Thursday, April 23, 2015

Zillionaire Republican senator: Students taking longer to graduate because 'college is a lot of fun'

Freshman Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the most vulnerable Republicans seeking re-election next year. He's also one of the richest—worth anywhere from $13 million to $60 million—and one of the dumbest. At a recent town hall, Johnson offered his opinion on why it's taking longer for students to graduate from college these days. Here's the rank idiocy that barfed out of his mouth:
"Today, there are different studies on this but somewhere between five and a half to six years is the average length of time it takes somebody to get a four-year degree. Why is that? I'd argue, well, loans are actually pretty easy to get and college is a lot of fun. All three of my kids went to Madison and I guarantee you, they had a really good time, particularly that first year of college," he said. [...]

Johnson continued on to argue that students think that "It's kind of free money, young people don't necessarily understand finance."

That's exactly right! Kids these days are just rocking out so hard on campus that they insist on living the Animal House life for five or even six years. After all, these clueless wasters think that loans are "free money," so why not spend a couple of extra years getting trashed at Party Central U.?

I mean, why can't they all be like Ron Johnson, who says he worked his way through college and tried to finish as quickly as he could so that he'd emerge with as little debt as possible?

It couldn't be that the cost of college has skyrocketed since Johnson graduated back in 1977 (the year before Animal House was released, by the way)—could it? And that, simultaneously, the minimum wage has stagnated, meaning that young people trying to pay their own way through school have to work far, far many more hours just to keep up?

You know, it just might be. Check out this chart BuzzFeed created last year, showing how many hours a student would have to work per year just to pay tuition at a four-year public college like, say, the University of Minnesota, where Johnson went to school:

Chart showing minimum hours required to pay in-state tuition and fees at an average four-year public university (1970-2012)
So what took less than 300 hours back in Johnson's day now takes over 1,000 today—and that's before you even spend a nickel on food (or beer). Rather than partying for years on end, as Johnson seems to think, a lot of students are working such long hours that they can't possibly earn their degrees in four years, and even then, they still need loads to cover the inevitable shortfall.

But Johnson, whose net worth is as much as 5,700 times greater than your typical millennial, thinks these kids are just wasting their time having "fun." It's just more proof that in America, being stupid is no obstacle to being rich.

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