We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, January 26. 2010
If my children take out student loans for college and decide to work in the private sector, President Obama makes them (as Mark Steyn says) “schlubs.” A schlub is a blockhead, in the Yiddish vernacular.
President Obama wants to nationalize the $1-trillion college loan market, companion to his other nationalization pursuits as in healthcare. Now, he plans to go further. At taxpayer expense, he wants to cap the percentage of income that former students pay on their loans and increase forgiveness of student loans by lower-paid former students after 20-years instead of 25-years. But, if the former student works in the public sector for 10-years, the balance of the loan would be waived.
1. Very nice for former students who take virtually useless majors.
2. Even nicer for those who take government jobs, where average wages and benefits are now higher than in the private sector.
3. And, even nicer for Democrats’ union allies who are Democrats’ main financial supporters.
4. Also very nice for the heavily liberal college faculties and administrators who can continue to charge high tuitions and delay inevitable modernized instruction and conferencing without the posh, big fixed cost campuses.
5. Not so nice for taxpayers, as with this latest proposal, politicians find ways to pay off their constituencies whenever they get ahold of another money stream or power. The takeover of the student loan market, says the Congressional Budget Office, might save up to $47-billion over 10-years, especially the CBO says if defaults don't increase. The latest proposed, in effect, give-away "defaults" via lowered repayments and waivers of repayment, not yet scored by the CBO, will eat up much of or more than that to buy off Democrat backers and buy votes. Take a look at this map of which states have the highest average student debt. Overlay which states are “blue” and you can see which states’ residents stand to get the most bailouts from their student loans.
As the New York Times reports, “Most
And, government employment is the only major sector with job growth. “Notwithstanding the recession, government employment grew last year, inching up 16,000, to 22,516,000, according to the bureau.”
Rather than reflect on the growth of their union allies in government jobs, where most states and localities are cutting back basic services in order to pay their salaries and benefits, Obama’s Labor Secretary instead sees the answer in expanding the ease for unions to expand in the private sector via “card checks” that obviate the secret ballot and further increase their members in the public sector.
Meanwhile, those former students who take private sector jobs, who actually generate the taxes to support government workers, are second-class citizens, schlubs or blockheads, for not feeding at the federal teat and supplying the milk for those who do.
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I was just thinking we really need a GI Bill for bureaucrats. This is great. My wife and I must be real suckers for paying off our loans early and saving for our kids' education.
The "average government wage" is skewed upward somewhat by government having contracted many (possibly most) of the lowest paying jobs.
Good question. But, the wages and bennies of government workers, including near the bottom in scale, have increased dramatically. And the extent of outsourcing is minor, except in the military for mess-duty and such but also for high-paid security who are usually former military because the Bush and Obama administrations don't want the costs or politics of increasing the size of the standing military enough for current and likely needs. -- Obama's proposals are a "GI Bill" for slackers.
Must read at the City Journal --the public employee union's effect on today's political situation --
To think, I was only concerned about my self when I first heard about this. My understanding is that the Government would buy up all the existing loans, and then charge market rate on the interest.
Because of some excellent timing on my part, I'm currently paying 2.75% interest on my student loans. That means with the government take over I can look forward to a nearly 254% increase in interest charges.
Now I see that unless you're a card carrying liberal, you're going to get hosed no matter what.
"2. Even nicer for those who take government jobs, where average wages and benefits are now higher than in the public sector."
I'm pretty sure you mean to say "...than in the private sector."
Otherwise, I'm with you all the way!
Wow! Great generalizations! Here's an idea that students (and likely graduate students) can actually benefit from...and I am guessing you can't. Therefore, it must just be a plan to consolidate power with the unions and Democrats...blah, blah, blah. We can skip slightly reducing the crushing debt put upon our students if you agree to a real inheritance tax or reduced tax benefits that (as usual) benefit only the top incomes.
...or maybe my mistake for stumbling upon yet another partisan blog...
Wow, Paul....did you actually read the post?
The complaint is that the benefits offered are not offered generally - they are aimed at those who are more likely to provide political support for the government.
