Break Glass - 2020 USA Elections

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  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Right and, as I said, I think fixing it by instituting free college for everyone ought to be a pretty good "start."

    <snip>

    That's the trouble with the government deciding who needs money and who doesn't. I, myself, could never come close to affording college.

    Uh huh. It's "troubling" when the government decides who needs money, unless they decide that it's college students like your son who could use some kind of tuition subsidization, in which case it's "a pretty good start".

    One of the things that makes Warren's proposal good politics in addition to good policy is that it contrasts with the Trump/DeVos/@Twilight policy that debt must be enforced no matter what.
    Students defrauded by for-profit colleges scored an important victory on Tuesday, when a court cleared the way for an Obama-era policy that will make it easier for them to get their student loans forgiven.

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had said the regulation, known as borrower defense, made discharging loans too easy and was unfair to taxpayers. The rule was due to take effect in July 2017, but DeVos froze it while she worked on devising a new regulation.

    But U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss ruled last month that DeVos’ delay was unlawful. On Tuesday, he denied a request by an organization representing for-profit colleges in California, to further postpone the rule, thus paving the way for borrower defense to enter into force.

    For the record a lot of this debt is for deceptively marketed worthless "degrees" from barely-above-Trump-Univerity types of for-profit educational institutions.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    NicoleMR wrote: »
    I'm not thinking of the Prodigal Son, I'm thinking more of the workers in the vineyard (I think it was a vineyard), the ones who were hired at the start of the day complaining that the ones that were hired at the end of the day got the same pay. It's a sort of "I've got mine, screw you" attitude.

    No it's more of a , "I worked eight hours, and you worked one, and we're both getting the same pay, how the heck is that fair?" attitude.

    Let me be an example then of how much humans like to be treated fairly and get huffy when we don't. Sure it would be great if I could say I worked hard for 4 years using every penny I earned to pay for my kid, but now I'm thrilled to death for the guy making 249,000 whose kids got to go free. I'm afraid I'm just not that saintly.

    And neither are most people. The 250,000 a year man who has to pay through the nose for his kids college isn't going to like it when the neighbor kids go for free because their parents only made 249, 000. The young person who paid off his student loans yesterday isn't going to like it when his hard partying roomie gets his loans written off tomorrow. For that matter, why shouldn't the Prodigal's brother have ever gotten a goat so he could have his friends over?

    I'm all for sticking it to the rich I really am, but the way to do it is through their tax bracket, not this thing of the government deciding who we should sympathize with and who we shouldn't. What we end up doing is discouraging people from working hard to get to the top of their profession and encouraging things like unplanned families and buying houses with balloon mortgages, because they can count on the government saving them from their own irresponsibility.

    I like Bernie. I would like free college for the first four years for everyone. Free Medicare for everyone.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    The 250,000 a year man who has to pay through the nose for his kids college isn't going to like it when the neighbor kids go for free because their parents only made 249, 000.
    You didn’t read the description of the plan at Croesus’s link, did you?
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Let me be an example then of how much humans like to be treated fairly and get huffy when we don't. Sure it would be great if I could say I worked hard for 4 years using every penny I earned to pay for my kid, but now I'm thrilled to death for the guy making 249,000 whose kids got to go free. I'm afraid I'm just not that saintly.

    And neither are most people. The 250,000 a year man who has to pay through the nose for his kids college isn't going to like it when the neighbor kids go for free because their parents only made 249,000.

    It should be noted that this is a blatant misrepresentation that conflates Warren's proposed means-tested loan forgiveness program with her non-means-tested free college proposal. It should also be noted that there's not a sharp cut-off, just a gradual ramp for loan forgiveness for incomes between $100,000/year and $250,000/year. So a college graduate who makes $250,000/year wouldn't have any of his student debt forgiven while a college graduate with an income of $249,000/year would have $333 of his student loan debt forgiven.

    And yes, worrying about recent college graduates with a six figure incomes not being able to pay off their student loans does seem to be misplaced sympathy. Yes, there are circumstances where it can be tough, but there are others that are a lot tougher and that is where policy should be focused.
  • In Twilight's defense, people make choices based on the information they have at the time. Consider two similar students from very ordinary backgrounds. Student A maxes out her loans, attends the big name public university on the other side of her state, and graduates with a massive pile of debt. Student B chooses to live at home and attend her local community college for two years, then transfers to a less-well-known public university to finish her 4-year degree. B also forwent social opportunities in order to spend more time working. As a result, B graduates with a small debt.

    B has a less good university experience than A, but considered it a worthwhile exchange for not saddling herself with a lifetime of unmanageable debt - or at least she did, until the rules change and their debt gets forgiven. I think it's easy to imagine B feeling bitter that her economies and sacrifice - her "responsible" behavior - just got negated at the stroke of a pen, and that she is being (relative to A) penalized ex post facto for her choices.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I really can't help but see that as a very dog-in-the-mangerish attitude, I'm sorry. Making people wallow in debt they can't ever pay off for years and years and years simply to avoid annoying someone else just doesn't seem right.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    Let me be an example then of how much humans like to be treated fairly and get huffy when we don't. Sure it would be great if I could say I worked hard for 4 years using every penny I earned to pay for my kid, but now I'm thrilled to death for the guy making 249,000 whose kids got to go free. I'm afraid I'm just not that saintly.

