The Pandemic of American Politics

By Alan J. Yeck

It’s been a bit tough trying to write this week. So much information coming at us and so many emotions in the mix that it’s been hard to bring my thoughts to clarity. Then I saw a picture today and in it I found a few moments of focus. It was a picture of a short hose coming from a fire hydrant, attached to a larger PVC pipe with a dozen drinking taps on it. It’s a fresh water station on the streets of San Francisco for the homeless. There is not a better example of the biggest problem we face today in the United Sates but if you think I’m saying ‘homelessness’ is our biggest problem, you’re wrong. Our biggest problem, and it didn’t start with this administration but I promise you it will continue with the next, is how we address all of our problems- we treat the symptoms and not the causes. The problem isn’t providing drinking water to the homeless, it’s the homeless! Instead of addressing the causes of homelessness, e.g., mental health, affordable housing, life sustaining wages, education, etc., we hook up a hose to a device that is supposed to be used to put out structural fires and call it a day. The world leader in innovation does it again. The COVID-19 equivalent would be to never develop a vaccine and just treat the symptoms with Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu. “Plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.” That should do it.

Meanwhile, on any given night in our country, more than 500,000 people go homeless every night, 40 million of us are living in poverty, 21 million are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, 10 million women and men are physically abused by their partners, with 700,000 children abused and neglected yearly  (the actual number is much higher because so many go unreported). And what is our mainstream solution? Our judicial system which ensures the extremely profitable prison system has a never-ending supply of customers.  We have 2.3 million people in 110 federal prisons, 1,833 state prisons, 3,134 local jails, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 218 immigration detention facilities (immigration is another problem where only the symptoms have been addressed), 80 Indian Country jails, state psychiatric hospitals, and military prisons. Prison is the largest treatment for mental health in the U.S. What I mean is that where so many Americans need mental health treatment (the root causes of incarceration, homelessness, drug abuse…) instead of making sure they can receive that, we treat the symptoms and sent them to prison where they are beaten, raped, abused and come out more likely to commit greater crimes than before they went in. Prison is like the ITT Tech of criminal instruction. It’s not good but we’re paying for it anyway. 

Those are just an example of some of the many troubles we need to deal with, head on. How do we address them, by finding the root causes or only treating symptoms? These are national issues that affect all of us therefore it is the responsibility of our government and elected officials to implement policies to make the positive changes. But they don’t do they? Why? 1) Follow the money. Always, follow the money. 2) Keep the people asleep. A person in California was asked, “why do you think there are so many homeless people here?” Her response was, “because we have nice weather.” That’s right, homelessness exists there because the weather is nice. OMFG! 1 and 2 working together are hard to beat, but not impossible. 

How do you feel the government systems we’ve been using are working for us? All of them, blue and red, are accountable for what the United States is today. All of them. Until we remove corporate and lobbying influences (the money) and expand the two-party system, the corruption will only continue. And the worst part? Me, you, and your sister too have allowed it. It is time for us to wake up from our social coma. Demand from those whom you vote for that they support this and if they don’t, then know they are why all of the above continues. They are why the capital was attacked, they are why democracy is dying, and they all make money from it. Vote for the person that agrees to make these changes in our system and restore democracy to the people. If they don’t, don’t vote for them.  Yes, it is just that simple. 

Be well and keep up the peaceful fight. 

Reflections on Higher Education Reform: “Free College” and the fallacy of the college degree as a necessity.

By Christiane Warren, Ph.D., Guest Contributor

January 15, 2021

In today’s public discourse both on and off university campuses, the overwhelming consensus asserts that a college degree has become a necessity, even a collective right to secure individual economic security and to address past and present wrongs of racial and economic inequality.  If the cost of college remains high, many students, and disproportionally this means, students of color, are unable to attain a college degree.  Thus, existing levels of social and economic inequality continue to persist and even grow, contrary to the long-cherished belief that a college education serves as the key to social mobility and economic stability.