That may be a congenial idea for you....but for those of us who don't find our Savior in the State, it's something to be criticized.
And by the way, can you direct me to a NON-"partisan blog"?
Help us out here, or we're all likely to end up thinking you're just a partisan idiot yourself......
There is a slight difference. One has a choice about going to college, which college, what level of debt to incur. You don't have a choice about dying. In addition to which, money which is inherited has had tax paid on it during the deceased's lifetime.
As for the "only the top incomes benefit from tax breaks" thing...
Sorry. I cannot support the claim that more "modern" systems of instruction are better. I have yet to see a body of evidence that supports the claim that an "online education" is as good as the best possible education in the classroom. You may be presented with data and memorize it--but, you will not be able to be conversant in the field, unless you practice verbal debate, and conversation. THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN online. Oh, yes I agree you may get a whole two questions in every other week, and you may get a 2 minute answer from the other side of the web--but, it is not the same as debating in class, arguing after class, and proving in thesis form. An online education is the canned delivery of specific data bits--if the student memorizes it fine, but unlike a true university experience that student will never encounter verbal exchange, and most importantly never see the work of the other students. Nope--a REAL education can only be delivered to a student present on campus, by a live educator. Preferably someone who has become a professor by true and accurate credentials. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO TELL ME that online education is gonna be better for anybody. Sitting in your pajamas, watching the screen and scratching your but while you "copy and paste" an answer, is not nearly the same experience as standing in front of your peers and delivering your ideas supported by research and skilled rhetoric. Knowing that you are going to have to Look the other guy in the eye has a great deal going for it in terms of learning to think, to speak, and to inquire.
You are absolutely correct.
Now, what do we do about 75% of faculty not being full professors, the full professors just working a few classes and often unavailable for student meetings, several hundred in a lecture room and frequently with a teaching assistant grad student, administration growing faster than faculty, and funds for a truly liberal education being supplanted and siphoned into fringe majors that are aimed at producing politically liberal minions instead?
I benefited from a top-class liberal education in the '60's. Today, most students are getting a second-class ersatz education.
That's why the present costs are excessive or not worth it, and better replaced with conferencing technology, not because it's better than the ideal but because the actual is inadequate or worse.
You are spot on Bruce. Now what do we do--lower the bar still further in order to adapt to past mistakes? Or, heaven forbid we acknowledge that being a professor, pulling down those nice benefits has a price and that price requires courage--personal courage. I recommend that one of the first things that needs to begin happening on campus is that straight, white males get organized. Form groups that are willing to confront the female administration that is incompetent because of a lack of academic, or management experience, and require them to replace their feminine agenda with content! If you gentlemen never get organized--never have the courage to speak as one, and speak loudly--there will be no change. Sorry, that attitude you bring from home, the "she who must be obeyed" attitude, weakens you on campus and is devastating to a balance that is essential.
Thanks for that link, suek --it's a keeper --
Paul doesn't understand that not only must one pay taxes in order to have them reduced, but that to mischaracterize the process the way he does is to open wide the same door for traffic in the other direction --for example, Paul, do you cost more than you're worth? Does your ''package of benefits'' as a citizen cost the rest of us more than you're paying in taxes?
You make a great point in post #9, buddy. A member of the younger generation who never considers what it is worth to the rest of us citizens to support his ambitions is apt to be too self-centered to understand cost/benefit ratios. He might even not understand the government's shift in terminology from the designation *benefits*, which describes a gift given by a company or a government to a person or a citizen when the company or the government is in good enough financial shape to afford to give it, and an *entitlement*, which describes a gift that the company or the government has to give the citizen, even if the government or company is in deep financial trouble.
Some semantically gifted troll deep in the bowels of the government back twenty or so years ago engineered the word shift. And it has had profound consequences for all of us.
We've got kids obtaining expensive useless degrees by incurring student loans they find it terribly difficult to pay back. I say "useless" in this judgmental way in the sense that the education doesn't suit the student to do anything that anyone in the real world actually wants to trade his own money for. So the answer is to encourage the students to keep doing this, by forgiving their loans if they take a parasitic government job? Where their salary is simply extorted from a bunch of taxpayers who didn't want that job done in the first place?
