Monday, December 7, 2020

Traps And Swindles

     Chessplayers are familiar with the above terms. Success at laying a trap for one’s opponent, when said opponent has a superior, nominally winning position, accounts for many a famous victory. A swindle is a form of trap, less well known and less frequently celebrated, in which one lures one’s opponent into an attractive course, seemingly a straightforward march toward victory, in which he must settle for a draw.

     Politics has the equivalents, of course.

     Our favorite Graybeard recently wrote about a significant trap. On the surface it looks like one of the Left’s pseudo-“compassionate” initiatives:

     Since the first rumblings of the potential Biden administration, the idea of "forgiving" student loans has gotten talked about a lot; whether from Elizabeth Warren or AOC, we keep hearing "progressives" clamoring for the handout. Clearly the loans can't be forgiven; money is owed to some bank, (which is to say some one) and the Feds can't wave their hands and make the banks take that loss, so that will mean taking money from some taxpayers to pay other taxpayers. It takes a study from someone relatively neutral to show just how fair that is.

     The top 20% of income earners will get $192 billion in tax money; the bottom 20% will get $29 billion. The richest income earners will get over 6-1/2 times the money as the bottom 20%. Since the lowest quintile of income earners pays almost no tax and gets more in benefits than they pay, they are essentially getting a bigger tax break. The middle class and higher will pay for this program. Our tax system is highly progressive, meaning the more one earns the more tax they pay. The last numbers I can find having blogged about (using 2016 data) is that:

  • The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (39.5 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.1 percent).
  • The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 27.1 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.5 percent).

     This idea is a highly regressive tax policy in that the richer they are, the more tax payout they get.

     Please read the whole column. Graybeard’s analysis of the deception involved is eminently worth your time, and definitely worth remembering for the off chance that you’ll someday confront a dimbulb “progressive” and feel the need to box his ears – rhetorically, of course.

     By and large the people promoting this lunacy aren’t stupid. They know what they’re doing. Some hope to profit monetarily by it, though in this particular case of a proposed policy it would be hard to pull off. So we must ask, “Apart from bribing millions of college-educated Americans, what do they hope to accomplish this way?”

     Mind you, bribing millions of college-educated Americans with Treasury funds is a substantial political goal by itself. But I sense another agenda, one that hasn’t yet been widely discussed. It goes to the heart of the Left’s “long march through the institutions,” which has succeeded most visibly in its conquest of America’s educational institutions.

     The rise in the cost of government-controlled schools – and don’t kid yourself; the “public” schools in your district are as much an arm of government as any state or federal bureaucracy – has had several effects. The most obvious one is to increase the cost of living sharply, forcing many American families to send the wife to work. The next most obvious has been a continuous struggle over how all that “funding” will be used: for the “disadvantaged,” or for the “gifted,” or for “activities,” or for “social involvement,” or what have you. Before the public schools started to bloat their agendas beyond literacy, numeracy, and historical and civic awareness, the budgets were too small to attract the really big predators. Today, when even small districts’ have millions of dollars to be allocated, the struggles have become vicious and the contestants utterly ruthless.

     Just beyond those two effects lies a third one that goes unnoticed by all but the most concerned parents: the cost of the “public” schools has made it impossible for 99% of Americans to afford a private alternative.

     Significant? Think about it. The Left has achieved near-perfect control of the “public” schools. That control has allowed them to replace education with indoctrination. The sole challenge to its hegemony has always been private education, whether religious or secular. However, if parents, by reason of the enormous property tax burdens they suffer, cannot afford to send their kids to private or religious schools, the Left need not fear them. What remains is homeschooling, which most parents feel unready to attempt.

     At this time, the operating costs of institutions of higher learning are paid by a combination of student tuitions and fees and state and federal subsidies. The portion that’s defrayed by student payments is largely funded by student loans. All such loans are now administered by the federal government’s Department of Education. Simply fill out a “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA) form, and you’re likely to receive a substantial part of the cost of your college education as a federal or federally-brokered loan.

     It’s all very simple...and it’s the quickest route to post-college financial hell ever contrived.

     The federal government’s involvement in the financing of higher education has been the means whereby Washington has imposed massive amounts of regulation on colleges and universities. The attitude of the DoE is that if a college or any student that attends it receives even one dollar from a federal source, it thereby becomes subject to any and all regulations the DoE may choose to impose on it. To the best of my knowledge, there is no way for a college to escape that web except by refusing to accept federal money, whether as a subsidy or as part payment of a student’s tuition.

