The politics of the recession is like a long, slow pendulum swing, wiping out all sorts of hard-won gains until it reaches a peak and then (hopefully) reverses direction. There’s no guarantee that the return swing is going to restore everything, though. If the last three decades are any indication, we’ll never get back to the original starting point. The losses seem to go on and on.
“Faculty Fears in Washington” offers a catalog of some of the worst of the ongoing destruction attributed to the recession and suggests that the pendulum has yet to reach its full height. In university level education, the main targets of opportunity now seem to be tenure, on the one hand, and full-time faculty on the other. Each, it seems, is much too expensive for current conditions.
These assaults were underwritten by a recent, earlier stage of direct attacks on public unions; one thing leads to the other. Of course, tenure and full-time faculty were seen as equally expensive in the midst of the late 90’s Clinton era boon. Nothing seems to slow the administrative pursuit of flexible labor and greed. It’s grown so bad that even the Establishment is sometimes embarrassed.