Category: Student debt crisis
Ain’t no party like a Green Party: Jill Stein answers questions in townhall
worker | August 17, 2016 | 9:58 pm | Analysis, Economy, Green Party, Health Care, police terrorism, political struggle, Student debt crisis | Comments closed

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. © Dominick Reuter
The Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, went on CNN to directly address voters and their questions. Along with her running mate Amaju Baraka, Stein attempted to pitch her platform to those still undecided.

Stein stated at the beginning of the town hall that the Green Party was “the one national party that is not corrupted by corporate money, by lobbyist money or by Super PACS.”

Using that introduction, she segued into addressing the concerns encompassed by the Green Party, such as jobs, climate change, student debt and foreign policy.

The third party candidate also went on to address a growing concern in the current political climate. When one audience member asked her if she would feel guilty if she potentially split the Democratic vote and helped secure a Trump presidency, she responded, “I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected. I will also have trouble sleep at night if Hillary Clinton is elected.”

Stein went on to bash both candidates, saying, “Donald Trump is bashing these immigrants and is a xenophobic, racist loudmouth,” and delving into Hillary Clinton’s history of supporting wars in the Middle East.

But some audience members questioned the actual potential for the low-polling candidate to make it to the White House. She addressed their concern, saying, “it’s definitely not possible for us to win” when facing two candidates with corporate sponsors and the backing of corrupt political parties. However, she expressed a need to pull in younger voters to her side.

“I really wanted to feel the Bern,” Green Party vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka told the CNN townhall audience, adding that he was “troubled by other tendencies,” such as a lack of focus on foreign policy.

What a Stein administration’s foreign policy would look like was the next question for Dr. Stein, who described her plan as “a peace offensive.”

Stein’s comments were boosted by her running mate.

“Enormous incompetency” was how Baraka described the US intervention in the Middle East, going as far as to say that it caused the growth of the Islamic State.

A military veteran confronted Stein about her position of cutting off support to Israel as they are the US’ only democratic ally in the Middle East. Stein responded by explaining that it would be more of a compromise, “We say to Israel that we will not continue to give you $8 million a day when the Israeli army is occupying territory in Palestine, conducting home demolitions and assassinations.”

She said the same goes for the Saudis, “they don’t get a pass whatsoever.” “Nor, for that matter, does Egypt get a pass.”

Answering an audience member’s question on policing and black communities, Stein said the issue was “related to the ongoing crisis of racial injustice.”

Stein said that in order to “understand this living legacy of fear and racism,” from slavery to lynchings to Jim Crowe to the War on Drugs to police violence, “we’re calling for a truth and reconciliation commission.”

Stein also called for every community in the US to have access to a review board, with an independent investigator, to get to the bottom of any police-involved shooting.

Delving into the personal backgrounds of the Green Party presidential ticket, Stein spoke briefly on her experience as a singer in a band. CNN’s Jake Tapper then turned to Baraka, kidding with him that it was hard to find personal information about him online.

“I’m a pretty boring person” Baraka said, explaining that he likes to “enjoy life and be with my family.”

Stein also spent time addressing her plan for student debt relief, a major cornerstone of the Green Party’s platform. The double standard that the government seems to have for student debt and the banking crisis was a major talking point for Stein, who said, “We found a way to bail out Wall Street, the guys who crashed the economy,” despite a “younger generation held hostage” by student debt.

She explained that, “It was easy for the banks to repay the loans because they’re an extremely advantaged and privileged group.”

However, she explained the trouble for young people has increased, because few of them are in a situation that allows them to repay their debts at an efficient pace due to a lack of high paying jobs.

However, she pointed out that student “debt is largely owned by the federal government, I’m suggesting that the federal reserve buy that debt like it did for Wall Street.” She went on to outline a plan where, without the need for Congress’s approval, she would ask the Federal Reserve to declare student loans null and void, allowing the money that would go into repaying them to be used to boost the economy.

Baraka explained that the Federal Reserve “created money and handed that money to the banks to the tune of 85 billion dollars a month.”

He added that “If this mechanism can be found to prop up the banks,” it can be found for student loans.

American Tuition Rates So High Students Seek Out Sugar Daddies
worker | May 30, 2016 | 8:28 pm | Analysis, class struggle, political struggle, Student debt crisis, Women's rights, Youth | Comments closed
A student walks through Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

American Tuition Rates So High Students Seek Out Sugar Daddies

© REUTERS/ Jessica Rinaldi/Files
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The average tuition rate for a four-year college in the US is $38,600, and even more for a graduate degree. As a result, students often finish university hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. These grueling statistics have forced some students to seek out unique ways to pay their bills.

One such student, Candice Kashani, who was facing an annual $50,000 in tuition and expenses, decided to join a dating website that connects women in need of financial aid with men willing to help pay it, reported the Associated Press (AP).

“Now, almost three years and several sugar daddies later, Kashani is set to graduate from Villanova University free and clear, while some of her peers are burdened with six-digit debts,” reported the wire service.

“The people who have a stigma, or associate a negative connotation with it, don’t understand how it works,” she argued.

