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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cost Problems

Everybody hates the incessantly rising costs of medical care. Commenting on the latest inflation numbers, the economist Dean Baker puts the cost of higher education in the same category.
The major forces pushing the rate of inflation higher continue to be medical care and education. Medical care costs rose by 0.3 percent in December. They have risen at a 5.1 percent annual rate over the last quarter and 5.2 percent for the last year. Education costs rose 0.5 percent in December, bringing the rate of increase over the last quarter to 7.7 percent, up from the 5.6 percent rate over the last year.
The fact that higher ed costs constantly rise faster than the rest of the consumer price index never gets a decent public explanation. It has hurt higher ed with the public even more than have the culture wars and TV coverage of the everyday beer binges and drug orgies on campuses everywhere. It also helps explain the fact that when states cut public higher ed, most people really don't care.

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