This may well be the most short-sighted, ineffective and contemptible Congress in the past fifty years, but can they truly be foolish enough to gamble with the future of America's children.
Let's take a few steps backward and review how we got to where we are. A generation ago, public universities were for the working and middle class. Tuitions were extremely low, and it was rare for students to incur large debts. Most of the cost was paid by state legislatures. These institutions, mostly dating back to the land-grant subsidies of the Lincoln era, were one of America's great mechanisms of upward mobility. Then three things happened. State legislatures got caught up in tax cutting fever. They had to compensate for lost revenues, and little by little cut back on public support for public universities. By 2012, most public universities got less than a third of percent of their support from the public. In some states, the figure was less than 15 percent. The burden of tuition was shifted to students. Today, the social class of one's parents determines educational and financial success more than at any time since World War II. But the children of the non-rich, who far outnumber the children of the rich, need higher education once again to be the great meritocracy.
That's how the Corporate Machine works. Colleges and universities are there to generate its "inputs," intellectual and human, not to advance our collective understanding and knowledge.
Go ahead and drop that nuke, Harry! Start approving President Obama's nominees, as the Constitution says you are supposed to. Republicans will be Republicans no matter what you do, and you've already been suckered twice by "handshake agreements" that they won't.
We need to guide our colleges back to reality by making them responsible for the loans they benefit from. They will have to rethink their tuition strategies once they are responsible for collecting the loans.
Well, maybe it's time for Wall Street to contribute, rather than siphoning off our wealth. How about a sales tax on all transfers of stocks, bonds, and derivatives in order to fund tuition-free higher education at public institutions?
Education is the greatest armament in the battle on poverty, disease, brutality and prejudice. Providing education for children in the emerging markets is both vital and relatively cheap.
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A sensible, bipartisan and long-term approach must be adopted to deal with student loan interest rates so that students and their families are not subjected to year-to-year uncertainty.
Each year, millions of students walk out of the classroom, get a job and realize there's no earthly way they can make their student loan payments. Luckily, the federal government has ways of helping you minimize the pain of federal loans. Follow these steps to keep ahead of the game.
The increase in rates on federal student loans will not only impact students -- members of the Catholic Church fear this will also affect faith. Graduates with large amounts of debt will now be less likely to pursue priesthood and will contribute to a significant shortage of priests in the U.S.
The Koch brothers -- whose companies are among America's 20 worst air-polluters -- have long been intent on blocking a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system. And they, too, have been donating generously to Republicans to do their bidding.
This is the message Congress is sending: Sorry, all you aspiring college students, but we just couldn't manage to squeeze it in, what with our many days off this year. We had to go back home to raise some campaign cash, and you students got lost in the shuffle.
The only bright side of this whole mess among lawmakers might be that it drives you to finally sit down and take a painful but necessary look at your situation. And hopefully, after you do that, lawmakers will just get their act together to reach a compromise, making paying it all back that little bit easier.
Is this the right set of incentives: aim low to succeed? Does this seem fair? Four years may not be feasible for everyone, but those who come close ought not to walk away empty-handed. In this regard, there may be a lesson to be learned from the less prestigious end of the undergraduate spectrum.
Government (and most voters) don't see a student loan hike as a far-reaching economic problem. They see it as affecting a small percentage of the population, a population with lower voter turnout than most. We cannot afford to keep thinking that way.