Economic Injustice

In a graph, from the Congressional Budget Office:

There’s your class warfare, folks, and we’re losing.

And then there’s the student loan issue (click image for full size) —

Click for full size

This isn’t just a problem for the young folks; it promises to strangle our economy for years to come. President Obama has proposed a relief program that would cap student loan payments at 10 percent of income and forgive the balance after 20 years of payments. Think about that — 10 percent of income for 20 years, and that’s a reprieve from what they have to pay now. We’re going to have to do better than that. This is ridiculous.

And where is that money going to, really? I have a hard time believing that the cost of educating most young people is really that high.

Meanwhile, true to form, GOP candidate Rick Perry has proposed a tax plan that he says would cut taxes on all income groups, but which independent analysis says would actually only cut taxes for the very wealthy and increase them for everyone else. Elsewhere, GOP candidate Mitt Romney takes being an empty suit to Olympic levels. At Salon, Steve Kornacki has written one article after another about how Herman Cain’s campaign is about to implode. Now he’s finally admitted that, given the quality of Cain’s competition, maybe it won’t.

At the front — here’s an interview of historian Michael Kazin, who has a very smart analysis of OWS, with which I entirely agree. See also Paul Krugman, “Say Anything.”

12 thoughts on “Economic Injustice

  1. The price of tuition has been stupid, and growing stupider by the year. And let me tell you, the run of the mill professor’s not making 6 figures. Not even close.
    When I graduated in ’81, I know I paid a lot less than 10%, and my loan was paid off in about 7 years, if I remember right.

    Now, you’re virtually an indentured servant to your student loans.
    So this is another smart move Obama’s made regarding the loans, the first being taking them away from the banks so they could tag on a few percentage points for basically doing nothing but tracking it, since anything beyond that was the federal governments job anyway.

    And we need to remind people that not only is he trying to do something for the kids and their parents here, he’s also allowed the children to be covered medically until age 26 – college or not.

    And thanks for the Kazin link. That was a great interview.

    • c u n d gulag — yes, Obama is trying to do something about student loans, and if he had a Congress he could work with he might do something more. However, I believe if any of the Republicans get elected next year, one of his first acts in office will be to re-privatize the student loan program and pull the caps off of it.

      Are you paying attention to this, young people? Or are you going to sit out the election because you don’t think it makes a difference who is elected?

  2. I think young people AND their parents need to remember this.

    Because if Republicans get in power after next year, the only thing surer that they’ll focus on other than their usual anti-abortion, immigrant bashing, and more tax cuts for the rich, is a thorough cleaning out of EBO – Everthing Barack Obama stood for.

    And give them time, they’ll start air-brushing Obama out of pictures, and after awhile, people will think that after Bush II, the 44th President was also a Republican – because they’ll black the black guy out.

  3. Interestingly, the FAFSA system of financial aid REQUIRES you to take out some kind of loan to qualify for financial aid unless you a) are a decent athlete, b) are very poor, or c) are in the top 1% of academics.

    We just went through that process. I looked at the numbers, and we could not have survived with out current financial obligations paying our “fair share” of the education bill – and that was WITH significant academic-based aid. A so-so student would rack up huge amounts of debt at almost any school these days.

    The days when one could go to a top 5 school for less than $1000/yr (plus cheap off-campus room and board), as I did, are long gone…

    • Dan — I didn’t know that about FAFSA. It’s been more than a dozen years since I put together FAFSA applications for my daughter, but I don’t remember that loans were required then. I don’t believe they were.

  4. Another thing they need to look into is the book scam, where books written by the Professor of a particular course are required as textbooks – some costing $100’s of dollars, and sometimes never or rarely used. Of course, almost all of these textbooks, reagardless of author(s), are pretty much wildy overpriced.
    And as I said before, a lot of the money is spent on upper management , Deans , and constant new construction/facilities at a college, and not on professors and learning.
    The upper education system in this country is as broken as the primary, secondary, and pre-school educations. And it’s only going to get worse.

    • IMO expensive textbooks need to go the way of the dodo. I’d swap dodos for textbooks, actually. I bet dodos were fun to watch. And I was in the textbook / scholarly book field for years.

      One reason college books are so expensive is that often these are highly specialized books printed in small batches, and with books the lower the print run, the higher the per-unit cost. And of course there’s a healthy markup, too. But there’s no excuse for that any more. They should go right to Kindle or something electronic and eliminate printing entirely. Save some trees.

      I know some schools have rules that professors can’t make money for assigning their own books to students, but I don’t know how widespread it is or how much it is enforced.

  5. I’m sure that a lot of the upward pressure on tuition is the fact that states are strapped and therefore unable or unwilling to support state institutions (and students) as lavishly as they did in the past. This is nothing new, and has been going on for at least a decade or more.

    As someone who graduated in the late 70s, at that time the people with big student loans were mostly those who went on to professional schools – medicine, law, or grad school. Nearly everyone I knew at Big State U at the undergraduate level had little or no debt. Those with loans generally discharged their obligation by the time they hit their 30s or so. As I recall the terms were very favorable, and so there was no big rush to pay them off quickly.

    It so fits the conservative agenda to have a dumb population, and I’ve seen statistics that show this generation is less educated than my own. It makes me feel like Plato or something. I just can’t believe how bad things have gotten for those who want an education.

  6. The elites have created an atmosphere of lawless entitlement – lawless by engaging in fraudulent practices, legally: entitlement by being owed the labor of the great unwashed, basically free of charge.

    Class warfare is over. The elites won.

  7. Just as there many Americans who have never recovered from el-hi school desegregation, there are many Americans who have never recovered from affirmative action in place at many universities . I half-way suspect that the exorbitant cost of college may have its roots in a way to segregate institutions of higher learning. Far out? Think about it.

  8. Felicit,
    But it was to segregate it by class.
    They didn’t care whether the indentured servants were white, black, yellow, red, or tan. Maybe, after everything, that’s what eventually passed for progress in the last 40 years – an integraded class of willing serfs.

  9. On the subject of education in Florida…. from Mother Jones

    “Florida’s unpopular tea party governor, Rick Scott, wants more of the state’s youths to pick up college degrees… but only if the degrees are useful to corporations and don’t teach students to question social norms.

    “You know what? They need to get education in areas where they can get jobs,” Scott told a right-wing radio host Monday morning. He continued: “You know, we don’t need a lot more anthropologists in the state. It’s a great degree if people want to get it, but we don’t need them here. I want to spend our dollars giving people science, technology, engineering, math degrees. That’s what our kids need to focus all their time and attention on. Those type of degrees. So when they get out of school, they can get a job.”

    ?It’s no idle sound bite. The governor, an ex-corporate CEO with a checkered business past, is pushing a plan that would all but kill liberal arts and social sciences at the Sunshine State’s public universities—and he’s got support from the Legislature’s psychology-hatin’ GOP majority……”

Comments are closed.