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          Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is the higher education subcommittee chair in Congress. A few months ago she stated on talk radio that she could not tolerate people who accumulated student debt from going to a public university. In the same interview she stated that when she had gone to school she had worked off her student debt. Now everything in that statement is true, she cannot tolerate students who accumulate debt, and yes she did work off her tuition bills. But what Virginia Foxx does not understand is the different amount of tuition we have to pay off now as students. She does not understand why exactly she was able to work off her loans while many students that try to now are mired in interest costs, and other fees. Virginia Foxx represents the generation of angry old white people that somehow demand that students do not demand the same amount of funding and services that the older generation had to take advantage of.

           It is sad that Republicans made it a part of their national platform:

"The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans; however, it should serve as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students," the platform reads. "Private sector participation in student financing should be welcomed."

They openly encourage the creation of for profit colleges but it is even more of a contradiction. But this is an interesting part of the debate on higher education. It tries to define the Republicans who created this platform as people who pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. If we look at the higher education budget cut hawks they went neither to colleges that were neither private nor for profit

Louie Gohmert TX 1st:  Texas A&M University 1975 B.A

Virginia Foxx NC 5th: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill B.A 1968

Jim Semsenbrehnner WI 5th: University of Wisconsin Law School Juris Doctor 1968

Steve Womack AR 3th: Arkansas Technical University B.A 1979

Keep in mind that these people graduated from college at a time, when Pell grants funded 69% of tuition at all Universities both public and private.

                Even if we look at Paul Ryan who went to a private University in Miami Ohio, he still saved money from federal benefits to go to college. So the question again becomes a rhetorical instrument of justification. Why is it ok that these Republicans and this generation were allowed to use tax dollars to go to Public Universities but ours cannot?  These austerity politicians literally got into Congress because of the public system of higher education or funding from the federal government. Either way we look at it; these people are trying to redefine the goals of the federal government, because they try to redefine the causes of problems. Is it some sort of generational contradiction? To me it seems like the majority of Americans would like to have public universities funded and properly. Which is why President Obama won his second term, it was at the Democratic National Convention that the issue of affordable education was included in the national platform. It was the democratic congressman Hansen Clarke that introduced the “End Student Debt Act” into Congress, but these politicians will not compromise on the issue of student debt. It is this generation of Republicans that are trying to destroy the legacy of their party. If history is considered a measure of progress in Higher Education then it was President Lincoln a Republican who should be revered as the father of Modern Higher education through the land grant act.

              This is the true problem of the crippling student debt situation in our country. The fact that a large part of the golden generation and baby boomers who lived through the prosperity of the New Deal programs. Virginia Foxx is one of the cases where elected Republicans are literally contradicting the way our education system works because of a false philosophical premise that even Republicans like Virginia Foxx did not use to “pull themselves from their bootstraps” In short these political arguments that we are having about student debt are not whether or not to “increase spending” on education. But whether or not to restore the prosperity of our nation by funding education through tuition payments and pell grants. We used to be the nation with the highest number of college graduates in the world, but at the same time Pell Grants covered 69% of tuition for the average students. Keeping in mind that tuition itself was on average $500 dollars a year for a student in the 1960s. It seems to me though that there is a structural problem with what exactly has happened with the issue of funding higher education.

        So while we keep arguing our way over the issue on how to pay down the national debt. We keep forgetting what made our nation great which was an equalizing system of public education. Right now as it stands it would cost $73 Billion dollars to fund tuition free education for all American students in this generation. Roughly speaking that is 45% of the total yearly of the Bush tax cuts. It is less than 1/10th  of the defense budget. This is a matter of national priority and security, because if our country is to be prosperous enough to maintain a skilled workforce then we need to address this issue. This is not a matter of rhetoric, the threat that student debt poses to our economy is very real. Recently graduated students cannot purchase on the same levels than previous generations that did not have student debt could. This attack on our purchasing power translates into the real economy of having less liquid capital for us the true job creators as a consumers to consume.

              While Republicans keep talking about the crisis of our national debt, they go quiet when the conversation becomes about student debt. This rollback of our education should have been characterized as austerity, because that’s what it was. From Reagan to Virginia Foxx these politicians talk about prosperity like it is a measurement of success for students. Any economist can tell you that in order to have a prosperous economy you need two things a skilled workforce and the creation of work. In a consumption economy both of those require skilled workers and a process of constant industrialization. What the right keeps talking about is not an issue of the debt; it’s an issue of privatization and deindustrialization of our nation. As more and more factories and more unions are busted there is an interesting correlation on how much more difficult it is to get a college education. It used to be that a college degree was the great equalizer, but we should be ashamed as a nation that no longer is true completely. So the solution is either we fund education to have a functioning economy, or we do nothing and let the status quo continue. Spending less than half the money we spend on corporate subsidies and tax cuts we can make public education tuition free for all students and restore this great equalizer

Paolo Cremidis

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tuition at my school is now >22x what I paid (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, liz dexic, FloridaSNMOM, Ramoth

    in 1974. I worked my way through. No way could I do that now. How do you earn $34K in a summer waitressing? or even adding in afternoons running experiments in the biology lab? Hollow laughter.

