Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: College

Democracy Discriminates Against the Young

Young people overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders in this election, but many of them are not showing up. He crushed the demographic in Massachusetts, but still lost the state narrowly:

Young voters are just not keeping up with older folks:

This has been true for a long time–Millennials did not invent low youth voter turnout:

Many people see figures like this and their knee-jerk response is to scold young people for failing to show up, often attributing it to the laziness or lack of civic virtue of the current crop of young people. But as we see above, young people have been less active in politics since long before Millennials came on the scene. There are larger reasons why young people tend to feel disenfranchised by democratic politics–it’s because the system discriminates against them.

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The Democratic Party Debate: 5 Reasons Why Sanders Won and Clinton Lost

I watched the first Democratic Party debate, hosted by CNN. CNN also hosted the second Republican Party debate, and in both debates it tried to get the candidates to fight each other on camera for the entertainment of the viewing public, repeatedly asking questions designed to get candidates to criticize or attack one another. In the republican debate, this tactic worked perhaps too well–the debate deteriorated into a series of personal attacks, with little relevant policy content. For that reason, I didn’t bother to write up an analysis of the second republican debate–there was little of substance to analyze. The democratic candidates did a better job of resisting their baser instincts, and we did manage to get some interesting exchanges on serious policy issues, particularly between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In these exchanges, it was quite clear that Sanders was the winner–his arguments were significantly stronger and more convincing than Clinton’s.

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The Oklahoma Racism Scandal: Why It’s Wrong to Punish the Students

The University of Oklahoma was recently scandalized when footage emerged in which members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon sang a revoltingly racist song:

This should make us think long and hard–how are young people acquiring racist beliefs? What are the social, economic, and environmental factors that lead young people to think negatively of other people based on their racial background? To what extent is wider society influenced by these same factors? How can we mitigate them and create a more fair and just society? But we’re not asking any of these questions. Instead, we’re going after the students and patting ourselves on the back for not being racist. That’s a mistake–here’s why.

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Oregon’s College Funding Scheme

In the state of Oregon a new mechanism for funding university studies has been proposed. The scheme is called “Pay It Forward“. The idea is that instead of charging students tuition to go to universities, the state will fund their education and then extract payment after the degree is finished as a percentage of their income. For a student with a bachelor’s degree, the expected repayment would be 3% of income for the following 20 years. This presents a very different alternative to the university funding system presently in force throughout the United States, so let’s dissect it. Would Pay It Forward make Oregon’s university system better than it presently is? Is it the ideal alternative, and if not, in what respects does it differ from that ideal?

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Elizabeth Warren’s Student Loan Mistake

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has recently come out with a proposal to make the interest rates on federal student loans identical to the interest rates the federal government gives to large banks. This sounds really progressive and wonderful, and it is no doubt well-intentioned, but it is, unfortunately, an extremely misguided and foolish policy. Here’s why.

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