I love discussions like this I learn from them and that is always a blessing. One of the advantages of being in the investment world is that we get to look at lot of complex issues and see the trends.
You will get no argument from me about the plight of the middle or working class. I do a fair amount of work with Native Americans and that gets me traveling to places few others ever see. I see the blasted towns near the reservations with the shuttered stores, I see those who live there losing hope, and I think it stinks.
The reasons for that problem are many and really not the theme of this discussion. As far as college I think you touched on one of the major issues of the day and that is the almost complete breakdown in educational standards. You admit you were not prepared by your school and that is society’s responsibility and without a caring and engaged parent you were never going to get the education you were promised. I was lucky in that my education was of the old school and we learned what we needed to get a job and perhaps go on to higher education and that I had two parents who knew that it was important to be educated.
Your story of the first two experiences in college are interesting the first one is pretty typical the second is tragic. But the third one shows that you still have guts and determination. Sometimes you have to look past all the BS that goes on in college and education to see the goal.
As far as your military service and the problems of the treatment of women in the service goes, as a former commander of troops in combat I understand the dynamics of units. I have been opposed to women in combat roles from the get go, not because woman can’t do it ( and frankly there are jobs that woman can’t do safely, sorry that’s the reality) but because a woman or women in a unit can upset a very delicate chemistry between others in the unit and that will lower readiness. I think that commanders who don’t take the strongest action against those who prey on women should be shot but I also think that the whole idea of women in combat needs to be rethought on the sole premise of “does it improve readiness of the unit?’ there are 3 answers yes no and maybe the only acceptable answer and the only objective answer is yes.
No you could not have performed the same feats as I did, you are different person with different inputs and capacities but I wonder if you might not have been able to use those inputs and skills in some other direction. I do not measure my success on money I measure it by whether I have had a positive impact on the people I am in contact with. Frankly I think the trauma of the war, discipline of the military and frankly being hung out to dry and being solely responsible for my success or failure where the keystones of my success.
As far as insurance and all that I could go on for days on that subject. If we are going to continue using an insurance model for healthcare we need to rethink the nature of the system and of insurance companies. I think the only way to make the system work is to start at the very bottom and rebuild it, just as I think curing the educational system is going to take a complete revamp.