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Monday, October 24, 2016

No Income? No Problem! How The Government Is Saddling Parents With College Loans They Can’t Afford

By Marian Wang, ProPublica, Beckie Supiano and Andrea Fuller, The Chronicle of Higher Education

This story was co-published with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

More than a decade after Aurora Almendral first set foot on her dream college campus, she and her mother still shoulder the cost of that choice.

Almendral had been accepted to New York University in 1998, but even after adding up scholarships, grants, and the max she could take out in federal student loans, the private university —  among nation’s costliest — still seemed out of reach. One program filled the gap: Aurora’s mother, Gemma Nemenzo, was eligible for a different federal loan meant to help parents finance their children’s college costs. Despite her mother’s modest income at the time — about $25,000 a year as a freelance writer, she estimates — the government quickly approved her for the loan. There was a simple credit check, but no check of income or whether Nemenzo, a single mom, could afford to repay the loans.

Nemenzo took out $17,000 in federal parent loans for the first two years her daughter attended NYU. But the burden soon became too much. With financial strains mounting, Almendral — who had promised to repay the loans herself — withdrew after her sophomore year. She later finished her degree at the far less expensive Hunter College, part of the public City University of New York, and went on to earn a Fulbright scholarship.

Today, a dozen years on, Nemenzo’s debt not only remains, it’s also nearly doubled with fees and interest to $33,000. Though Almendral is paying on the loans herself, her mother continues to pay the price for loans she couldn’t afford: Falling into delinquency on the loans had damaged her credit, making her ineligible to borrow more when it came time for Aurora’s sister to go to college.

Nemenzo is not alone. As the cost of college has spiraled ever upward and median family income has fallen, the loan program, called Parent Plus, has become indispensable for increasing numbers of parents desperate to make their children’s college plans work. Last year the government disbursed $10.6 billion in Parent Plus loans to just under a million families. Even adjusted for inflation, that’s $6.3 billion more than it disbursed back in 2000, and to nearly twice as many borrowers.

A joint examination by ProPublica and The Chronicle of Higher Education has found that Plus loans can sometimes hurt the very families they are intended to help: The loans are both remarkably easy to get and nearly impossible to get out from under for families who’ve overreached. When a parent applies for a Plus loan, the government checks credit history, but it doesn’t assess whether the borrower has the ability to repay the loan. It doesn’t check income. It doesn’t check employment status. It doesn’t check how much other debt  — like a mortgage, or other student-loan debt — the borrower is already on the hook for.

“Right now, the government runs the program by the seat of its pants,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of two authoritative financial-aid websites. “You do have some parents who are borrowing $100,000 or more for their children’s college education who are getting in completely over their heads. Those parents are going to default, and their lives are going to be ruined, because they were allowed to borrow far more than is rational.”

Much attention has been focused on students burdened with loans throughout their lives. The recent growth in the Plus program highlights another way the societal burden of paying for college has shifted to families. It means some parents are now saddled with children’s college debt even as they approach retirement.

Unlike other federal student loans, Plus loans don’t have a set cap on borrowing. Parents can take out as much as they need to cover the gap between other financial aid and the full cost of attendance. Colleges, eager to boost enrollment and help families find financing, often steer parents toward the loans, recommending that they take out thousands of dollars with no consideration to whether they can afford it.

When it comes to paying the money back, the government takes a hard line. Plus loans, like all student loans, are all but impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. If a borrower is in default, the government can seize tax refunds and garnish wages or Social Security. What is more, repayment options are actually more limited for Parent Plus borrowers compared with other federal loans. Struggling borrowers can put their loans in deferment or forbearance, but except under certain conditions Parent Plus loans aren’t eligible for either of the two main income-based repayment programs to help borrowers with federal loans get more affordable monthly payments.

The U.S. Department of Education doesn’t know how many parents have defaulted on the loans. It doesn’t analyze or publish default rates for the Plus program with the same detail that it does for other federal education loans. It doesn’t calculate, for instance, what percentage of borrowers defaulted in the first few years of their repayment period  — a figure that the department analyzes for other federal student loans. (Schools with high default rates over time can be penalized and become ineligible for federal aid.) For parent loans, the department has projections only for budgetary — and not accountability — purposes: It estimates that of all Parent Plus loans originated in the 2011 fiscal year, about 9.4 percent will default over the next 20 years.

But according to an outside analysis of federal survey data, many low-income borrowers appear to be overburdening themselves.

The analysis, by financial-aid expert Kantrowitz, uses survey data from 2007-08, the latest year for which information is available. Among Parent Plus borrowers in the bottom 10th of income, monthly payments made up 38 percent of their monthly income, on average. (By way of contrast, a federal program aimed at helping struggling graduates keeps monthly payments much lower, to a small share of discretionary income.) The survey data does not reflect the full Plus loan debt for parents who borrowed through the program for more than one child, as many do.

The data also show that one in five Parent Plus borrowers took out a loan for a student who received a federal Pell Grant  — need-based aid that typically corresponds to a household income of $50,000 or less.

When Victoria Stillman’s son got in to Berklee College of Music, she couldn’t believe how simple the loan process was. Within minutes of completing an application online, she was approved. “The fact that the Plus loan program is willing to provide me with $50,000 a year is nuts,” says Stillman, an accountant. “It was the least-involved loan paperwork I ever filled out and required no attachments or proof.”

She decided against taking the loan, partly because of the 7.9-percent interest rate. Although it was a fixed rate, she found it too high.

Of course, Parent Plus can be an important financial lifeline — especially for those who can’t qualify for loans in the private market. An iffy credit score, high debt-to-income ratio, or lack of a credit history won’t necessarily disqualify anyone for a Plus loan. Applicants are approved so long as they don’t have an “adverse credit history,” such as a recent foreclosure, defaulted loan, or bankruptcy discharge. (As of last fall, the government also began disqualifying prospective borrowers with unpaid debts that were sent to collection agencies or charged off in the last five years.)

