What do we owe one another as citizens of the same state?
What might be called the Iowa Social Compact — a contract that citizens enter into with each other — has been broken and needs to be re-structured.
It’s often not enough for one group of citizens to place their demands on other citizens for the receipt of benefits.
When reasonable, some type of consideration should be paid back to our community. Such exchanges, when replicated by citizens in multiple ways, make a social compact possible.
Social policies based on such engagements can provide us with a connectedness to each other and to our fundamental beliefs.
Fred Hubbell has offered a proposal to restore one critical part of the Iowa Social Compact — the opportunity to obtain a higher education at an affordable cost.
As proposed, Iowa citizens will underwrite costs of higher education opportunities paid by students; in return, students will “pay back” the investments made in their futures by agreeing to live in a part of the state, for a defined and limited amount of time, where they can make the largest immediate impact: rural communities.
It’s been more than half a century since Americans were inspired by a president to think about how they might contribute to the renewal of what might be called a National Social Compact: John F. Kennedy’s challenge at his inaugural address.
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Hubbell’s proposal to make higher education more affordable constitutes an importantstep in restoring the Iowa Social Compact to its rightful and necessary place.
James C. Larew