Lynn Comella, an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told the AP that it’s not uncommon for students to use sex work to help pay for university. The sugar daddy dating websites do not guarantee sex, but it is implied, according to site users.Ron Weitzer described the websites as “prostitution light” to the AP. He is a criminologist that focuses on the sex industry and a professor of sociology at the George Washington University.

The burdened situation American students have been put into has created an incentive for business people to create the websites.

Brandon Wade, who has created several of these websites, told the AP that they can be used as an “alternative to financial aide.” He is also quoted on his personal website as saying, “Love is a concept invented by poor people.”

One of his websites targets students specifically although he says it did not initially plan to do so. “It stumbled on this niche and began in 2011 offering students a free premium membership, which usually costs $30 a month. It charges sugar daddies $70 to $180 a month, depending on the membership level,” wrote the AP.

“Money and sex are things that people want… I think the controversy comes into play on seeking arrangement because we are so upfront about it,” Wade concluded.

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American Hegemon’s Bankruptcy is Only a Matter of Time…the Nearest Time
worker | March 7, 2016 | 7:41 pm | Analysis, Economy, political struggle, Student debt crisis | Comments closed
Bankrupt America

American Hegemon’s Bankruptcy is Only a Matter of Time…the Nearest Time

© Flickr/ Amphis d’@illeurs

Amid official economic statistics that claim “the world’s largest paper economy is in a marvelous recovery” and the insistence of leading US economists that the national debt doesn’t matter as it is owed to itself, geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl argues that the country is almost bankrupt and its end could be nearer than any of us imagine.

F. William Engdahl has refuted the claims of leading US economists, including Noble Economics Prize winning Paul Krugman, that debt in an economy, especially the world’s most debt-bloated economy, the United States “doesn’t matter,” as it, to a large extent, owes money to itself.

“Today the US financial economy is going into a new downward spiral led by debt,” the geopolitical analyst, who is also a strategic risk consultant and lecturer with a degree in politics from Princeton University, writes in his article for the New Eastern Outlook.

The author elaborates that indebted American consumers are the main reason for such a pathetic state of the country’s economy.

He cites the results of a recent study which revealed that in 2015 the average American household had $129,579 in debt — $15,355 of it on high-interest credit cards.

“Just because the Federal Reserve has a zero interest rate policy doesn’t mean Chase or other Visa card issuers charge zero. They still charge from 13% to 25% depending on the credit history,” he writes.

“Total consumer debt today is a staggering $11.91 trillion, almost 70% of GDP. It is even worse than the bare statistics.”

The American household is forced into debt increasingly because the rise in the cost of living has exceeded income growth over the past 12 years.

Median household income has grown 26% since 2003, but household expenses have outpaced it significantly — with medical costs growing by 51% and food and beverage prices increasing by 37% in that same span.

The average US household, the author says, pays a total of $6,658 in interest cost on home, cars, credit card debt per year, 9% from an average household income of $75,591.

“That is being spent on interest alone, not on new shoes for the kids or dining out with the family. This is the real reason the Federal Reserve is in a gigantic pickle regarding raising interest rates to “normal” —it would blow up the near $12 trillion consumer pyramid of debt along with corporate debt,” he further suggests.

There is another source of debt, the geopolitical analyst says, which is “assuming alarming dimension.” And that is student debt, “a new factor that 25 years ago was almost negligible.” Today students must borrow to finance college.

And the statistics are alarming.

“Today total outstanding student loan debt in the US is $1.2 trillion. Only home mortgage debt is higher,” the author says.

“About 40 million Americans hold student loans and about 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with debt.”

Those who graduated in 2015, he explains, left college owing an average of $35,051 before earning their first paycheck to pay that debt off. One in four student loan borrowers are either in delinquency or default.The consequences of such a high number indebted American consumers unable to make their payments are being experienced in many branches of economy.

“A further indicator of the true state of the US debt-bloated economy is the fact that the world’s largest retail group, Walmart, just announced it will close 154 of its giant stores that sell everything from food to garden equipment to toys,” the author notes.

Over the past two years hundreds of America’s giant shopping malls have been abandoned as store chains like J.C. Penney, Kmart, RadioShack and Sears close thousands of outlets.

Even worse, many companies are continuing to file for bankruptcy.

“With the most severe collapse of oil prices in 13 years, the last remaining job-creating sector of the economy, the oil and gas industry, is rapidly becoming the domino that threatens to topple a mountain of dicey credits and threaten many banks,” F. William Engdahl says.

“Since the deal between the foolish US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah in September, 2014 to flood the world with cheap Saudi oil to create a crisis in the Russian ruble amid US sanctions, the worst hit in the unfolding crisis has been the US oil and gas industry, mainly unconventional, costly shale oil and gas,” he elaborates.

They have sold off hundreds of oil fields, eliminated an estimated two hundred fifty thousand jobs and slashed billions of dollars from capital spending and stock dividends, he adds.

“With jobs in the oil and gas sector vanishing, companies going bankrupt, households choking in debt, real unemployment is not the mythical 5% declared by the US Labor Department but more like 23%, the author states, citing John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics.With all the above in mind, he concludes, it is no wonder that the “American Hegemon is going bankrupt.”

“Debt is a strategic factor in the existence of any national economy, and has historically been the factor that ruins nations, the United States included,” he finally states.

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