The Education Department says its priority is making sure college choice isn’t just for the wealthy. Families have to make tough decisions about their own finances, says Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for the department. We “want folks to have access to capital to allow them to make smart investments and improve their lives,” Hamilton says. In the years after the credit crisis, department officials point out, other means of financing college — such as home-equity loans and private student loans —  have become harder for families to get.

The department says it’s trying to pressure colleges to contain costs, and working to inform students and families of their financing options. “Our focus is transparency,” says Hamilton. “We want to make sure we’re arming folks with all the information they need.”

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • joyscarbo

    A whole decade?! Are you kidding? That’s NOTHING compared to my paying back the government for Stafford loans. I’ve been paying $300 since 1995 and I won’t be done for another 4 more years!!!
    The bright side of this is that I got my education- an investment in myself- which has paid off during the years. It’s afforded my family what they need and some of what they wanted.

  • howa4x

    This is why we are falling behind other countries in the world that have free education for students that qualify. Soon they will outpace us in job creation since they have a concentration on math and science. It is interesting that the biggest 4G company is Chinese, not American. In fact we don’t even have one in the top 5, since Cisco renounced it’s corporate citizenship and became an Irish company. Here each student is seen as a potential intrest point for a major bank, and student loans are a lucrative business. George Bush and the republican congress , saw a problem looming and took action, but it was not to open universities to more students. What they did was to pass a law that students couldn’t default or declare bankruptcies on student loans, thereby protecting the banks against loss. This is how powerful the financial sector has become, that they would suck down every penny on the earning potential of our graduates. They are an island cut off from the rest of society, and depend on the corruption of both major parties to protect them. It is amazing that government does the same thing. We were a major economic power during times the GI bill sent milllions to college, and they were not that expensive for those who weren’t Vets. Now major universites depend on foreign students as well as our own. We can’t expect to rob our graduates with overbearing intrest on loans, teach creationism instead of science in some states, and expect to compete globally. We are on a downward slide. We are like the bully weightlifter that flexes our muscles, at a world that is quietly ignoring us and moving economic power off our shores.
    Forget terrorism this is the biggest problem we face

    • ObozoMustGo

      howie… go back to your crack pipe, you loser. Your brain is so eff’d up, and your thinking so convoluted, that it’s shocking to anyone with even a modicum of common sense.

      Really! What kind of moron actually believes that free education is really: a) Free, or b) the key to economic success? What an absolute, abject stupid moron you are!

      Stay away from busy roads today, howie. You may wander out into traffic and not know it. And by all means, wipe that drool from your chin. You’re grossing out the people around you.

      Have a nice day!

      “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” – Mark Twain

      • howa4x

        I think you are the one wiht his head in the sand. Korea has free education to those smart enough to get it, and Smasung and Hundya make use of their intellectual power. China does have free education and they have the largest 4G routers in the world. Germany has free education and they lead in solar developement. We have students so in debt that they will never be able to create the consumer class that the economy is dependent on. How can buy the cars, houses, Refrigerators if they graduate thousands in debt? They are living at home, later and later in life because they can’t affford rent. Who makes money on this? Only the Banks that we as taxpayers bailed out. What did we get for doing that? Nothing! If you want to believe that it’s ok to cut Pell grants, stafford Grants, and not cut intrest that the banks get and still be a world power if the future, then you know nothing about economic theory and just believe all the right wing dogma. I believe what most Nobel Prize wining economists are talking about, not some Tea party yookel, who thinks creationsism should be taught instead of science, and math, where we rank 17th in the world behind Korea and China.

        • ObozoMustGo

          Howie… 2 points:

          1) how is education free? Do the people that work in education work for free? Do the people that supply the schools with things like food work for free? How is it free? Please explain the ecomomics of fantasy land.

          2) How stupid can you be to be making such rediculous claims about 2 companies in Korea and 4G routers in China, all the while you sit your fat a$$ down in the largest and most successful experiment in human freedom that history has ever known called America? Everything around you is a boundless example of what happens when we have free people making free choices in a free market that is NOT controlled by government. And don’t try to play that moronic crap about “roads and bridges” that you leftist freak mornons who have no brains try to do. It doesn’t fly with anyone that has a brain.

          My Lord! For Pete’s sake. You leftist freaks and useful idiots just don’t get it, do you? The government gets involved in education, costs begin to rise. So private people make free choices to go to private institutions to fund their higher education. Perfectly fair. But then government takes over more and more and more and more of that higher education funding and costs then continue to grow at a faster pace. So what do you leftist freaks propose? MORE OF THE SAME. Complete government takeover. Duhhh. What else. So Obozo has taken over the entire educational loan business now, and in his 4 years costs have gone up 25%.

          So typically moronic and stupid. As an American, your stupidity makes me want to throw up. How do you leftist freaks get through a day? HOW????

          Don’t you realize that government bureaucrats and politicians are just as fallible as anyone else? Don’t you realize that politicians who convince you that you need to give up your money to them and they’ll solve all your problems are the greediest bastards of all? Don’t you realize they are lying to you and selling you snake oil? Don’t you realize that your belief in this utopian vision requires that you submit your own personal freedom in sacrifice of some theoretical greater social good that will NEVER be? What the hell is wrong with you? Are you really that stupid and gullible? Are you so incapable of taking care of yourself that you actually believe it is your right to vote yourself and/or others access to the fruits of my labor (read my earnings) through a politician’s power to imprison me for not complying with it? Really howie, how stupid can you be?

          Now I know you’re a big fool because I read your posts. But damit boy! Somethings gotta wake you up to the cause of freedom, and remove you from the cause of dependency and the disease of this immature, utopian thinking. Grow up boy!

          [click image to enlarge]

          Have a nice day!

          “Rule of thumb… never trust what comes from the mouth of a socialist politician. They are only lying to you so they can spend other people’s money to build up their own power base and bureaucracy.” – ObozoMustGo

          “Socialism is a philosophy of failure,
          the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy,
          its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery..”
          — Winston Churchill

          • howa4x

            Well maybe we should just get out of the nanny state and have private idustry run everything right? Isn’t that what all you social darwinists believe? So when an industry pollutes your water supply because they want to return maximum dividens
            and don’t want to pay for controls, is that your problem if you drink the water?How about new borns, is it their problem is they get childhood cancer that is enviormentally induced because there is no agency to protect them? I used to work in enviornmental enforcement, and if there was no EPA I wouldn’t drink tap water ever again. If there was no FDA or USDA I would never eat out anywhere and only eat what I grew. Would you trust Big Pharma to make drugs in a safe manner? Do you know how many dangerous drugs or hip replacements are recalled every year? Oh sure lets get rid of all thses agencies. I would love to, but as long as we look up to people with wealth and have no moral compass on how they get it, then the public needs some protection. Look at it this way, you can have a few regulations or you can have millions of lawyers suing every industry. This social darwinism dosen’t work in a capitalistic society. I would love less government.
            But do you know what our debate is really about? It is a debate between the open space people who don’t see the need for government and the closed space people who need government to protect the middle from everyone else. Go live in NYC for a month and tell me how you would shrink government. How would you manage 8 or 9 million people that live in a 20 Sq mile radius? There you have rich and poor, white, black, latino, asian, all piled on top of each other.
            What regulations would you put in place to control everyone? How would you shrink government?. Think everyone should have a gun? Do you really think your philosophy will work there, or in LA, or Chicago? Hey everybody is responsible for themselves right? Works well on the plains or in less populated areas. I grew up semi rural and there wan’t a lot of government, nobody locked their doors. Everyone drank from their own well, houses were farther apart, but not now.. the town I grew up in had 600 people, Now it has 30,000. big difference.
            Another part of your arguement I agree with. I think government should get out of the marriage business. Go to a lawyer and sign a contract. No official should tell me who to marry, or how many. Why should it be illegal to have 2 husbands or 2 wives?Idon’t think government should tell me what drugs to take and what not. If I want to shoot herion isn’t that my problem? As long as I have health insurance what is the issue? You all are really funny. You want government for some things but not others

          • ObozoMustGo

            Howie… see my other response. The issue at hand is what is the proper role of the federal government. Shouldn’t the states or local governments have some responsibilities for their own locales? Why should someone from Topeka subsidize problems in NYC? For that matter, why should earnings from a New Yorker subsidize a farmer in Iowa?

            You see, Howie, all if this utopian vision stuff you guys on the left espouse only results in one thing….. more powerful politicians building bigger bureaucracies while stealing from everyone to give to everyone else, and borrowing the extra money from our future to hand out more goodies so they can get voted into office for one more term. The game is rigged. And you guys on the left love to argue and debate the details of who did what in the game without ever understanding that you are being used as a pawn. The pols know that you are prone to dreaming about the next program or the next grievance that must be corrected and they stand willingly by waiting for you to beg them to have more power over you. CUT IT OUT!!!!!

            To get back to your rant, no one I know is suggesting that we not have an EPA or FDA. Of course we need them. They are supposed to be the referees of the game. The problem today is that they have become both referee and these behemoth players that dominate everyone’s lives.

            Like I said before Howie, you claim that all these evil business guys will knowingly and willingly polute the rivers and air and all this other garbage. You assume evil intent in the hearts of business guys. Yet, you don’t at all see any evil intent in politicians or bureaucrats. Those guys are angels, arent they? Yeah, right. Sure, sure. Keep thinking that one Howie. A corrupt business guy affects a few people, and they can be sued and/or go to jail for crimes. A corrupt government affects all people, and cannot be jailed or sued. Don’t believe me? Compare Bernie Madoff to Hugo Chavez and his government in Venezuela.

            I gotta run, Howie, you leftist freak! 🙂

            Have a good night. Thank you again for the great discussion. I mean that sincerely.

            “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin

          • howa4x

            You are wrong about a few things. I’m not a leftist but have actually used republican ideas at work. I was the 1st in my county to put welfare people to work, so I’m not a bleeding heart. In fact I think that welfare was a human tragedy akin to slavery. It seperated families and threw the male out of the house. It paid people to do nothing, and runied any spirit they had. I provided the customer base for drugs and created thousands of unwanted kids, who grew up on the strets and surplanted gang life for family life. It is a mess.
            I’m also not in favor anymore of either political party. I call them the republicrats since nothing dramitically changes. Each one has a stakeholder group and they pander to them. They both support the 1% and neither has created a fair tax policy. Clinton allowed investment banks to merge with commercial ones and now we have too big to fail and created a perpetual need for bailout because they cause systemic risk to the economy if one goes under, and Reagan presided over the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the richest in history.
            It is only good to have a 1% if they are truly the job creators, otherwise why would we design a tax policy that gives them all the wealth. The problem is there is 1 trillion laying outside America right now. That could go to paying down the deficit or fixing our crumbling infastructure, and it’s not creating any new jobs.
            Most of government is inept, especially at the federal level. I totally agree more responsibility should be at the state and county level that is closer to the problems.The fed got bigger because the states are all over the place in terms of how they deliver services. It’s really a good question: what role does the fed have in assuring that states treat people equally? This is the debate today. Most of the issues involve Fed oversight.
            I disagree that business is benevolent or altruistic, or moral in any way. They are designed and run to create profit, period, and if that can be done by cutting corners than so be it. Just look at all the recalls, or people being able to light their water tap on fire, or all the salmonella outbreaks. Also if it can be done in China or India cheaper with no enviornmental control then that’s what they will do. They are not loyal to this country and will sell it out in a heart beat. Look at Haliburton, you know the company that Cheney was CEO at. they got a no bid 6 billion contract for Iraq. As soon as Bush left office so did they leave America. Are they unpatroitic or good business people?
            The bottom line is we have to fix a lot of stuff, and if we allow groups to opt out of taxes when they have the wearwithall to contribute, then the cost will fall on the middle class, so it’s an issue of fairness. Whether we have govenment or not we need good roads and bridges that don’t fall down, and rail and planes that have airpots to land in, and they all have a cost, and all should contribute. Agree?

