The High cost of Higher Education and the High Cost of Militarism

at Occupy Rolla Townhall Meeting, Sunday, March 11, 2012





The High Cost of Higher Education


The High Cost of Militarism

My topic is the high cost of higher education and the high cost of militarism. I will talk first about the high cost of higher education, and then show its relation to the high cost of militarism.

My Education Statement

45 years ago, higher education was cheap, and it was not difficult to graduate debt-free from a 4-year college. My experience is not atypical. What has happened since then?

College Costs

Over the past 32 years, the cost of college tuition has increased around 1,000%, four times as fast as the consumer price index.

Pell Grants

Meanwhile grants for education have fallen behind. As a percentage of college costs, Pell Grants have been cut in half over the past 30 years.

Student Loans

Growth in student loan debt has far outstripped all other forms of household debts, reaching $1 trillion in 2011.


Meanwhile, in the past decade, wages for graduates of 4 year college institutions have decreased, leaving many with loans they can't possibly pay back. And unlike most debt, bankruptcy does NOT erase student loans. Student loan debt stays with you to the grave.

FY2012 Expenditures

What happened to all the money that used to go for education? A whale-sized piece is going to the military. In Fiscal Year 2012, 48% of your income tax, or $1.37 trillion will go to the military.

Military by Country

In 2010 global military expenditures, fueled largely by increases in the US military budget, reached $1.63 trillion. 43%, almost $700 billion is our share. China came in second with a mere 7%, less than 1/6 of the United States.

Military Spending History

Since 1965, US military expenditures have almost doubled. Dramatic increases occurred three times: during the Vietnam War, the Reagan escalation, and the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

We should ask: What did we get for our money? In Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan our government failed to create a subservient client state which would give our corporations cheap access to their natural resources, and allow us to use their territory to threaten and control their neighbors. (No, don't tell me our goal was to bring democracy to these unfortunate people whose societies we have totally destroyed.)

The Reagan escalation contributed greatly to the demise of the Soviet Union, thereby changing the world from a (relatively) stable bipolar world to the current chaotic multipolar world.

Bring Down

The High Cost of Higher Education


The High Cost of Militarism

by Redirecting

50% of the Military Budget

to Rebuilding Infrastructure and

Providing Social Services

Including Higher Education

So, we see that the high cost of education and militarism are related. Let's bring them both down by redirecting 50% of our military expenditures to rebuilding our aging infrastructure and bringing down the cost of important social services like higher education.

We would still be responsible for over 1/4 of the world's military budget, spending over three times as much as second place China.