Showing posts with label President Joe Biden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Joe Biden. Show all posts

Monday, June 3, 2024

Biden promised to be the grownup in the room. Did he keep his word?

We’re all drifting and things are going rotten. At home, there was always a grownup.

 Ralph, The Lord of the Flies


Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s timeless tale about schoolboys descending into savagery, speaks to us today. Rules are breaking down, and timeless truths about decency, fairness, and rational decision-making have been abandoned. Americans desperately need a grownup to be our president, a mature and civic-minded leader who can repair our chaotic national culture.

Joe Biden promised to be the grownup in the room when he ran for president in 2020. Did he keep his word?

Would a grownup president with a clear sense of our nation’s global responsibilities turn his back on Israel, which President Biden did when he adopted the role of mediator in Israel’s life-or-death struggle with Hamas instead of standing fast as Israel's ally?

Would a grown-up president with a basic knowledge of biology interpret federal law in such a way that biological boys have a legal right to compete with biological girls in varsity sports?

Would a grown-up president cognizant of his responsibilities to keep the American people safe drag the nation to the verge of nuclear war with Russia over a regional dispute in Eastern Europe that is none of our goddamn business?

I don’t think so. If Biden is the grownup in the room, then the American people have defined a grownup as a demented grifter and influence peddler with no moral compass and no regard for the nation's safety or its cultural values.

Where is the grownup in the room?


Monday, December 25, 2023

America is beginning to look like Germany in the early 1930s: Ten dollar mayonaise

In his novel, titled 1984, George Orwell described a world in which an all-powerful government manipulated reality to deceive the citizenry. For example, when the government cut the chocolate ration from 30 grams to 20 grams, it announced that it was raising it to 20 grams--a bald-faced lie.

When Orwell's novel was released in 1958, it was considered a utopian tale about a world that didn't really exist. Today, we are living in 1984.

President Joe Biden, our demented Big Brother, recently made this pronouncement about the American economy. “Today, we saw more progress bringing down inflation while maintaining one of the strongest job markets in history.” That's just bullshit.

Everyone I know expresses shock at the price of groceries. I went to the grocery store not long ago and discovered that the cost of Kraft mayonnaise was almost $10 a jar!

People who are retired and living on fixed incomes find their dollars’ buying power shrinking month by month. Yet the Biden administration claims that Bidenomics has made us all more prosperous.

The government’s official employment rate is more bullshit. Federal bureaucrats claim unemployment is below 4 percent, but that number hides the fact that millions of people are not working and not even looking for work. 

The United States is beginning to look like Germany in the early 1930s. Like the United States today, Germany was governed by a man suffering from dementia. Paul Von Hindenburg, president of Germany from 1925 until he died in 1934, drifted in and out of senescence.

Like Hindenburg, who appointed an Austrian corporal with a funny mustache as chancellor of Germany, Biden has made some terrible personnel decisions. Who believes Kamala Harris is qualified to be Vice President?

Germany, in the years leading up to World War II, was wracked by political violence from the left and the right. America, too, is plagued by a rising tide of political violence.

Then, there was inflation, which wiped out the German middle class and drove the German mark down to a million marks to the U.S. dollar. Likewise, America is teetering on the edge of hyperinflation, with millions of elderly people already reduced to poverty.

Evil days are ahead of us. The time may come when we will fondly reminisce about the days when mayonnaise only cost $10 a jar.




Monday, November 20, 2023

America is beginning to look like Germany in th early 1930s

In his novel, titled 1984, George Orwell described a world in which an all-powerful government manipulated reality to deceive the citizenry. For example, when the government cut the chocolate ration from 30 grams to 20 grams, it announced that it was raising it to 20 grams--a bald-faced lie.

When Orwell's novel was released in 1958, it was considered a utopian novel about a world that didn't really exist. Today, we are living in 1984.

President Joe Biden, our demented Big Brother, recently made this pronouncement about the American economy. “Today, we saw more progress bringing down inflation while maintaining one of the strongest job markets in history.” That's just bullshit.

Everyone I know expresses shock at the price of groceries. I went to the grocery store not long ago and discovered that the cost of Kraft mayonnaise was almost $10 a jar!

People who are retired and living on fixed incomes find their dollars’ buying power shrinking month by month. Yet the Biden administration claims that Bidenomics has made us all more prosperous.

The government’s official employment rate is more bullshit. Federal bureaucrats claim unemployment is below 4 percent, but that number hides the fact that millions of people are not working and not even looking for work. 