The answer to this generally accepted causal connection, as offered by the incoming administration and its Progressive supporters, can be found in an expanded role of Federal funding and regulation aimed at removing financial barriers from college attendance. While noble in its basic sentiment, these ideas are highly problematic and largely unrealistic in their implementation. Furthermore, much of their justification is built on a flawed premise, shaded by ideological subjectivity, and will lead, not to greater equality, but only to the hastened demise of the American higher education structure.

To address the issue in detail, it is necessary to clarify the current crisis in its actual terms: The first assumption, that a college degree is a “must have” and thereby should be fully funded by the public, namely the taxpayer, is false. Not every person needs to, nor is academically able, to earn a college degree. Most jobs still do not require four years of study. By reducing the college degree to a means for obtaining employment, we lower its educational value and place an undue burden on many students, who are neither prepared for, nor truly need four years of intellectual study in abstract thinking and theoretical analysis to obtain employment and relative financial security. Most of today’s occupations can be entered into with an arguably improved, High School education and 18 months to 2 years of vocational skills acquisition.

Yet, many argue that the modern-day high school diploma no longer serves the needs of the 21st century workplace. The responsibility and cost of educating the American public has been displaced, largely on community colleges and state universities, where most under-prepared students attend. The need for additional services both in student activities and services along with the steep increase in assessment requirements, have greatly contributed to the growth in administrative costs.  Many educators place emphasis for reform here, demanding that colleges offer even more robust support systems, alter admission criteria and adjust course curricula to reflect the learning needs of academically under-prepared and financially marginalized students.

This acceptance of so-called “credential creep” as a fact due to the overall failure of many public high school systems, is inherently wrong and should be vigorously fought. Shifting the responsibility of general education from high school, which is free and mandatory, to colleges, which are voluntary and require payment, is contradictory to the tenets of equity and defies basic common sense.  It also further contributes to the escalation of costs and persistent educational inequality. When the educational responsibility of the secondary school system is transferred to post-secondary sector, society ends up paying twice for the same service and perpetuates instructional redundancies. Students spend additional time, financial aid, and energy, learning in college what society paid for them to learn while in high school. Not only does this deplete already limited public resources, but it also decreases their chances of success, and thus leads to greater drop-out and loan default rates.

Educators and reformers acknowledge the problem; however, they advocate for colleges to provide more support services in the name of racial and economic equity. Doing that, however, only exacerbates the original problem of inequality and further adds to the cost of higher education.

For those who truly seek reform, both for students and for society, the answers are far from easy. Points for exploration may be found in ending social promotion in public schools, curtailing systemic disciplinary discrimination against male students of color, raising the professional status of public-school teaching through recognition, salaries and support, and limiting the reliance on standardized testing as the primary measure of student achievement. By bolstering the depth and quality of the general education students achieve through their high school diploma across the board, the necessary community and critical skills, so valued can be acquired before leaving school. Thus, post-secondary learning can be either focused on acquiring specific job training skills or furthered in college for those who have both the inclination and ability to do so. Doing so should be preferable over lowering standards and expending money to teach the same course work again that was not processed in high school, during the first 2 years of college.  While on the surface, free college, especially with an emphasis on community college appears to be a laudable concept, however, on closer examination, it is based on flawed assumption and will inevitably prove to fall short of its social justice goals, while burdening the American taxpayer with an unsurmountable bill.

More About the Author

Guest author, Dr. Christiane Warren, Senior Consultant at Anna J Cooper Education Advocacy. Recognized for producing growth and cultivating success in the career and education space, Dr. Warren has served as tenured faculty, department chair and academic dean for entire divisions and in the Academic Affairs office at both 2-and-4 year institutions in NJ and NY. Read more about Dr. Warren here.

Masks Matter

This post has been edited/rewritten for clarity from it’s original version with the author’s full permission.

Trigger Warning: Language & Discussions of Death

My husband and I went into social isolation on March 17, 2020.

