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The federal government initiated the student loan program in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik the year before by the Soviet Union. “High school students who showed promise in mathematics, science, engineering, and foreign language, or those who wanted to be teachers, were offered grants, scholarships, and loans.” In 1965, the government passed The Higher Education Act, which provided more college grants to students, especially lower-income students. The Pell Grant was established for students in 1972 (Citlen).

Then somebody on Wall Street came up with the idea of securitizing student loans, which meant pooling student loans, selling them to investment companies, which would then issue bonds to investors backed by the loans. Student loan payments would primarily go to the investors, with a little to spare to pay for the service providers.

From a Wall Street point-of-view, billions of dollars a year could be made in fees every step of the way with every securitized student loan. Subsequently, Wall Street investors successfully pushed government legislators to reduce grants and to issue more student loans. That is how the US government, as well as politicians of both political parties, has used the student loan program to redistribute billions of dollars of income yearly from the 99 to the 1 percent via the conduit of student loan-backed bonds.

This forced students to borrow more money to help finance their higher education than would otherwise be the case, making loan defaults more likely, especially during economic downturns. The Great Recession hit in December 2007 and lasted until June 2009, but the negative effects of this disaster have continued. The government, of course, is working hard to disguise how bad the situation really is.

Five years ago, fearing an increase of student loan defaults, and a massive devaluing of the student loan backed bonds they owned, investors began selling off their bonds, which resulted in declining values. They couldn’t stand this. Something had to be done to restore investor confidence, and so the federal government doubled student loan interest rates on all new loans from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013 (Sheehy).

This increased the return on investment while doubling the burden on the 99 percent who take out new loans to finance their college education. The public outcry was so heavily against this increase politicians felt compelled to reduce student loan interest rates within a year. The burden for students and their families had been too great. The US government dropped the rate to 4.9 percent in 2014, which was still a nearly 50 percent increase over 3.4 percent (Lobosco). Doing so, however, stabilized the market for student loan-backed bonds.

Dictionary.com defines “crisis” as “a dramatic, emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.” Student loans are a perfect example of such a crisis in the personal lives of borrowers. In 2016, total outstanding student loans represented roughly 7.5 percent of the United States gross domestic product (GDP), up from 3.5 percent only ten years earlier (ACE). Nearly 43 million Americans were chained like slaves to rich bondholders via student loan debt, each with an average balance of $30,000 in 2016 (Friedman).

The cost of university education has grown faster than the value of Federal Pell grants (in current dollars) since 1976. The average Pell grant in 1976 paid 72 percent of the maximum cost of going to a public four-year college or university. This figure grew to 79 percent in 1979. Nowadays, the average Pell grant is less than half of that, hovering inside the 32 to 34 percent range (ACE). Therefore, students have had to increase their borrowing to fund their higher education and Wall Street investment banks and investors of the 1 percent all benefit from this higher student loan debt.

As the negative economic consequences of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 slowly gave ground to better times, student loan defaults fell, from nearly 15 percent in 2013 to 11.8 in 2015 to 11.3 percent in 2016. Defaults occur when former students go 360 days without making a payment. About 593,000 former college students out of 5.2 million total borrowers were in default on their federal debt as of Sept. 30, 2015, the US Department of Education reported. Default rates at public and for-profit colleges dipped, while private, nonprofit schools experienced a slight increase (Nasiripour).

Perhaps the biggest reason the default rate declined was that student loan borrowers deferred their payments at increasing rates, and for longer periods. The default rate, therefore, doesn’t accurately represent the degree to which former students have problems making their loan payments. An Obama White House report said in 2015, “The cohort default rate published by the Education Department is “‘susceptible to artificial manipulation.’”

