Cost Of Education? Get Ready For A Real Shocker.

Yesterday my teenage daughter was inducted into the National Honor Society. I’m extremely proud of her. I always have been but now it’s quantified.

After the initial induction, they had a parade of high school seniors. It was announced what college or university they would be attending, their intended major and how much they had received in scholarships. Considering the major focus of this high school is primarily arts, many of the students are going to be studying arts programs, such as theater and music.

This is where the shock comes in. A number of the students had scholarships in amounts of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Several had over $100,000 in scholarships. For theater arts programs. One had a scholarship of $700,000. That is not a typo. Seven hundred thousand dollars.

One student will be attending medical school. His scholarship? $193,000. So the theater students had scholarships far surpassing the medical school student.

In total, roughly 30 students had a grand total in scholarships of over $4 MILLION.

In no way am I dismissing the accomplishments of these students. They worked hard and earned their scholarships. The deserve the reward and recognition they will be receiving.

The point I am making is that this is now the cost of education. Over $4 million for 30 students. How did we get to this point in this country? How did education become this expensive?

Consider the students who may be bright and talented but were unable to gain a scholarship. How many of them are there in just this one high school? How much will the other hundreds of students be paying for years, decades, their entire lives to acquire an adult education? How many will not see any real benefit to that education yet still have that debt?

Consider the fact that a scholarship is not intended to cover all the costs of an education. It is only intended to defray some level of that expense. So even the students with scholarships in many cases will incur debt along the way.

How many students give up all hope of further education? Disheartened by the cost, the very idea of a lifetime of debt? How many have seen parents paying student loans for the length of the child’s life? Many people today retire with student loans they still must pay for years into retirement.

Did you know if you marry someone with federal student loan debt that if they die you are liable for the remainder of that debt? Did you know if you become disabled there is still no way to discharge that debt without paying it in full?

Adult education really should not be a for-profit endeavor. Yet it is. Corporations make profits from the lifetime of work we exert but that’s not enough. They have to make profits from the education we are required to have to do that work.

Even that is not enough for corporations. Corporate owned charter schools are making profits from children’s basic education while often doing that extremely poorly. Probably so they can charge more for remedial adult classes. Meanwhile, the pay for teachers remains stagnant or decreasing, benefits stripped away as time goes on.

This is why so many of us are pushing for socialized adult education. This is why countries that have socialized education are passing us by at light speed.

We pay the price in many ways besides the obvious. Our entire economy suffers because money spent paying student loans is not spent to support the economy. We pay in terms of stress and depression which diminishes productivity and creativity. We pay in terms of medications to alleviate the stress and depression. We pay if we fall behind on student loans (or heaven forbid we default on a federal student loan). This impacts our credit score, which can affect our ability to be hired for the best jobs. The stress may affect our relationships and our health. Paying the debt may take time away from our families, leading to more stress and depression. That stress and depression can cross generations as it affects the time and quality of our relationships with our children.

And it’s getting worse by the day.

So, let me hear more of you corporate puppets say, “Just get an education!” One more time.

Nationalize SOME Industries

There can be little debate that we have specific focal problems that hold us back as a society. Income inequality, access and cost of medical care including medications and warfare being chief among them.

If Americans truly want peace, security and prosperity, the honest truth is that specific industries should be nationalized. Take away the profit motive for warmongers and apathetic capitalists who allow or even cause death and destruction of lives for their own greed.

Military weapons and aircraft. One industry that should be nationalized is military weapons manufacturing. We all know that MIC contractors are the biggest promoters of warfare. They spend huge sums of money paid by taxpayers to promote the next conflict and the next and the next. If the military weapons and aircraft industries were nationalized, completely operated by government agencies and worked by government employees, we would not be paying for advertising. We would not be paying for corporate profits. With that manufacturing accounting being subject to FOIA requests, the cost of military supplies would plummet. CONgressional representatives would be far more likely to question and criticize cost and time of development of new weapons systems. In addition, the media just might start asking critical questions about our conflicts.

The oil industry. We all know that many, if not most of our military conflicts for decades have been for the benefit of the oil industry. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, the current regime change attempt against Venezuela and much of the heightened tensions with Russia. The industry uses unsafe practices which result in environmental damages while taxpayers are left to pick up the cleanup bill. We are told that America has achieved “energy independence”. Meanwhile, oil is one of our top three exports and one of our top three imports. Why are we shipping oil out, only to replace it with oil shipped in? The answer is the petrodollar system but I am being rhetorical here. The oil industry seizes land from citizens with barely a finger lifted by elected officials paid by the oil industry. What many people don’t realize is that thousands of oil workers are injured each year. In some cases, permanently disabled. From that point on, those workers are the responsibility of the taxpayer to provide for through Medicaid and Social Security. In addition, it was demonstrated that the government subsidizes the oil industry by tens of billions of dollar a year, partly by paying for surveying new oil sources. The industry never has to repay one penny of that money, they just take the profits and run. Have you seen how much the oil industry advertises? The propaganda they promote? You pay for that. You also pay for their lobbyists and lawyers to the tune of billions a year. So, if we have to pay for surveys, security, cleanup and the care of their injured while surrendering rights to our own property and environment, nationalizing the industry just makes sense. If we are net exporters of oil, then we have no need of wars in other countries for oil. Do we? Make the oil industry directly profitable to the country and assume responsibility and accountability so we have more control over it.

