Fig. 1. President Reagan on the South Lawn during the arrival ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. U.S. Government photograph, November 16, 1988, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Aletha Adu and Jessica Elgot, “Sunak says higher taxes and spending cuts needed to satisfy markets,” Guardian, November 13, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/nov/13/sunak-says-higher-taxes-and-spending-cuts-needed-to-satisfy-markets
When I moved to Pittsburgh in 2019, I did so partly in the hope that with so many colleges and universities in the area, maybe one of them might have a spot for me:
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, commonly known as Passhe, recently consolidated six of its campuses into two after more than a decade of flagging enrollment and financial pressures. Pennsylvania State University ran a deficit of more than $150 million last academic year. And Muhlenberg College saw its credit downgraded last year amid analysts’ concerns about “highly competitive student market conditions and weak regional demographics” squeezing the institution’s revenue.
While some factors — like declining enrollment, anemic state investment, and a dwindling pipeline of high-school graduates — affecting institutions in the Keystone state are also common elsewhere, there’s also a distinctly Pennsylvanian force at play: The state has a large number of colleges relative to its traditional-age student population.
All I know is that I really can’t tolerate the ongoing insult of being reduced to an Uber driver and that I am doing what has to be the stupidest legal thing one can do in Pittsburgh to try (and fail) to make a living. There is no social life here—gig economy companies, on guard against sexual and other forms of harassment, discourage it—let alone the social life I crave among highly educated people, and as calamity approaches from at least five different directions (these being 1) a woefully inadequate income forcing me to work seven days per week; 2) the likelihood, especially given Pittsburgh drivers, of a collision destroying the car I rely upon; 3) the relatively high risk of crime; 4) the appalling condition of Pittsburgh roads and bridges and the toll these roads take on my car; and 5) the capriciousness and financial uncertainty of gig economy companies that may lead me to lose the only job I can get, even through no fault of my own), this is not even remotely a life worth living and it is a life utterly without hope.
Audrey Williams June and Brian O’Leary, “The State With Too Many Campuses,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 11, 2022, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-state-with-too-many-campuses
- Audrey Williams June and Brian O’Leary, “The State With Too Many Campuses,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 11, 2022, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-state-with-too-many-campuses↩
- David Benfell, “Gaslighting Uber drivers on safety,” Not Housebroken, November 9, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/04/28/gaslighting-uber-drivers-on-safety/↩
- David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/↩