Those school loans.......

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Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Thu May 14, 2015 10:20 am


The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much

By PAUL F. CAMPOSAPRIL 4, 2015


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Credit Laurie Rollitt




BOULDER, Colo. — ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed. These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after.

This is the story college administrators like to tell when they’re asked to explain why, over the past 35 years, college tuition at public universities has nearly quadrupled, to $9,139 in 2014 dollars. It is a fairy tale in the worst sense, in that it is not merely false, but rather almost the inverse of the truth.

The conventional wisdom was reflected in a recent National Public Radio series on the cost of college. “So it’s not that colleges are spending more money to educate students,” Sandy Baum of the Urban Institute told NPR. “It’s that they have to get that money from someplace to replace their lost state funding — and that’s from tuition and fees from students and families.”

In fact, public investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.

In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education. If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

Some of this increased spending in education has been driven by a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who go to college. While the college-age population has not increased since the tail end of the baby boom, the percentage of the population enrolled in college has risen significantly, especially in the last 20 years. Enrollment in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs has increased by almost 50 percent since 1995. As a consequence, while state legislative appropriations for higher education have risen much faster than inflation, total state appropriations per student are somewhat lower than they were at their peak in 1990. (Appropriations per student are much higher now than they were in the 1960s and 1970s, when tuition was a small fraction of what it is today.)

As the baby boomers reached college age, state appropriations to higher education skyrocketed, increasing more than fourfold in today’s dollars, from $11.1 billion in 1960 to $48.2 billion in 1975. By 1980, state funding for higher education had increased a mind-boggling 390 percent in real terms over the previous 20 years. This tsunami of public money did not reduce tuition: quite the contrary.

For example, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in 1980, my parents were paying more than double the resident tuition that undergraduates had been charged in 1960, again in inflation-adjusted terms. And of course tuition has kept rising far faster than inflation in the years since: Resident tuition at Michigan this year is, in today’s dollars, nearly four times higher than it was in 1980.

State appropriations reached a record inflation-adjusted high of $86.6 billion in 2009. They declined as a consequence of the Great Recession, but have since risen to $81 billion. And these totals do not include the enormous expansion of the federal Pell Grant program, which has grown, in today’s dollars, to $34.3 billion per year from $10.3 billion in 2000.

It is disingenuous to call a large increase in public spending a “cut,” as some university administrators do, because a huge programmatic expansion features somewhat lower per capita subsidies. Suppose that since 1990 the government had doubled the number of military bases, while spending slightly less per base. A claim that funding for military bases was down, even though in fact such funding had nearly doubled, would properly be met with derision.

Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.

By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market” to be intellectually rigorous.

What cannot be defended, however, is the claim that tuition has risen because public funding for higher education has been cut. Despite its ubiquity, this claim flies directly in the face of the facts.


I always didn't buy the public funding cuts as the real story.......... It's part of it for sure, but there is a whole lot going on underneath....including the for-profit aspect of state schools nowadays. :noclue:

I really believe this is the next Housing Bubble............ there are murmurs all over the place and some investors are already spooked.

The Economist reported in June 2014 that U.S. student loan debt exceeded $1.2 trillion, with over 7 million debtors in default. Public universities increased their fees by a total of 27% over the five years ending in 2012, or 20% adjusted for inflation. Public university students paid an average of almost $8,400 annually for in-state tuition, with out-of-state students paying more than $19,000. For two decades ending in 2012, college costs rose 1.6% more than inflation each year. Government funding per student fell 27% between 2007 and 2012. Student enrollments rose from 15.2 million in 1999 to 20.4 million in 2011, but fell 2% in 2012.[5][6] Bloomberg reported in July 2014 that: "The biggest growth in the program came in the past decade, as student debt rose an average of 14 percent a year, to $966 billion in 2012 from $364 billion in 2004, according to New York Fed data."[7]


Do any of the ANR recent graduates, or current students worry about their student debt? :noclue:
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby creep » Thu May 14, 2015 4:40 pm

i still owe 10K but never considered paying it off. my interest rate is 2.08% right now so it's the cheapest money i could possibly have.

the $200 a year i pay in interest is also tax deductible so that brings the true interest rate even lower.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Thu May 14, 2015 5:24 pm

creep wrote:i still owe 10K but never considered paying it off. my interest rate is 2.08% right now so it's the cheapest money i could possibly have.

the $200 a year i pay in interest is also tax deductible so that brings the true interest rate even lower.


