At a time when overall student debt approaches $1 trillion, the facts reveal that student loans aren’t loans, not in the traditional sense. They exhibit none of the qualities of modern consumer financial instruments, and are often sold under false pretenses, with the promise of a lifelong benefit that never materializes. We need to change how these loans work and have a broader conversation about what we should be doing — including bankruptcy and refinancing — to help future generations obtain a quality, affordable education, which is critical to our economic future.
When CVFC, a conservative veterans’ group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress.
With an assist from some long-term demographic trends, House Republicans have redistricted, propagandized and policed themselves into another country.
As a result, they have become unmoored from the political incentives that typically drive law-makers’ decision-making process. Public opinion no longer sways them, and that is creating a potentially insurmountable problem for the party establishment’s efforts to broaden the GOP’s appeal beyond angry old white people.
House Republicans may care about the GOP’s national fortunes in the abstract, but too many are impervious to what the public at large wants because of the nature of the districts they represent. At the same time, a steady stream of spin from the conservative media provides insulation from the realities of American politics, and deep-pocketed outside groups punish Republicans for any deviation from right-wing orthodoxy.
AFRICANGLOBE – A coalition of Black media owners, professional and political organizations are calling on African American consumers across the nation to begin immediately to redirect a minimum of $20.00 per week in spending to Black-owned businesses.
The initiative being called “The Million Dollar Black Spending Power Campaign” is being organized by local groups in a number of key cities. It’s projected that even with minimal support this effort may turn one million dollars per week back into predominantly Black communities throughout the country.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would bring it in line with its historical borrowing power, which peaked in 1968, and indexing it to inflation would prevent Congress from having to repeatedly raise it to keep up with rising costs. The current wage would be $10.40 had it been indexed to inflation in 1968.
Only Congress can avoid this self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families, and the only thing standing in the way of a solution today is Congressional Republicans’ refusal to even consider closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy Americans and well-connected corporations. The President and Congressional Democrats have put forward solutions to avoid these cuts and allow time for both sides to work on a long-term, balanced solution to our deficit challenges.
The President is serious about cutting spending, reforming entitlements and the tax code to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. The question is, will Congressional Republicans come to the table to get something done?
“If Congress allows this meat cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness … [and] eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research,” he said. “It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day. It doesn’t make those distinctions.”
Obama said the sequester would result in, among other things, reduced border patrol staffing, degraded first response capability in emergency situations, a furlough of FBI agents, layoffs of teachers and educators, air traffic and airport security cutbacks and loss of access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Partisan finger-pointing has trumped negotiations as Congress and the White House barrel toward the March 1 deadline for replacing or modifying $85 billion in spending cuts to military and domestic programs. Leaders in both parties have likened the cuts to a “meat cleaver” approach to deficit reduction that could cost jobs and undermine military readiness, but have yet to engage in serious talks on reversing them.
On ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) called out Tom Cole (R-OK) for his claim that President Obama is responsible for the automatic budget cuts set to go into effect if Congress cannot reach a budget deal by March. The so-called “sequester” includes steep defense cuts intended to motivate Republicans who refused to agree to any deal that included a tax increase in 2011.
When Cole tried to pin the cuts on Obama, Ellison reminded him that Cole himself voted for the Budget Control Act that created the sequester:
Warning of grave economic consequences if a package of automatic spending cuts takes effect in coming weeks as part of the sequester, President Barack Obama Tuesday urged Congress to pass a short-term package of spending cuts and to close tax loopholes.
“If they can’t get a bigger package done by the time the sequester is scheduled to go into effect, then I believe they should at least pass a smaller package,” Obama said at the White House. “There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who work in national security or education or clean energy—not to mention the growth of the entire economy—should be put in jeopardy.”