Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Student Loans

What’s in the GOP Tax Bill?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 6, 2017:

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The GOP tax reform bill presented last Thursday attempts to be “revenue neutral” within 10 years. By giving most of the cuts to corporate taxpayers, there’s precious little left for the middle class to enjoy. The problem is not only the mathematics — trying to match the “give” with the “take” — but the politics: Democrats will work to scuttle any attempt to relieve fiscal pressure on entrepreneurs (i.e., capitalists) who are largely carrying the burden of supporting the government. Absent any attempt to cut spending — the tax bill’s 429 pages offer little help with that — what’s left, as has been said, is simply moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic.

First,

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A Closer look at the Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 1, 2016:  

From a distance the jobs report issued on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) looked pretty good: 215,000 new jobs were created by the economy in March while earnings, year-over-year, increased by 2.3 percent. The average hours worked remained stable, and the labor force participation rate rose off its recent record lows.

The numbers came from two sources: payroll numbers provided by businesses directly to the Labor Department, and household numbers provided by phone-call surveys.

In looking at the numbers, Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, a massive global investment firm headquartered in New York City, said that “we continue to generate a lot of jobs” without asking what kind. A closer look reveals

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The Fed Joins Other Voices Predicting a U.S. Recession

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on March 22, 2016:  

Harry Dent, the author of The Great Crash Ahead, says that the current rebound in stocks is a head-fake of the first order, that the end of the seven-year bull market in stocks occurred last May. He said just look at a three-year chart of the SPX (Standard and Poor’s 500 Index) and see the rounded top formation.

Instead, talking heads all across the media are calling the recent rise following the precipitous decline that began the first day of trading of 2016 just a speed bump, a hiccup as the seven-year-long bull market in stocks is getting its second wind.

Markit Ltd., the monster financial services and advisory company located in London, issued its first warning in late February with its flash that its services purchasing managers’ index

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Markit Ltd. Says U.S. Economy Is Faltering

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 22, 2016:  

Markit Ltd., the London-based global financial information behemoth, issued an early warning about signs of the coming recession in late February when it published its services purchasing managers’ index. It went negative for the first time in more than two years. At the time, Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, said:

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Evidence Mounts for U.S. Recession in 2016

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 14, 2016:  

Nearly everyone with an opinion is warning about the increasing probability of the United States entering a recession — two quarters of negative growth — before the end of the year.

Cabinet - Class Photo, 1984: Front row: David ...

President Ronald Reagan’s former budget director David Stockman (middle, left) has been negative on the economy for months, noting in early February that

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The Best Evidence Yet of a US Recession This Year

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 14, 2016:  

The best evidence comes from the US Treasury with its daily report of tax receipts from wages and salaries. It’s pure, it’s timely, and it’s free of massaging and/or manipulation. And it’s ugly.

John Williams, the skilled and capable economic statistician whom the establishment economists love to hate, author of ShadowStats.com, has built a graph (see source below) showing

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Recession Indicators: Pick one

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 18, 2015:

As a general rule a recession is two quarters of negative growth (aka decline) in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). GDP, in simplest terms, is a measure of industrial production, employment, real (inflation-adjusted) income, and wholesale and retail trade.

The trick is knowing when a recession is coming. Even trickier is knowing what to do about it beforehand.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said GDP

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More Signs the Economy Is Slowing

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 17, 2015:  

The latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey issued by the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Monday confirms an increasingly ominous economic trend: The fourth consecutive monthly decline in its index is the longest since early 2009.

Its authors didn’t even try to sugarcoat it:

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Democratic Debate: a Kabuki dance with Alice in Wonderland

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 14, 2015:  

Last night’s “debate” had one winner and six losers in showcasing the Democratic Party’s potential nominees for president in 2016: Hillary Clinton, according to all liberal commentators, was the winner going away.

The losers were everyone else on stage — Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee — plus Joe Biden, and the American taxpayer.

It was all Kabuki dance:

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Tuition-Free Community College? Yea or Nay?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 8, 2015: 

Students at a table in Muscatine Community Col...

Students at a table in Muscatine Community College courtyard

 

In 2008 the city council of Knoxville, Tennessee created “Knoxville Achieves”, a philanthropically-funded free tuition program for lower income families who couldn’t afford college. It blended private funds with requirements that students receiving “last dollar” benefits (tuition expenses remaining after grants, scholarships and personal resources were used up) would be guided by volunteer mentors through regular consultations and planning sessions. If the students didn’t meet certain minimum performance standards, the mentoring stopped and so did the money.

This was a local response to the pitiful results, in general, that community college students were obtaining. Barely 20 percent of them obtain their associate’s degree after three years. It’s supposed to take two.

The first year 496 students received tuition assistance, with good results appearing almost immediately. It wasn’t the money – it was the mentoring and the tracking, following, and monitoring that made the difference. Students were, some for the first time, being held personally accountable to a friendly volunteer, along with receiving a financial incentive.

It worked so well that

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Proposed Federal Tuition-free Community College Likely to Be a Bust

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 8, 2015: 

Buried in the fine print of President Obama’s State of the Union speech last January was an idea that the federal government should make community college tuition-free. It’s loosely based on a Tennessee program that seems to be working without federal funding or intervention.

The federal program would add $6 billion to the government’s already bloated educational assistance programs, which already run $70 billion (not counting the $100+ billion in student loans) every year. Anything for the kids, it seems, and according to promoters, the taxpayers won’t feel a thing.

According to the federal program, an estimated nine million students attending community colleges could avoid up to $3,800 a year in tuition, with three-quarters of the largesse coming from Uncle Sam and the balance put up, under federal mandates, by the states. In his speech, Obama called community colleges “essential pathways to the middle class,” adding,

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The President’s Latest Plan to Flood Colleges with New Students

 

College Students Spending Time Outside

College Students Spending Time Outside (Photo credit: York College of PA)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, June 18, 2014: 

Mr. Obama has never been very good at math or in getting his facts straight. His misunderstanding of basic laws of economics, however, is breathtaking. Last week, on Tumblr, he announced his latest plans to make it easier for high school graduates to borrow their way into college. First he’ll cap their debt repayments at 10 percent of disposable income. Second, if they default after 20 years, their debts will be forgiven.

Often in error but never in doubt, the president said:

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President Announces plans to make College more Affordable

cardboard sign ... College Graduates. Lots of ...

cardboard sign … College Graduates. Lots of them and lots of debt. (FEBRUARY 16, 2012) …item 2.. Searching for jobs in Tallahassee is a burden (Jan. 23, 2013) … (Photo credit: marsmet531)

On Monday, June 9, President Obama announced new executive orders to make borrowing for college easier and less costly as part of his “year of action.” Speaking to students via Tumblr, the president said:

A higher education is the single best investment that you can make in yourselves and your future, and we’ve got to make sure that investment pays off…

In America, higher education opens the doors of opportunity for all…

He dusted off the old shibboleths that a college degree will improve chances to get hired and will result in higher earnings as well:

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NYTimes asks: Why spend $100,000 to get a job that pays just $37,000?

It’s done all the time. In fact, thanks to “degree inflation” one has to have a BA just to get a job interview. It’s another result of excessive supply and reduced demand. And the supply is being provided by schools charging $100,000 to get a BA degree.

There are so many things wrong with this equation one scarcely knows where to begin.

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College students preparing for what?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has done us another favor: it has blown the cover off the perception that a college degree is worth the money. Their listing of the top 30 occupations in job growth for the next 8 years shows that only five of them need a college degree!  They are

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How Do the Poor Spend Twice Their Income?

Money Bankroll Girls February 08, 201114

(Photo credit: stevendepolo)

This report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics contains some startling and disconcerting news: those in the lowest income bracket take in about $10,000 a year, but spend about $22,000!

Here are the basics: there are about 24 million households in the bottom fifth of all households. Their disposable income, after taxes, is $10,074 a year. Their average annual expenditures total $22,001. They spend $3,547 annually on food, $8,771 on housing, $850 a year on clothing, $3,256 on transportation, $1,489 on health care, $981 on entertainment, and the rest on personal care items, education expenses, and tobacco. On average, they make charitable contributions of $687 a year.

So they’re going in the hole by $12,000 a year.

How do the poor do that? The BLS comes up with some possible explanations: drawing down

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Student Loans Are Toxic!

Dave Ramsey: Don’t Pay Those Student Loans

Dear Dave,

My brother was killed earlier this year, and my mom is finalizing his estate. He had a couple of federally insured student loans through Sallie Mae totaling $8,000 at the time of his death, and the attorney probating the estate says mom now has to pay off those loans. Is that correct?

I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. But no, your lawyer is not correct. Payment for federally insured student loans is not due upon the borrower’s death. They are waived.

The Dave Ramsey Show

The Dave Ramsey Show (Photo credit: .imelda)

And that’s about the only way a student, or any co-signer on a student loan, can get out of paying it off: to die! And even then it’s hard:

You can take care of this by sending a copy of the death certificate to Sallie Mae.

I’ll warn you ahead of time that it may take a while to jump through all their hoops. I mean, you’re dealing with the federal government. They’re not exactly known for getting things right the first time. But once you’re declared permanently disabled or you pass away, federally insured student loans are discharged and not held against the estate.

You’ve read elsewhere that parents or grandparents who co-sign a student loan are having their Social Security checks dinged if the loans aren’t paid. Talk about redistributing the wealth!

It’s not about wealth, however, it’s about ignorance. When I went to Cornell my dad paid for most of my expenses. Student loans didn’t exist back then (in the dark ages) and if they had, my dad would have shunned them anyway.

I have views that my dad’s money was largely wasted on me, but that’s another topic for another day. What I didn’t have at the time was any insight into options other than going to college. I was “college-bound” from the moment I could articulate words.

Today options abound. Online schools like MIT are essentially giving away their courses along with certificates indicating competency. A student today can get an excellent college education—if he is determined to do so—for less than $15,000. That’s $15,000 for the full four-year course.

But why college? Aren’t there other options? Of course there are.

But the main point is: don’t borrow. Don’t, for Heaven’s sake, borrow from the federal government. They will put you back on the plantation where you will “owe the company store” forever.

Unless you die.

Are Student Loans Killing Grandma?

The Rhode Show: Senior citizens feel sting of loan debt

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that the growing burden of student loan debt is creating problems for an unexpected group—senior citizens.

Ann Morgan Guilbert as Grandma Yetta.

Ann Morgan Guilbert as Grandma Yetta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buried in this article from TVL Broadcasting is some very good advice. The interviewer on the show was distressed to learn that 5 percent of the $870 billion in student loan debt belongs to seniors—60 and up—or some $40 billion. And that is putting some severe crimps into grandma’s plans to retire as the note they co-signed to help their grandchild has gone bad.

Let’s think about this: the young person bought the lie that a college degree will lead to a good job. Not. Notes the article:

That clear connect between getting that degree and then getting a good solid job that leads to a prosperous career just isn’t there anymore…

The value that we’ve all assumed came with a college degree simply isn’t there.

Thank you. Good advice. A little late. But good advice nevertheless.

When my son was trying to figure out how to advise his two sons about getting a college degree, each of them made different, and I think, wise decisions. Will, the oldest, decided to get his degree online. They researched the available resources—there are many—and selected one. Total cost: About $15,000. That’s $15,000 for four years of college—that’s total.

Will is doing his homework on a computer with interactive classes with other live students (and a live professor—imagine that!), and is working at his own pace. There are requirements and time lines and deadlines and papers and…well, the whole college experience. Thanks to the internet, it’s affordable. And his education will likely turn out an excellent American history professor (that’s Will’s goal).

Tim, on the other hand, decided to forgo the entire college “thing” and instead he decided to take a 22-month-long class at Redstone College in Denver which will lead him to a career as a high-end aerospace engineer who works on keeping aircraft operational. It’s a perfect fit for him.

No student loans. And no co-signing by grandma (or grandpa).

Debt-Limit Negotiations: A Game of Chicken Over Chicken Feed

Chicken

Image by LollyKnit via Flickr

When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced he was leaving the negotiations over raising the debt limit on Thursday, he made it clear that he felt he was getting pressured by the Democrats to accept tax increases as part of the deal. He said: “Each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.”

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McKinsey Report: Unemployment to Stay High for Ten Years

Burton Blumert, Lew Rockwell, David Gordon, an...

Image via Wikipedia

Even under the “high-job-growth” scenario offered by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), it will take ten years for the U.S. economy to generate the 21 million new jobs necessary to rehire the current unemployed as well as new entrants to the workforce. And the unemployment rate would still be at

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.