For most students with debt it will probably be okay, like housing, just it seems there will be so many who will always be saddled with it. I guess there aren't....ARFAs...? like ARMs but for financial assistance for school? Some of the private school debt is really up there, and I guess it never goes away.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby creep » Thu May 14, 2015 5:30 pm

for govt student loans the max an independent undergraduate can borrow is 57K

the max an independent graduate student can borrow is 138k.

the interest rate now is 6.8% which is high.

you better graduate from a really good college with a really good degree or you are fucked if you come close to the limits.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby Hype » Fri May 15, 2015 4:26 am

This is a really interesting thread, because I think Americans can get a better deal on their students loans than some Canadians.

I have a bank loan, and a small government loan left over from my undergrad. I'm still in grad school, so the bank loan is "interest only" payments, and the gov't loan I don't have to pay anything until 6 months after I graduate.

The bank loan is variable rate, Prime+1%, so I think right now it's at 4% or so. Like Creep said, that's a way better rate than the shitty VISA I often carry a balance on, so I just need to plan carefully for when I graduate so that I can make the minimum payments, and try to lump-sum pay down at least the bank loan asap. I'm not sure what rate the government loan will be set at, but I suspect it will be competitive with the bank loan.

Things could obviously get dangerous if Prime ever hits 7-8% or higher like it did years ago.

I've been lucky to get funding/scholarships for grad school, which are enough to live on, though not enough to generate much of a savings account. The job market for prospective professors is absolutely disgustingly bad at the moment, but I'm avoiding dealing with that until I absolutely have to (probably next year).

I think my financial position is much better than it would have been if I had gotten into a top-tier private US school where tuition would have been more than 4x what I paid.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby guysmiley » Fri May 15, 2015 9:26 am

I've got about 17K. Only making small payments on one loan. Seems impossible. I feel like I should have gone to a community college my first 2 years. I'm not sure the whole deal was for the best in my case. I met some great people, and my wife, and finally got a job from it, but not in the field I studied. I probably would have been better off going to a trade school.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Fri May 15, 2015 11:18 am

Adurentibus Spina wrote:This is a really interesting thread, because I think Americans can get a better deal on their students loans than some Canadians.

I have a bank loan, and a small government loan left over from my undergrad. I'm still in grad school, so the bank loan is "interest only" payments, and the gov't loan I don't have to pay anything until 6 months after I graduate.

The bank loan is variable rate, Prime+1%, so I think right now it's at 4% or so. Like Creep said, that's a way better rate than the shitty VISA I often carry a balance on, so I just need to plan carefully for when I graduate so that I can make the minimum payments, and try to lump-sum pay down at least the bank loan asap. I'm not sure what rate the government loan will be set at, but I suspect it will be competitive with the bank loan.

Things could obviously get dangerous if Prime ever hits 7-8% or higher like it did years ago.

I've been lucky to get funding/scholarships for grad school, which are enough to live on, though not enough to generate much of a savings account. The job market for prospective professors is absolutely disgustingly bad at the moment, but I'm avoiding dealing with that until I absolutely have to (probably next year).

I think my financial position is much better than it would have been if I had gotten into a top-tier private US school where tuition would have been more than 4x what I paid.


So you are saying your bank loan is essentially like an ARM? wow.

I guess that is the case with all bank loans. It's the fixed rate mortgages that are unique in that they are not affected by the Prime rate? Or is everything affected by the Prime rate, I thought fixed meant fixed? :hs:

wow. That is bad, for everyone.