          • ObozoMustGo

            Good morning Howie. Just read your post. I knew there was some agreement in there with you. I agree 100% that welfare was a bad idea that made matters worse and destroyed families, which is the heart of all of our social problems Ibelieve. What disgusts me is that LBJ, and many pols with him, knew the social costs of his “Great destroyer of Society” programs, yet pushed them through as a way to buy a permanent voting class for DemonRATS. He is quoted as saying just that. Prior to then, to get public assistance, you had to be interviewed at your house and your property inspected before you could be approved. This is how it should be. But it’s not. I don’t mean to get sidetracked, just lamenting our sad state of affairs.

            I also agree with your disdain for both political parties. You and I share that disdain, and I have written extensively in this tome on exactly that topic in the past. Basically, this all started with Teddy Roosevelt, America’s first “progressive” president. He openly spoke about his dislike for our Constitution and his belief that it stood in the way of him getting things done. He formed the Bull-Moose Party when in 1912 the Republicans nominated Taft (the current President) instead of him. In fact, what’s really funny is that Teddy and Woodrow Wilson (the Dem) were actually virtually identical in their political ideology. I say funny because if we fast forward to today and consider what you and I are discussing, we can still see that for 100 years, there hasn’t been a lot of difference between the parties. They keep fleecing America while throwing out phony issues for all of us to argue about as distractions.

            I think you and I agree much more than might appear up front. I firmly believe that most Americans are “live and let live” libertarians (small “L” intended). I think most Americans just want to live their lives as they see fit and be left alone. I think most of us agree with the concept of a social safety net, but don’t support the concepts of permanent dependency. There are, of course, those people with visions of perfecting the flaws of mankind through public policy. (progressives) Those are the dangerous ones because their beliefs translated into action necessitates controlling human behavior, which is another way of saying denying liberty and freedom. This is where we are today and this is where the republicrats have taken us.

            Where we disagree 100% is in your admitted belief that pursuit of profits is somehow evil. That business people are not patriotic. That business people are not interested in their communities or their country. You could not be MORE WRONG, Howie. Dead wrong. The pursuit of profit IS the very motivator that drives human progress. It requires continual improvement. And the paradox of managing a profitable business is that in order to be profitable, it must be done in service to others needs and wants, and done efficiently. If no one wants or needs your products, by definition you are out of business. A successful business MUST serve others first. There is no other way. And of all the wealthy people I know, they are more generous and give more to charity than you can imagine.

            I find it interesting that you attribute such ill intent on business people, yet you seem to blindly trust politicians and bureacrats. Maybe it’s because you were a bureaucrat. No, not maybe, definitely. Your work life was built upon an inherent distrust in the private sector. I suppose when you are a hammer, you see everything as nail, don’t you? For me, I don’t attribute bad intent on either government or business. Rather, I understand that good people can be found everywhere, AND bad people can be found everywhere. I understand that power tends to corrupt people, and I am therefore highly suspect of those who are able to excercise power over us. A private business cannot excercise power over us. Only government can. Wal-Mart cannot send a cop to my house to force me to shop there. But the government can send a cop to my house to arrest me if I refuse to pay my taxes or buy health insurance or buy an electric car from Government Motors, or whatever the hell else they dream up for my own good. This is why I distrust government more. They can take my freedom where business cannot. Do you understand this?

            No one I know thinks that there should be no FDA, EPA, etc. Like I said in my last post to you, the government cannot be both referee and participant. Worse yet, they cannot be involved in picking winners and losers, forcing behaviors on the part of some participants for pre-desired outcomes. This is not what America is supposed to be about. I think you can agree with that, Howie. The problem is that we have been slowly but surely giving away our liberties little by little for 100 years. It’s like if you throw a frog into boiling water, it jumps out right away. But if you put it in cold water and bring it to a boil, the frog will just sit there until it’s dead. Woodrow Wilson turned on the stove and we’ve been floating in progressively hot water since. We are at the boiling point in America and we must change course and renew the ideas of fiscal responsibility and Constitutionally limited government. It’s the only possible way we can repair the damage that has been done.

            Regarding Haliburton, the favorit boogey man of the left, do you know what they do? Who is their competition? Well, good questions. They are in the oilfield services businesss. Their only real competition is a company called Schlumberger, a company from the Netherlands. Now, in rebuilding Iraq, who do you think the US should award contracts for rebuilding their oil infrastructure? The American company or the foreign company? Hmmmmmm….. You leftists just happened to HATE Dick Cheney and therefore create a conspiracy theory that follows your hatred. I don’t care who the company is, the contract should go to American companies.

            Finally, where you are dead wrong is in this goofy notion that the government is “giving the wealth” to the rich by robbing the middle class. It is a common theme amongst you lefties to believe that the economic pie is fixed and that for one guy to get a bigger piece must mean that another guy must get a smaller piece. NOTHING could be further from the truth. How does Reagan give the rich more by taking from the middle class? Sorry Howie, but that’s really the most stupid idea that binds the left together. It’s patently false. Want proof? If the economic pie is fixed, explain growth in the economy. Further, you lefties act like letting people keep their own earnings is somehow a bad thing. It’s laughable to read things on here from the lefties that act like government is somehow “giving” a rich guy his money. It’s jaw droppingly stunning that anyone could even think such a foolish and stupid idea. Really, it is.