     One institution of higher education, Hillsdale College in Michigan, has chosen to forgo federal money altogether, and so has remained out of the regulatory web. There may be others, but I don’t know of them. But what would become of such colleges were it to become common practice for student borrowers to default on their loans and for the federal government to accept the obligations in their place? For such students, college would become essentially free of cost. Would colleges that put up any form of resistance to such amorality be able to attract students?

     “Student debt forgiveness” thus reveals another consequence that the Left probably slavers over: “No college shall escape our clutches!” Any alternative to federally controlled higher education would be pressed to the point of elimination, using taxpayer monies. The indoctrination of young Americans would become universal and uniform.

     Add the above to Graybeard’s thoughts. Do you see the traps? What can we do to avert them?


Linda Fox said...

The thing that drives me nuts about this is that the same people who:
- Take cruises, ski vacations, and other pricy forms of relaxation, still feel entitled to my money
- drive a newer and more expensive car, live in a more expensive home in a 'better' city, and dress in new clothes - STILL feel entitled to take my money
- Look down on me, call me ignorant and uneducated, and make fun of my life - STILL feel entitled to use MY bank account to pay for the thing they couldn't be bothered to save up for.

I've heard a lot of people crying 'poor mouth' about how they NEED my money. It never seems to cause them to ask - why DON'T I have nicer things?

I don't have them because I don't buy what I can't afford. I save for things - purchases, my retirement, my luxuries, and my family.

It's not forgiveness unless they don't get it until they look the TAXPAYERS who ARE paying for that in the eye, and sincerely ask for the money, and, until they find enough WILLING donors to give their OK, they can't collect on it.


It's worse than you realize.

There is no way this can be paid for by taxpayers specifically. It will have to be printed to inflate this out. Like we're not inflating the currency enough, let alone with the Covid bailouts etc.

Just another step in the Cloward-Piven strategy. Then comes chaos, starvation, violence... and the promised hand of stability if we just implement Socialism and give them power.

Tracy Coyle said...

Couple of things:

MOST of the student loan debt is held by the government (the distinction that it is Sallie Mae is without meaning IMO). The cost to tax payers, compared to the rest of the debt, is not significant. We lose the interest earnings and it doesn't pay down the debt. Given our current fiscal condition, it barely matters.

Also, student loan debt is the ONLY debt that can not be managed via the Federal Bankruptcy laws. This Clinton "gift" is unsupportable - even Scripture has debt holidays.

It helps younger adults - and yes, there MUST be changes to the programs tied to the forgiveness: eliminate the bankruptcy prohibition; refuse future federal government guarantees; eliminate government purchases of the debt.

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Francis;

I remember a quote a long time ago, both partners had to work, and the lesser money(usually the wife) worked to pay the tax burden that the family had from the federal, state and local taxes. The college scam and forgiveness racket is just a racket, the rate of college increase is far in excess of the rate of inflation, and the for this is that the .gov is in the loan business and it is a guaranteed income stream for the college and university. Why cut cost and make a quality product, instead lets hook kids into some feel good degree like gender studies that don't pay well and ain't worth spit outside a narrow scope and the kid is stuck paying for the next 40 years, and you wonder why they are enthusiastic Bernie bro supporters because the "system" already nailed them with few options. The Highschool will not even discuss trade schools, I know, I am dealing with this in my school system. I am an A&P mechanic with a legacy carrier making a very comfortable living but the "Trades" are not even on the radar with most schools.

Linda Fox said...

Well, I'm blessed to be located in the semi-rural South, where the 'Tech' option for high school is alive and well. Includes options for traditional trades - electrical, mechanic, construction, etc., as well as CNC/Engineering options. Generally gets the cream of the class, both in native brainpower, as well as initiative and character.

The slackers plan to go to college, along with the kids from 'Woke' families.

John said...

Hillsdale is not the only school, my older daughter's alma mater, Grove College (where great anti-Communist scholar Paul Kengor is a faculty member) also refuses federal funds (and was the subject of a landmark SCOTUS case about 10 years ago, when the Feds tried to argue that since some students get Federal loans and grants that Grove was essentially accepting Federal funds and should be subject to Federal rules. It failed).