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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Education]

When are you folks in the black community going to do something about this ******* in the Oval Orifice that keeps using your orifices as playthings for his policies?

The Obama administration is moving to ease access to student loans for parents with damaged credit, a policy reversal that could saddle poor families with piles of debt but also boost college enrollment.

Under a plan likely to take effect next year, the Education Department would check the past two years of a borrower's credit, instead of the current standard of five, for blemishes such as delinquencies or debts in collection. Also, any delinquent debts below $2,085 would be overlooked; currently, delinquencies of any amount are grounds for rejected applications.

These are what are known as "Plus" loans.

They carry a higher interest rate than Stafford loans and they have another terrifying feature -- they're not taken out by the students, but by the parents.

Stafford caps loans at $57,000, roughly.  That's far too much, but at least there's a cap.  There is no cap on PLUS loans.

Virtually all of the young adults out there with $100,000+ in college debt have these destructive lending scams loaded upon them.  It can't be otherwise, due to the Stafford limits, for the most part.  For one of those people who finds themselves unable to get a job in their chosen field, or for whom the salaries in that field (e.g. social work, journalism, etc) are simply insufficient to pay the debts off their parents can be impoverished.

Since Reagan, then Clinton and then Bush all destroyed (incrementally) the ability of borrowers for student loans to discharge them in bankruptcy this leads to an intractable problem.

The real issue is that college shouldn't cost more than a few thousand dollars a year. There is utterly no reason for it to cost more than $20,000 or so for the entire four year course of study, which on an inflation-adjusted basis would mean that you could work full-time in the summer and part-time during the year (e.g. weekends) and put yourself through with no assistance from anyone else.  

That, by the way, was entirely possible right up until the mid 1980s when the loan scam system took off.

The fix is to force downward the cost of college, and the means to do that is to withdraw the "easy loan" game and start prosecuting under the RICO laws along with the Sherman and Clayton acts any and all educational institutions that try to use their credentialing system as a means of forcing you to go through their schools.

Education is a good thing -- but not if it comes at the expense of living in a refrigerator box.

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From the you gotta be ****ing kidding me file...

In her first year as principal of the all-girls Fontbonne Hall Academy, Mary Ann Spicijaric was leading a grand experiment that couldn't be discussed outside the halls of her Catholic high school in Brooklyn. The 38 teachers, along with school administrators and attendees, were under strict rules to keep quiet about the new Web-based software they were testing that helped educators manage assignments, grade papers and communicate with students.

As Spicijaric enters her second school year at Fontbonne, the secret is out and it has a name: Google Classroom.

Right.

So now we're gonna give every kid from kindergarten on a Google login ID, and that's going to track everything they do in school.  Oh, and I'm sure it won't be just in school either.  Google will own all of that data, your child will not, it will form a part of their indelible record in the hands of commercial interests that have no responsibility to guard that information or remove it on request.

In fact, Google appears not to be charging for this, which means they're getting value from somewhere -- and you can bet it's not as simple as CNBull**** wants you believe, which is simply the proposition that everyone so-exposed will then "use" Google later in life.

Like Hell.

That data, from school performance to where else that kid goes online has value.  Lots of it, and there is utterly nothing to prevent Google from using it.

They will.

You're flat-balls nuts to allow this to happen.

The simple test is this: Will Google still offer it for "free" if, as a condition of being able to do so, all of the data generated by your kid's use is irrevocably assigned to them and delivered upon their 18th birthday, with the originals being destroyed, and should Google violate that premise they will be held account for felony privacy invasion and a statutory penalty of $100,000 per kid that is so-violated.

The answer to that question, if someone dares ask it, will be "No."

And there you have it.

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This sort of activity is a direct assault on the children they claim to be employed to "teach":

'There's no partisan politics about kids. It's all about doing what's right, first and foremost." So declared then Republican Governor Charlie Crist upon signing the nation's largest expansion of private K-12 scholarships in 2010. Now Mr. Crist is running to get his job back as a Democrat, and his new union friends are suing to block his tax-credit scholarship program. Mr. Crist now says he wants to stop the expansion.

....

The new union lawsuit complains that this growth is undercutting the state constitution's requirement for the "adequate provision" of public education. Their beef is that districts lose $6,944 in state funds for every public-school student who uses a scholarship to attend a private school.

In other words even though no public funds are used the fact that money is paid to the district for each student and those funds go away when the kid does this constitutes "undercutting" the State's requirement to provide an "adequate" education.

Even though the reason it's a per-pupil stipend is that the costs are allegedly linked to the number of kids!

This may not legally rise to the level of racketeering or extortion but it sure as hell does rise to the level of assaulting the educational integrity of the children who are allegedly being educated by these union members.

The simple fact of the matter is that public-sector unions need to be barred as a matter of both State and Federal Law.  They are inherently unable to exist without violating the basic precept of adversarial bargaining, since they can (and do) effort to elect people to sit on the other side of the table that will do as they wish.

That turns all such "bargaining" into an open and notorious, but legal fraudulent edifice and there only one remedy: Get rid of all of them.

