The “Occupy Wall Street” craze has spread to major U.S. cities. From what I can tell, the backbone of this movement are college-aged students like myself who blame corporations for their misfortunes, particularly college affordability and it’s consequences on employment.
They should be angry at the government for their high student loans and I wish people researched the matter much better. In the past few decades, America has seen many attempts to legislate college college “affordability” through various measures like increasing federal funding for student loans, or even preventing “bad choices” by limiting credit card options for young people. This is a popular political stunt since it holds noble aspirations, though the strategies themselves are rarely effective. For instance, a crux of the Obama administration’s goals, as stated on the website of the Vice President’s Middle Class Taskforce, is “increasing loans and grants, [to ensure that] families will always be able to count on the help they expect.” Yet Econ 101 suggests, and empirical evidence corroborates, an increase in federal loans, Pell grants, and other assistance programs results in higher tuition over time. According to a study by Bridget Long of Harvard University, private four year colleges increased tuition prices by more than two dollars for every dollar increase in Pell Grants, and public colleges increased theirs by .97 for every dollar increase. From 1979 to the present day, college tuition has increased in price by roughly 160%, while the average median family income has increased by 10%.