    And neither are most people. The 250,000 a year man who has to pay through the nose for his kids college isn't going to like it when the neighbor kids go for free because their parents only made 249,000.

    It should be noted that this is a blatant misrepresentation that conflates Warren's proposed means-tested loan forgiveness program with her non-means-tested free college proposal. It should also be noted that there's not a sharp cut-off, just a gradual ramp for loan forgiveness for incomes between $100,000/year and $250,000/year. So a college graduate who makes $250,000/year wouldn't have any of his student debt forgiven while a college graduate with an income of $249,000/year would have $333 of his student loan debt forgiven.

    And yes, worrying about recent college graduates with a six figure incomes not being able to pay off their student loans does seem to be misplaced sympathy. Yes, there are circumstances where it can be tough, but there are others that are a lot tougher and that is where policy should be focused.

    And yet you seem to be worried about that 249,000 guy getting his $333. My whole point is not exactly how much money each pay grade gets, it's how silly it is when we try to do these things person by person or income by income. Gee, maybe the 250,000 guy has adopted a dozen disabled, African Americans and the 249,000 guy has only one privileged white boy. Now what will you do?

    Why do you think this plan to help pay off debts is better than just letting everyone go for free after a certain date? Then you don't have to judge who is most worthy and who isn't.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    NicoleMR wrote: »
    I really can't help but see that as a very dog-in-the-mangerish attitude, I'm sorry. Making people wallow in debt they can't ever pay off for years and years and years simply to avoid annoying someone else just doesn't seem right.

    Really? Do you have any thing else you want the others to pay for? Maybe someone is "wallowing in debt' to pay for their Mercedes or all those designer shoes? Shouldn't we just pay their credit card debt for them? I know it wouldn't annoy you but it would me.



    We're not talking about food, shelter, or medical care. We're talking about a college degree, something 2/3 of the population lives their whole life without. Two thirds of us are working at Walmart trying to pay our pharmacy bills while you want us to pay off some one else's debt while he's working a good paying degreed job. No one forced those kids to take out a student loan, they weren't going to starve to death or die without an operation if they didn't do it.

    Someone once told me that the degreed person is favored for hire, not so much because he has stuffed his head with lots of quickly forgotten information, but that by getting the degree he has proved self-discipline, and focus and, like most degreed people, he has demonstrated the ability to somehow get the money to pay for it. This was said back in the day of men getting degrees with the GI Bill. It was thought that in many ways the degree "separated the men from the boys."

    You act like all this money will just be used as fire kindling if we dogs-in-the-manger don't want to use it pay off student loans. I would much rather this money go for a dozen other needy situations, starting with decent housing for the homeless, decent care for the mentally ill, and decent schools in poor districts.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Two thirds of us are working at Walmart trying to pay our pharmacy bills while you want us to pay off some one else's debt while he's working a good paying degreed job.
    Elizabeth Warren wrote: »
    Some people will say we can’t afford this plan. That’s nonsense. The entire cost of my broad debt cancellation plan and universal free college is more than covered by my Ultra-Millionaire Tax  —  a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth. For decades, we’ve allowed the wealthy to pay less while burying tens of millions of working Americans in education debt. It’s time to make different choices.

    I question how many people sitting on fortunes of US$50,000,000 or more are working at Walmart. I mean, know there are a few but they're all named Walton.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    edited April 23
    Okay I wasn't clear. By the second "us" I meant Americans. Even people who don't pay taxes at all have a say in how tax money is used. I would rather that the money collected from her "Ultra Millionaire Tax," be used to help the poorest of us and not college grads, people who are already advantaged.

    That is all. I have to go watch Jeopardy, James is almost as smart as you are, Croesos
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Okay I wasn't clear. By the second "us" I meant Americans. Even people who don't pay taxes at all have a say in how tax money is used. I would rather that the money collected from her "Ultra Millionaire Tax," be used to help the poorest of us and not college grads, people who are already advantaged.

    Maybe something like universal child care and early learning programs? As I noted earlier, the idea that no one is allowed to get help unless I (and people like me) get help first goes a long way towards explaining America's very limited social programs.

    Cue up people without kids or whose children are grown complaining that universal child care doesn't benefit them so the money should be spent on [ insert spending priority here ].
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Sorry for double-posting, but this article (should be no paywall) came across my Facebook feed just seconds after I hit "post" on the above. Heh.
    Heh. Thank you! (I was with her until the "A-men" at the end. If you're going to go pseudo-Tudor, pronounce it properly: "Ahh-men.")

  • And again... although I do not have children of my own, I also want a universal affordable 24/7 child care system because it is an essential component in labour mobility, which increases economic production, which will boost my stock market investments. But of course, I'm one of those weird people who believes taxes = civilization.



