Rethinking My Views

Caroline Grindinger, Honorbound

In the readings, there were many ideas that I was educated on that changed my views, brought new ideas into my life, and secured my views on other issues. One of the ideas that brought new ideas into my life was the idea of opportunity cost. I did not realize that every decision I make has an opportunity cost of some type whether it be an economic decision or simply whether I choose to take a nap or study. No matter what, there is always an opportunity cost because nothing besides air and God’s love is truly a free good. What changed my mind was that some issues I supported in the past like cheaper or no college tuition have a bigger opportunity cost than I thought. For example, the opportunity cost of making college cheaper is educated professors. If the cost of college drops, then professors will get payed less; therefore, they will not want to work, and less educated professors will step in. Also, another opportunity cost of free tuition is the increase of funding for community college, so a worse education. University of Memphis graduate Diane Ravitch writes in a blog post, In my opinion, TN Promise is a perfect example for taking money away from high quality education (UofM, in this case), and use the extra funds to invest in low quality education (community colleges). Then this lower quality education is offered to the masses as a solution to their educational needs.” (Ravitch, Diane) TN Promise, or Tennessee Promise, is the proposal to make the first two years of college free to all students. Ravitch’s example shows how others may be affected by making college more affordable. While making decisions to lower tuition, government officials must look at the opportunity cost of that decision. Before these readings and education on opportunity cost, I supported free college tuition, but after learning that every decision means losing something, I do not support it. Something else that I supported before the readings is setting restrictions of when people can drive so as to limit carbon dioxide emissions. I didn’t realize this until reading Naked Economics, but there is a huge opportunity cost of restricting drivers. If the government made tolls more expensive, people would just take the longer way to their destination; thus, emitting more fuel. Also, if they were to have the rule that says only people with a license plate ending in a certain number can drive then people without the corresponding plates would just buy old cars with different numbers. Old cars are worse for the environment than newer cars, so trying to cut CO2 emissions by setting driving restrictions would evidently make it worse. Also, making this change would make more drivers switch to motorcycles which are much more dangerous, increasing motorcycle deaths, exemplified in Naked Economics, “Not all such behavioral changes were healthy. Many consumers switched from cars to motorcycles, which are more fuel efficient but also more dangerous” (Naked Economics 23). Before making decisions on what we support, we must further assess opportunity cost.

 Citations: 

Ravitch, Diane. “Dissent from Obama Plan to Make Community College Free.” Diane Ravitchs Blog. 2015. Accessed June 13, 2016. https://dianeravitch.net/2015/01/09/dissent-from-obama-plan-to-make-community-college-free/.

Ball, Charing. “The Pros And Cons Of The White House Proposal To Make College Free For 2 Years.” MadameNoire RSS. January 12, 2015. Accessed June 13, 2016. http://madamenoire.com/502528/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-white-house-proposal-to-make-college-free-for-2-years/.

Wheelan, Charles J. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. New York: Norton, 2002.

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