We went into isolation “early” because I am a part of a vulnerable population. I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes for 29 years this year and I’ve had asthma for around five years. Many of the stats I’ve read and research shared by major medical organizations and trusted groups states that I’m at least three times more likely to die if I contract COVID-19. Way more likely to have COVID long term complications or be a “COVID Long Hauler”. If I were one of the lucky to survive, the chances that I would make it out without at least some serious complications are slim.

I am not writing that out because I want your pity. I am writing it out because it’s important to me that you can put a face, my face, with statements that I’m hearing/seeing being shared.

You know someone like me. Someone who doesn’t “look sick” who deals with a health concern that puts them in a high risk category. You probably know several people who fall into a higher risk category you can see also (such as anyone older than 50).

When you say it is your right not to wear a mask, you are correct. You have the right to put yourself in danger. That said, your mask is more of a protection for the people around you, so you’re actually putting other people in danger by not wearing one. You don’t have the right to put other people in danger. That’s why we don’t allow people to drive when they’ve been drinking.

This pandemic has become a political discussion, when it should be a people discussion. Our collective health and well being, as a nation, is in more danger than ever before. The virus, the death count, our overwhelmed health care system, and the financial ruin health care bills will leave for millions when this is all said and done are reasons enough to show caution. They’re more than enough reasons to do whatever we can to stop COVID.

People I’ve known for many years and have always thought were reasonable have posted about their rights being taken away when they are required to wear masks. There is outrage about vaccines and wondering aloud how employers can make things mandatory. They’ve questioned if all of this is worth the income they’re losing. They’ve griped about the government infringing on them and they’ve said they don’t understand what the big deal is. They’ve posted pictures where they haven’t socially isolated from people they care about, because, why would they do that? They feel fine.  

But anytime someone questions the validity or shares misinformation, even just wondering in a public forum if it’s true, I find myself overwhelmed with one of the stages of grief. I never get to acceptance. I continue to hold out hope that my belief in the goodness of all people will win. That hope is more strained all the time.

Now, while millions of people are awaiting the vaccine, and we’re having the deadliest days in American history, I continue to hear people question if the science is real. If this is really necessary when “only a few” die from the virus. We are still having this conversation, so many months in. But really, it’s only 1%, maybe, of US citizens that will die right? And mostly just the sick and elderly. That’s really not that many? That’s not a big deal, right?

Keeping in mind that 1% of the US population is roughly 3.3 million people, yes, it’s a big deal.

Many people continue to cite the rapid creation of the vaccine as a reason to fear it; others simply share their mistrust of any of the information put out regarding the vaccine. Some argue against vaccines in general and use peer pressure and unsubstantiated rhetoric to ignite fear in other people. The misinformation travels even faster than the virus does.

So this is my challenge to those of you who want to reopen immediately and “get back to normal” without additional precautions in place. Who question the science and validity of the science because your political affiliations don’t like Dr. Fauci. This is my statement to the people saying “We’ll lose a few people but ONLY the sick and the elderly.” Or “The strong will survive”.     

I want you to see my face, hear my voice, and listen.

Call me and tell me why I don’t deserve to live.

If the economy is the most important piece; if it is truly just a numbers game, if the “strong will survive”…imagine having to look someone in the face and actually say that: “You don’t deserve to live”.

If I’m not available to take your call, I have hundreds of people (friends, family, my spouse, etc.) you can call. I’m very fortunate to have lived a life filled with wonderful people. If you can’t imagine delivering that statement, “Your friend, sister, daughter, wife, granddaughter, niece, etc. doesn’t deserve to live,” then it’s time to stop delivering unhelpful rhetoric regarding vaccines and pull your mask back up over your nose.

For the record, I don’t necessarily care if other people choose not to get the vaccine, with some exceptions (those in direct lines of healthcare, those working in care facilities, teachers, etc.). You do have the right to choose what goes into your body, and I believe that stands for everyone. I’ll be getting my shot. I hope to see you there, even if it’s not to save yourself. Even if you “don’t know for sure” the virus is a real threat. I hope your empathy wins if you can’t reckon with the science.

Also, I recognize this is incendiary. If you don’t believe the stats on masks and vaccines saving lives, then I’ll be forced to appeal to your humanity. I recognize that I’m making the choice to stay very socially isolated and we’ll probably be okay because of that. But every time you or someone you know chooses not to wear the mask, or chooses not to self-isolate, or chooses to continue spreading misinformation and doubt about the vaccine, you’ve made a choice to bring that virus closer to my door. You make a decision that those of us that are already fighting every day don’t deserve to live.

Episode 10: Corporate Politics & The Student Debt Crises wih Alan Yeck

Thank you to RightsandWrongsPodcast.com for featuring us!

“Join Alan Yeck and I in a conversation about corporate funds in U.S. politics such as lobbyists. Along with a deep dive into the unspoken issues that make up the student debt crises such as the loans, exploitation of employers, and the disconnect between the universities and the workforce. Alan Yeck is a former Intelligence specialist, with 20 years of experience in higher education, and the founder of the political organization AltRaged Editor & Producer: George O.”

Source: Episode 10: Corporate Politics & The Student Debt Crises wih Alan Yeck

The Solutions to the Student Loan Crisis Don’t Require NASA

By Alan J. Yeck, Founder

At the end of the article he wrote last year, Daniel M. Johnson, What Will It Take to Solve the Student Loan Crisis? responded to the question about whether there is a solution to the student loan scam with “Maybe.” While his piece was focused on the cost of education, which is completely valid and must also be addressed, it is but one part of a solution. “But one thing has become increasingly clear: solutions to the high cost of higher education and the student loan crisis will not come from the higher education establishment.” I completely agree with Daniel on this point. Higher education administration has not focused on reducing costs in any meaningful way for decades. It does so when it’s forced to and it’s never about serving the students, which is why the expenses continue to rise and passed on to the students and their families. Containing costs at the institutions are one aspect of the student loan crisis but all roads lead to Washington D.C. We are in this mess because of legislation they passed, and continue to support, that generates money back to their own campaigns through Super PACs. Lasting solutions are there but it means our elected officials, House and Senate, will have to do the ethically, right thing. I want to believe that still exists in Congress but I am hard pressed to give an example. Blue and Red are equally dirty and corrupt. Joe DiMaggio has been gone for a long, long time.

Restore full bankruptcy rights to student loan borrowers

There was never a valid reason to criminalize student loans. When it was first enacted in the early 1970s, there was less than a 1% default rate, and it was out of concern for what Congress thought of as expensive degrees, specifically law and medical – that the lawyers and doctors wouldn’t pay back their loans. At that time the law was that student loans couldn’t be included in bankruptcy until 5 years after graduation. Over the next few decades, in combination with the increasing availability of federal loans and the explosion of the for-profit institutions, Congress continued to “tweak” the rules as the money flow also increased into their own pockets. Finally in 2005 only those who qualify under an ambiguous “undue hardship” which is determined by each and every individual court could student loans be included in bankruptcy (you have a better shot at winning the lottery than a judge with a backbone dismissing your student loan). Once that right was removed, the cost of education skyrocketed which in turn brought out the corporate shit-eating-dogs known as ‘loan servicers’ (Navient, et al).

Solving the student loan debt crisis isn’t like working on global warming, it really isn’t rocket science. A few hundred people that were elected to take care of the people can do it very quickly – a lasting solution can put in place in 2021 but they would have to stop taking the money. Well, hell…now that I think of it, I guess I’m going to stop and get a lottery ticket on the way home. You should too.

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#altraged #studentloandebt #corruption #bankruptcy #buisness #innovation #elections2020 #highered #leadership 

https://hbr.org/2019/09/what-will-it-take-to-solve-the-student-loan-crisis

Death of Democracy

“What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

By Alan J. Yeck

While it is easiest to blame Trump and his supporters for yesterday’s occupation by rioters of the Capitol, we need to understand that this was just the most recent symptom of a much greater issue that has been going on for many administrations regardless of the party in power. It’s just the most recent symptom of our dying democracy.

This didn’t just happen yesterday, or even begin in 2016. A “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has not been the reality of our American political system for a long, long time – if it ever was true. Do not read this as condoning any of our current politicians or political parties because all have blood on their hands. Not one is without guilt. Are you?

We have allowed ourselves to be fooled by one side or the other for as long as I can remember, and in researching the history of our government, for as long as it’s been in existence. We choose to believe what this person says or what that media outlet reports. We choose to believe that our side is absolutely right and the other absolutely wrong. We choose to ignore those around us suffering from poor policies and social ignorance. We choose not to see the ultra-wealthy and powerful taking all they want while we fight each other for the scraps.

We not only choose these things, we choose to embrace them. When our voices are not heard by those who we entrust with our lives and the future of our children, there can only be anger and resentment. But the direction has been misplaced, intentionally planned, so we stand against each other; to be occupied at the lowest level instead of focusing on the roots of our problems – corruption and ownership of our government by corporate entities who have become the masters to those we vote for. The system which safeguards our democracy is broken and our elected officials are bought and paid in full to keep it that way. Biden’s presidency will not change this.

The two-party system has been protected by the two parties to ensure the power remains with them (corporations) and not the people. Over the last few years, I’ve heard both sides making statements to attack each other based on what the ‘founding fathers’ of our country thought – what their vision was for our country today. In all instances I felt their references were at best, contrived and based on absolutely no understanding of the history of our nation or our current problems. With that said, I’d like to share two quotes from those involved in the original fight against tyranny:

There is nothing I dread so much as the division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our constitution.”

-John Adams

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”

-George Washington

Just to make clear, “despotism” is when the people are oppressed by the absolute power and authority exerted by government. It was a warning from 200 years ago and we still haven’t listened though Rome burns. If ignorance is truly bliss then we are one bunch of happy fuckers.

There is much more to our government’s corruption that I’ll continue to address later, but my last thought is about Ashli Babbitt, the Air force veteran who was shot and killed by U.S. Capitol Police while climbing through a window. While I did not know her, I’m very sorry and sad for her family and all who loved her. I’m also sorry and sad for the officer that pulled the trigger that took her life. Both were committed to their beliefs and what they believed was their duty to do. What sickens me the most, however, is the reaction from the members of our congress – those that were in hiding – quick to speak to the cameras to tell how awful this was for our country. The truth? The truth is they are all responsible for Ms. Babbitt’s death.  All have her blood on their hands. Regardless of what you think of Trump or Pelosi or McConnel or Schumer, every member of congress and the senate has her blood on their hands.

Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One, two; why, then ‘tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him? The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’that, my lord, no more o’that: you mar all with this starting. Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

“Here, take it. Take it, Georgie.”

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi addressing the American people.

The latest federal stimulus package, or how Congress gives more to the ultra-wealthy while trying to appear that they actually give a shit about the American people. 

By Alan J. Yeck

As I write this, the discussions are taking place in Washington as whether to give a $600 stimulus check or a $2,000 stimulus check. To me, as a citizen, at this point the dollar amount is the least of our concerns. We have a government that has spent the last nine months doing absolutely nothing other than campaign rhetoric and arguing with each other as many Americans continue to suffer. It doesn’t matter what political side you may fall on because there is no victory for the people.

The latest 5,593 page federal relief stimulus package was delivered to Congress just before they voted on it. This gave lawmakers a very, very short amount of time to read the equivalent of Stephen King’s “IT” five times over (which at least in his story evil is defeated), which means it is unlikely they read it at all. This $2.3 trillion package, of which only $900 billion is in response to the pandemic is shameful. SHAMEFUL. It  includes a whole treasure chest for those with the most treasure already. 

Senator Mitch McConnell leads Senate in checking with their boss on stimulus plan.

