Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Theory Versus Reality


The public face of institutions often varies from their private actions. We could call that "marketing." Something on the order of calling club soda "Miracle Water" because it can remove some stains from clothing.

For years, the University of Michigan publically has led the charge for the underdog... we need a "diversity" program... call it affirmative action or whatever. The not-so-subtle message here: the University is intellectually, socially, and ethically superior to the rest of society.

Unfortunately (for the University), the data doesn't seem to support that.

At the nation's 50 flagship universities, students with the same academic qualifications received different amounts of financial help based on income, 1995-'03:
  • Average grant to students whose families earn more than $100,000 grew 86 percent. In 2003, the amount of aid for these families amounted to $257 million.
  • Average grant for students with family incomes of less than $20,000 increased 29 percent. In 2003, the amount of aid for these families equaled $171 million.
  • The University of Michigan received a grade of C for access. It received a B for minority access, but an F for low-income access.
  • The F grade for low-income access was based on only 13.5 percent of U-M students receiving Pell grants, compared with 33.9 percent of all state students receiving such federal aid in 2004. That was a much larger disparity than the 28 percent of U-M students receiving Pell grants in 1992 compared with 30.6 percent statewide.
    Source: Education Trust
  • About two years ago, I wrote to Mary Sue Coleman, President of UM, regarding the University's public posturing versus the opportunity for real action. The lesson: the lesson was not learned, apparently.

    Oh, UM is a great institution... two of my sons have advanced degrees from there and are grateful that their mom and dad helped them toward that. But greatness doesn't necessarily mean perfection... or even close.

    Maybe it is time to put the University's money where its mouth is.


    Can"t Find It?

    Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

    You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

    Blog Archive

    Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

    CO2 Cap and Trade

    There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
    Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
    “The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
    ... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
    It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
    - O. Henry
    ... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
    The Independent (UK)

    Tracking Interest Rates

    Tracking Interest Rates


    SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

    February 3, 2006
    Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
    August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
    December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
    March 28, 2007
    The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
    The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

    July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
    August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
    September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
    September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
    October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
    "Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

    "Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

    December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
    [Image from:]
    December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
    "The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
    January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
    January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
    January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
    “The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
    January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
    The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
    January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

    What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
    Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

    About Me

    My photo
    Michigan, United States
    Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)