I think LJF brought this up before. But I guess it is truly true. The fate of the world all rests on her:

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And what the hell happened here in 1980? Reagan? :hs:

Can someone explain to me the correlation between the Fed Rate being 0% and:
The prime rate is currently 3.25% in the United States[1] and 2.85% in Canada.[2]


I'm not an economist and I tried looking it up, I imagine it just means banks can borrow at 0% and the rest of us around 3.25% + whatever the bank tacks on, if we find a good loan. Of course if we were stupid or desperate enough to do a payday loan or cash advance on our credit card then the rate goes up to like 25%+fees.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby Larry B. » Fri May 15, 2015 11:24 am

I'll never study anything that puts me in debt, nor I'd like to put that burden into my kids' education. It's perverse.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby Pandemonium » Fri May 15, 2015 12:29 pm

My wife went back to college during the recession to get her Masters and we've been struggling to pay off her $30k student loan.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Fri May 15, 2015 1:41 pm

Pandemonium wrote:My wife went back to college during the recession to get her Masters and we've been struggling to pay off her $30k student loan.


Did she get a better job or substantial raise from the degree? (did she finish?)

I know it must be real hard to finish when you have been out for a while and have real, competing responsibilities, like family (kids+aging parents), work, and just really wondering about the whole deal being worth it.

$30k's not too bad if she has an improved work ($) situation...... :noclue:
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby farrellgirl99 » Fri May 15, 2015 5:05 pm

i was lucky enough to have a full scholarship as part of an honors program at the city university of new york so i graduated without any debt. my degree might not be worth as much as if i was coming from a more prestigious school, but the trade off of no debt was so appealing to me. my program offered other advantages that factored in my decision, but no debt was obviously the biggest factor.

and thank god i dont have debt because finding a full time job has been a nightmare (my fault for the degree i chose). but im really astonished by the amount of money people pay for undergrad. or the amount of money they pay to go to a private school that doesn't offer more than a public school. people from my high school went to very pricey local private universities for 50k a year when they could have gone to a CUNY for 4k a year. unless youre going to a highly specialized program or an ivy that will be a tremendous gateway for you in a specific career, i dont understand why people scorn public universities for undergrad. maybe im just thinking of the liberal arts mindset because thats what i know. yeah, i did a liberal arts degree, but i did it for free (or if i hadnt had a scholarship, it would have cost me max, including transportation and supplies, 20k for four years of school). so why are people getting a degree in english from a private college and spending 200k for four years. cause its that important to read shakespeare at vassar as opposed to queens college? i dont know, im ranting but i dont understand it.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Fri May 15, 2015 6:04 pm

farrellgirl99 wrote:i was lucky enough to have a full scholarship as part of an honors program at the city university of new york so i graduated without any debt. my degree might not be worth as much as if i was coming from a more prestigious school, but the trade off of no debt was so appealing to me. my program offered other advantages that factored in my decision, but no debt was obviously the biggest factor.

and thank god i dont have debt because finding a full time job has been a nightmare (my fault for the degree i chose). but im really astonished by the amount of money people pay for undergrad. or the amount of money they pay to go to a private school that doesn't offer more than a public school. people from my high school went to very pricey local private universities for 50k a year when they could have gone to a CUNY for 4k a year. unless youre going to a highly specialized program or an ivy that will be a tremendous gateway for you in a specific career, i dont understand why people scorn public universities for undergrad. maybe im just thinking of the liberal arts mindset because thats what i know. yeah, i did a liberal arts degree, but i did it for free (or if i hadnt had a scholarship, it would have cost me max, including transportation and supplies, 20k for four years of school). so why are people getting a degree in english from a private college and spending 200k for four years. cause its that important to read shakespeare at vassar as opposed to queens college? i dont know, im ranting but i dont understand it.


Your situation is exactly what I imagine many recent college grad's to be. In light of having difficulty finding full time/worthy work, I am sure it takes some sting out not having a small fortune of debt over your head. You were smart to make the choice you did. Maybe it wasn't much of a choice if school cost was just so prohibitive. Of course, it seems there is always a way to find money through those loans.....?

