As the new school year slides in, and freshman IU students and their parents hit Target to fill up their big SUVs with microwaves and espresso machines and cozy comforters and matching towels and god-knows-what-else for their new dorm rooms (much of which they will likely throw out next June), I remember my own matriculation, to Dominican College in San Rafael, California, in 1960 arriving by Greyhound bus from Idaho, with one small trunk of clothes. What happened? Why do we need so much stuff?
They’re all smiling now. Fresh eager faces. Nice bright shiny hair. New red and white Indiana University sweatshirts. How many are taking out college loans? Or are their parents paying for everything? Maybe those in the SUVs are. Those who can afford to buy lots of stuff to throw away later and buy more next year. But what about the others, who must struggle to get here and struggle to get by? And who bought the line that they absolutely must “go to college to get ahead”?
Anybody read Matt Taibbi’s latest? As usual, he identifies and lacerates the hidden, obvious fact, in this case: it’s not the interest rate, stupid, it’s the principal.
Or how about this infographic, thanks to dailykos, with a pointer from Keith: