A typical syndicated dispatch on the surge in student deadbeats was the August 27, 1972 exposé by Los Angeles Times reporter Linda Mathews, which began with the personal anecdote of an anonymous "Washington banker" who purported to have once "handed a $1,500 check" for the year's tuition to a nameless "18-year-old college freshman" only to be insouciantly told, "Oh, I never intend to repay this loan." The anonymous banker -who had since joined "the staff of the American Banking sic Association" - helpfully explained to Mathews that the kid was, "acting on advice in underground newspapers urging students to use bankruptcy to avoid paying loans."In fact, just four percent of people filing for bankruptcy had any student loans at all. But despite tons of evidence that this was all made up, a law was passed making student loans impossible to get rid of. And that's when they became really big business:
And as the loans became more steadily impervious to the usual laws of credit and debt, they became bigger and more profitable. In the years since the Bankruptcy Reform Act passed in 1978, the nominal price of college tuition has risen more than 900 percent. Over the same period the median male income - again, nominally - has risen 165 percent. And since the percentage of the workforce boasting a bachelor's degree has expanded from less than 20 percent to nearly a third, I don't have to convince you that the median de facto return on investment on those diplomas has diminished greatly over the same years. Which brings us to the second way in which the student debt bubble differs from all the others you've seen: It is legally impossible to pop. By law it can only grow very fast.Read the whole piece. It's astonishing what an abusive scam the whole student loan business is.
(Continue reading below the fold.)
A fair day's wage
- Is your boss trying to get you to sign something saying you'll never join a union, and you're worried there'll be a target on your back if you don't sign? Sign away—it's not legally binding.
- Postal banking services are just one of many good ideas of how to strengthen the postal service. Congress would never allow it, of course.
- Striking Caterpillar workers voted to ratify a new contract and will go back to work next week. Workers hired before 2005 won't get raises, because Caterpillar management is fucking greedy.
- Ha: "Union thugs don't wear shorts."
- AT&T workers in Indiana get quite the unpaid lunch break: They can't listen to music, read newspapers, or go more than 1/2 mile from their work site.
- A federal judge said that American Airlines had gone too far in trying to cancel its contract with pilots as it goes through bankruptcy.
- Ikea workers, bus drivers, nurses, geothermal workers, and more have decided to join unions recently.
- The lousy economy continues to fall on some groups harder than others. People who did not go to college are still struggling, and single people are regaining jobs more quickly than married people. (Not necessarily because they're single, but for other overlapping reasons.)
- Some Chicago schools have opened for the year, and teachers are back on the job under an interim agreement while a full contract continues to be negotiated. Students will have longer school days, but rather than just telling teachers to find something to do with the added time without added resources, the district is hiring hundreds of new teachers. Teachers who had been laid off in the last three years get preference for hiring in these new positions if they had a satisfactory rating. Several major issues remain unresolved, including limits on class size, teacher evaluation methods, and staffing levels (despite the new hires under the interim agreement).
- Tens of thousands of people rallied in Philadelphia on Saturday for a Second Bill of Rights, including full employment, a quality education for all, and full participation in the political process.
- Workers at HealthBridge nursing homes in Connecticut are striking after management imposed a lousy contract (having previously locked out workers at one nursing home). And the replacement workers management has brought in are not doing an adequate job, leading to a variety of problems. But what's particularly low is that management accused striking workers of sabotage, including removing identification bracelets from Alzheimers patients. But the state Department of Public Health found that in reality:
Many residents were not compliant with wearing the identification bracelets and were care planned as such. Identification involved referencing a photograph of each resident located in the Medication Administration Record (MAR) and verifying the identity with a reliable staff member. Due to the number of replacement workers on all three shifts, a reliable staff member who was familiar with the residents ... was not always available to identify.
- Workers at the Oakland airport Subway concession say they were fired for complaining about wage and hour violations and trying to organize a union.
- Motorola Mobility is laying off 4,000 workers, a third of them in the United States after being bought by Google in May. (Via)
- What digby said, sick leave edition:
Long ago in a former life, when I worked in the pink collar ghetto, I sat in very close quarters with about eight office workers in which the same cold cycled around through the group for more than six months. It was miserable. We were either getting it, had it or were just getting over it. None of us had adequate sick leave so we didn't use what little we had it for fear it would be gone when we got "really sick."
- Where do anti-abortion groups stand on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act? You'd think that ensuring that pregnant women could keep their jobs and still be safe and healthy would be a priority for those groups, but so far they're not speaking up for this bill. Shocking, right?
- The U.S. Department of Labor has told the Georgia labor commissioner to reverse his decision denying unemployment benefits to seasonal school workers like bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
- What digby said, sick leave edition: