Thu, 8 September 2022
It's a special Matt Binder edition of the Majority Report! But first, we have a pre-taped interview from Emma. Emma speaks with Will Bunch, national opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, to discuss his new book After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics-and How to Fix It. Matt Binder begins by running through updates on the Queen’s not-so-wellbeing, a Las Vegas public official’s arrest in the case of the murder of a journalist, Gov. Hochul lifting the NYC mask mandate, and Ron Johnson’s response to the public’s response to his response in support of same-sex marriage. Then, Emma is joined by Will Bunch as he dives right into the history of the privatization of higher education, first painting an image of the general arc from the golden age of college in the mid-1900s, emphasizing an educated and socially-developed populace, to the neoliberal era that leverages tuition and debt as a means of social control, thus shifting the purpose of education from developing one’s personal philosophy to conditioning young adults for the workforce. Next, they step back to the 1940s with the introduction of the GI bill coming out of the Second World War seeking to give veterans a beneficial reintroduction to society, only for their presence to revolutionize the college system, opening up the elites in charge of the institutions to bringing in those outside of their social sphere (poorer, non-WASP), and leading right into the baby boom of the mid-20th Century, cementing a college education’s role in the middle-class journey. Bunch then parses through what made the three decades in the middle of the 1900s so different from what came after it, with state tax coffers full to the brim allowing them to fund a diverse array of studies, supporting myriad studies and passions with no fear of it hindering one’s entrance to the workforce, only for older capitalist elites to turn around and resent a more-educated population for attempting to change their political systems for the better (particularly with the rise of HBCU enrollment, college integration, and university activism). This begins the era of neoliberal deregulation and austerity, with Nixon advisors openly admitting to the threat of an “educated proletariat,” and starting the trend that Ronald Reagan would cement, reducing the use of pell grants, unshackling creditors, and guaranteeing loan payments, all helping the push tuitions higher and higher, and pushing more and more investment towards superfluous amenities to draw in wealthier students, and pushing non-elite families deeper and deeper in debt. Wrapping up, they tackle the impact of the 2008 financial crash on pushing the student debt crisis over the edge, look at the ironic myth of meritocracy, discuss the importance of universality in any solution, and explore the increasing divide between college-educated and non-college-educated Americans.
And in the Fun Half: Matt Binder is joined by Brandon Sutton as they tackle Tucker’s feature on Fox & Friends (the expert on creepy laughs and weird AOC takes that he is), Kowalski then calls to explore the most influential moments in his education, and Ben from Texas discusses work in sports radio. Jordan Peterson continues his descent into sorrowful madness and spiteful transphobia, Sadie from Texas explores teaching while queer in a conservative state, and Sarah Palin complains about not being popular. Plus, your calls and IMs!
Check out Will's book here: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/after-the-ivory-tower-falls-will-bunch?variant=40088708907042
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