  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Okay I wasn't clear. By the second "us" I meant Americans. Even people who don't pay taxes at all have a say in how tax money is used. I would rather that the money collected from her "Ultra Millionaire Tax," be used to help the poorest of us and not college grads, people who are already advantaged.

    That is all. I have to go watch Jeopardy, James is almost as smart as you are, Croesos

    As it happens, I teach at a 2-year college. To achieve this privilege (and yes, it is one), I had first to acquire a 4-year degree, and then a 2-year master's degree. For the advanced degree I borrowed something in the vicinity (it was long ago, and I don't recall the original figures) of some $12,000. I am now (some 35 years further on) part of a sizable cohort of adjunct instructors populating the groves of acadame, where getting an actual faculty position is ferociously competitive. Many adjuncts remain in a sort of permanent bondage in this system, laboring away at wages roughly equal to what the typical work-study system gets from the government toward her/his tuition.

    I am limited to teaching no more than 11 credits per semester (this lets my employer off the hook for providing any health insurance, retirement benefits, or other perks). Recently I had my tutoring pay (limited to 6 hours per week, with no consideration for holidays or sick time off) cut from $33 per hour to $22 per hour, because my institution is struggling financially (the trustees' 6-figure pay, however, went up).

    Your non-degree'd $10/hr. Wal-Mart associate makes, at about 30 hours a week, about the same as I do annually. Some 75% of US college faculty work as adjuncts. My student debt, mostly unpaid due to struggling to make rent, feed my small family, keep the lights on, etc. now hovers around $55,000, and I am 74 years of age.

    So before anybody assumes "advantage" on the part of all college grads, it might be wise to investigate further.
  • Soror MagnaSoror Magna Shipmate
    edited April 24
    Everybody who works for a living in the USA (nay, the globe) is getting screwed over one way or another. And every moment spent arguing about which of us should get helped first is another moment in which the 1% get just a little bit richer and laugh at us screwing each other. How about this: I'll give you a boost up but you have to remember to pull me up after, k?

    ETA: Like this: Storm the Wall. (I hate fraternities, but you know what I mean.)
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Just so. This cannot become a contest between the adjunct and the WalMart associate; it has to be a recognition that both need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, walk out on more strikes, and seize more power.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I generally agree that Twilight's response to Warren's proposal reads like it is selfish. But I also think that she is looking at the policy like many many people in the USA and Australia would look at it. Why should those bastards get something when I had to work my guts out is a completely ordinary response to political proposals. I think this typical response is something the Democrats should consider when deciding whether to include it in the platform.

    If the policy is sound but a vote-loser, what we do in Australia is lie about it during the campaign and then implement in Government. If its good policy it won't be an issue by the next election.

    As regards limiting debt forgiveness via means testing, I'm against that. It breeds resentment. Just include everyone in the benefit and tax people. It lessens the 'what about me' response. I'm assuming $50K won't cover a med school degree.

  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    You know if I really was totally selfish and determined that no one gets for free what I had to work for, I don't think I would be so strongly in favor of free college for everyone and free medical care for everyone, because I certainly didn't have those things.

    When my son was born we had no insurance so we made regular payments to the hospital until he was four years old. Yet, I want people to have free medical care -- it doesn't compute. What I remember best about that time was that all the months I was pregnant I didn't have enough to eat, pregnant women couldn't get jobs then, my husband was still in college and whenever one of our parents would send us a little cash he would use it to get high, so weeks went by when all we had was the home canned applesauce my mother sent us. At nine months pregnant I weighed 135 pounds and almost died from anemia and blood loss. It may just be easier for me to sympathize with the homeless and hungry than with college educated people with a monthly bill to pay.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    It may just be easier for me to sympathize with the homeless and hungry than with college educated people with a monthly bill to pay.

    You're still making unwarranted assumptions. "College educated people" do not always make decent salaries. They do not automatically land jobs of any kind. That "monthly bill to pay" often consumes a third to one-half of a college grad's entry-level paycheck, leaving many "college educated people" at significant risk of hunger and homelessness.

    I'm not sure that generosity of spirit toward one group of people -- the medically needy -- grants us dispensation for letting a second, similarly-situated group fend for themselves.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    When my son was born we had no insurance so we made regular payments to the hospital until he was four years old. Yet, I want people to have free medical care -- it doesn't compute.

    I'm not sure what's more brazen, your implicit claim that you'll never need medical care again in your life, or your expectation that the rest of us take that claim at face value.
    Ohher wrote: »
    I'm not sure that generosity of spirit toward one group of people -- the medically needy -- grants us dispensation for letting a second, similarly-situated group fend for themselves.

    Conservation of Sympathy. It's like conservation of energy, but specifies that there is a finite amount of sympathy to go around. Thus if you have sympathy for people who might need college in the future (like any hypothetical grandkids @Twilight might have) you don't have any to spare for anyone who didn't have an extra $20,000/year or so in the family budget for college (times number of college-age kids) a few years back. If you have sympathy for anyone wanting to afford college in the future you naturally have none to spare for anyone who didn't have the cash on hand to pay out of pocket for college.