            Anyway, I have to run Howie. Too much work today. Thanks for the great discussion. I mean that sincerely.

            Have a great day!

            “You cannot make the poor man rich by making the rich man poor.” – Winston Churchill

          • howa4x

            Yes I was in Government and saw the weakness of the structure. I don’t consider all business evil. GE is a great American company. Why I don’t like Haliburton is they recieved a no bid contract and it’s not just oil rigging, My son in the Navy had to buy his uniforms from them. The contract Haliburton got was to repair infastructure, and the GAO reported that a lot of work wasn’t done, that they were already paid for. Ok let’s get past that. the real problem I have is after the US contract was finished, they moved their corporate HQ to Dubai and renounced their corporate citizenship. Now they pay no taxes here. So are they an american company or not? Should we give them more US contracts? I think not. Look no one like to pay taxes, but we all do and it’s our responsibility as citizens to do that. If we don’t like how they are being used we have the right to vote them out. It goes the same for the corporate world. I don’t hate them and this country is a capitalistic one and there has been an improvement in the life of humans by to advent of innovation done by business. I’m not disputing any of that. I just want them to play fair, make products that don’t hurt anyone, or kill them or give them cancer, or spoil the enviornment for future generations. I also want them to pay their fair share of taxes. Is that too much to ask?
            I do dispute Governments role in creating wealth with you. This has been proven. In book called winner take all, two statisticians looked at wealth distribution over 20 yrs and found that under the Bush Tax cuts the wealth of the richest 1% rose 256% while wages were esentially flat, and job growth was flat during this period. The old social contract sorta said. We as a society will design a tax code that will allow you to accumulate wealth, for that, you will create employment oppurtunities. simple. What I don’t like is that the upper 1% took the tax cut and broke the social contract, moved money out of the country, and didn’t ceate jobs compared to the wealth they were allowed to accumulate.This is not leftist stuff but economic theory. This is why our generation got to where we are. College was cheap, and employment oppurtunites were plentiful. Banks would loan money on good ideas, and Tax cuts went to job creation.

            Have a nice Day , gotta run

          • ObozoMustGo

            Howie… last item on Haliburton: You would move away if you were being threatened and harrassed at every turn, also. Can’t blame them. Its more of an indictment on America when a company, any company, finds it more advantageous to move overseas than it is an indictment on the company. This is one thing you lefties dont understand: money flows to the places with the best return for the least amount of risk and hassle. You cannot stop it. It is impossible to stop. I may as well have typed that in Chinese for you guys on the left because you’re not going to get it. Our problem in America has been an increasingly hostile environment for employers, especially major employers that manufacture things or produce things like chemicals or fuels or whatever. Legal, regulatory, and financial burdens make America a hostile environment to employers seeking to expand and grow. Like it or not, if you make it more costly and difficult to do business, we have less businesses. And less businesses means fewer jobs. You cannot have employees without employers, Howie. Just don’t happen any other way.

            Government does not create wealth, Howie. NOT ONE BIT. Government destroys wealth. It’s what government does. It produces nothing. It only takes. Granted, of course there is legitimate government function, like Defense for the feds, and ambulance, fire, shcools, and infrastructure locally, and highways and bridges for states. But don’t for one second believe that nonsense of the collective ideal and the whole “you didn’t build that” Obozo/Warren crap mentality. Only a leftist freak thinks that.

            Additionally, when are you going to remove those blinders of jealousy and envy that makes you see the world through the most goofy viewpoint about 1% vs. 99%? Howie, this is just Karl Marx and his Bourgeois vs. Proletariat theory repackaged in modern times. Don’t you see this? You’ve been suckered into a belief in Marxist theory. I dont know… maybe you like it? You quote “Winner Take All” as though this is some sort of revelation when in reality, the authors begin with the premise that the economic pie is fixed. That for one guy to have, he must have stolen from another. This is patently false. Like I said in my last response, if the economic pie is fixed, how do we account for economic growth? Clearly it is not fixed. How else could you come up with a book title “Winner Take All” unless you believe the economic pie is fixed like a Monopoly game? The answer is, you can’t.

            One more point on this topic. 1% of Americans pays 38% of all taxes. The top 10% pay 80% of all taxes. Exactly what do you define as “Fair Share”? I define fair share as everyone pays the same tax rates. That’s fair. We are all treated the same under the law. All this nonsense fair share crap is just more of the same old garbage. Here’s a question for you Howie: Don’t you find it odd that in societies that have the biggest and most controlling governments, that wealth more concentrated at the top in those countires. This is not by accident, Howie. And don’t you notice that in more free and open societies wealth tends to change hands and those who were once poor can grow up to be successful and rich if they are willing to work hard and sacrifice. And many who grew up wealthy are no longer wealthy. You see, Howie, in America, we don’t have the class system. We only have politicians seeking to exploit you with the class warfare rhetoric. Too bad you’re so suceptible to it. You really need to break free from this claptrap. You’re probably too old though, Howie. Set in your ways. Locked into your fantasies for the long haul. I know it’s really hard to overcome this, but I think you can do it.

            Stop reading leftist statisticians and start reading John Locke, Federich Hayek, Charles de Montesquieu, Alexis de Tocqueville, and more modern times thinkers like Milton Freidman and Thomas Sowell. These are men that have figured out freedom and economics and are capable of explaining things in wonderous ways. The early names were men that inspired out Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. You should read them.

            Have a nice day, Howie!

