It should be no surprise to any of us that student debt is a huge problem today.  Racking up $40,000, $50,000 or $60,000 in student loans to pay for a four year college degree is not exactly what I would call “smart educational policy.”  Of course the Republican answer to this issue is simple: “You don’t need a college degree.” That’s right folks.  To pursue the American Dream you no longer need a college degree, the Conservative position that basically re-defines the dream into a crapshoot that can be achieved only by winning your state’s lottery.   Big time.   But this often how Republicans deal with issues facing America today.

Here’s what Representative Hal Rogers, (R-KY) Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee had to say about their proposed spending bill that kills the Department of Education’s crackdown on private, for profit education mills:

“This legislation continues our efforts to reduce wasteful spending, to stop harmful and unnecessary regulations that kill jobs and impede economic growth on behalf of the American Taxpayer.”

In case you missed the true meaning of Congressman Rogers’ quote, let me translate it for you:

“This legislation will ensure that private, for profit colleges around the country will continue to be able to pump out worthless degrees and certificates while protecting private bank and loan companies from any responsibility for saddling America’s young men and woman with life crushing debt no matter what the Obama Administration and the U. S. Department wants.” 

The student debt problem first came to my attention one Friday after work when me and a bunch of my staff were having pizza and beer across the street from the office.  One of my charges, a young recent graduate and recent hire, was complaining about how he never had any money, how he couldn’t even afford a trip back to Louisville, KY to visit his parents, etc. etc.  So I said to him:  “Well maybe, xkxkxk, you could slack off on going to clubs a bit or cut back on you other unnecessary expenses like expensive shoes and clothes.  He looked at me like I was from Mars.  
“Scott,” he said, “the problem is that after five years of college I have $90,000 in student loans I have to pay off.” 

This was back in the late 1990’s and I was shocked to learn that this was the common state of affairs with students.  And, since a B/Architecture requires five years of undergraduate work, the burden on my fellow professionals is even greater than for your four year students.  Thinking back to my own college days back in the 1960’s and 70’s,  after five years of undergraduate work and two years of graduate work, I wound up with student loan total of $2,175 from the New York State Higher Education agency.  This amount would be around $10,500 today, a paltry sum based on today’s student debt.  Needless to say things have changed a lot and not for the better.  (Well, unless you’re a fraudulent private institution of “higher education” or one of our voracious mega banks.)   

Back then nearly all college loans were granted and administered by governments – Federal and state for the most part – and our private banking and loan system was generally not in the picture.  Of course, privatization and unfettered free market capitalism has changed all that and now governments basically underwrite private loans so neither the institution doling out worthless degrees and/or the banks who were generously rewarded for causing the Crash of 2008 don’t lose any money under any circumstances. 

The Obama Administration back in 2009 formulated new rules for regulating private certificate and worthless degree mills (Corinthian and ITT, for example) after it had been shown that many of these mills had low completion rates but left students with mountains of debt and no job prospects.

Now I can’t say whether Congressman Rogers is just an Obama-hater and, therefore, is against anything and everything the Administration proposes no matter how egregious is the private sector’s abuse of young men and women, or if the backlash from the no-account private, for-profit, worthless certificate bestowing private “educational” industry and our equally deranged private banks are behind this magnificent piece of legislative doublespeak. 

But my money is on the latter given the billions of dollars at stake if the Administrations new rules take effect.  Never mind that this fraudulent, dishonest and devious industry cares nothing about the futures of our younger generations.   And why should Republicans care about young collage age men and women since they don’t contribute millions to their campaigns. 

The entire Washington Post article is here:


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