The share of student borrowers paying down their loans more accurately reflects what is occurring than default rates alone (EPI). The report noted that a rising number of students are unable to make payments on their loans, but manage to avoid defaulting. Because of this, the report stated the actual default rate at four-year institutions is about 12.5 percent, and 25 percent for community colleges. For-profit colleges and universities have a 30 percent default rate. 41.5 million Americans owed more than $1.4 trillion federal student loans by the end of 2016. About one in every four borrowers is either delinquent or in default the report stated. Furthermore, “total indebtedness has doubled since 2009” (Nasiripour).

However, it turns out the White House report understated the numbers by quite a lot. Leaked documents showed only 46 percent of students out of school three years or more are paying down their student loan debt (Obama’s Student Loan Fiasco). This means 54 percent are not paying down their loans. Something else is terribly amiss as well. To be among the 46 percent, you cannot be in default, and you must have paid down the principal of your loan by at least one dollar. So if somebody who has owed $30,000 in student loans since they graduated from college ten years ago paid a dollar on the principal of their loan eight years ago, they have officially paid down their loan and are among the 46 percent. In other words, the bar for those who have not defaulted and are paying down their loans are about as low as one can get.

The government is paying the interest on student loans to bondholders for people who cannot pay down their loans. In other words, the rich are getting richer at the expense of the government and those who are paying down their student loans.

Clearly, tens of millions of people are in a state of personal crisis when it comes to student loans they cannot pay off. In addition, the next economic downturn may bring about a crisis in the financial markets centered on student loans, just as it occurred last time, only it will likely be worse. That economic crisis is looming.

People who have left higher education institutions saddled with an average of $30,000 in debt and limited job prospects are facing a crisis, which will only bring about another crisis in the student loan-backed bonds markets. Student loan debtors have other debts and bills to pay that turn their student loans into tens of millions of individual financial catastrophes, forcing them to spend years postponing payments so they can make their monthly mortgage payments, rent payments, put food on the table, pay their monthly bills, and raise their children.

People go to universities to increase their earning power so as to enjoy greater fruits of their labor. However, the growth of wages and salaries for most people have been flat or in decline for the last thirty-seven years when the official inflation rate is factored in. However, there is significant evidence this official rate is heavily understated, which means people are coming out of college and earning less in real terms than their parents thirty-seven years ago. This is why many people remain mired in student loan debt. Prices are going up faster than their earnings. They simply cannot pay it off and are forced to postpone payments for years and decades.

The remedy to this situation is to increase Pell Grants or simply make college free. According to the nonpartisan Office of Budget Management, the US government is giving the 1 percent and corporations $1.5 trillion dollars over ten years with the new Republican tax cut. Surely the US government can afford to provide such a sum to the middle class via a similar amount, thereby rendering college free. Studies clearly show this would be good for the US economy while there is not one scrap of evidence the tax cuts will do anything positive for the economy.

Student loans are an example of the golden rule of massive US government corruption; he or she who has the gold makes the rules that redistributes income and wealth their way from the less financially well endowed. Nobody knows this better than Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden.

Works Cited
Friedman, Dan. Americans Owe $1.2 Trillion Dollars In Student Loans. New York Daily News, May 17, 2014. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/americans-owe-1-2-trillion-student-loans-article-1.1796606

American Council on Education, (ACE) http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/FactSheet-Pell-Grant-Funding-History-1976-2010.pdf

Investment Memo. Merganser Capital Management, 2016 http://www.merganser.com/PDF/Memo/2015-Q3.pdf
http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/28/pf/college/student-loan-defaults/

Carrillo, Raul. How Wall Street Profits From Student Debt, Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone Magazine, April 14, 2016).