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And not just when there's some buggery going on in the locker room either.

Tuition gouging for degrees that are useless in the real world and a failed business model have put U.S. colleges front and center as exacerbating income inequality.

Many college students are increasingly getting priced out of getting the very same skills elected officials in Washington, D.C. have strenuously argued are needed to stop rising pay gaps.

From the perspective of both the Federal Government and the colleges, however, there's nothing broken at all.

Over the decades, college officials have used their nonprofit status to build an unsustainable business model more akin to hoteliers, one that real estate mogul Donald Trump would envy. And all on the backs of taxpayers, students and their families.

On the contrary -- a hotelier does not attempt to force you to travel and thus be subject to his rent for the night.  Colleges, in conjunction with the rest of the Federal Government and other businesses, do.

Of course in a world where there was such a thing as actual prosecution for breaking of the law the mere discussion of "requiring" college degrees for work that has no bearing on the granted degree by any material portion of the employment universe would instantly lead to criminal prosecution under The Sherman Act.  A few $1 million fines leveled at individuals and some $10 million ones aimed at corporations and universities would prove quite the disincentive to that sort of cartel behavior!

A top college watchdog, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), adds: “It is a tragedy that our colleges and universities are increasingly characterized by their high costs, not their high standards,” adding, “it is time to demand improvement.”

Oh really?

Where is the demand to get rid of the "special" status that student loan debt has?  I'll tell you where it's not -- it's not coming from such so-called shining lights as Elizabeth Warren, who wishes to instead drive the cost of college higher by making the money even cheaper and more-available.  Basic economics tells us that this will do nothing more than shift the supply:demand curve even more toward unaffordable -- for anyone not (at that instant) using the "free" money.

That, of course, is literally everyone once they stop attending school!

Then there's what I've often talked about in that colleges put forward costs that I argue are intentional falsehoods in that they all quote "4 year" prices.  Yet the common "term" of school nowdays is six years, so your cost will be 50% higher.  THAT should be the quoted price -- the typical outcome, not the "best case" one.  Again there are myriad laws that allegedly require you not to mislead people in your advertising and promotional materials; how the so-called "4 year" costs don't objectively violate those laws is beyond me.

Next up is our President who has set "income based repayment" plans for federally-underwritten college debt.  That's a nice idea, except for one problem -- any amount ultimately written off is 1099'd to you and you owe federal tax on it unless you got the foregiveness by working for non-profits.  What's even worse is that such a 1099 is the same as income in the year it's written off, and if you have a large balance (say, $100,000) that is "forgiven" that will force your tax bracket for that year to be much higher and can easily result in a $30,000 tax bill -- due right now, thank you very little, and if you don't have it oh the IRS will attach yet more and continuing interest to the balance until you do!

And then there are the utterly worthless degrees -- especially those in the so-called "liberal arts."  It used to be that when you went to college the first two years or so was spent learning things that had little to do with a particular profession but plenty to do with what was thought of as classical education -- defined as literature, history, sciences and mathematics.  In short the first two years of your post-secondary education were designed to hone your ability to think, providing you with the historical and factual references necessary to do so.  Given that ability, the thought process went, you were more likely to be able to reasonably process information in your chosen profession.

Today this is no longer considered "necessary."  As a result we have a plethora of so-called "educated" people bearing college degrees who are incapable of thought, who believe that exponential growth can go on forever, who believe in 100mpg carburetors that were "suppressed" by oil companies, who fail to comprehend that we steal $700 billion from citizens in the form of taxes so others can sit on their ass and get drunk or high instead of working (yet we don't call that theft) and who fail to understand the basics of monetary balance, thereby permitting deficit spending of all sorts to take place on the premise that it's "good" -- or at least, isn't "bad."  This is why our local politicians can use the money that should be put aside for new roofs and cafeteria chillers in our local schools, a maintenance and replacement expense 20 years in the coming for things like Wii game consoles and then go back to the people crying poverty and demanding a tax increase without being at least politically hung by their necks until dead -- or being prosecuted for theft-at-gunpoint and possibly being literally sentenced to same.

The Federal Government loves this state of affairs, of course, since they're the biggest bamboozlers (and just plain boozers) among all.  It is their chicanery and lies that enable all the rest; without the deficit spending purchasing power would have dramatically increased among the common American.  Isn't that what we want to happen?  Well, it should be, but of course it's not among many, and the shibboleth commonly used is that weakening the currency (by expanding national debt) means that exports would be favored (and thus so would GDP.)  The problem with such a claim is that I have to buy my goods and services with said weaker currency; when I no longer can do that what happens next?  We know that: Earnings power is replaced by credit in a puerile (and futile) attempt to keep pace -- right up until that bubble bursts.

Are you going to see solutions to this problem?  Probably not, at least in the short run.  Like all bubbles the insanity inherent in them continues far longer than it should.  Eventually the universities playing this game, and their government enablers, will find either empty ivory towers or burnt out ones; revulsion either leads to abandonment or revolution, given enough time.

Let's hope it remains peaceful, although given the willingness of the various parties to do things that ought to be illegal I have my doubts.

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