top three explanations for my losing would be along the lines of:
- I suck at fighting, and it was my mistake for getting involved.
- Honey Boo Boo is a far more formidable opponent than anyone could believe.
- I made a major error in the fight.
I would consider the above as possible explanations, and would respect that, regardless of which explanation was most prevalent, Honey Boo Boo beat me in a fair fight. What would not occur to me, ever?
A) Honey Boo Boo is a Russian agent, and that explains everything
B) Honey Boo Boo is a lying racist/fascist, I should henceforth refer to her as Hitler Boo Boo The Racist, and that explains everything.
Collectively, the media seems bent on considering analogues to A or B, and no other option, as an explanation, and thus continues with the endless hate campaign. It’s weird stuff.
Now back to higher education.
Gentle reader, keep that chart in mind the next time you read or hear “we’re doing this to keep tuition costs down” from an administrator. I’ve seen or heard the like hundreds, if not thousands, of times, and that chart shows, very clearly, they haven’t done a thing to stop tuition from rising. It’s a simple matter to verify that administrative positions have increased dramatically, however, and their salaries are insanely high…all those promises are nothing next to the obvious fact that student debt is rising the same as it has been for years…and certainly the same as it has been under the Obama administration.
Now, I concede I’m putting a bit of spin on things here, the debt goes from 706 billion in 2009 to near 1,351 billion in 2016, and so I’m exaggerating, as this isn’t quite double. But, the numbers are the numbers, and so I invite the gentle reader to look at those numbers and make his own decision as to whether things have really improved under Obama nearly as much as the fake news sources like The Washington Post would have us believe.