Sheehy, Kelsey. What the Stafford Loan Rate Hike Means for Students. US News and World Report, March 7, 2013 http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2013/07/03/what-the-stafford-loan-interest-rate-hike-means-for-students

Obama’s Student Loan Fiasco. Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Jan. 22, 2017

Allan, Nicole, Thompson, Derek. The Myth of the Student Loan Crisis. Atlantic Monthly, March 2017

Citlen, Jeff. A Look into the History of Student Loans. http://www.Lendedu.com, August 15, 2016

Lobosco, Katie. Student Loan Interest Rates Are Going Down. CNN Money, June 30, 2016 http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/30/pf/college/student-loan-interest-rates/

Nasiripour, Shahien. Student Loan Defaults Drop, but the Numbers Are Rigged. Bloomberg News, Sept. 28, 2016
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-28/student-loan-defaults-fall-but-the-numbers-are-rigged

Kroeger, Teresa; Cooke Tanyell; Gould, Elise. The Class of 2016. Economic Policy Institute. 21/04/2016. http://www.epi.org/publication/class-of-2016/

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The United States Federal Reserve Bank issued a report in September 2017 showing the top 1 percent of US income earners own almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of Americans.

According to the Fed’s report, the bottom 90 percent of citizens have seen their wealth fall from nearly 38 percent of total US wealth in 1989 to 23 percent today, a 40 percent drop. Meanwhile, the 1 percent has seen their share of wealth grow from just under 30 percent in 1989 to 38.6 percent today.

In the same report, Federal Reserve researchers reported the rich took a record-high 23.8 percent of the overall US created income in 2016, up from approximately 8 percent in 1980. The report showed the bottom 90 percent of families now make less than half of the country’s income. That figure slipped to 49.7 percent in 2016, down by more than 20 percent since 1989.

A perusal of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows total US corporate profits hit their highest level ever in the third quarter of 2017. The next three highest were during the three quarters preceding the third quarter. Corporate after-tax earnings were also at their highest levels during the past four quarters. This shows US corporations are doing fine without the tax cuts.

According to the BEA, despite record aggregate corporate earnings in 2017, average monthly job growth was lower than in 2016. Rather than increasing jobs, much of those record earnings are providing higher dividends and share buybacks. Both of these are done with the intention of raising share prices, thereby fueling an already dangerous stock market bubble.

There is a good chance that much of the corporate tax cuts will be used to increase dividends and find ways to increase share values, which redounds mainly to the rich.

In a research report for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economist Edward N. Wolff shows that the top 1 percent own 40 percent of all corporate shares, while the 90-99 percent own 44 percent, as of 2016. That means the top ten percent will be the primary beneficiaries of the new tax cuts for corporations, increasing both their income and their wealth relative to everybody else.

Thus, income and wealth inequalities are certain to increase under the newest Republican tax cuts. People may reasonably suspect the tax cuts were written to ensure this result, and with potentially dire results.

The stock market bubble may grow bigger than would otherwise be the case in the absence of the tax cuts. Once the bubble bursts, the 99 percent will likely be the principal victims in the form of higher unemployment, reduced incomes, home foreclosures, increased homelessness, and all the things that historically come with the bursting of stock market bubbles.


GMO-Free USA reports, “Over 60 Rodent feeding studies find harm after feeding Roundup Ready and Bt toxin insecticide-producing varieties of genetically modified foods that are in our food today. Harmful effects included: Stomach barrier damage, increased risk of intestinal infections, high cholesterol, high blood sugar; reproductive issues including lower birth weight and increased mortality of offspring; organ disturbances in the pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes; other disturbances including disturbances to the immune system, blood biochemistry and functioning of the digestive system. No wonder there is no consensus on the safety of GMO foods. Feel like a lab rat?”

Your government continues to allow US food corporations to sell that stuff to you as being safe. Your government and the politicians that rule it is completely bought off by big business. Always increasing profits are more important than people.

You can find GMO ingredients in mustard, corn, potatoes, milk, beef, chicken, ketchup, processed foods, cereals, just about anything with corn, canola or soy in them. Unless labeled “organic” or “non-GMO” assume you are eating GMO foods.