Some citizens are on the edge of ruin and $600, or $2,000 will do absolutely nothing to save them. Others do not need the money but they’re sending it anyway. This is their brilliant plan? Nine months to come up with this – ready, shoot, aim. The government has the capability to dig deeper into the data and target the aid to make the biggest impact. To identify our fellow citizens that need the most help is certainly possible, unless you’re our government today. Good job, Nancy. Good job, Mitch. Now let’s celebrate the holidays.

There has always been dysfunction with our political leaders but it was never a job requirement until the last few decades. My late uncle, John Malloy, told me about growing up in Chicago in the 1930s. Politicians were corrupt then – kickbacks for contracts, payoffs for votes…but the people had public parks, and swimming pools and  libraries… everyone knew the politicians were taking a little extra on the side but they took care of the people. Today, they take it all and the people are abandoned. That was 30 years ago when he told me that and it’s only gotten worse.

We have been conditioned to believe that ‘the lesser of two evils,’ and/or ‘better than nothing,’ are legitimate, acceptable positions. We have been told these lies for so long that we’ve started to believe them but the ‘lesser of two evils’ is still evil and less, and something that is ‘better than nothing’ is not actually better.

We, me and you, pay around $4 billion a year for congress operating expenses and this is what we get in return. Zero leadership, zero ethics, zero compassion, zero understanding. Nine months to put together a real plan using real data and this is the best they could do for us? Shame on them all. 

References

MacMillan, Douglas, Peter Whoriskey, and Jonathan O’Connell. 2020. America’s biggest companies are flourishing during the pandemic and putting thousands of people out of work. December 16. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/business/50-biggest-companies-coronavirus-layoffs/.

Defiance. We Must Fight!

An excerpt from The Killing of American Education, Part 1

By Alan J. Yeck, Founder

I went back to school in 40’s to get a better job. I got an Associate,Bachelors and a Masters. Almost 9 yrs later I don’t have a better job but I have almost $80,000 of debt. No matter how much I pay the balance doesn’t go down. I am at my wits end. I don’t know what to do. I barely have gas money to get to work to pay this bill.   LaDean Mitchell   March 14, 2019  Phillipsburg  (https://studentdebtcrisis.org/read-student-debt-stories/)

I cannot keep up with all the lawsuits filed in the last several years against the student loan industry including the (self) servicing agencies, Department of Education, Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and their new leader Kathy Kraninger. What I want you to understand is that the status quo of the system is completely and utterly broken and in complete chaos driven by unprecedented greed and corruption. Below is by no means a complete list –

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed against Navient in 2017 (when Seth Frothman was still there fighting for American consumers) for “systematically and illegally failed borrowers at every stage of the repayment by”

  • steering borrowers toward more expensive forbearance instead of affordable repayment plans;
  • misleading borrowers about the options available;
  • payments processed incorrectly.

Attorneys General of California, Illinois, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington as well as the Securities Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have launched investigations and/or filed lawsuits against this industry for fraud and unfair practices.  

I was denied Public Student Loan Forgiveness and Temporary Public Student Loan Forgiveness after working at an eligible nonprofit for the 10 required years (2007-2017). I still work there, but hate that I was denied forgiveness twice. I feel like I was lied to by the federal government and it angers me. I am even angrier that so many people like me were denied as well.   Kelly Ascheman   February 14, 2019  Blaine (https://studentdebtcrisis.org/read-student-debt-stories/)

New York state sued the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), aka American Education Services. New York Attorney General Letitia James said they “failed miserably” in their servicing of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. 

I previously mentioned Seth Frothman who resigned from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as its chief ombudsman over student loans. In his resignation letter to the than acting director Mick Mulvaney, Frothman stated the administration “has turned its back on young people and their financial futures…unfortunately, under your leadership, the Bureau has abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting…instead, you have used the Bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America.”

