Thursday, September 18, 2008

"New." Translation: Young and Spoiled.

Much media coverage is being given to Chicago's New Republicans, TV news clips on their trendy-bar fundraisers; radio bits at swank house parties. Tonight's bit talked about the loft where the party was held, the fussball table pushed aside, the surfeit of wine.

These are people in their 20's who rattle off the mantra of small government, low taxes, free market. I would like to ask them the following questions:

Where did you go to college?
Who paid the bill?
Where did your credit-card and cell phone bills go while you were at college? Where do they go now?
How did you come up with the down payment on your tony West Loop loft condo?
Do you have a car? Who bought it? Who pays for the insurance?

It always amazes me how people who've had handouts their whole lives love to preach personal responsibility.


SP said...

Of course you are assuming all of that.

JC said...

My point is that the kind of person being profiled is a young, college-educated person living a fairly comfortable lifestyle very soon after graduation. In the US, if you go to a private college (or even a public one), it still costs a certain amount of money. There are few people of college age who are able, through their own resources (and by their own I mean resources that were not inherited or given them by family), to pay their college tuition. People who go to college tend to pay for it in one or a combination of ways: a full scholarship, government loans, parental assistance, all of this possibly supplemental by work/study and jobs worked while at school.

Since most students can't completely pay their tuition and incidentals (books, fees, etc.) by working while in school, that means they had to have had some sort of help. Help in the form of their parents or student loans. In the case of a full scholarship, one could argue that their hard work got them into school, but the full scholarship still relies on the largesse of the school in granting it. So again, someone had to give them a break.

Graduates who enjoy the lifestyle generally portrayed in these pieces, if these lifestyles are funded by stellar jobs, got those stellar jobs by going to a "good" school, a school that top firms would recruit from. There's no way they could have paid the tuition at one of these schools themselves, so we're back to parental assistance and/or student loans.

The entire point being that there comes a time in everyone's life, often several times, where they need help in order to achieve a goal. If I had gone to a more expensive college than I did, I could not have paid the bills. If I had gone to a more expensive college, it could be argued that more doors would have been open to me, doors that would have allowed me to live a life in my 20s that at 45 I still can't afford.

I'm not bitter about this, let me be clear; I like my life just fine. My point is that whether the help comes from parents or the government, we all need it at least once in our life, and if your parents, rather than the government, were able to help you out, that doesn't make you more self-sufficient or "responsible" than someone who took out a bunch of government loans, or who got an income-based scholarship.

And if these people do have great jobs that came from going to schools they could not have possibly paid for themselves, that means that everything else - car, TV, clothes, derives from that assistance. And you, my SP, went to a tony enough college to know exactly what I'm talking about.