GMO products are more cheaply produced than non-GMO products because insecticides and herbicides are placed directly into crop seeds. So, for example, corn producing plants have the Ht herbicide in them which kills any other plants within three feet of them; those plants also have the Bt toxin. When a bug bites a corn plant with the Bt toxin, their bellies begin to swell until they explode. When you consume the corn that is genetically modified to have the Bt and Ht toxins in them, you are also consuming those toxins.

And yet, in 1995, the US Food and Drug Administration under President Bill Clinton, one of the most corrupt presidents in the history of the United States, allowed the product into the US food chain. Reportedly, the USDA accepted the studies done by the GMO corporations, such as Monsanto, which reportedly only provided the results of GMO tests on rats up to three months, but not a second more than that. The corporate researchers and CEOs most likely knew what their product did to rats after three months.

For a complete list of studies of GMO’s on rats (other than the corporate GMO studies, and we all know how corrupt those studies were) click on the following link. Then click on “see more.” https://www.facebook.com/GMOFreeUSA/photos/a.468695639837571.108816.402058139834655/1958564994183954/?type=3&theater&ifg=1

Donald Trump has been in office nearly a year, Republicans control the US House and the Senate, and nary a word has been voiced by Republican legislators or that guy in the white house about passing legislation prohibiting abortion.

Senate Republicans passed tax cuts for the rich with only 51 votes using a procedure called “Reconciliation.” Now “reconciliation” has to deal with budget matters and has nothing to do with, say, making abortion illegal. However, the Republican Senate could easily advance a motion that requires a simple majority vote on legislation outlawing abortion, but they are not likely ever going to do this.

The Republicans in the US Senate passed a motion to make certain that all nominees to the US Supreme Court are able to take a seat on the highest court in the land with only a majority vote in the Senate, and filibusters are forbidden.

So what gives? Why won’t the Republicans eliminate legal abortions?

The Republicans, quite naturally, play the folks on the religious right as much as the Democratic leadership plays labor union members. The last thing Republican leaders want to do is pass legislation banning abortions. Doing this would allow fundamentalist Christians to focus on other issues.

What would Jesus Christ focus on in the absence of the abortion issue? Something about rich folks getting into heaven via an eye of a needle comes to mind. That has to be a giant needle, or maybe Jesus meant rich folks don’t have a shot at the kingdom of heaven. Maybe Christians might begin thinking about things like wealth and income inequality. That’s a big issue nowadays because income and wealth inequality has become so lopsided in favor of 1 percent of the population (See In the USA, the 1 Percent Now Own More Wealth Than the Bottom 90 Percent–JohnHively.Wordpress.com). The last thing the Republican leadership wants is defections of its base to the other side on the issue of wealth and income inequality.

My best guess is the Republican leadership doesn’t want to lose its grassroots base, and keeping abortion rights alive is the key to keeping the base aroused and under control by maintaining the base’s eternal hope that abortion one day will be legally ended. This hope, of course, can only be kept alive by keeping legalized abortion alive.

The United States Federal Reserve Bank issued a report in September 2017 showing that the top 1 percent of US income earners now own almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of Americans. Notice the corporate media did not cover this report. They did not want us to know this stuff.

Anyway, wealth is defined as assets, such as stocks, bonds, futures options, houses, cars, clothes, trinkets and such.

The graph above is straight from the Federal Reserve Bulletin. Notice the bottom 90 percent have seen their wealth drop from nearly 38 percent of the total wealth in 1989 to 23 percent today, a 40 percent drop. Meanwhile, the 1 percent has seen their wealth grow from just under 30 percent in 1989 to 38.6 percent today. The 1 percent also own more wealth than those people among the 90 to 99 percent, but just barely.

The reason the 1 percent has gained so much wealth while the 90 percent has lost it is that the rich are stealing it from everybody else via their corruption of both major political parties, and such corrupt politicians as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Paul Ryan, and Ron Wyden.

