In 2009, Barack Obama’s stimulus showered higher education with tens of billions of dollars in college aid and higher ed porkulus grants funding everything from plankton research to Arctic languages study. The explosion in Pell Grant spending alone – already one of the primary drivers of tuition inflation – by some 800,000 recipients transformed the program into an entitlement, sort of a Medicare for lower-income students.
So on Friday, President Obama came to the University of Michigan to decry the costs of higher education and lecture universities on being more fiscally responsible. We’re not making this up.
“If you can’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down,” said Obama whose tution entitlement increases will perversely fuel the inflation he decries. His administrations’ stimulus grants to Michigan universities, too, have become a laughing stock of academic featherbedding, including $440,000 in taxpayer funding for a U-M study on galaxies with black holes and a $322,000 Eastern Michigan University study on languages of the Arctic.
The long student ticket lines and sycophantic media coverage of Obama’s U-M visit could not obscure the fact that Metro Detroit is a reminder of how Obamanomics has failed his two biggest 2008 election constituencies: Young people and blacks.
The Messiah has failed his flock.
“Young people may be the biggest losers of the economic recession,” writes Politico citing census data that puts youth unemployment at levels – only 55.3 percent of 16-29 year olds are employed – at its lowest level since WW2.
College grads today face the bleakest job environment in generations as Obama’s regulatory juggernaut has flattened job creation. But at least Obama pays youth a visit.
The first black president continues to treat devastated urban areas like Detroit as fly-over country. While larding the UAW industry – er, auto industry – with attention, he has ignored Detroit’s economic implosion. The city just racked up a staggering 380 murders for 2011, once again laying claim to America’s Most Violent City, while unemployment hovers at 50 percent, adult illiteracy 50 percent, and Motown sinks into bankruptcy under the weight of obstinate Democratic unions.
Forty miles west of Detroit, Obama rolled out snappy contests like “Race to the Top” and “First in the World” funding competitions. But these gimmicks can’t paper over the realities of Detroit youth and Detroit unemployment. They are the true face of Obamanomics.