Not even a month after Eduardo Porter titled an article with that exact sublime algebraic line, he now appears to accept the Bennett hypothesis without any modifications. He even provides a helpful bibliography of studies backing it up. What the buh?
This is my favorite line:
In 2012, 44 percent of 25- to 34-year-old Americans had a college degree, whether from a community college or an ivy league university, 6 percentage points more than in 2000. By contrast, the college graduation rate of young Britons rose by 19 percentage points over the period, to 49 percent. In the O.E.C.D. as a whole it increased to 40 percent, 14 percentage points more than in 2000.
In other words, he acknowledges widespread higher education but can’t connect that to higher national income. Because there isn’t one.
Porter concludes that we need to replace loans with direct government spending, which is noble but misses the point. A dollar spent on tuition is then re-spent by colleges. This is an accounting identity; it can’t be escaped. Without a hypothesis as to what causes colleges to raise tuition, what they spend it on, and why—i.e. treating higher education as a positional good rather than a public good—Porter just looks confused and clueless.
Maybe it’s too damn early in the morning for this stuff. I going to see an eclipse and go to work.