In the same report, Federal Reserve researchers discovered the rich stole a record-high 23.8% of the overall US created income in 2016 (See graph below), up from 8 percent in 1980. However, the current figure appears to be understated. At least one report shows the rich are stealing 37+ percent of the total income produced in the United States. The Fed’s report showed the bottom 90% of families now make less than half of the country’s income. That figure slipped to 49.7% in 2016, down by more than 20% since 1992 (It is likely the drop is greater according to another study).

The reason why the billionaires are getting wealthier and the rest of us are becoming poorer is because of such things as trade agreements via political corruption, privatization scams, tax cuts for the rich, unrestricted campaign finance donations, mandatory testing of public school students K-12, student loans, Federal Reserve and US government rescue of mortgage-backed bondholders by the tens of trillions of dollars (See The $26 Trillion Dollar Bailout to Save the 1 Percent, a totally corrupt corporate wing of the US Supreme Court (John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Anthony Kennedy),  etc…. Corruption in US politics have not been this bad since the Gilded Age, and this is how the rich are getting richer by stealing from the rest of us.

Millions of US jobs have been exported since 1992, thanks to trade treaties negotiated to ensure US corporations can export jobs to low wage nations, as well as create jobs in these poverty-wage nations rather than here. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower extreme poverty wages in Mexico (where the minimum wage is $4.70 a day), China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and elsewhere goes straight into the already fat wallets of the well-to-do parasites of the millionaire and billionaire classes.

The job losers (the producers) might get unemployment insurance if they are lucky. The rich take their stolen loot and purchase wealth, such as stocks and bonds. The job losers often have to sell their assets to cover their expenses as they search for new jobs that typically pay less than what they once earned.

This is a nice income and wealth redistribution scam that every Democratic and Republican senator and member of the House of Representatives know very well. Every president since and including Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama have known this scam.

The billionaires continued their war against the 99 percent when the US Senate passed their tax cut for the rich and their corporations. And so the war continues against the 99.5 percent. This is class warfare at its most one-sided.

You can find the report from the Federal Reserve at https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/scf17.pdf. The graphs are located on pages 11 and 12 if I remember correctly.

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You only need to look at the Bush tax cuts of almost 15 years ago to recognize how tax cuts for the rich destroy jobs and redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent in the process. George W Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to experience negative job growth during his presidency. Now Trump will be the second president since Hoover to experience negative job growth. Here’s how the scam works.

The tax cuts for corporations will increase their after-tax profits. This will be handed out to the rich in the form of higher stock prices (capital gains) and dividend payments.

Meanwhile, the tax-cuts for the rich will deliver them more after-tax income with which to purchase more speculative investments. Both corporations and the individual wealthy will then inflate the current stock market bubble by purchasing more stocks, futures options, and other things of those natures. (A futures market is an auction market in which participants buy and sell commodity and futures contracts for delivery on a specified future date)

Naturally, this will bid up the price we pay for commodities, such as food, natural gas and oil. The difference between the current prices and the new higher (inflated via tax cuts for the rich) prices we will pay means that more of our income will be redistributed from us to the 1 percent.

In other words, we will be made to pay more to the rich for the food we eat, the natural gas we use to heat our homes, and the gasoline we need to power our cars, as well as other things, and that extra money we will be forced to pay will go straight into the pockets of the billionaires, people like Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers, and Donald Trump.

The stock market bubble, perhaps the biggest in US history, will now continue to grow as both corporations and the individual wealthy have more money to bid stock prices up. The stock market bears a remarkable resemblance to a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise (or artificially high stock prices) is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors. In this case, the rich will be paid more and more for so long as the bubble continues to inflate, and for so long as it takes for the bubble to fizzle out. Corporate management will feel the pressure to export more and more US jobs in order to pay what is necessary to prop up their stock prices.

In other words, the tax cuts will produce greater pressure on corporate managements to export more US jobs to low age nations whenever possible. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower overseas wages will go straight into the pockets of the superwealthy. The rich will get all the increasing returns on investment from us, the stakeholders, rather than later investors. In that way, along with one other way which I shall not go into now, the stock market closely resembles a Ponzi scheme.

