Higher Pay for Higher Ed?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Higher Pay for Higher Ed?

While it is an interesting story all by itself-- career judge and potential SCOTUS nominee resigns from bench for lucrative exec job at Boeing-- one of the reasons Judge J. Michael Luttig gives for leaving the bench after 15 years sheds some light on another subject-- the ridiculous cost of higher education.
"I am convinced," he added, that this is the right decision for me at this time, and most importantly, for my family. . . . This is especially so, as I am sure you can understand, given that" he has two children approaching college age.

Federal appeals court judges earn $171,800 per year and generally must avoid any lucrative outside activity. Vice presidents and general counsels for huge corporations may earn anywhere from a quarter million dollars to several million, including various non-salary forms of compensation.
If a judge making nearly $172,000 a year feels pressured to take a higher paying, private sector job to cover the cost of tuition for his two children what does that say about the cost of tuition at American colleges and universities? Presumably he's not a moron and already has money set aside for his children's education, so does he really need a job making $250,000 or more a year to pay for his kid's education? Even if both little Luttigs both went to Harvard for $41,675 a year each, in theory a person making $172,000 and who has been preparing a little bit for this eventualality could still make ends meet and send his kids to college. So what does that say about the "average" household income of $45,000 a year?

The Dems really need to think about focusing on higher ed initiatives, find creative ways to help more people go to school without being crushed by overwhelming debt. After all, if a someone making as much money as Luttig is feeling pinched by the high cost of higher ed then the rest of us are pretty much screwed.

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