            “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

          • howa4x

            Why is it that everytime I disagee with you, I’m called a Marxist or a leftie. I refrain from using any derogatory phrases. I’m not stupid. I see issues from a different perspective than you. I’m all for people making it, and government does help create wealth through it’s taxing authority. So if I reduce Capital gains taxes from 39% to 15% then those getting money from that source double their income, it’s not rocket science. This is how Buffett pays a lower percentage rate in taxes than his secratary. I’m not making that up, Buffet is the one who said that. The Book winner take all is not a leftie handbook but a statistical analysis of the distribution of wealth over a 20 yr cycle, and that is a book you should read. Concentration of wealth is only good for a society if those with the money create jobs. This is why they get a tax cut. If they invest in financial instruments like CDS, or derivatives, then people don’t get employed and there is no sense from a society perspective to grant them those cuts. During Eisenhower the top rate was 90%. Currently we pay less in taxes then any other time in history. I’m talking federal not state or local.It didn’t effect industry and in the 1950’s we were the economic engine of the world. Study after study shows that tax cuts for the wealthy has no effect on the economy

            I do take issue as an American that companies that make their wealth here should pay taxes. They use our infastructure, they need to help in the upkeep. Under your theory every company should leave and we can be a corporate colony run by overseas companies. What regulations do you want to cut, if they are so onerous? I live in NJ and there are acres and acres of brown feilds, where mostly chemical companies went broke and abandoned their sites so now the public is responsible for the cleanup. It costs millions of tax dollars. Is that fair? So I know what happens when you loosen enviornmental regulations. If a company contaminates an undergorund Aquifer that 1 million people use, and when caught, goes into bankrupcy, the public has to clean that up. It will cost billions. Do you want it like China where people work 80 hrs a week for under minium wage?Should american workers be treated that way? The Koch bros want that.Do away with all unions and let workers get what we give them is their philospphy. Should American workers be exposed to chemicals, poor ventilation, cramped sleeping quarters, is that what you want? All this so a company could make and extra 5% profit?
            If they are, there will be no more middle class, just rich and poor. Is that the society that the tea party envisions?

            Descrecionary spending is a small part of the budget with Defense, Medicare, and SS being the lions share. So we are not going to cut our way out of the deficit.the I OM released a report that there is 750 billion of waste, unecessary testing and surgery and fraud in medicare. So that can be reduced without hurting seniors care. but that will take both sides to stop accusing each other and sit down and do some serious work.
            There has to be revenue. The Bi partisan committee Simpson-Bowles said that. So who pays? People making 20k or people making 2 million. This is just common sense. I’m not a communist. this is reality.
            I think the time has come to end our conversation. We are like the rest of America now. We see two different realities and niether will abandon our core beliefs. So instead of insulting each other, maybe we should just wait till another topic comes along.
            I wish you the best for you and your family

          • ObozoMustGo

            Howie, my last response to this post is being held up. Not sure why. But it was a long one. One point I did forget to address was this:

            You wrote: “So if I reduce Capital gains taxes from 39% to 15% then those getting money from that source double their income, it’s not rocket science.”

            Howie…. that is one of the more foolish things you have typed, but I get it. Lefties don’t consider a person’s earnings their own, they consider it government’s momey and any money the government does not take is like a gift of money to that person. This is the silliest notion ever, but is typical.

            If a person makes $10,000 in income on an investment, that is how much they have earned. The government takes money of the top. Just because they take less doesn’t mean the person’s income has gone up. It hasn’t. It’s still the same $10,000. I’ve seen this kind of fuzzy math done many times by multiple lefties on this site. It must be a contageous disease that I am immune to.

            Think about it.

            Have a great day, Howie!

            PS> What county do you live in in NJ? I grew up in Hunterdon County long ago.

            “Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

          • howa4x

            I live in Hunterdon now and grew up in Morris

        • ObozoMustGo

          A couple of other points, howie…. First off, I understand WAAAYYY more economics than you think or you know. Both Keynesian and Hayek, the 2 major schools of economic thought. By now, it is very evident that Keynesian thought, as it is applied today, is a dead horse. The theory of the money multiplier is proven so wrong that humans should be metaphorically burning everything Keynes ever wrote so that no future society shall ever be so fooled ever again. What’s worse is that today’s politicians continue to bastardize even Keynes by using his theories as their excuse to keep spending and running up debts as if there is no cost to this. Of course there is a cost…. and that cost is future growth and confiscatory taxation along with hyperinflation as central banks seek to monitize the debt as the only way out.

          Further, the greater governmen involvement in education, the easier it is to go to college. You keep saying “free to those who qualify” in Korea and elsewhere, but you forget that it does not work that way here. The easier it is to go to college, the more kids that go to college. (this is called rising demand for you leftist freaks) And what happens with rising demand? Prices go up magically, now don’t they. Oh… you mean you did not realize that increased demand results in higher prices? Sorry leftists freak, but it does.

          The one sensible implication that you make is that not everyone should go to college. I agree with you. A massive number of these kids are graduating with absolutely worthless degrees in Women’s Studies, Social Organization of late 13th Century East Africa, Racial Studies, and other completely useless crap that doesn’t qualify them anymore to work at the makeup counter in Macy’s than does an 8th grade diploma. Yet, they are $80K or more in debt for such a stupid waste of time. A third of the kids in college should get the hell out now. If you want to be doctor, lawyer, scientist, accountant, engineer, etc. etc., fine, you must go to college. But outside of the professional disciplines, it’s a waste of time for most kids.

          Thanks for the discussion, howie! Keep a light heart.

          Have a nice day!

