WHY THINGS ARE EXPENSIVE – Well, some of them, at least. Education and health care in particular. Two graphs, the first one from “The Atlantic”, the second one from the Committee for Economic Development:



It’s perhaps too simplistic to say that the industries with most government presence and regulation see the steepest increases in prices, though the role of the state undoubtedly is a factor. It’s also true that education and health are service industries which for most part are based domestically and employ domestically – unlike manufacture, they cannot be outsourced to cheaper overseas locations.

They are also the two key industries that have been turned into job factories, not for the benefit of the frontline staff that actually educate and heal, but for the parasitical management and administration bureaucracy. All these extras don’t contribute much to the productivity or the tangible outcomes produced but instead drive up the overall costs.

I thought about the graphs above when I read this story, unfortunately all too typical of higher education nowadays – or health care for that matter:

1. The University of Michigan currently employs a diversity staff of nearly 100 (93) full-time diversity administrators, officers, directors, vice-provosts, deans, consultants, specialists, investigators, managers, executive assistants, administrative assistants, analysts, and coordinators.

2. More than one-quarter (26) of these “diversicrats” earn annual salaries of more than $100,000, and the total payroll for this small army is $8.4 million. When you add to cash salaries an estimated 32.45% for UM’s very generous fringe benefit package for the average employee in this group (retirement, health care, dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, paid leave, paid vacation, social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, etc.) the total employee compensation for this group tops $11 million per year. And of course that doesn’t count the cost of office space, telephones, computers and printers, printing, postage, programs, training, or travel expenses.

3. Undergraduate tuition for an in-state student in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LSA) last year was $14,500. Therefore, the $11 million payrolls for the 93 UM “diversicrats” could support 765 in-state students per year with full tuition scholarships!…

6. The average salary for a typical UM “diversicrat” is roughly $92,000. Not bad. It’s $10,000 more than the average annual salary of $82,000 for an assistant professor with a Ph.D. in the College of Literature, Science and Arts (LSA) and only $10,000 less than the average salary for an associate LSA professor of $102,000.

It’s now a joke cliche to talk about Arts (or gender studies, or insert your other favourite Mickey Mouse degree) graduates progressing to jobs in fast food chains. The reality is far more terrifying – they are becoming diversity bureaucrats earning several times the burger flipper’s wage. Those on the progressive side aren’t very good at creating jobs in the economy, except jobs for themselves. Alas, these are vampire jobs that subtract not add to the national wealth.