Monday, July 18, 2016

How The System Gets Rigged

NPR did a wonderful piece on the way the Michigan legislature dealt with a federal welfare program  designed to encourage states to deal with teen age out of wedlock pregnancies.  The MIchigan legislators reasoned keeping girls in college would reduce unwanted pregnancy rates, since, apparently, coeds get pregnant less often than girls who do not go to college, as if it was being in college that convinced girls to engage in contraception while those girls who went to work or just sat home, got pregnant a lot. 

A very odd interpretation of cause and effect, in Michigan.

So NPR interviews a family which has sent both its kids to private colleges using this loophole, and they interviewed the dean of the college which got the money and they interviewed the legislator who got it into law.

When the father was confronted with the reality that the grant he got from Michigan for his kid's tuition was a welfare program, he said, well, this college education will mean my kids earn more money, eventually and will pay higher taxes, which will benefit the poor, eventually. 

When told she was sending her kids to college using welfare, the mother said, well, it's really hard on a family to have two kids in college at the same time, and they are really pressed, financially. Of course, their joint income is $225,000 and they live in a 3,800 square foot house with an in ground swimming pool, but she said it was really hard keeping things going on that income with two kids in college. What about sending the kids to a less expensive state school? Well, but then they wouldn't be as happy there. 

The daughter said she was sympathetic to people on welfare, who needed welfare to buy a winter coat, but then when she was a college graduate she'd pay more taxes to buy more coats for more welfare kids.  When asked whether she thought the money had served its purpose, to prevent her from getting pregnant before she was 20, before she was married and economically secure, she laughed.  "Does going to college keep me from getting pregnant? Well, I think maybe the birth control pills have something to do with that."

The son said, "Hey, if they want to give me money, I'll take it."

I liked his answer best. 

As the NPR reporter said, "There you have it in Michigan: Trickle down from the welfare program."

The college dean said his college was highly ranked and deserved money from the government, which he needed.

The legislator said, hey, if the federal government approved using welfare funds for college expenses, it was legal.
Sadly, nobody asked the legislator how he had voted about funding Planned Parenthood.

All this reminds me of that study in which students were given Monopoly games to play, but some of  the students were given twice as much money and lots of hotels at the start and when the students were questioned after the game, the advantaged students said they had won the game because they were smarter, took more risks and were more worthy.  

The capacity to rationalize injustice is wondrous to behold. 

No comments:

Post a Comment