The United States is beginning to look like Germany in the early 1930s. Like the United States today, Germany was governed by a man suffering from dementia. Paul Von Hindenburg, president of Germany from 1925 until he died in 1934, drifted in and out of senescence.

Like Hindenburg (who appointed an Austrian corporal with a funny mustache as chancellor of Germany), Biden has made some terrible personnel decisions. Who believes Kamala Harris is qualified to be Vice President?

Germany, in the years leading up to World War II, was wracked by political violence from the left and the right. America, too, is plagued by a rising tide of political violence.

Then, there was inflation, which wiped out the German middle class and drove the German mark down to a million marks to the U.S. dollar.

Evil days are ahead of us. The time may come when we will fondly reminisce about the days when mayonnaise only cost $10 a jar.

 


 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

The Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan: The President Scrambles to Appease College Debtors

 To no one's surprise, the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The president should have seen it coming. He said himself that he doubted whether he had the authority to forgive student loans. Nevertheless, like a child in a temper tantrum, Biden blames the debacle on Republicans.

In a recent public statement, President Biden said he would “stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief to hard-working middle-class families.” The White House announced that the Department of Education is rolling out a new income-based repayment plan so generous that most college borrowers enrolled in the new program will pay little or nothing on their undergraduate federal loans.

Due to the COVID crisis, the Department of Education allowed 40 million student loan debtors to skip their loan payments for the past three years without accruing penalties. The Supreme Court’s decision means these borrowers must resume making monthly loan payments later this summer.

In typical govspeak, The White House said yesterday it will construct a bureaucratic “on ramp” to make it easier for student borrowers to repay their loans. As a practical matter, this on-ramp will encourage most debtors to delay making loan payments for another year.

 Why all this sturm and drang? Why all this turmoil? Why is the federal government constructing elaborate workarounds to the Supreme Court's decision?

If President Biden really means it when he says he will stop at nothing to deliver relief to middle-class families, he can do one simple thing. He can encourage Congress to amend the Bankruptcy Code to allow distressed student debtors to discharge their student loans in the bankruptcy courts. All Congress needs to do is delete two words from the Code: “undue hardship.”    

This solution to the student loan crisis is so simple that even a child can understand it. Why then has President Biden yet to endorse bankruptcy reform? Why didn't Democrats enact this reform when they had control of Congress? Why don't Republicans support it now?

I'll tell you why. Important political constituencies are happy with the status quo.  Colleges and universities benefit from a system that pumps billions of dollars of federal money into their coffers without holding them accountable in any way. Colleges are free to raise tuition year after year--forcing their students to borrow more and more money--without regard to whether the students can repay their loans.

The student loan crisis will not be solved until higher education is reformed. Unfortunately, colleges and universities. have no incentive to reform themselves. Thus, the student loan crisis will not be addressed until American higher education collapses.


Is college worth what it costs?



Wednesday, July 13, 2022

"Boiling with Bitterness": Anonymous student debtor writes angry Reddit post denouncing the Democrats

We have not been appeased, and we have not forgotten. The press ignores us to the doom of the DNC this November

Posted July 13, 2022, on Reddit

Like it or not, many of the millions of us feel so sufficiently betrayed and harmed by the Biden Administration and those who chose him over just about anyone else that we will in November invoke our one and only legal means of effectively punishing them.

We are boiling with bitterness, choking with frustration, and desperate to make our pain known. We can’t afford to send our kids to good schools because of the crushing debt; we can’t take out mortgages on houses because of the suffocating interest rates. Most of us are minorities and women who thought higher education would improve our lives; not a few of us were first-generation college graduates.

When the DNC chose our candidates for us, we weren’t thrilled with Biden at first, but he won our favor by promising to seriously address the student debt crisis. When he said he’d be open to forgiving fifty thousand dollars of debt for each of us, and when he promised to forgive at least ten thousand, we stood ourselves next to him.

But then after he’d banged us and became POTUS, he began to pretend we didn’t exist. Remember several months ago when that journalist asked him two questions, the first of which was about us, and he responded by pretending the first had never been asked, answered the second, and then fled the stage? That hurt.

We have a lot of anger and bitterness, and the only legal means of making sure the Biden Administration feels it is at the polls this November. What other option do we have?

And while we’re preparing to do the unthinkable by not voting this November, the press is doing the worst thing it could possibly do for the DNC: ignoring us. By ignoring us, our cries aren’t reaching the Oval Office.

