Today’s Irresponsible Cuts

The Senate bill to cut $40 billion dollars out of the budget takes a third of that $40 billion from students. I’m imagining that this is how the debate went:

BushCo & Republican Majority:
“We need some money. Like $40 billion. Where are we gonna get it?”

Democratic Minority & people with brains:
“Rich people? Corporate cronies that already give gifts? Why not cash in on those relationships in a way that benefits real people?

BushCo & Republican Majority:
“You guys are stupid. Let’s rob students. That will be much easier.”

Unchecked power in our three-headed political hydra leads to ridiculous results for the lives of the citizens. This example is no different. In the bill, students will be forced to pay higher interest rates on their already increasingly expensive student loans, and banks will get less government subsidies to provide these loans [at lower rates].

This is a HUGE deal. To make this more clear, lets put things in perspective.

The majority of students in college are there with the help of some form of financial aid
Student Loan debt can now be used as a reason to withold social security moneys

Now, let’s get stupid about this: American busines leaders are saying that our students are not able to compete on the international stage due to the shortcomings or our educational system (e.g. a speech from Bill Gates, linked here. The government [usually] listens to big busness and rich people, so who better to listen to than the richest man in the world who runs the biggest software company in the world? If No Child Left Behind wasn’t B.S., maybe we wouldn’t have this problem). As a result, the goverment should be doing everything in its power to strengthen its public education institutions on the primary, secondary, and collegiate levels. Well, how do you strengthen a college? Not by placing barriers to entry to it!!!! If I want something to be better, I don’t cut off it’s resources. What’s is the strongest resource of any college: it’s students.

Maybe I’m crazy because there are certain things I view as untochable as far as cuts in spending go:

– Education
– Health Care
– Legal Protection

Since I feel this way, I can’t be a fan of this budget bill, which cut other social programs that help the poor, including Medicaid and Welfare.

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

One response to “Today’s Irresponsible Cuts”

  1. Eleanor says :

    It’s also a huge deal because it is the single most anti-consumer, anti-competition law in the history of the nation. Here’s a good story on it from the Riverside Sentinel:

    December 15, 2005
    Ohio Congressman Boehner’s “Tricks” Are Not For Kids

    Ohio Congressman Boehner’s “Tricks” Are Not For Kids
    By Daniel Auld

    When Ohio Congressman John Boehner recently told a gathering of student loan bankers that he had some “tricks up my sleeve to protect you,” he wasn’t talking about new tricks.

    He was talking about the oldest trick in the book: “Protecting” business people from competition and innovation. Stopping consumers from getting lower rates and better terms for their student loans.

    These tricks are not for kids.

    The student loan business is now one of the most profitable in America, says Fortune Magazine. And it did not get that way because student loan bankers are smarter, better or less expensive than bankers in other industries.

    It is more profitable because they have more protection from competition. And now Boehner, head of the House Committee that oversees student loan legislation, is promising them even more protection from the one force that drives down prices, improves service, and stimulates innovation: Competition, of course. Which in the student loan business in almost non-existent.

    Thank you, Congressman Boehner.

    That is the way it was until earlier this year, when in January, the Department of Education ruled that borrowers looking to reconsolidate their student loans could sidestep the longstanding anti-competitive rule against doing so.

    It was cumbersome, but effective. Borrowers had to use a two-step process of reconsolidating into the federal governement’s Direct Loan Program, then reconsolidating again with a private lender offering better rates. Before then, borrowers were locked in to their current lender no matter what other lenders offered them a better deal.

    In May, the Department of Education set aside another longstanding anti-consumer policy by ruling that borrowers who are still in school could convert their variable rate student loans into fixed-rate consolidaton loans before rates increased in July. That way they could take advantage of historically low interest rates, much as millions of other borrowers do with their home loans.

    While borrowers celebrated, consumer bankers plotted.

    Enter Boehner. Buried deep in legislation to raise prices on student loans are provisions that will largely outlaw the reforms that introduced so much competition into student loans earlier this year.

    If passed, student loans would once again be the only thing sold in America that cannot be freely refinanced.

    Columnist Dick Morris calls the anti-refinancing scheme an “obnoxious .. ripoff.” Terry Savage, the financial columnist of TheStreet.com, says there is “no way” borrowers should support this plan.” The New York Times calls it “Robbing Joe College to Pay Sallie Mae,” the country’s largest student loan provider. The Times Union of New York, calls plans to outlaw refinancing a “student loan shame.’

    Boehner’s tricks are not for kids.

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