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December 12, 2018


Professor Kennedy in her blog today laments the open hostility of our Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, toward public education, and asked for commentary. Following, with some editing, was my response.

One of The American Prospect’s editors recently wrote that we gave a trillion and a half (that’s one thousand five hundred billion!) away to the already rich via the Trump/Ryan tax bill when that money could have been far better used to erase student debt. He is right. That would have been a solid investment, one far better than the giveaway of our tax money to the superrich engineered by Trump and Ryan, which did nothing for the rest of us and provided no relief for millions burdened with student debt (which includes students, graduates, their families and others who may have made or co-signed loans for a student’s expenses and tuition).

Think of (among other things) the social and economic consequences of having millions of graduates living in their parents’ basements, hamstrung by crushing debt, perhaps underemployed, delaying marriage, homebuilding, unable to reverse our shortage of new births and, perhaps, joining in the Opie and/or suicide epidemic in a moment of despair.

Compare that sordid scene with the one we have in the real world as a result of the Trump/Ryan tax bill passed into law which further resulted in corporate buyouts of their own stock, increased compensation and bonuses to their executives, enhanced capital gains opportunities and increased dividends for their shareholders, all unearned and added to our long term debt we all must pay and all to the benefit of the already rich who are also enjoying a tax cut in the same legislation that gave them the trillion and a half Trump and Ryan handed over, meaning that the rest of us and our children’s children will pay disproportionally for such handouts to the rich whose taxes were cut, a classic case of misallocation of resources.

For perspective, a billion is a thousand million and a trillion and a half is one thousand five hundred billion. That’s a lot of our tax money for politicians to give away to those who don’t need it and withhold it from Americans who do, and I’ll give odds that it would never work in France where, unlike here, rank and file citizens pay attention to such atrocities.

Pitchfork time, anybody?        GERALD         E

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