  •  I started college in 1980 at one of the top 5 most (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, FloridaSNMOM

    expensive schools of the day. Dropped out in the 3rd year and was still able to repay those loans across 10 years.

    I went back to start finishing my BA in 2000 at the local State College and individual courses were $600 each. By the time I had worked my way through on the Mommy track, in 2011 when I graduated the same courses cost $1500 each.  And I wasn't paying room & board or any of the fees.

  •  The idea that students should pay for their (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, Kevskos, FloridaSNMOM

    own education is ridiculous and short-sighted. It is, however, consistent with the thinking of people who think the role of society is to exploit, rather than serve the individual.
    When humans are considered just another natural resource, then their exploitation seems entirely logical. Although this attitude seems to contradict "exceptionalism," it really doesn't, because what it means to "except" is to shut out. "Exceptional" is being used as a euphemism to suggest special and superior, which is what the excepters would like to be. What goes unmentioned is that the status is to be achieved by chasing the competition out.

    "I'm king of the mountain, not because of what I've achieved, but because I've chased all the others away."

    Isolates present themselves as independents. It's called making lemonade out of lemons. Their achievements are their own; their failures belong to someone else.

    I think it is a mistake to waste time and effort refuting their attacks with facts. Better to just call them out for their antagonistic and mean-spirited attitudes. And, if they're employed as public servants, point out that they're not doing their job. Nobody hired them to be mingy.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:51:19 AM PST

  •  Crushed wages every bit as important as student... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, Kevskos, FloridaSNMOM, Ramoth

    debt crisis.

    When these hypocritical weasels went to college, they had every reason to expect that a good paying job with decent benefits and a retirement plan would be waiting for them.

    Nowadays? From the destruction of unions to the offshoring of manufacturing to the expansion of H-1 visas to corporate welfare, our corporate masters have stacked the deck against workers. Now you can graduate with $100,000 in educational debt....and go to work for minimum wage. You can work 80 hours a week for the rest of your life, and never get ahead of the interest on your student loans.

  •  OTOH-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz dexic, tjlord

    The higher education loan program is a serious Republican irritant.
    While it hasn't been sufficiently publicized, the program has been turned into a direct federal loan program, cutting out the banks as middlemen.

    Republicans are particularly irate because this shift was accomplished as part of the ACA, which they, of course, expected to do away with after the 2010 election. It didn't go their way. Moreover, the shift got implemented early, in October of 2010, I think. So, despite lax publicity, it was well under way by the time of the 2012 election.
    Not only are the bankers pissed at having lost the risk-free income from student loans guaranteed by the feds, but the for-profit diploma and certification mills their friends organized are not going to have the steady stream of bank-recommended customers. Just as insurance companies funneled dollars to banks, the banks were funneling dollars to the "institutions of learning" that sprang up like mushrooms after a rain.
    The Cons have always looked to the federal government as a cash cow, designed to spew out dollars, whenever other resources get too scarce.  From their perspective, the purpose of the public corporation is to reward the elect and punish the non-compliant. Programs like pensions and medical care and injury prevention and workmen's compensation and unemployment compensation are contrary to the punitive role they've assigned to the national and local governments. If the government doesn't make people work, what good is it? Who's going to enforce that there is "no free lunch," if government hands out food stamps?

    Not all people look to have governments make people work for them, but some people do. Why? Probably because they can't do anything for themselves.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 04:12:13 AM PST

    •  May be true - but tough to get (0+ / 0-)

      Sallie Mae wants 10.5% for a loan if you don't qualify for student aid.

      Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it - Samuel Clemens

      by tjlord on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:34:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't get the idea why the government shouldn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    offer loan but should guarantee them. It's just more of privatization of profit, socialization of risk. We have enough of it on Wall Street already. We don't need to go back to this ridiculous system.

  •  thanks for bringing attention to this, (0+ / 0-)

    upstatedemocrat.  While I know most of the DailyKos community is sympathetic to our plight, I don't see student loan debt diaries often. I find it infuriating that a certain generation of politicians basically went to school for free and then ruined it for everyone after them.  

    My only consolation is that the system must collapse at some point.  Eventually, tuition will be too high even with loans and students will just refuse to go.  Colleges will have to bring their prices down.  As for those with existing loans, it will finally be obvious to the Powers that Be that the loans are crippling our economic progress. Something will have to be done.  Alternatively, the government will do nothing and everyone will just stop paying.  Either way, this can't continue.    At least, that's what I tell myself when I'm feeling discouraged.  

    Anyway, keep your chin up.  You're not alone in this; there are millions like us.  

    •  its time we organize (0+ / 0-)

      we need to create a powerful student movement that has an establishment in politics. Students had that and it needs to come back.

      •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

        But it must be movement of not only current students, but of all those who have student loan debt. Such a movement would be mostly comprised of those in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, but there are also many parents out there who are stuck with the bullshit parent plus loans, and there are also plenty of seniors out there who are still, in their so-called "golden" years, paying off student debt which they can ill afford.  It must be a movement that shows the general public just how diverse this problem is.  Right now I think a lot of Americans think of student loan debt as a problem of only whiny, over-entitled teenagers who took out a government loan for more clothes and handbags.  We need to change that perception, otherwise nothing will ever get done.  

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