    I don't know when @Twilight's son attended college, but I suspect there may be a little "I could work a part-time job and pay my tuition in full back in 1963. Why can't kids do that today?" going on, ignoring the vast amounts of inflation in college tuition (exacerbated in part by federal student loan policy, ironically enough) since whenever their frame of reference happens to be. At any rate, fixing runaway college costs going forward seems to be okey-dokey, but mitigating the damage done by runaway college costs in the past is going way too far.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I could work a part-time job and pay my tuition in full back in 1963. Why can't kids do that today?"

    American public colleges are state owned. Over the years the states have reduced their support of their public colleges, but they gave the colleges permission to make up the difference by charging the students more. Just this past week the university I work at raised their tuition and fees by 5.5% to make up for the loss of state revenue this coming year. It has gotten to the point that some private colleges are cheaper than public colleges. Many private colleges are also giving out better financial aid packages than public colleges. My son experienced this when he transferred from a public college to private college.

    Warren's proposal has the aim of getting public colleges back to a tuition free status, but that will take the cooperation of the states with the federal government to get it done.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    When my son was born we had no insurance so we made regular payments to the hospital until he was four years old. Yet, I want people to have free medical care -- it doesn't compute.

    I'm not sure what's more brazen, your implicit claim that you'll never need medical care again in your life, or your expectation that the rest of us take that claim at face value.

    I am on Medicare, supplemented by Tricare, now and will be for the rest of my life, so no, I no longer have to worry about medical expenses. I don't know what "implicit claim" you're reading into my story. I was answering Simon who thought my attitude was one of "I had it bad so every one else should too." What I was saying is that I had it bad (having to pay full hospital costs out of pocket over four years) and yet I hope that we all get free medical care and no one else has to go through what I did. Only you would try to make me out a brazen villain for that.

    I don't know when @Twilight's son attended college, but I suspect there may be a little "I could work a part-time job and pay my tuition in full back in 1963. Why can't kids do that today?" going on, ignoring the vast amounts of inflation in college tuition (exacerbated in part by federal student loan policy, ironically enough) since whenever their frame of reference happens to be. At any rate, fixing runaway college costs going forward seems to be okey-dokey, but mitigating the damage done by runaway college costs in the past is going way too far.

    I've already said that when my son was in college (1987 to 1992,) my entire pay went to his expenses. I earned about $8000 a year and that's what his tuition was.

    Conservation of sympathy? Don't make me laugh. The American government doesn't have an endless supply of money to pay off everyone's mortgage, send them on annual all expenses paid vacations, and buy everyone a nice car. Decisions about what is most important and where need is greatest always have to be made when funds are limited. You and Ohher can cry about the horrors of student loans all you want but you will never convince me that those graduates are suffering the way homeless people and the drug addicted are. You may have such a huge heart that you cry as much for the millionaire who has to buy a smaller plane than his friend as you do for the child with cancer, but I'll just keep on rationing my sympathy.

    [Every time you put something in quotes that I didn't say you make me want to short circuit your head.]
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    Conservation of sympathy? Don't make me laugh. The American government doesn't have an endless supply of money to pay off everyone's mortgage, send them on annual all expenses paid vacations, and buy everyone a nice car. Decisions about what is most important and where need is greatest always have to be made when funds are limited. You and Ohher can cry about the horrors of student loans all you want but you will never convince me that those graduates are suffering the way homeless people and the drug addicted are. You may have such a huge heart that you cry as much for the millionaire who has to buy a smaller plane than his friend as you do for the child with cancer, but I'll just keep on rationing my sympathy.

    Except you're not advocating for money to be spent on homeless people, the drug addicted, or children with cancer. You're advocating spending money to provide college to people who have the wherewithal to spend four years without a paying job (or four years employed minimally enough to be compatible with taking classes). You can always find someone worse off, and this kind of whataboutism of misery is a good illustration of why American social programs are so stingy. You can always find someone worse off than whoever a proposed program will benefit.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    College costs are not the same as paying off everyone's mortgage, sending them on annual all expenses paid vacations and buying them a nice car. And really, all I can hear is someone saying that they didn't get a certain benefit, so why should anyone.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Sorry, I've forgotten the reasoning behind your opposition to the plan Twilight. Was it something about people not honoring commitments? Would you mind re-stating your reasoning again? I think it was something about paying out these loans in particular?

    More generally, is there a sense in which the policy aims to write a wrong? Would African-Americans, for example, be disproportionately burdened by these sorts of loans?
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    I've already said that when my son was in college (1987 to 1992,) my entire pay went to his expenses. I earned about $8000 a year and that's what his tuition was.

    How fortunate for both you and your son that there was apparently some additional source of income, not even hinted at by you, to feed, clothe, shelter, and transport the two of you around, since it seems you both survived this ordeal.
    Twilight wrote: »
    The American government doesn't have an endless supply of money to pay off everyone's mortgage, send them on annual all expenses paid vacations, and buy everyone a nice car.