Medical payment systems. Yes, Medicare For All. Medicare For All does not propose making all medical care being provided by the government. That is propaganda pushed by insurance companies. I’ve written long explanations of the money the insurance industry makes, spends and distributes which has nothing to do with medical services. Advertising, executive pay and bonuses, promotional crap, commissions for insurance agents, lawyers to deny coverage, lobbyists, campaign “donations”, stockholder dividends. You pay for all of it!!! Yet your deductible and premiums keep climbing. Chances are good that your insurance never pays one cent to your medical care, so every penny you give them goes to profits. If we nationalized the healthcare payment system, the cost of medical care could be reduced as much as half. Yet everyone would be covered and have higher quality of care. No bankruptcies due to medical costs directly.

Drug manufacturing. Many new drugs are developed by universities funded through grants, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations bid for the patent and claim all profits from that point and for many years. They never have to repay the development costs which the taxpayer funded. Look at many other countries that are developing new treatments that surpass our own. Drug prices on common medications for blood pressure and diabetes, let alone cancer, have risen to the point that many chronically ill people cannot afford their medications and then suffer catastrophic health events including death, stroke, heart attack and kidney failure as a result. Or they have to make a choice between medications and food or shelter. Insulin has increased by 700+% in recent years. Once again, look how many drug ads you see. Look at corporate executive pay. Look at stock dividends. Look at chain pharmacy profit margins. Look at how many drugs have been approved which were later pulled from the market because they were unsafe to begin with. Look at how many lawyers drug companies retain and pay. Look at campaign donations and lobbying. You pay for that before and above the cost of your medications. It is no longer enough to even suggest regulating drug prices. The entire drug industry should be nationalized. If we spent our money to have universities developing new medications, that money would go toward improving education. Cutting lobbyists out of the equation would allow the FDA to do what it was intended to do. Our medications would be safer and more affordable.

Adult education funding. We’ve been having the conversation for years now about student loan debt and cost of advanced education. Student loan debt does a massive amount of damage, not only at the personal level but at the economic level to the whole country. As a nation, we spend billions of dollars per month on adult education. It is spent on student loans over decades and tuition costs over years. In many cases, the degree obtained never benefits the student. Tens of thousands of people declare bankruptcy every year thanks to student loan debt. That lowers their employment and earning potential for the best jobs. It is another system that benefits the rich and punishes the poor. If you are married and your spouse dies with a federal student loan debt, youare liable for the balance of that loan. Did you know that? If you default on a federal student loan, the IRS gets involved. They can seize your tax refund, part of your pay for years, your bank account, your car and your home. You will not be eligible for government employment at any level and may be barred from many other jobs. Federal student loans cannot be discharged for poverty, bankruptcy, chronic or critical illness, disability or homelessness. Your credit rating will be decimated for life. Did you know that? Many people do not. Millions of Americans never attend or finish college because of the cost or fear of debt. This is making the US fall behind other countries on advanced education, while we already trail much of the world in basic education. The money being spent on education and student loans is subtracted from the general economy. So that is billions every single month which is not spent in local economies to create and maintain jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people cannot buy homes because of student loan debt and it limits their options for renting as well. Colleges and universities over some years have been basically selling off parts of their facilities and educational programs to corporations. In exchange, the corporations get to dictate curriculum for various programs. Which means students are less educated than indoctrinated. While I would not yet advocate nationalization of adult education itself, it is far beyond time for us to nationalize funding for adult education. This would benefit the economy, our educational ranking internationally, the students and allow institutions to be freed from corporate shackles.

Many people still fear the term Socialism. Yet, as you can see, capitalism is far more destructive to our economy and our society than Socialism could even aspire to be. The speech against Socialism is propagated by capitalist media and politicians under the dictate of corporate entities.

Many people are pushing for complete Marxist Socialism. That’s not something I personally advocate. If we nationalized (socialized) the industries listed above, that would be a major move in the right direction which would allow true capitalism to flourish, as opposed to the corporatism we have in place now. It would lead to more secure lives, better health, better education and a more peaceful diplomatic nation.