Trump’s disastrous tax cuts will cause a one trillion dollar increase in the federal deficit over the next ten years. Naturally, in order to reduce the deficit, Republicans will demand reductions of federal expenditures on education, road maintenance, social security payments to the elderly and disabled, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, food stamps and other programs that benefit the middle class and the poor, because of the deficit they have created with their tax cuts for the rich. In this way, the billionaires will become richer at the expense of everybody else, thanks to the unnecessary tax cuts.

Meanwhile, quite naturally, Republicans will insist on increased federal military expenditures and expanded deportations of undocumented immigrants because these programs are highly profitable to their base, which is the billionaires who control the party, and not the grassroots. The US currently spends more on its military than the next 26 nations combined, 25 of who are US allies. Talk about overkill or unnecessary.

The tax cuts are unnecessary inasmuch as the 1 percent are stealing a record amount of the total national income, going from 8 percent in 1980 to 37+ percent nowadays. Three people, (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates now own wealth (assets) than the bottom 50 percent of the US population. The top 1 percent now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. In addition, corporate profits are at record levels. So neither corporations or the rich need the money except as a way to steal more money from the rest of us, and the money from their theft will keep those stock markets, futures market, and other markets boiling upward until the bubbles pop. And that will produce a disaster for Trump, the Republicans, and us.

Every Republican who voted yes on the bill knows everything that I have written above. Yet, they still voted yes. This shows that the billionaires are their real constituents and not the grassroots. They all know the bill was passed on a series of lies.

Read more: Futures Market https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/futuresmarket.asp#ixzz507u73Y1m The d
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The billionaires who control the US federal government and both major political parties are quaking in their boots because the Mexican government has increased the national minimum wage ever so slightly, by .45 cents per day. No doubt the billionaires are worried the increase will cut into corporate profits, slow the increase in share prices during the current economic and stock market bubbles, and perhaps even slow the increase in dividend payments. Heaven forbid!

CNN reports that “Nearly 25 million Mexicans are getting a pay raise next week. From $4.25 to $4.70 — a day. Mexican government and business leaders agreed on Tuesday to raise the country’s minimum wage starting on December 1 to 88.36 pesos from 80.04 pesos. The 10% raise is good news for 24.7 million Mexicans who work either one or two minimum wage jobs. But it also resurfaces a key complaint by American workers who voted for President Trump, in part because of his pledge to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade pact between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trump blames NAFTA for the loss of many American jobs. Cheap labor has attracted American companies to Mexico for decades.”

Trump, of course, is correct. Millions of US jobs have been exported to Mexico since before Nafta, and millions more have been created there by US corporations rather than here because the terms of Nafta paved the legal road to do so. Generally, the numbers have been egregiously understated by researchers because the methodology they use deliberately understates US job losses.

What Trump doesn’t want US citizens to know, which is also what the billionaires who run the Republican Party and the Democratic Party don’t want you to know is that US income and wealth inequalities have been fueled by Nafta, and the stock markets have been booming since Nafta, precisely because Nafta has allowed US corporations to export millions of US jobs to Mexico. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower Mexican wages with no benefits goes straight into the already super-sized and ultra-fat wallets of the uber-rich via higher corporate profits, surging share prices and rising dividends.

Do you ever wonder how Warren Buffett, Phil Knight, the Koch Brothers, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others ever got so much richer than they should be? These wonder boys have always been big-time supporters of cheap Mexican and cheaper Chinese, Vietnamese and Bangladesh wages with no benefits and fewer worker safety and relaxed or nonexistent environmental controls in those and other nations. They also have prospered because of these things.

So these rich folks owe quite a debt to the record income and wealth inequality they have created to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Paul Ryan, and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. The rest of us pay the price of the massive political corruption they have created.