    Could you perhaps link to proposals made by any current US Presidential candidates that the government provide any of these items?
    Twilight wrote: »
    Decisions about what is most important and where need is greatest always have to be made when funds are limited. You and Ohher can cry about the horrors of student loans all you want but you will never convince me that those graduates are suffering the way homeless people and the drug addicted are.

    Oh goody. Let's have a contest to see who is most miserable; that'll be productive. According to this site -- https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=561 -- some 17% of recent female college grads are unemployed but are nevertheless still in hock for loans. How do you know they're not already among the homeless and drug-addicted? Where is this magic wall you seem to imagine which stands permanent, unassailable guard over the college-educated, protecting them from the vicissitudes of life and our rigged economy? Do college grads do better economically, in general, than folks with less education? Yes. Do they all live on Easy Street? No.
    Twilight wrote: »
    You may have such a huge heart that you cry as much for the millionaire who has to buy a smaller plane than his friend as you do for the child with cancer, but I'll just keep on rationing my sympathy.

    Every time you put something in quotes that I didn't say you make me want to short circuit your head.]

    Every time you criticize a stance that neither Croesos nor anyone else has taken, I wonder about short-circuits myself.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    From my perspective, which sadly the UK government doesn’t share either, free tertiary education is a national investment.

    It is repaid either in the higher taxes that come from higher earnings, and/or in the kinds of contribution to society that can be made by people educated to that level. (This is not to say that those with less education make a less worthwhile contribution - just different.)

    Of course there will be dropouts and hard cases, and people who misuse their education, but in general good education is a societal, not just a personal benefit.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Sorry, I've forgotten the reasoning behind your opposition to the plan Twilight. Was it something about people not honoring commitments? Would you mind re-stating your reasoning again? I think it was something about paying out these loans in particular?

    More generally, is there a sense in which the policy aims to write a wrong? Would African-Americans, for example, be disproportionately burdened by these sorts of loans?

    The proposal was to make college free for everyone and forgive most student loans. I thought the first part was good and the second part not so good. Partly because of the "not honoring commitments" thing, partly because it tries to go backwards but only so far. There are lots of living people who did pay off their student loans and wont be reimbursed, and lots of young people who struggled to pay as they went for their college and managed to do it, who wont be reimbursed. It just all seemed very unequal to me.

    As for your second part I have no idea. I would think very poor people probably went to college with scholarships and grants so it wouldn't benefit them as much.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    More generally, is there a sense in which the policy aims to write a wrong? Would African-Americans, for example, be disproportionately burdened by these sorts of loans?

    I think the idea is that in addition to providing relief to college students going forward there should be some mitigation for graduates and current students who have had to take out loans to cover the costs of college recently. That's the wrong that Warren is trying right (not write). It should be noted that the biggest lender of student loans is the federal government, so @Twilight's passionate defense of poor, put upon bankers is a bit misplaced. From a current-economy standpoint debt repayment is a drag and eliminating it is likely to be an economic boost. The student debt not held directly by the federal government is guaranteed by it, so I'm not sure those financial institutions are providing any useful service. They take no risk yet receive payment.

    I have no idea about African-Americans, but it would not surprise me if they held a disproportionate amount of student debt (on a per student basis). African-American families typically have less accumulated wealth than white Americans, largely a legacy of redlining, and would thus have fewer resources to draw on. In other words they would be less likely to be able to pay for college out of pocket like @Twilight's son and therefore more likely to hold student loans.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    I've already said that when my son was in college (1987 to 1992,) my entire pay went to his expenses. I earned about $8000 a year and that's what his tuition was.

    How fortunate for both you and your son that there was apparently some additional source of income, not even hinted at by you, to feed, clothe, shelter, and transport the two of you around, since it seems you both survived this ordeal.
    My husband was a Staff Sgt in the army at the time, we lived in a small apartment that cost less than his housing allowance. I had three outfits of clothing that I alternated, and I walked to work. Yes he did feed me during that time. I never said it was an ordeal and I don't know why it makes you so angry.
    Twilight wrote: »
    The American government doesn't have an endless supply of money to pay off everyone's mortgage, send them on annual all expenses paid vacations, and buy everyone a nice car.

    Could you perhaps link to proposals made by any current US Presidential candidates that the government provide any of these items?

    There were no such proposals. This is called taking a point to it's extreme, you and Croesos were accusing me of being more sympathetic to some situations than others and I was asking if their aren't just maybe, some things we should pay for ourselves.
    Twilight wrote: »
    Decisions about what is most important and where need is greatest always have to be made when funds are limited. You and Ohher can cry about the horrors of student loans all you want but you will never convince me that those graduates are suffering the way homeless people and the drug addicted are.

    Oh goody. Let's have a contest to see who is most miserable; that'll be productive. According to this site -- https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=561 -- some 17% of recent female college grads are unemployed but are nevertheless still in hock for loans. How do you know they're not already among the homeless and drug-addicted? Where is this magic wall you seem to imagine which stands permanent, unassailable guard over the college-educated, protecting them from the vicissitudes of life and our rigged economy? Do college grads do better economically, in general, than folks with less education? Yes. Do they all live on Easy Street? No.
    If so they would benefit from any tax payer help for the homeless and drug addicted wouldn't they?