I'm all for people learning abstruse impractical knowledge if they have the time and resources to support themselves. It enriches the world. I just think if they need a patron to pull this off, they ought at least to find a truly voluntary patron.
Your words seem to imply that other benefits are doled out evenly amongst sub-populations that are politically even. Don't you think homeowners are probably more likely higher income earners than renters? Big tax benefits for that. How about capital gains tax reductions? Favors an element that likely votes a certain way.
Your argument also dismisses the fact that the student loan amount to be paid (at any certain time) being restricted to 10% of income after a certain "living allowance" is applied to all student loans, not just government employees.
I will read your link soon when I've more time. For a brief response, I will say you are right about many of these schooling items as options. Of course, there is a direct link between level of education and level of lifetime income. Those who don't have advantages (large inheritance, for example) have fewer choices and/or are reliant on the student loan programs that exist. While come choices are fairly considered within your argument (such as a lower priced school with similar options). Similarly, there are undoubtedly some populations better served by working or obtaining apprenticeships in lieu of obtaining higher education, for many the choice is no choice at all. Not many, given the option (and admittedly, some capability) will choose a much higher probability of poverty...or at a minimum, a lower level of options. This is what a level playing field SHOULD be all about.
Of course, everyone dies, and yes, inheritances have been taxed (unless they are tax deferred benefits) but it does create an uneven playing field. It is not the inheritors who created such wealth. A slightly higher tax will not reduce their advantage so much.
People with more money have more stuff than people with less.
People with more money contribute more in taxes that are used by people with less.
People working for the government make more money (on average) than people working in private industry...not to mention the higher level of benefits, and the amazing retirement plans -- largely paid for by the taxes of the lower-paid (on average) workers in the private sector.
So, when I see a politician offering even more financial benefits to people if they will work for the government, forgive me if I smell a whiff of corruption in the air.
I know I'm coming to this topic late but... There is a grassroots movement that is trying to get new-entry farmers added to the list of employment areas eligible for Income Based Repayment and Public Service Forgiveness.
Farming, with it’s aging participants, low on-farm income earning capacity and importance to local communities, regions and the country at large, is a perfect employment area to be added to the list of areas fit for inclusion.
Farmers under the age of 35 are fast becoming an endangered species. The decline in young farmers over the preceding 15 years has been the most dramatic of the last century. Yet opportunities exist in farming and ranching, especially for those who capture the growing consumer interest in healthy food and the stewardship of our natural resources. Unfortunately, many people don’t see farming as a viable career or a life-style that can sustain them or their family. This is especially so for young people who have received a higher education and have needed financial support to do so. Whether it is people who went to an AG school to learn more sustainable practices or a business major who decides their true passion lies in growing healthy food for their community, being harnessed to large monthly payments, with a limited income on the horizon, definitely dissuades people from making the leap into farming
Most farms in the United States are small, with 60 percent of all farms reporting less than $10,000 in sales of agricultural products. Of the 2.2 million farms nationwide, only 1 million show positive net cash income from the farm operation. The remaining 1.2 million farms depend on non-farm income to cover farm expenses.
2007 Census of Agriculture www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/.../demographics.pdf
I'm thinking that the rural, farming community isn't in the pocket of the government or union's so perhaps this might be an area that you all might support. Farming is unfortunately one of the countries largest not-for-profit ventures and it happens to be an area that we are completely dependent on.
I would argue many with ridiculous student loan debt are more likely to have more education and therefore more likely to have higher lifelong incomes. This results in more spending (higher sales tax), more earning (higher income tax), and more productivity (however it might be measured).
As for myself, I have worked full time since I was 16 with the exception of during high school and for a portion of my graduate degree. I am confident I am a net plus for the taxpayers.
Wow! It seems like you might be the one generalizing here. Did I list my age somewhere? How about applying your analysis to your own situation? Do you think the "young people" appreciate the federal debt being handed to them? How about seniors' health care costs being passed to them? Social Security? etc.
Now, perhaps there is a place for discussion concerning some government benefits. However to paint with such broad strokes can be quite dangerous.