The Killing of American Education

An Introduction, by Alan J. Yeck

The U.S. spends almost double that of anywhere else in the world on higher education and that’s before the interest charges are shackled upon the students. Nine million Americans are either in default, deferment or forbearance on their student loans with a million more each year. These students are Democrats, Republicans, African American, Caucasians, Latinx, Asian, Native American, young, old, married, divorced, LGBTQ, fathers, mothers…every single demographic that exists. It’s not a political party issue – it’s blatant criminal activity by our elected officials, their collection agencies and the Department of Education. They have created a life-long debt sentence for these students for their own profit at the cost of our country’s future.

This paper will discuss politicians and politics but is not pro Democratic Party or Pro Republican Party. The reality of today is that all politicians are arrogant, self-serving  assholes and all have damaged our country in pursuit of their own wealth building agendas.

The student loan debt crisis didn’t just appear. The warning sirens have been blaring for over a decade with the causes of it going further back than that. The subprime mortgage crisis was also seen years before but again, the people that could have changed it, the politicians, chose to do nothing until it was too late and then they bailed out the firms to the tune of $30 trillion.  That same year Goldman Sachs paid out record bonuses to the very people who caused it. Why was this allowed and why is the student loan debt allowed? Because nasty, rotten, bankers, brokers, collection agencies, politicians and billionaires are making a great deal of money off of the dreams and misfortunes of students and the mismanagement of higher education (again allowed). Shame on them all. A pox on them all. There are solutions beyond the news bites and campaign rhetoric but solutions don’t pay as well.

Forced to compete in the higher education war for a job. Now I’m crushed with the weight of student loan payments and no end to the payoff. I’ve been forced to withdraw from contributing to my retirement fund so that I can make the enormous monthly payments. On a 50k loan, I’ll (if I don’t expire first) will have paid over 250k for this loan. By the way, my annual income will never match the debt I’ve accrued in order to compete for a professional hire career! I think it’s important to note that community colleges had not yet molded programs to support a full-time employee who would be taking full-time credit hours. This forced many adult college bound students into the private college sector. These colleges continue to price-gauge adult students with inflated credit hour costs, books, and fees. My best option would be to quit working all together! I’ll never see the light of day, so why bother making a good living? I support student debt forgiveness!   Jennifer   November 25, 2019  Columbus (https://studentdebtcrisis.org/read-student-debt-stories/)

The student loan debt crisis is not new. It wasn’t like a tornado that pops up with the warning sirens giving only minutes of notice before it destroys everything in its path. It has been in the making since the 1970s and touched down on land over a decade ago. It was seen then – sirens blaring and it was projected to get worse. The narrative never changed – do not ignore this or very bad things will happen – and it has. Our elected officials didn’t just ignore it but instead they have actively, albeit quietly, ensured the system remained broken and has supported the loan “servicing” agencies in pushing their boots harder on the necks of borrowers for their own profits.

These numbers, including our $1.7 trillion student loan debt figures are always increasing so this is a snapshot of the first quarter of 2019 –

Federal loan borrowers in repayment: 18.6 million.

Federal loan borrowers with loans in deferment: 3.4 million.

Federal loan borrowers with loans in forbearance: 2.7 million.

Federal loan borrowers with loans in default: 5.2 million.

11.3 million American citizens cannot make their payments. Twenty-five percent of all borrowers will go into default and that’s where the true ugly begins. At this point interest begins to quickly pile on and can double, triple, quadruple…more from the original loan amount.

Once in default, the loan is sent to collections – this is also the point where the power finance players make their money. With the blessing of congress and the courts, wages are garnished, social security payments are garnished, tax refunds are taken in full, you are no longer eligible for deferments or forbearance, and your credit is ruined. This can also cost you your job, or prevent you from future employment. This will last until the loan is paid back or until death (except private student loans where they can come after the estate).

How we reached this point can be very confusing (intentionally designed) so I’m going to attempt to deconstruct the main areas that facilitated the fraud and the areas that keep it going and growing. All of these issues have been previously reported by numerous journalists but have not always tied the relationships together of higher education, politicians, collection/servicing agencies, financial institutions, billionaires, the department of education and other branches of the federal government, and how they worked and continue to work together to commit such a monumental deception on the American public. 

