22 August 2016

Good Bad Advice

I hang with an older than me crowd quite a bit.

Something that kind of bugs me about the non-gun side of that hanging is the practical advice.

"Why don't you just do [something no longer legal] to..."

"You should have [something impossible today] to..."

The past is another country.  The nation where they started a business from nothing or worked their way through college is gone.

I can start to see why the occupy people are bitter.  The only way to get past a certain line in the income class structure is to assume massive debts, which just create an illusion you've crossed that line.

The people just ten years older than me grew up where that wasn't true and most of them are debt free except for a small credit card balance.

Rather than demand the oldsters be punished, I'd prefer some sound fiscal policy and maybe some damn deflation for a change.

Of course the start of that will be making borrowing expensive again and letting the lenders only loan to people who can pay them back.


  1. Working your way through college was pretty much impossible when we were that age. I was able to do it the first couple of years because I had a job that paid better than average and was on campus. And because I was a townie and could live in my parent's basement for free. Unfortunately their house was too far from campus and not on a reliable enough bus route (didn't run late enough at night or on weekends when I needed to work) or maybe I would have been able to manage a little longer. If I could have gotten even a small amount of assistance (from my parents or anyone else) or student loans (I was rejected because my parents refused to sign the FAS paperwork) I might have been able to make it. Kids today cry about having to pay back student loans but believe me, they would have made it easier when I was in school -- or maybe just possible. Of course the good thing about getting denied student loans was that I left school with zero debt... and unfortunately without a diploma. Fortunately it was at a time when someone who was willing to work hard and take crappy low end jobs at small companies could get a toe in the door in IT without a 4 year degree. These days I'd be F'd, because even new grads with a freshly minted CS degree are SOL. Most companies will file-13 every resume they see that doesn't show at least 3-5 years recent and real world experience that is 100% match to the position they are hiring for. Hell, I'm guilty of that myself when I've been on the hiring side of the table. The reality is I (or anyone else in the business) don't have time or resources to train greenhorns or let them learn on the job anymore like was possible 20 years ago or so. Even back in the day the curricula was perpetually out of date because CS changes so quickly, but nowdays it has also been dumbed down for the "participation award" achievement level of the Millenials.

    I'd agree that we need to have our government (and corporations and everyone else) tighten down their belts a little and try to pay down debt before its too late... but it is difficult and the powers that be behind the curtains don't seem to want it to happen.

  2. Correction to above -- should be "FAFSA" paperwork. Federal application for student aid. It requires parents to sign a release on their financial information and allow a credit check, etc. My dad said "No way. I worked my way through school, so can you." Well... not so much when after ISU President Parks retired and the new guy (Gordon Eaton) decided they needed to raise tuition and fees 25% per semester. What I was making working at EXNET (ISU Extension Network) didn't go up to match that... To add salt to my wounds... my brother who was 3 years behind me in school started college right as I was more or less forced to drop out and start working full time... Well, he's always been an underachiever to begin with... so my parents paid for his school and provided everything else for him because he couldn't or wouldn't work his way through school. And even with that it took him 10 years to get a BA... in Journalism. Which even then was a dying career field. And one which over 15 years later he's never gotten a job in... Well, to be more accurate he's barely worked at all over that time. Still lives at home, still doesn't pull his own weight. So I guess I shouldn't be bitter -- he got his for free and it has done him no good and he's far worse off than I am in the long run.


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