          “You can only confiscate the wealth that exists at a given moment. You cannot confiscate future wealth — and that future wealth is less likely to be produced when people see that it is going to be confiscated.” – Thomas Sowell

          • howa4x

            Wow you wrote something and didn’t try to insult me. Is this a first? I agree that not everyone should go to college, my son is a professional diver and didn’t go but is preforming a worthwhile task that society needs. The problem is that right now most of our resources are in the financial sector, and it consumes far more wealth than other sectors. We don’t maufacture like we used to because of technology we need less people, only 3% of the population is involved in farm work. This means now we have to create new economies. We also have to invest more in infastructure. We used to have the best hwy system, now in certian states it looks like the third world, pot holes and all. We need more investment in high speed rail, larger airports, and deeper docks. Some of this is done by the private sector and some by government. All can’t be done by only one. Sometimes government seeds an industry and there is a public/private partnership. big Pharma works closely wiht universites, and the NIH in development of new drugs. We gave seed money to develop Ethanol. So there is a role for both government and private industry to wok together to create the new jobs that these graduates need. My point is we are so focused on the big banks and their health that we are willing to sacrifice the future to insure profits in the present. There has got to be a better way for those who have the ability, especially in math and science to be subsidized. Why? Because they will be the future entrepenuers , and will create the future jobs. States like Michigan are offering free tuition if the graduates stay and help revive the economy. So what I’m talking about is not a leftist or radical notion. As for the national debt. Lets get out of Afganistan, since the vietnamizing isn’t going to work and it needs a political solution, No more tax cuts for any group that dosen’t need the money, especially those at the top. Future tax cuts should be linked to specific job creation. We shouldn’t just give a group a tax cut on the bet or hope that they create jobs, they need to tell us where and what jobs will be created. We need to tax capital gains like regular work other wise too much investment will go into financial instruments instead of industries. this way we can start to pay down the debt and still fix problems that we have

            Good luck today everyone needs it

          • ObozoMustGo

            Howie… good for you son. I begrudge no man for honest hard work, no matter what it is. Of course we need drivers. It’s self evident. What we need more of is personal pride and a steadfast, moral insistance on self sufficiency instead of the ethos of “I’m gonna get mine” at all levels of society.

            The rest of your post, however, is really more of the same. It reflects this undying loyalty and belief in government as central to all that goes on and is needed in society. You ever suggest that subsidizing math and science students is a good thing. Why? Why is that any better than subsidizing an established business that gets a return on investment? A student afterall is just a gamble. Subsidizing a business is better than subsidizing a student. Clearly. But you’re missing my point, Howie. Why should one man’s property (read earnings) be confiscated for the purpose that YOU think is worthwhile? Others think their favorit purposes are worthwhile. And yet others find different purposes worthwhile. In the end, we have a political class that thinks EVERYTHING is worthwhile precisely because the more worthwhile purposes they can find to fund with other people’s money, the more votes they get, the longer they stay in power.

            Do you get where I am going with this, Howie? I keep going with you on this because I keep thinking there’s a little piece of you that may begin to experience the “Ahhaaa phenomenon” once you understand where I am coming from. You must see that your desires for a society to look like you believe is best manifests itself in politicians that take advantage of your fantasies by selling you on the idea that they can somehow perfect society if only they take more of your earnings, your private property lawfully earned. This is called tyranny, Howie. When I am forced into paying for someone else’s “charitable” causes that I don’t support. And paying is my time. I earn with my time. The more I must forfeit, the more my time is controlled by others and their desires. I am enslaved. Clearly, this is tyranny and is NOT what America was ever founded for. Do you get it?

            As well, noone argues that taxes should not be used to pay for roads and common infrastructure. But as often happens with you leftists, you meld into one single idea the concepts of Federal, State, and Local government. This is common because leftist utopia involves one all empowered central government dictating every facet of life for the common good. But for us conservative patriots, we always see things for what the role of government is at varying levels. And of course the national argument will be over the Federal Government. What is the role of the Federal Government? Actually, the Constitution spells that out by clearly denying the Fed the right to do most of what it is doing today. This is why Obozo famously complained that the Constitution was a document of “negative liberties” meaning he was irritated by the constraints placed on government by it. All progressives are irritated by those constraints. This is why they like activist judges and refer to the Constitution as a “living document” so they can have judges invent law out of thin air because they could never get nonsense passed in the proscribed legislative process.

            Regarding Iraq, it amazes me that you guys on the left have no clue what you are talking about regarding the cost of the Afghan war. From the DoD budgetary numbers, here are some facts:

            Total Cost of Afghan War sinc e 2001 = $557B
            Total spent since Obozo took office in 2009 = $385B


            Here’s some more shocking numbers about Afghan that the media just ignores:

            Total casualties in Afghan war from 2001 to 2008 = 2,638 Americans
            Total casualties in Afghan war from 2009 to 2012 = 14,000 and change


            Here’s some more for you, Howie:

            Total dead in Afghan war from 2001 to 2008 = 625 Americans
            Total dead in Afghan war from 2009 to 2012 = 1,474


            I know you leftist freaks don’t like to hear the truth about what a failure Obozo has been, but you must face the facts. You are hanging your ideological future on a guy that is nothing more than a smoke screen. A wizard behind the curtain. Face it Howie, Obozo is a failure and the faster you guys recognize this, the better off you will be regrouping and strategizing for 2016. Hopefully by then, you’ll have grown up and seen the light and have returned to being a real American instead of a socialist utipian dreamer.

            Have a nice night, Howie! Thanks for the discussion. Don’t take the insults too personally. I just don’t suffer fools easily. It is a weakness of mine, I know. Sorry!