There are many rabbit holes that they want you to get lost in so I’ll address some of those right now. This piece will not explain all the differences between all the various student loans available today – understanding that like a financial aid officer at a college doesn’t change the corruption. It will not explain in-depth how all the financial tools work involved in this industry – understanding that like a broker doesn’t change the corruption. It will not explain the various loan repayment programs and faulty formulas used by the collection/servicing agencies  – understanding these like the Department of Education will not change the corruption. It cannot cover every institution that has operated fraudulently nor al the dirty, immoral, unethical people involved…but I’ll give it the old college try.  

Beware phony advocates for reform that appear to speak on your behalf with partial fixes but do so just to ensure there are no real changes to the system that would result in any financial losses for themselves and the masters they serve. The predatory student loan industry exists because our elected officials are either corrupt themselves,  don’t take the time to truly understand all the complex aspects of the abuse and fraud in the system (they choose to listen to the industry’s own lobbyists instead of their own constituents), or are just plain morons. Regardless, all kill American higher education. The American student loan system – government loansharking enforced with judicial muscle. The mafia never had it so good.

Drug Use at the Department of Education: The Discretionary Income Formula

By Alan J. Yeck

The formula used to determine how much of your monthly income the student loan “servicers” will steal is based on a model where Department of Education, in cooperation with Congress, fed rats LSD over a 15 week period and then observed their movements in a standard 20-point maze. What occurred was nothing short of remarkable on a global scale. After the results were reviewed by no less than seven times by outside scientists it was determined that the Department of Education, in cooperation with Congress, were the ones actually ingesting the LSD and not the rats. This explains why the payback formula used by student loan “servicers”, aka Sallie Mae, Navient, Fedloan, Nelnet, et al is so fucking insane.  

This is directly from the Navient website –

Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)

“Your payments will be 15% (10% if you are a new borrower*) of your monthly discretionary income, the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence (other conditions apply) divided by 12.”

Clear? Maybe if you’re on acid.

Here is what the federal government considers as ‘discretionary’ income, meaning they will take 10-15% from your monthly income before these bills are paid:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Clothes
  • Trash pick-up
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Car payment
  • Car insurance
  • Car fuel and maintenance
  • Dental/vision (deductibles if you’re lucky enough to have insurance)
  • Health insurance (deductibles if you’re lucky enough to have insurance)
  • Emergency savings (emergency trip for family emergency…transmission breaks…etc.)
  • Any kind of retirement savings
  • Pets (food, litter, veterinary – or do we just put the down?)
  • Children (costs associated with children and or child support)
    • Trying to help them with their college costs so they don’t get sucked in this black hole of despair.
  • Misc (expenses I just can’t think of now or that might be unique to your life

The student loan “servicers” will take all they want, after their big brother has taken their taxes, and whatever is left you have to figure out how to pay these normal bills of life. When the transmission goes, and you need your car to get to work, so you can get your pay, so you can pay the loan “servicers,” you have to fix it, right? Right. Since you have no savings you have to default on your student loans to get your car fixed…or to travel to a family funeral on the other side of the country…and another 1,000 unseen events that you need emergency savings for. Then begins the interest game, and capitalization of that interest on to the principal…months later when you’ve been “rehabilitated” (what a great word – so fitting of the debtors prison they have created) you will owe more than ever before with the same formula used to steal your life. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This is the LSD influenced system they built and what our politicians protect. In turn for their feigned ignorance and silence to the plight of student loan borrowers, they are given campaign kickbacks through Super PACs to ensure the status quo remains the status quo and we go on paying. Forever. This story is told by millions of Americans and is the biggest scam ever inflicted by the U.S. Government on it’s own people.

At 59, with my 29 year plan ($35k loan will then be $310k), there’s a good chance I’ll be dead before it’s paid off. At least that’s one thing to look forward to.

#corruption #studentloandebt #dirtypolitics #bidenharris #joebidden #trump #kami #highered #students #business #innovation #blm #womensrights #elizabethwarren