Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Young Are Turning Against Obama

Michael Barone's latest column is a whiz, especially for what he reveals about the polls showing a dramatic turn among America's younger citizens against Obama AND for the illustrations he gives of how the federal government's student loan program is a tremendous gift to the education establishment but a terrible "white elephant" to students.

Here are excerpts:

What do young Americans want? Something different from what they've been getting from the president they voted for by such large margins.

Evidence comes in from various polls. Voters under 30, the millennial generation, produced numbers for Barack Obama 13 percentage points above the national average in 2008 and 9 points above in 2012.

But in recent polls, Obama approval among those under 30 has been higher than the national average by only 1 percentage point (Quinnipiac), 2 points (ABC/Washington Post) and 3 points (YouGov/Economist)…

The Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted in November shows Obama's job approval dipping to 41 percent, down from 52 percent in April 2013 and the lowest rating in any HIOP survey… 

 The Harvard survey also finds that they tend to believe, by a 44- to 17-percent margin, that the quality of their health care will get worse under Obamacare.

That's speculation, of course. But it suggests a healthy skepticism about the ability of a government, a government that lied about whether you could keep your insurance and your doctor, and couldn't construct a workable website, to produce a system that will improve service delivery.

That skepticism may owe something to young Americans' experience with student loans. Some 57 percent of the Harvard study millennials say that student loan debt is a major problem for young people…

Yet it's obvious that the vast sums government-subsidized student loans have pumped into higher education over the last three decades have been largely captured by colleges and universities and transformed into administrative bloat.

Economics blogger Timothy Taylor notes that if you count prices in 1982-84 as 100, the average cost of all items in the consumer price index increased to 231 in September 2012. Energy, housing and transportation all increased about that much.

But college and tuition fees increased to 706 -- seven times the level when the government started pumping money into higher ed. Medical care increased to more than 400.

Some things that young people buy increased much less -- apparel (127), toys (53) and televisions (5, thanks to quality improvement)...