We see it all around us. New colleges popping up by the dozen in suburban office parks. Who is paying the bills for these schools? We all know: fast and easy federal grants and loans, mostly loans.
Slick marketers draw in kids that otherwise would not go to college, or might make better decisions about their degrees and careers. Nursing programs that have no clinical component, and few will hire the thus unqualified graduates. Much of it is not the kids' fault. Someone is selling them a slick bill of goods about their future, and the Feds are loaning the money for it, so it must all be worthwhile.
If you think about it, it is a whole lot like the housing bubble. An entirely government-induced market, spurred to new heights by lots and lots of folks making money off of foolish government policies backed by -- nothing!
And bureaucrats, and elected officials whistling past the graveyard, because everyone seems happy from the foolishness -- the schools, the students, the lobbyists. And the voters have no idea of the liabilities they have undertaken.
Today's Wa Po has a pretty good piece on the disaster unfolding in slow motion before our very eyes: