I was visiting Jimmy Niosian a few months ago. We were just having light cocktails – he likes martinis and had two while I nursed one highball with a tiny bit of Canadian Club because I was driving – and a light chat.
Jimmy has done well for himself in his professional life. He’s a generation down from me but despite that we have become good friends. He has four children. I drop by every so often when I know he’ll be around.
While sitting there chatting his son Tony came in to join us. We got on to discussing the college where he was in his second year. Tony said: “Dad, I don’t want you to pay my tuition anymore. I’m going to take out loans.” Jimmy objected but Tony insisted. He pointed out that his father should not waste his money because he would not have to pay his loans off. They were going to be forgiven once the Democrats got into office.
After Tony left he asked me what I suggested he do. I was conflicted. I knew Jimmy could easily afford to pay but if someone was going to pay it for him why not take advantage of it. It would be like turning down a scholarship because you did not need to rely.on it.
Jimmy was leaning toward paying it. His agreement with the kids was he would pay their college bills but graduate school was on their own. We didn’t finish the discussion because Arielle, his oldest child came in. She had gone to graduate school and earned Ph D from MIT.
Again the talk turned to the cost of education. Arielle told her dad that she had stopped paying off her loans. Jimmy asked when she stopped, did she need help, etc. She laughed saying, “Dad I have plenty of money and can easily pay the loan but why should I. If Bernie or. Elizabeth have their way I’ll be fifty dimes to the good.”
I knew the expression dimes was bookie talk indicating one thousand dollars and was surprised she knew that. Jimmy thought she should keep paying and she suggested she’d give it more thought.
We did not have too much time afterwards to discuss the matter. I had overstayed the time I usually spent with him. Jimmy seemed perplexed as we said our goodbyes. He said, “it’s a hard choice – how do you turn down a hundred thousand dollars someone wants to give you?”
I suggested I was glad I was not in his shoes. He went on, “I’ve two more children coming to college age who I guess will also be entitled to the fifty grand discount each. How can the country afford to start paying that amount for every college kid. Don’t you think if they did it for today’s and yesterday’s students they’ll have to do it into the future?”
I said, “I suppose once they start they’ll have to. Maybe they’ll cut back on medical aid? But one thing I can tell you for sure, when the money is available the colleges will just increase their tuition and other costs to gobble it up.”
Jim said: “Then in actuality the uprising students will be no better off and the only ones who benefit will be those who are attending or have attended.”
I replied, “It looks like that will be the case. The present generation dumping problems on the future. You’ve already seen the dilemna kids now face. Since the Democrats told them they were going to pay off their loans they have stopped paying themselves as the interest adds to the costs.”
We bid goodbye. It could have been a more enjoyable visit. Next time I’ll be sure the kids aren’t around.