The DNC will be punished at the voting booth for choosing Biden. The only way we’ll show up is if our needs are met. Our kids need to be able to go to good schools, and we need to be able to mortgage houses, things we’d be able to do if the Biden Administration didn’t treat us like some chick he’d banged just to get a job with her dad.

We’re angry, we’re poor, and we’re not gonna take it anymore.


*****
This Reddit essay is an eloquent expression of a student-loan debtor's frustration and bitterness at being saddled with college debt that can never be paid. Richard Fossey

Despair


Saturday, June 4, 2022

Biden Administration Flirts With Sweeping Student-Loan Forgiveness While Dept of Education Treats All Student Debtors Like Deadbeats: I Don't Get It

Earlier this week, the Department of Education wiped away all student debt owed by more than a million former students who attended one of the Corinthian Colleges campuses. The cost? About $5.8 billion.

Since his administration began, President Biden has approved $25 billion in loan forgiveness for 1.3 million student borrowers. That's a lot of student debt relief.

Nevertheless, more than 40 million Americans are still on the hook for a total of $1.7 trillion in student loans. Many of these folks want President Biden to forgive all of this debt

Biden has proposed debt relief of $10,000 per borrower. Progressive Democratic leaders want $50,000 of student-debt relief for all student debtors (with some sort of income cap). Various advocacy groups urge Biden to forgive all student debt, which burdens minority students and women disproportionately.

These proposals presume that every student debtor took out college loans in good faith. No one wants to offer loan relief on a case-by-case basis based on merit or attempt to identify students who may have committed fraud in handling their student loans.

In other words, all debt relief schemes now under discussion take it as a given that everyone--all 45 million borrowers--is honest and entitled to some debt relief. 

I applaud this approach. Only a tiny percentage of student borrowers took out loans to defraud the government. Almost all of them went into debt to get an education they hoped would improve their lives. And many student borrowers weren't able to obtain a job after graduation that paid enough to justify their educational expenses.

So--I am puzzled. Since President Biden and congressional leaders advocate for massive student debt relief without examining each debtor's individual circumstances, why does the  U.S. Department of Education continue harassing distressed college borrowers in the bankruptcy courts?

Let's look at a bankruptcy court decision issued less than three months ago: Everson v. U.S. Department of Education. In that case, Kimberlee Everson took out student loans to get an associate's degree in medical assisting from Bryant Stratton College, a for-profit institution.

She obtained her degree and went to work as a medical assistant for various employers at an hourly rate of between $12.50 to $23 an hour. By the time she appeared in bankruptcy court, her student debt had grown to $45,000--including accrued interest.

Judge Caryl Dilano, a Florida bankruptcy judge, reviewed Ms. Everson's financial status in painstaking detail and refused to discharge her debt. Judge Dilano pointed out that Ms. Everson went out to eat occasionally, had a gym membership, and sometimes made purchases at a liquor store. 

He also heard evidence from the Department of Education that Ms. Everson was eligible for a long-term, income-based repayment plan that would only require her to pay $48 a month on her $45,000 debt.

In Judge Dilano's opinion, Ms. Everson met two prongs of the three-prong Brunner test.  First, it would be an undue hardship for her to pay off her student loans. Second, her precarious financial circumstances were not likely to improve due to factors beyond her control.

Nevertheless, the judge refused to grant Ms. Everson a discharge because she failed the Brunner test's third prong--the good-faith test. He believed Everson had not handled her student loans in good faith. Notably, Judge Dilano pointed out that she had made only minimal payments on her loans over seven years.

The Department of Education has forgiven $25 billion in student debt owed by more than a million people without subjecting any of these debtors to the onerous Brunner test.

How many millions have gym memberships? How many go out to eat occasionally? How many patronize liquor stores?

I don't get it.

If a million and a half people are getting student-debt relief without regard to their payment history or their lifestyles, why is Judge Dilano devoting judicial resources to determining whether Kimberlee Everson dined out too often?

Sources

Everson v. U.S. Department of Education, Case No. 2:20-bk-03062-FMDAdv. Pro. No. 2:20-ap-267-FMD, 2022 WL909570 (M.D. Fla. March 29, 2022).

Senators Warren & Schumer 




Friday, March 11, 2022

Like Prisoners on Death Row: 25 million student debtors may get another reprieve from making their student-loan payments

Around 2,500 prisoners sit on Death Row in American prisons. Nearly 700 condemned men await death in the Golden State of California. A couple hundred are housed on Death Row in Texas, the Lone Star State. And Florida--the Sunshine State-- has 330 prisoners who've been sentenced to die.

