The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

The Tea Party people aren’t really Zombies (at least, I don’t think they are) and yesterday’s election, as this Chronicle of Higher Education piece suggests, isn’t apocalyptic, at least in terms of any immediate changes in personnel on key higher education committees. The newly empowered Republicans will likely try to chip away at gains in money for student loans– pushing to give the banks back their share, no doubt- and the Democrats will surely continue pushing for a more tightly regulated proprietary education system, perhaps with a few Republican allies. Or perhaps they will back off a bit.

The real worry, though, is that the Tea Part’s ideology faces an sharp internal contradiction that could lead to either chaos or to the sorts of lay-off s that are happening in Louisiana. On the one hand, there’s this notion that government is too big, and that the budget needs to be cut. On the other hand is high unemployment. On the face of it, it sounds like Reaganomics all over again: somehow, if we help the rich, their wealth will ‘”trickle down” to the rest of us. It didn’t work the first time, and it won’t work now. In fact, just the opposite. The Tea Party blames high taxes but the real problem is low wages.

Next spring the Tea Party will be faced with the current Congress’ dilemma. Where do you cut? Do you go after the health care reforms when repealing them will have little immediate impact on the budget or on employment, which is your main interest? Will they really tell people that their kids won’t be covered by their health insurance after college? If you go after education, you make schools less effective or you lay off teachers or perhaps you make college less affordable. Will those things keep them in office? This might be an apocalypse for the Zombies. I just hope our education system doesn’t suffer too much collateral damage.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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