Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our entitlement society rears its ugly head once again.........

government spending, self entitlement, tuition
Government thru the eyes of the self-entitled.
Just keep the money flowing, baby!
Last Friday while sitting on an airplane I had the opportunity to read our local newspaper, the Edmonton Journal from "cover to cover". One of my favorite sections has always been "the letters to the editor" pages because they provide somewhat of an insight as to where the average individuals mindset is at any given time. At times it can be reassuring, occasionally as expected, and sometimes just downright frightening.

Is it an accurate reflection of public sentiments?  Not even close, however I like to think of it as a gauge indicating just how much of the big picture the average Joe (not to be confused with "Frustrated Joe")  really has a grasp on. In this instance one particular letter caught my attention more than most, it was a well written piece submitted by a University of Alberta undergraduate student titled Alberta can well afford to give students a break on tuition. Before you read any further I suggest you follow the link and read the article, this will give you a far better understanding of my comments to follow

Now, although I have never met the author her writing appeared (at least to me) to prove three distinct things
Now before you judge me as being too harsh, read on my fellow hard working taxpayers (if any post secondary students have gotten this far I suggest you read on as well, maybe it's not too late for you)

Most conversations about post secondary education and its costs tend to focus on two areas, first the annual tuition costs, and secondly the longer term "burden" of student loan debt.

So lets take them in that order and start with annual tuition costs, or to quote our UofA author "the average student in Alberta currently pays a whopping $5,662". Now, lets put that in perspective, $5,662 equates to about $109 per week or $21.77 per day (on a five day week). So is $20 or so a day too much for an education? Apparently some feel it is. Again lets get some perspective, $20 will buy you a dozen beer, lunch for two at Subway, a week to 10 days of cell phone usage, or just maybe a movie and a pop, all things that students seem to have no problem finding funds for. Yet $20 a day is too much for a quality education.

Possibly part of the problem is that many don't realize the actual cost of a post secondary education. The reality is that post secondary education (like all education) is already heavily funded by different levels of government (education is the second biggest line item in the Alberta Provincial budget after Healthcare). The immediate benefactor (the student) only partially covers the actual cost with their tuition, yet in the long term derives the bulk of the monetary benefits. In fact as a taxpayer I have witnessed instances of the taxpayer getting the short end of the stick when it comes to their investment in education. Case in point, the nurse, doctor, or engineer who moves out of country for work before the ink is even dry on their diploma.

Now lets tackle the second issue, the "burden" of student loan debt, again I will use the numbers provided by our undergraduate student. "The average student debt upon graduation in Alberta is $19,182 for undergraduate degrees and $35,655 for graduate degrees," Interesting, what the author has just described from a monetary point of view is the price of a new mid range vehicle. So, just for fun lets compare the two, a university education and an automobile. A well chosen education can add substantially to your income and provide you with a career over a lifetime, an automobile depreciates almost immediately and has substantial ongoing operating costs over its limited life span. Yet, most of us (possibly even a few recently graduated post secondary students) have no problem at some point in our lives with the purchase of a vehicle or even financing the cost over 84 months! Go figure.

So the bottom line is that a post secondary education has a relatively reasonable up front cost that can be financed over time and generally will pay back dividends for decades (possibly for an entire working career). Unfortunately in today's society of entitlement many feel that the initial investment should be made entirely by the government, and that the individual should reap the long term rewards. Speaking of self entitlement, lets get back to our undergraduate author whose reasoning for a lowering tuition in Alberta is simple, she feels the province (translation - taxpayer) can afford it. Based on this logic, maybe the province could pay my electricity bills, or possibly put gas in my car, after all they can afford it and both are a "hardship" for me.

At the risk of repeating myself  "Stupid is as stupid does".


  1. The one thing that no one can ever say about this blog is that the writer doesn't use enough words to get the point across.

    By the time I got through all this, I didn't know much more than when I began.

    Is there a way to make your points with a lot fewer words?

    You have a lot of really important stuff to say but My Lord, friend - - - too much ramble and not a little rant if I might say so.

    You are definitely on the right track and your blog is serving a really important need, but we also have needs and one of those is to be able to get what it is that you are trying to say and to get it with far fewer words.

    How about it?

  2. From my intro
    "Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone. "

    I hope this is few enough words. but thank you for your opinion, they are always appreciated.


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However you can poke fun at Frustrated Joe all you want, but we warn you if your going to disagree with him try to do so with some facts, this will garner you a lot more respect from everyone.
Greatly Appreciated