  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited April 24
    There seem to be three arguments that have been advanced on this thread against means-tested loans reduction:
    1) It's not fair to people who've already paid off their loans;
    2) It's not fair to people who only just miss the means test threshhold;
    3) It's not the best use of the money and there are other more urgent uses for the money.

    1) has been advanced on this thread, sorry, and it's not a good argument. But it seems to have been abandoned.
    3) seems to me to rely on the supposition that there is only a limited pot of money that the government can spend; that government spending on some areas - relieving economic pressure on low-paid graduates for example - will not boost the economy overall, or have indirect knock-on benefits; that government taxation and revenue is always a drain on money that would otherwise be keeping the economy going, and so on. The reasons to believe this seem to me bad.(*)
    2) actually I have considerable sympathy with the view that benefits/welfare shouldn't be means-tested. They cease to be invidious. They no longer carry the stigma that one is the object of charity rather than receiving a good that all citizens should have by right. The better-off are aware just what the less-well off are receiving and aren't under any illusions about how generous the government is being. The better-off have some financial stake in the benefits continuing. Obviously it does require more cashflow through the particular program, and only some of the cash is offset by savings on administering and policing the distribution; that is a problem if you accept objection 3, which as I've said I don't.

    (*) It seems to me, based on my sketchy knowledge of the economic theory, that the fallacy has two stages: firstly, factors affecting individual market transactions are divided into factors internal to that particular market and factors external to that particular market, on what I don't think can be watertight grounds, and the government assigned the role of an external factor; and then this is fallaciously generalised to a claim that government is external to the economy as a whole.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Your position I think is don't do it at all and free from now Twilight. Would it change your vote to Republican though? My sense is 'no way', but let me know if I'm wrong. I'm sorry I said you were selfish, by the way. It was straight up my reaction to the initial post though, if voting your interests is even selfish.

    write/right doh! I've driven from Berlin to Auschwitz today on some very juddery Polish roads. That's my excuse.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited April 24
    Crœsos wrote: »
    I have no idea about African-Americans, but it would not surprise me if they held a disproportionate amount of student debt (on a per student basis). African-American families typically have less accumulated wealth than white Americans, largely a legacy of redlining, and would thus have fewer resources to draw on. In other words they would be less likely to be able to pay for college out of pocket like @Twilight's son and therefore more likely to hold student loans.

    From Houle, J. N. (2014). Disparities in Debt: Parents’ Socioeconomic Resources and Young Adult Student Loan Debt. Sociology of Education, 87(1), 53–69. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038040713512213
    All models show a consistent black-white disparity in student loan debt: African American young adults have a greater risk for student loan debt than do whites, net of all controls.

    Also from that paper,
    The types of institutions that students choose to attend are powerful predictors of student loan debt. Young adults who attend four-year, private, for-profit, and more expensive institutions tend to leave college with more debt than students who choose other options (Baum and Saunders 1998; Choy and Carroll 2000; Gladieux and Perna 2005).[..]Young adults from more educated and high income families tend to get higher degrees; attend more expensive, elite institutions; and spend more time in postsecondary institutions.

    That paper also finds that the smallest student debts are held by students from families making more than $100,000, then comes those from poor (<$40,000 pa family income) backgrounds, but those from middle-income families have the most debt. Students from poor backgrounds have less debt primarily because they choose cheaper education.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Your position I think is don't do it at all and free from now Twilight. Would it change your vote to Republican though? My sense is 'no way', but let me know if I'm wrong. I'm sorry I said you were selfish, by the way. It was straight up my reaction to the initial post though, if voting your interests is even selfish.

    write/right doh! I've driven from Berlin to Auschwitz today on some very juddery Polish roads. That's my excuse.

    Oh gosh no never. I like the idea of free college for everyone far too much to vote against the proposal because of the addition of debt forgiveness. It was just a talking point. I forget how eager some people here are to forget the issue and attack the person, (not you Simon you always give people the benefit of the doubt.)


    So far I'm not crazy about Warren and it's partly because I think her proposals are a little too far reaching.

    I worry so much that the Democrats will lose next time, precisely because the Democrats will ask too much of the average voter, go too far left, refuse to consider a moderate path, and, just like last time, go down feeling righteous and angry. You may not like people like me, but we vote and if you want to win you have to consider us.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Point of information: Warren's debt relief proposal has a limit of $50,000 per student. Some student have much higher loans and will have to pay the difference.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    I've seen average student loan listed from $23,000 to $33,000.

    An opinion piece today quoted economist Thomas Sowell, "The first lesson of economics is that nothing is free, and that the first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Twilight--your figures are off.

    Student loan debt has soared from $260 billion in 2004 to $1.4 trillion in 2017; average debt jumped from $18,650 to $38,000 over that same period; and the number of people over 60 with student loan debt has quadrupled in the last decade from 700,000 to 2.8 million.