            “You can only confiscate the wealth that exists at a given moment. You cannot confiscate future wealth — and that future wealth is less likely to be produced when people see that it is going to be confiscated.” – Thomas Sowell

          • howa4x

            Your math on the war is deciving. You are tagging obama for Afganistan but leaving out that Bush had two wars going and have to add Iraq to his number. You’re also not counting the fact that Obama had the surge in afganistan of troops brought over from Iraq.
            I want to ask you why you think Romney would be a better president?
            Here is a man that has more positions on issues than the Kama sutra. In Massachuttes he passed the same health care refore that Obama did, exactly. He was concerned about climate change and was pro choice and gay friendly. Now he is running as a conserevative, which leads me to believe he will say anything to any body to be president. He is a man with no convictions or morals. He took his tax cuts and placed his money off shore in accounts in the caymans , switzerland and Bermuda. He didn’t create any jobs with his 250 million, and his state while governor was 47th in Job creation. so why do you think he is so good?Is it that he is white? Not saying you’re a racist just putting out there. I tell you what is going to happen to you conservatives. you got in bed with the devil who is only there to serve the concerns of his buddies on Wall st. If if benefits them he will expoert every job to China and India. He hates the american workers and thinks they are beneath him. he will roll back Dood/ frank, and let the banks run wild, roll back enviornmental regulations for the Koch bros. and take care of his friends. More money will flow upward and the middle class will shrink with future senior paying more for their health care due to being placed on vouchers. the inefficency of he healh care system is why it costs so much added in are the profits of he insurance companies and Big pharma. Do you really think he will do anyhing about that? I’m voting for Obama not because I love him, but fear Romney will destroy the middle class

    • onedonewong

      The problem is the number of people going to college taking up worthless majors. Going to Berkley to major in music to do what?? The same for Psych, sociology, art history, women and black studies etc
      What the govt should be doing is making sure that not for profit colleges tell those who apply for those majors they will never earn more than minimum wage

      • howa4x

        That is not true. My daughter was a fine art major and is employed at 2 galleries. Maybe where u live there is no culture but in big cities there is enough that provide work. People who take sociology get employed in school systems and people who take Black studies become teachers. We need more math and Science people but we have too much religious influence that wants to replace that with creationism. All graduates need to fit into the economy but if saddeled with too much debt they will not buy the good and services we need to keep the economy moving. Our economy is too centered into one sector, finance. We cannot surive if our economy revolves around debt. this is what made it collaspe. If we stopped giving aid to countries that hate us there would be enough money to lower tuition

        • onedonewong

          NONSENSE… your daughter works for 2 galleries doing what sweeping or cleaning the rest rooms???
          The numbers I provided you are national results. There is zero need for black or women’s studies in K-12.
          No we need to stop incentivizing people to spend 4 years in dead end majors that only lead to debt and minimum wage jobs

          • howa4x

            Go F… YourselfMy daughter is a curator which is a professional position. You write like you are either living in Kansas or only graduated high school

          • onedonewong

            Looks like I nailed her job on the head. She dusts and sweeps

  • ObozoMustGo

    Imagine that…. a government program that screws the people it’s intended to help. What a shocker….. NOT! But hey, who the hell cares. It makes the politicians that pass such crap look good and you leftist freaks feel good. And that’s what’s important, right? Consequences be damned! What a bunch of morons all of you useful idiots and leftist freaks are.

    Have a nice day!

    “You cannot make the poor man rich by making the rich man poor.” – Winston Churchill

    • S-3

      …Off the soapbox, son – you’ve got nothing useful to say that fascists worse than Hitler would love to parrot!

      • ObozoMustGo

        OK, you moron. For the sake of all of you other morons like this dip$hit S-3, I will repost once again my commentary on fascism, Nazism, etc. and the various forms of government. Read it an learn. Here it is:

        … you need to revisit your political history fact book. You have been misled as all leftist nutjobs and useful idiots have been misled. On the political spectrum, all the way to the right is no government at all, called anarchy. All the way to the left is 100% government, complete government control, called communism, socialism, Nazism, fascism, etc. Pure democracy, majority rule, is to the left of republican government which is the left of anarchy. This is what we have and on that continuum between far left and far right, republicanism is squarely center right.

        The 5 basic forms of government from left to right are:

        1) Monarchy – rule by one – only in appearance, they have their bureaucrats and cabinets etc. etc.
        2) Oligarchy – rule by a few – tyranny of the elite – communism, socialism, Nazism, fascism all find their home here.
        3) Democracy – rule by majority – these never survive, they devolve to anarchy and then oligarchy
        4) Republic – rule by law – what we have, or are supposed to have.
        5) Anarchy – rule by no one

        So you see, when you look at this objectively, you realize that Fascism/Nazism IS, in all facts, actually HIGHLY correlated with socialism and communism. And your attempts to convince people that the word “socialism” in the Nazi acronym, is just there by accident or doesn’t really mean what it means is nothing more than a perpetuation of lies and complete ignorance of the very facts that slap you in the face because they are quite simply self-evident. You should try not to remain so ignorant. Words mean what they mean. Nazi equals National Socialist. DemonRATS in America are home to fascists and socialists.

        Nazi = fascist = socialists = DemocRATS

        [click image to enlarge]

        Have a nice day!

        “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels

  • The USA ranks 17 and 35 in math and science in the world, and if we leave it to the GOP a different list will have to be developed for the USA and some Islamic countries convinced that the most effective way to ensure greatness is to be as ignorant as possible.
    I find it hard to believe that people who support giving subsidies to companies like ExxonMobil, that do not hesitate to bail out financial institutions when they gamble with non-existant assets and lose, who don’t hesitate to subsidize government contractors, insurance companies, the agri-business and pharmaceuticals have a problem helping a bright student get a loan to get a higher education. The worst part of this issue is that we are not talking about grants but loans that must be paid back with interest!
    I suppose it is fitting that those who object the most about the need to help a poor student, the need to have a qualified workforce and a well educated population are the same ones who wrap themselves in the flag and call themselves Christians.