Letters on cost of college, Brownback realities, regulations

08/24/2014 7:07 PM

08/25/2014 12:07 AM

Can’t a college degree cost less?

The Eagle has brought me news of the rising cost of an education at Wichita State University (Aug. 17 Eagle). Over the past five years, the cost of tuition and fees have risen 33 percent. Then in the coming years, WSU president John Bardo’s amazing plan is to increase WSU’s campus size by 50 percent. Of course that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, which likely will come from state and local taxes, business and private investment, and increases in student fees.

Then John Richard Schrock of Emporia wrote about textbook prices, with which I’ve had a bit of experience (Aug. 21 Opinion). About two years ago, 45 years after I’d graduated from WSU, I arranged to audit a class I knew I’d like. I was shocked to learn the textbook for that class cost more than $200. Schrock wrote that $200 is the average price of college textbooks, with detailed reasons why.

I’m pro-education, but not on the backs of poor students who are struggling with the cost of secondary education and, more important, the nonstudents who just can’t pay for it and will have a life poorer in many ways without that education. Might there be ways to make a college degree cost less?



Current realities

Gov. Sam Brownback is making a pitch for people or businesses to move to Kansas. Perhaps such individuals or groups should consider the current realities:

The full sales tax rate is applied to food purchases – the most regressive tax ever.

The governor’s administration paid the discredited economist Arthur Laffer to help craft an economic plan that is negative at best.

The governor has declined to expand Medicaid, denying more than 75,000 Kansans ready access to essential health care and giving up the possibility of thousands of new jobs with their beneficial economic effect. He also returned federal funds that would have enabled the state to establish its own health care marketplace, which our state’s insurance commissioner wanted to accept and manage.

The governor has used his influence to populate the Legislature with those in lockstep with his ideological policies that favor the wealthy and have little regard for the common good.

The governor removed funding for the arts, raising real quality-of-life issues in Kansas communities.

The state has one of the most, if not the most, controversial secretaries of state, whose crusade against nonexistent “voter fraud” has resulted in the disenfranchisement of thousands of citizens.

Interestingly, these are all correctable issues if Kansas voters would demand accountability from their elected officials and stop voting against their own best interests.



Have a purpose?

In the world of politics, the best way to get attention is to find something that is easy for everyone to hate. Taxes are always a good target. Lately, “regulations” have become the issue of choice.

Yes, there is an abundance of regulations, such as “turn off the engine when filling the gas tank.” But sometimes life, safety and well-being depend upon details.

The religionists among us like to point to the Ten Commandments as basic regulations we ought all observe. Six of the 10 have to do with our relations with one another. Our problem seems to be our penchant to quibble over what is really meant by the rules.

For instance, “You shall not steal.” Is borrowing something and not getting around to returning it stealing? Or, when is a statement by a politician merely a “misstatement” and not fracturing the rule, “You shall not bear false witness”?

The Creator gave humans the power to reason. Humans have learned how to turn reason into rationalization. Maybe the despised “regulations” have a purpose?



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