A Major Achievement

By: Inoljt, http://thepolitikalblog.wordpress.com/

A few days ago the House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, a meaningful reform of the way student loans are dealt with.

In my mind, this bill constitutes one of the Obama administration's most important accomplishments.

To understand why, provided hereafter is an explanation of what the bill does. In recent years, the cost for college has increased tremendously, to the point where total expenses exceed per capita American income. Therefore the federal government encourages banks to loan money to students. These loans are guaranteed and subsidized by the government.

Unfortunately, private banks are not in the business to help students. Many private student loans can be compared to sub-prime mortgages; they charge exorbitant interest rates, add numerous fees (e.g. the origination fee), and often take advantage of vulnerable, low-information customers. Moreover, under Republican banking reforms, student debt cannot be wiped away through bankruptcy.

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Virginity college fund offers hit $3.8 million, other American students hit hard, few options.

The average cost of a college education in a state university is now approaching $100,000. Costs at many private schools run far higher. Many students are realizing they may never be able to afford college. Meanwhile, many high-tech businesses are fleeing the US because of its lack of recent technically skilled graduates and high housing and especially, healthcare costs.

Do you support her prostitution for college cash for Natalie Dylan and her sister?

So, as millions of young Americans are now discovering that even the most optimistic projections of income to their parents college savings accounts will make college still unaffordable to them, this enterprising young woman has hit on a new twist to a time-honored scheme to make college affordable for both herself and her sister.

The oldest profession.

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My close encounter with the student loan scandal...

For those of you who, like me, where shocked the somewhat nefarious tales of student loan improprieties at our nation's finest institutions, we reached a triumphant victory on Wednesday when the House passed a bill that will cut government subsidies to lenders, increase need-based grants, and cut interest rates on loans.  The bill, once reconciled with the Senate version, promises to reduce the burden of affording a college education (the cost of which has risen 40% over inflation in the last five years) on middle-class families.  

I don't know much about student loans, though I should--I am currently enrolled at Teachers College, Columbia University.  I can't tell you the amount of money my one year of graduate school at Columbia will actually cost me, though I assure you that I could buy a 2008 Jaguar S-Type midsize sedan with the money I'll end up spending on my graduate degree.  

I made it to the age of 22 without obtaining any debt through Georgia's HOPE scholarship program, which allows all students in the state who maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA to attend public Georgia universities for free.  Despite that state's low SAT scores and abysmal graduation rates, the state has been aggressively trying to improve its education system for the last 14 years.  Georgia now leads the nation in the percentage of undergraduate students receiving state grants, with 79.4% of students receiving state financial aid.  Besides increasing the opportunity of every student to attend college, the scholarship has increased the quality of the state's colleges and increased African American enrollment in Georgia colleges by 70%.  

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Democratic Legislative Priorities Demanded By Voters

Democratic Legislative Priorities Demanded By Voters

Congressional Democrats are on notice. They must pass legislation in a few key areas quickly to keep their jobs. The anger shown by voters in defeating Republican incumbents will be turned on Democrats if they fail to address key issues.

Of course, we need to get out of Iraq. This issue has seen plenty of attention by other pundits and the mainstream media so this column will not cover it in depth.

We should increase the minimum wage and index future increases to inflation. The goal must be to have all American workers earn a living wage. The American nation needs to address the plight of the working poor.

Congress has to dramatically increase financial aid for college students in the form of scholarships and grants. We must reduce the debt burden faced by college students from student loans.

Democrats in Congress will have to pass legislation that requires broadcasters to conform to the Fairness Doctrine. They must reduce the ability of the FCC to exempt corporations from regulations concerning monopoly ownership in media markets. Laws need to be passed that encourage local media ownership, content diversity and minority ownership.

National standards for voting machines and uniform practices should be mandated by Congress. Verified voting procedures, with easy recounts in close races, must be required by law in every election. The right to have all votes counted should be formalized in law. Public officeholders whose actions deny voting rights to large groups of voters should face serious felony criminal charges and long sentences in prison

We must expand the healthcare rights of all citizens. We need to rapidly move toward single-payer, government provided universal healthcare under Medicare. It is a national disgrace that Americans spend so much of our national wealth on healthcare for such meager results. We are the last major industrialized nation on the planet not to have government provided universal healthcare.

Our national economy must reverse course on outsourcing of good paying American jobs. We must rebuild our industrial base or face a rapid decline of our international power. Our national security is being threatened by an insane trade policy. The self-interest of our nation must come before the profits of large international corporations.

America must move rapidly to expanded alternative and renewable energy sources. Our national energy policy cannot be designed by the oil industry. We need a national push for ethanol production, solar power, bio-diesel and wind power. Our tax codes should massively reward energy efficient building practices.

Stricter limits must be placed on the role of money in American politics. We must find a way to halt campaign money flowing from large corporations and corrupting our political system.

If Democrats move quickly to take action on these problems, we can dominant American politics for a generation or more. If not, we will have difficulty in retaining majority control of Congress.

Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com .) Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Phone: 443-907-2367. Email: midsouthcm@aol.com .

Feel free to publish without prior permission at no charge.

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