NYC is hard for work. When I worked there for a couple years in the early 2000s, it was just totally random happenstance that I actually got a job.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:04 pm


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Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

By LEE SIEGEL

JUNE 6, 2015



ONE late summer afternoon when I was 17, I went with my mother to the local bank, a long-defunct institution whose name I cannot remember, to apply for my first student loan. My mother co-signed. When we finished, the banker, a balding man in his late 50s, congratulated us, as if I had just won some kind of award rather than signed away my young life.

By the end of my sophomore year at a small private liberal arts college, my mother and I had taken out a second loan, my father had declared bankruptcy and my parents had divorced. My mother could no longer afford the tuition that the student loans weren’t covering. I transferred to a state college in New Jersey, closer to home.

Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

As difficult as it has been, I’ve never looked back. The millions of young people today, who collectively owe over $1 trillion in loans, may want to consider my example.

It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college. Having opened a new life to me beyond my modest origins, the education system was now going to call in its chits and prevent me from pursuing that new life, simply because I had the misfortune of coming from modest origins.

Am I a deadbeat? In the eyes of the law I am. Indifferent to the claim that repaying student loans is the road to character? Yes. Blind to the reality of countless numbers of people struggling to repay their debts, no matter their circumstances, many worse than mine? My heart goes out to them. To my mind, they have learned to live with a social arrangement that is legal, but not moral.

Maybe the problem was that I had reached beyond my lower-middle-class origins and taken out loans to attend a small private college to begin with. Maybe I should have stayed at a store called The Wild Pair, where I once had a nice stable job selling shoes after dropping out of the state college because I thought I deserved better, and naïvely tried to turn myself into a professional reader and writer on my own, without a college degree. I’d probably be district manager by now.

Or maybe, after going back to school, I should have gone into finance, or some other lucrative career. Self-disgust and lifelong unhappiness, destroying a precious young life — all this is a small price to pay for meeting your student loan obligations.

Some people will maintain that a bankrupt father, an impecunious background and impractical dreams are just the luck of the draw. Someone with character would have paid off those loans and let the chips fall where they may. But I have found, after some decades on this earth, that the road to character is often paved with family money and family connections, not to mention 14 percent effective tax rates on seven-figure incomes.

Moneyed stumbles never seem to have much consequence. Tax fraud, insider trading, almost criminal nepotism — these won’t knock you off the straight and narrow. But if you’re poor and miss a child-support payment, or if you’re middle class and default on your student loans, then God help you.

Forty years after I took out my first student loan, and 30 years after getting my last, the Department of Education is still pursuing the unpaid balance. My mother, who co-signed some of the loans, is dead. The banks that made them have all gone under. I doubt that anyone can even find the promissory notes. The accrued interest, combined with the collection agencies’ opulent fees, is now several times the principal.

Even the Internal Revenue Service understands the irrationality of pursuing someone with an unmanageable economic burden. It has a program called Offer in Compromise that allows struggling people who have fallen behind in their taxes to settle their tax debt.

The Department of Education makes it hard for you, and ugly. But it is possible to survive the life of default. You might want to follow these steps: Get as many credit cards as you can before your credit is ruined. Find a stable housing situation. Pay your rent on time so that you have a good record in that area when you do have to move. Live with or marry someone with good credit (preferably someone who shares your desperate nihilism).

When the fateful day comes, and your credit looks like a war zone, don’t be afraid. The reported consequences of having no credit are scare talk, to some extent. The reliably predatory nature of American life guarantees that there will always be somebody to help you, from credit card companies charging stratospheric interest rates to subprime loans for houses and cars. Our economic system ensures that so long as you are willing to sink deeper and deeper into debt, you will keep being enthusiastically invited to play the economic game.

I am sharply aware of the strongest objection to my lapse into default. If everyone acted as I did, chaos would result. The entire structure of American higher education would change.

The collection agencies retained by the Department of Education would be exposed as the greedy vultures that they are. The government would get out of the loan-making and the loan-enforcement business. Congress might even explore a special, universal education tax that would make higher education affordable.