    (Source: www.debt.org/students/)

    It is not only individual debt, but accumulative debt, and number of people holding student debt. When you are paying down an accumulated debt of $1.4 trillion, it will not generate any new money. However, if you are investing that $1.4 trillion in homes, new businesses, and even applying it to retirement it could return $22 trillion in twenty years.

    BTW, I am nearing 70 and I still have $500 in student debt. Not much at this stage, I grant you.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    However, if you are investing that $1.4 trillion in homes, new businesses, and even applying it to retirement it could return $22 trillion in twenty years.

    That's a big if. That trickle down effect, never seems to work as well as people predict.

    On average, college graduates earn $1 million more in earnings over their lifetime than those without degrees. And this is the group we want to give more money to, not the 2/3 of Americans without degrees, many living on minimum wage.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    ... When you are paying down an accumulated debt of $1.4 trillion, it will not generate any new money. However, if you are investing that $1.4 trillion in homes, new businesses, and even applying it to retirement it could return $22 trillion in twenty years.
    .....

    This is what I find so baffling about objections like Twilight's to these sorts of programs: the giveaway pays for itself and then some. If I've done the math right it's a 1500% rate of return over 20 years. In Warren's plan, it's not even Twilight's tax dollars - and it benefits all Americans because it gets spent. Insisting that nobody be let off the hook, that everything be fair, that nobody ever receive an unexpected or unearned advantage, and (worst of all according to as some) that it's wrong to take money from hard-working billionaires (BECAUSE SOCIALISM!!!) is literally counterproductive - it is reducing economic activity. It effectively makes envy more important than taking a simple, practical step towards economic justice and a better standard of living for everybody. Paradoxically, trying to be just is prolonging injustice.


  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    So far I'm not crazy about Warren and it's partly because I think her proposals are a little too far reaching.

    I worry so much that the Democrats will lose next time, precisely because the Democrats will ask too much of the average voter, go too far left, refuse to consider a moderate path, and, just like last time, go down feeling righteous and angry. You may not like people like me, but we vote and if you want to win you have to consider us.
    I don't care much for Warren as she doesn't go far enough for me... :smiley:

    I, honestly, appreciate your posts; I can see where you are coming from, even though I may disagree. I am butting my Antipodean head in here as I was curious as to your paragraphs above.

    I'll lay my cards down... I honestly think the current system is fundamentally broken (not just over there...around the 'western world') and I think some dramatic decisions need to be made. From your PoV, are you more comfortable (more supportive?) of a slowly, slowly approach to changing things or do you think that things are generally fine and tinkering around the edges will result in better outcomes? (trying to understand your comment "the Democrats will ask too much of the average voter, go too far left")

    I confess I tend to live in a socialist bubble, with the occasional foray into other media, so it's always good to read and hear other opinions. Thank you for sharing in this intense debate space (the same goes for all others too...)
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    Climacus, by "too far left," I mean that Republicans aren't the only ones who are a little bit afraid of socialism, many Democrats don't wish to go as far in that direction as some European countries have.

    I'm fine with heavy taxes for the billionaires, but I would prefer to use that money to help the poor than to help the middle class.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited April 25
    Thank you, Twilight; we had a rotten PM who bought votes by flinging money at "middle-class welfare", so much so it soon began to be seen as an entitlement...and left us in a bad state economically as nothing was put away for a day of reckoning (thankfully we survived the last economic crisis better than other countries).

    I guess I tend to be of the view, though, when it comes to things such as health, education, etc. I'd rather all, the billionaire and the worker holding down 3 jobs to make ends meet, are treated the same. I think the worker should get some assistance where needed (though not overly fond of UBI...), but apart from taxation and welfare I tend to think one rule for all is best, and takes up fewer administration resources as I think was mentioned above. Anyway...not long til I get to have my say as to the next government across the Tasman. Best wishes for your election. And thanks for answering my question.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Twilight wrote: »
    On average, college graduates earn $1 million more in earnings over their lifetime than those without degrees. And this is the group we want to give more money to, not the 2/3 of Americans without degrees, many living on minimum wage.
    It seems like this would be an argument against free college also, not just against student debt forgiveness.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    I think Twilight's point is that a government forgiving a debt which any of us has promised to pay is different to a government deciding to meet some future further education costs. I can see that myself. It's similar to the retrospective argument; that legislation should work from this day forward, but not apply to past decisions when the law was different.