How long do condemned prisoners sit in prison before being executed? On average, 19 years. Most men on death row can postpone their execution date by filing multiple appeals in the courts.

Of course, Americans living in freedom cannot compare their situation to the men on Death Row. Nevertheless, student-loan debtors are somewhat like condemned prisoners. They are seeing their lives drain away while the federal government issues multiple stays of execution on their student-loan payments without giving them real relief.

In March 2020, the Department of Education allowed 25 million student debtors to stop making payments on their loans due to the economic disruption of the COVID pandemic.  DOE said it would not penalize borrowers who didn't make their loan payments and wouldn't charge interest on the underlying debt.

That moratorium has been extended four times, and the Biden administration may extend the moratorium yet again.

Are these debt-forgiveness edicts a good thing for the nation's overburdened student-loan borrowers? Yes, of course.

But there are psychological and emotional costs to being burdened by debt that can never be paid back, costs that some federal bankruptcy courts have explicitly recognized. And these costs are not alleviated by giving college borrowers a series of loan holidays.

And allowing 25 million Americans to skip their student-loan payments for two years does nothing to solve the student-loan crisis, which has grown to catastrophic proportions. Together, American college borrowers owe $1.8 trillion in student debt and another $150 billion in private student debt.

Maybe President Biden will forgive $10,000 in personal student debt as he promised during the 2020 presidential campaign. But that will do little or nothing to ease the debt burden of most borrowers.

Perhaps Congress will pass legislation to forgive all federal student-loan debt, or President Biden will do that by executive order. But I think relief of that magnitude is unlikely.

In the meantime, while our legislators and policymakers ponder global solutions,  why doesn't Congres simply amend the Bankruptcy Code to allow insolvent student borrowers to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy?

But Congress probably won't do that. For all the sympathetic rhetoric, Congress is content to allow millions of Americans to sit helplessly in a vast debtor's prison without bars--financially unable to buy homes, save for retirement, or start families.

In the meantime, college borrowers live much like the men on Death Row. Like condemned prisoners, they get numerous reprieves from making payments. They get deferments, they sign up for long-term income-based repayment plans, and they get to skip loan payments during the COVID crisis. 

Condemned prisoners whose sentences are postponed again and again will never be free. Some will eventually be executed, but many of them will die of old age.

Likewise, America's student loan debtors can manage their massive loan debt with various types of reprieves. They can apply for economic-hardship deferments. They can sign up for long-term, income-based repayment plans. They can skip payments during the COVID loan-payment pauses.

But millions of them will never be free of their college debt. They will die before it's repaid. That's a high price to pay for going to college.

 

California's death row





Tuesday, November 2, 2021

105 Organizations Want Biden to Cancel All Student Loan Debt: It Ain't Happenin'

 More than one hundred public interest groups sent a letter to President Biden this week urging him to cancel all student debt. How much are we talking about? Close to $2 trillion.

I will say upfront that I support wholesale student-loan forgiveness. As numerous studies have pointed out, burdensome student debt has kept millions of Americans from buying homes, having children, and saving for retirement. 

If the President were to cancel all student debt, 45 million college-loan borrowers could pour approximately $5 billion a month back into the economy.  That would be good for everybody.

Nevertheless, I don't think President Biden will wipe out $2 trillion in student debt. As Betsy DeVos, President Trump's Education Secretary, pointed out in a 2018 speech, student loans make up one-third of all federal assets

What will be the consequences if the federal government removes one-third of its assets from the national balance sheet?  I don't think anyone knows.

Also, the President surely realizes that forgiving all student debt undermines the integrity of the federal student-loan program.  If all student loans are forgiven this year, how can the Department of Education expect to collect on the student loans it makes in the future?

Moreover, I don't see the wisdom of wiping out $2 billion in student debt unless American higher education is fundamentally reformed. Tuition rates have reached an insane level--$25 thousand per semester at most private colleges. Colleges are cranking out worthless degrees in the liberal arts and social sciences, not to mention vapid graduate degrees in law and business.

And we have far too many colleges. Does it make sense to grant wholesale student-loan forgiveness while the government continues propping up the for-profit college industry and small schools that are losing enrollment and teetering on closure?

I think everyone who calls for massive student-loan forgiveness is sincere. I believe our President and most members of Congress really want to grant relief to millions of Americans who are saddled with unmanageable debt levels.

But when we look closely at the federal student loan program, we see what a monster it has become. We can't fix the loan program without fixing higher education on a massive scale.  And no one has a clue how we can do that.