There would be a national shaming of colleges and universities for charging soaring tuition rates that are reaching lunatic levels. The rapacity of American colleges and universities is turning social mobility, the keystone of American freedom, into a commodified farce.

If people groaning under the weight of student loans simply said, “Enough,” then all the pieties about debt that have become absorbed into all the pieties about higher education might be brought into alignment with reality. Instead of guaranteeing loans, the government would have to guarantee a college education. There are a lot of people who could learn to live with that, too.


Lee Siegel is the author of five books who is writing a memoir about money.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby kv » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:16 pm

Fuck that guy...if he wanted a free ride he could have applied himself in school better and got a scholarship or a grant...or worked his way through college like countless people do...or community college...his mindset is why we can't have nice things anymore
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:34 pm

yeah..... idiot for going to a school he couldn't afford.

but reality is what it is. these loans are too much for middle and lower middle to handle. It'll bust eventually.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby creep » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:37 pm

kv wrote:Fuck that guy...if he wanted a free ride he could have applied himself in school better and got a scholarship or a grant...or worked his way through college like countless people do...or community college...his mindset is why we can't have nice things anymore


yup....fuck that guy.

also you can't just walk away from student loans. they will take any tax refund you will ever get and probably garnish your wages. it's no like walking away from a credit card debt.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby chaos » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:36 am

Lee Siegel eventually got his degrees at Columbia. I have no sympathy for him. He choose "to go back to school." I don't understand why he didn't get funding through FAFSA (especially after he was living independently), or why he wasn't able to lock into low interest loans. The tuition/loan situation is much worse for students today than it was in the 70s/80s, so I am annoyed that he thinks his circumstances are comparable with the situation of today's students (i.e. predatory for-profit schools; outrageous increases in tuition; higher interest rates; decreases in federal funding). He also draws an unconscionable parallel between his defaulting on student loans and someone missing child support payments. This guy is an entitled jerk.
Last edited by chaos on Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby Juana » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:54 am

mockbee wrote:yeah..... idiot for going to a school he couldn't afford.

but reality is what it is. these loans are too much for middle and lower middle to handle. It'll bust eventually.


Mark Cuban had a blog post about this a few years ago predicting this exact thing almost 3 years to the date you posted this thread.

http://blogmaverick.com/2012/05/13/the- ... time-soon/
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby mockbee » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:24 am

chaos wrote:Lee Siegel eventually got his degrees at Columbia. I have no sympathy for him. He choose "to go back to school." I don't understand why he didn't get funding through FAFSA (especially after he was living independently), or why he wasn't able to lock into low interest loans. The tuition/loan situation is much worse for students today than it was in the 70s/80s, so I am annoyed that he thinks his circumstances are comparable with the situation of today's students (i.e. predatory for-profit schools; outrageous increases in tuition; higher interest rates; decreases in federal funding). He also draws an unconscionable parallel between his defaulting on student loans and someone missing child support payments. This guy is an entitled jerk.


Yeah, I didn't realize until I was about done reading it that this guy was an adult. I thought he was just an entitled millennial who went to some regular "private" school and found he couldn't (or didn't want to) afford it. And was just in the same situation as millions and millions of other recent grads. Wow, college was actually cheap 30-40 years ago..... you had to try real hard to get into debt for college......

Yeah, totally agree with this.
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Re: Those school loans.......

Postby Hype » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:04 pm

There are as many "entitled millenials" are there were "entitled Gen-Xers" and "entitled Boomers". In fact, there were almost certainly MORE "entitled Boomers" since they are simply a larger group of people. The "entitled youth" trope has been trotted out since there have been people of different ages coexisting (so, forever), and it's as stupid and implausible as all the other crass generalizations used to write off or disenfranchise groups of human beings.

There have been many, many, many articles in the last decade going back and forth between the standard conservative line: "The young people aren't doing things the way we did them, so something must be wrong!" and responses to the effect of: "Yeah, but .. uh... that's what always happens... different people do different things."
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