Conspiracy theorists wake up, it is all here. While watching Bill Maher a few days ago, he showed some statistics about colleges, one being that tenured professors have fallen drastically, and that the administrative personnel have greatly expanded. In the 1970s, 70% of professors were tenured, whereas while now, 70% are untenured. Adding to the lack of experienced professors, we have the unbelievable inflation that has made higher-education costs astronomical. Academic fees have expanded far beyond almost any other aspect of the U.S. economy, with the exception of health care.
Forbes magazine, in 2017, noticed the changes: “Put another way, administrative spending comprised just 26% of total educational spending by American colleges in 1980-1981, while instructional spending comprised 41%. Three decades later, the two categories were almost even: administrative spending made up 24% of schools’ total expenditures, while instructional spending made up 29%.” Not only that, but in the present day the probability of your college instructor being a full-time tenured professor is quite low; you are more likely to have a part-time untenured graduate student who is paid a fraction of what a full professor is paid (and they aren’t getting health insurance.)
The price of a college education has soared. From Intelligent.com: “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the 1970-71 academic year, the average in-state tuition and fees for one year at a public non-profit university was $394. By the 2020-21 academic year, that amount jumped to $10,560, an increase of 2,580%.
During the same period, tuition and fees at private institutions jumped by a similarly astronomical 2,107%, from $1,706 in 1970, to $37,650 in 2020. Between 1970 and 2020, the dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.87% annually, resulting in a cumulative price increase of about 567% during the last 50 years. The trouble is, the rise in income—particularly minimum wage—hasn’t even come close to keeping pace with the increase in college tuition.” Wonder why so many graduates are saddled with student debt? It is because wages stagnated while college tuition soared, and very few are pointing out that fact when we consider student debt.
More from Forbes: “The interesting thing about the administrative bloat in higher education is, literally, nobody knows who all these people are or what they’re doing,” says Todd Zywicki, a law professor at George Mason University and the author of ‘The Changing of the Guard: The Political Economy of Administrative Bloat in American Higher Education.’ “Administrative titles at schools, especially large research institutions, can be confusingly vague: Health Promotion Specialist, Student Success Manager and Senior Coordinator, Student Accountability are all positions currently available on higheredjobs.com.”
Let’s consider the conspiracy theory proposed here. It is no accident that there are radicalized citizens and bureaucrats who wish to push their liberal beliefs upon the U.S. population. Some little time ago, they discovered a workaround: If the democratically elected legislatures will not shove the liberal ideology upon the public, then they will use the bureaucracy, the regulators, to accomplish their sinister intentions. As they push their liberal ideas which cannot be legislated upon the unsuspecting public, they need commissars to enforce those regulations. Welcome to the U.S. Commissar Revolution.
Bureaucrats think everything can be solved by appointing more bureaucrats. Bureaucrats are the people who run the administrative, also called regulatory agencies set up by the government to oversee certain areas of the economy. So now you are probably scratching your heads asking: “what is a commissar?”
Bureaucrats think everything can be solved by appointing more bureaucrats.
Going back to the now defunct and viciously criticized Soviet Union, and to use the dictionary term, a commissar is this: “An official of the Communist Party in charge of political indoctrination and the enforcement of party loyalty.” This is how the Left gets their way. Commissars have no responsibility to understand the functional and operational aspects of the of the economy; the commissars are there to ensure that the functions of an area of the economy are administered in a politically correct fashion. Knowledge of how their part of the economy runs is actually a detriment for commissars. The commissars ruined the economy of the Soviet Union, and even if they ran the Soviet economy into the ground, our U.S. commissars are “smarter” than the commissars who destroyed the Soviet economy. Yeah, right.
Commissars oversaw the various aspects of the Soviet economy, and, when things got tough, with enough bribery money, they would look the other way, causing great economic damage, but lining the pockets of the party, or at least, the commissars of the Soviet party. One of the best examples was a nail factory that was given an unrealistic quota, in number of tons of nails produced, and expected to meet that quota, or the managers would face legal repercussions of very grim consequences. So the managers figured out that all they had to do to make the required tonnage of nails was to produce great big nails. The great big nails had no economic value, but that didn’t matter, they made their tonnage quota. Multiply the nail tonnage fiasco to an entire economy, and it is easy to see why the Soviet economy fell through the floor.
Political consequences were too big to ignore, even if it ran the economy into the ground, that didn’t matter; the commissars and everyone else made their quotas, and that was all that mattered. The little picture the commissars saw was all they cared about, and the big picture, the economy, lay in ruins. Now you know why the commissars are the bane, the deadly poison, of any economy.
Well gee whiz, the commissars don’t really pose a problem, do they? The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2023, page A2: “Graduates of the University of Southern California’s online social work master’s program filed a complaint Thursday, accusing the school of false advertising when it claimed that its program was the same as its on-campus one even though much of it was outsourced to a for-profit company. The civil suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accuses the school of charging the same tuition for both master’s programs-over $110,000 until 2022-23-while in reality… USC’s online MSW program offers classroom instruction that is not the same as, but instead is substantially different from and categorically inferior to USC’s in-person MSW classroom instruction.”
The commissars are here, make no mistake. Just like the Soviet commissars, they’re telling us it will all be for the better, that their plan for our society should not be questioned. Mostly because they cannot defend their rationalizations. My fellow citizens, we are facing the workaround commissar revolution. Being led by the unqualified, to do the unnecessary, to the harm of the unprepared.
Jeffrey Neil Jackson is an
Educator & Literary Mercenary