    (In the UK the government does in practice forgive a fair proportion of student loan debts on the grounds of ability to pay. My personal view is that the previous grant system was more cost-effective, taking all admin costs and ability to pay into account. The ideas behind student loans seem to have been two-fold, Firstly, that if students had to go into debt for further education they would take the decision for further studies more seriously and also work harder at their studies as a result. Secondly that it would save taxpayers' money not to subsidise students by grants. I don't think either of those has been proven to be correct.}
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    While all the above may -- or may not -- be true, we're looking at this problem through the wrong end of the telescope. This article, from Forbes, outlines the heavy drag student debt exerts on the economy:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianahembree/2018/11/01/new-report-finds-student-debt-burden-has-disastrous-domino-effect-on-millions-of-americans/#1e7bf89912d1

    These effects, while they fall disproportionately-but-perhaps-appropriately, on those with the debt, actually affect all of us. Where does the $1 million in lifetime earnings by college grads go in the system we currently have? Does it go to buy homes and start families, with all the benefits and revenue that would put into circulation in local communities, expanding local tax bases and contributing to the well-being of the community? No; these indebted folks aren't buying homes, and are delaying or even forgoing starting families because they can't afford to. The lifetime earnings figure means very little without also taking into account what that money gets spent on: interest, and interest paid into some financial institution located in some distant state (or offshore in the Cayman Islands) instead of going into the local real estate market, the local grocery store, the local baby furniture shop, the local education system, etc.

    Here's the money quote from the article: ". . . a study by Bard College’s Levy Economics Institute found that simply forgiving all student debt would boost the U.S. economy by $1 trillion."

    We need to stop focusing on individuals and instead start focusing on communities, on whose strength we rely for addressing the needs of the vulnerable about whom Twilight claims such concern -- and who, if we read the article, include the very people Twilight seems to insist hold some unassailable advantage over her.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I think it's a reasonable position Twilight is putting, but I too disagree. My disagreement can only be 'in principle' and light though as I am very aware of my lack of knowledge about the complicated and multilayered education and funding system you guys operate. Also, as a childless 52 y.o., I've really got very sketchy knowledge about how things work in Australia now, as distinct from 30 years ago.

    In principle comes from the racial disparity mostly I think. I went to University because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I don't reckon many people who are from poorer backgrounds think that way. I reckon they have goals. I reckon they want to improve their circumstances. I reckon chucking money at college debt will help out many people with that sort of aim in life. That has to be good for the country.

    I too want to help the poor. But I am very much in favor at chucking money at the middle classes too, especially given that middle class is so broad in the USA. We have talked about it before. The people Americans call middle class include people Australians call working families. This chucks money at working families. Good.

    I hate economics, but I understand that there are times when chucking money at ordinary people who will spend it is a good way to try and avoid a recession. Equally, there are times when this is not so good. Is inflation the issue? I say do it to avoid the Trump downturn getting too rough.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Joe Biden has made it official with a video announcing his candidacy for president. The video seems to concentrate on racism and Donald Trump.
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I think Twilight's point is that a government forgiving a debt which any of us has promised to pay is different to a government deciding to meet some future further education costs. I can see that myself. It's similar to the retrospective argument; that legislation should work from this day forward, but not apply to past decisions when the law was different.

    And yet that's not a consistently held rule. For example revisions to bankruptcy law change how existing debts work, despite those debts being incurred prior to the law's passage. A good (and relevant) example would be the 2005 bankruptcy bill shepherded through the Senate by Joe Biden which, among other things, made it harder to discharge credit card debt through bankruptcy. (As a side note, this bill was one of the big reasons Elizabeth Warren got into politics in the first place. Seeing a rematch between them could be interesting. For those who want to watch Senator Biden and not-yet-Senator Warren going at it hammer-and-tongs in the Senate Judiciary Committee and have fifteen minutes to spare the video is here.) At any rate it seems to be a lot less "controversial" to revise debt in favor of large corporations than to do so for ordinary people.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Twilight wrote:
    That's a big if. That trickle down effect, never seems to work as well as people predict.

    First of all, the students receiving student loans are not from the upper 20% income bracket. Most of them come from lower middle class families.

    Second: while college students may earn one million more than their non college peers over time, they actually may find themselves in entry level jobs that often pay less than a skilled laborer at the beginning of their careers. Fact is, with the shortage of skilled laborers at this point, your factoid may just not hold true for the next 30 years.

    Third: As previously been pointed out by several of us, if student loans are forgiven, the money saved will quickly be spent on basic shelter needs or be invested in business start ups.

    Fourth: I was actually using a moderate rate of return in my calculations. I did not consider the multiplier effect. In a positive economy that $1.4 trillion will have an immediate effect of generating $5 for every $1.00 spent. That means the immediate effect will be like injecting $7 trillion into the economy. Think of it, a $7 trillion shot in the arm for an anemic economy! The revenue from that shot in the arm will pay for itself very quickly.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Croesos is right re the retrospective argument. It isn't always applied consistently, nor is its consistent application always fair. Yet another issue where there is grey as well as black and white.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited April 25
    And let's not forget that there is also a Republican presidential campaign going on. Let's check in with the Trump campaign.
    Aaron Rupar
    @atrupar
    On Fox Business, Trump campaign official Lara Trump claims that "the downfall of Germany" was ..... [squints at notes] .... Merkel's decision to allow refugees into the country.

    "It was one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany," she adds.

    I'm sure that comment won't be considered controversial or ill-informed at all. There's a video link at that tweet, for those who want to see this for themselves.
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