I have to wonder if some of our illustrious newscasters are out of touch with reality. Or maybe they’re just inexperienced and naive. I say this, following a “report” on CNN. At least I think it was a report. It might have been an ad for a Wall Street investment firm disguised to look like news. They’re doing that you know. Well, assuming it was real (or what passes for reality), the anchor was talking about how we’re getting to a point where a college degree is comparable to what a high school diploma used to be. The difference, of course, is that the degree from a college or university, costs a ton of money to obtain. The point of the report was to tell CNN’s viewers that they can and should save for their retirement while putting away money in a college fund for their kids–and that even if young families can only put away a little bit, then that’s exactly what they should do.
Like what? Like two dollars a month? Is that”little” enough?
Reality check. That won’t get it done.
The average income for a family of four is $50,233. The median income for a family of four is $46,326. This means that more than half of all American families of four are surviving on less that $50,000 a year.
Keeping that in mind, consider the annual cost of sending a kid to college, including room and board (in-state tuition). Here are some numbers from CNN/Money. And remember, these are only annual costs. Not the cost of getting a 4-year degree.
NYU – $54,542
USC – $54,102
Brandeis University – $52,488
Columbia – $51,730
Harvard – $50,723
UCLA – $27,210
Penn State (University Park) – $23,620
University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) – $20,977
University of Maryland (Baltimore. Co.) – $19,991
Cal State Northridge – $19,110
Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN) $14,833
Boise State University $12,098
Going from the astronomical cost of NYU and USC at the top, down to what must to be considered some more reasonably priced schools in Bemidji, Minnesota and Boise, Idaho, a question comes to mind. Who are these families CNN is talking about that can afford to put food on the table, pay a mortgage and make car payments while dealing with all the other costs of raising a couple of kids and still have extra money to put away for their retirement and college funds?
Am I missing something, or is CNN out of touch with what’s left of middle America? Won’t the inability of increasing numbers of Americans to attend college only broaden the gap between the elites at the top and everybody else at the bottom in what appears destined to become a two-class society? Wouldn’t that be a better topic for cable news, than attempting to persuade us that there’s something wrong with people who don’t save for retirement and college, even though they’re breaking their backs while earning barely enough to get by in a society where the off-shoring of jobs and corporate greed have become the norm?
Boolah, boolah, everybody.