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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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Why Can’t College Be Free?


from In These Times:


Why Can’t College Be Free?
Three proposals to reclaim the promise of higher education.

BY REBECCA BURNS


On Monday, President Obama announced a new plan for student loan reform that will expand income-based repayment to millions of indebted borrowers. Some have criticized the plan for shutting out those saddled with private loan repayments, however, as well as those whose loans date back prior to October 2007.

Others have asked a more fundamental question: Instead of reforming student loans, why not eliminate student debt altogether?

Free higher education in the United States may sound like a fanciful idea. But it’s not a new one—for nearly a century after federal land-grant colleges were first established in 1862, many public institutions were free, or nearly so. Now, with more than $1 trillion in U.S. student loan debt hobbling both young people’s futures and the economy at large, some state governments are again giving the idea serious thought. Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed the Pay It Forward plan, which offers students a tuition-free degree in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings. The state is developing a pilot program, and Florida and Michigan are considering a similar approach. Meanwhile, Tennessee is investigating the use of lottery proceeds to eliminate community-college tuition for all graduates of state high schools.

.....(snip).....

Is the best tuition no tuition, and is that really feasible? In These Times asked John Burbank, executive director of the progressive policy think tank the Economic Opportunity Institute; Sara Goldrick-Rab, associate professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Bob Samuels, a lecturer at UCLA and author of Why Public Higher Education Should Be Free, to give their proposals.

.....(snip).....

Is it feasible at the moment to make higher education completely free?

Sara: My proposal is simply to make the first two years of higher education free. And I don’t mean just tuition-free: I mean the whole thing—books, fees, everything. There’s nothing empirical or even rational about financing the 11th and 12th years of education and not the 13th and 14th. According to my calculations, the United States has the money right now in the federal and state student aid systems to fully cover two years for anyone who wants to get that education at a public two-year or four-year institution. From there, we can shift to more of a split in the cost between students and government. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16784/why_cant_college_be_free



Richard Wolff: It's time for a powerful unified left organization in the United States






Chris Hedges on Corporate Power - The Crises of American Society and His Life as an Activist





David Sirota: Al Gore’s Warnings About Inequality and Democracy


from truthdig:


Al Gore’s Warnings About Inequality and Democracy

Posted on Jun 13, 2014
By David Sirota


Inequality and democracy are the kind of topics you may expect to hear about at a political convention, but not necessarily at a tech industry conference. And so former Vice President Al Gore’s discussion at Nashville’s tech-focused Southland Conference this week could be viewed in context as a jeremiad spotlighting taboo truths about tech culture and philanthropic traditions.

Discussing the economy, Gore lamented that “we have rising levels of inequality and chronic underinvestment” in public programs. He reminded the crowd that when “95 percent of all the additional national income in the U.S., since the recovery began in ‘09, goes to the top one percent, that’s not an Occupy Wall Street slogan, that’s a fact.”

Gore may have been alluding to the tech economy becoming a significant driver of that inequality.

As Princeton economist Alan Blinder noted in a January Wall Street Journal op-ed, technology is “clearly the major villain” in rising economic inequality, as “e-commerce eliminated many ‘ordinary’ jobs (while) enhanc(ing) the opportunities and rewards for some ‘extraordinary’ jobs.” One way to see this is in the app economy, which often rewards billions to companies with a relatively few employees, thus concentrating wealth in fewer hands.

Later in his discussion, Gore said that “democracy has been hacked” by moneyed interests. Then, in response to a question about tech billionaires spending big on allegedly philanthropic enterprises, he said: “That’s a good thing, as long as the rest of us don’t ever fall prey to the illusion that charity is going to do the job of what democracy needs to do.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/al_gores_warnings_about_inequality_and_democracy_20140613



Privatizing America’s Public Universities as “Shock Doctrine” (or Not)


Privatizing America’s Public Universities as “Shock Doctrine” (or Not)

Posted on June 11, 2014 by Lambert Strether
By Lambert Strether of Corrente


You mean charters aren’t the whole story of privatizing education? What fresh hell is this? I’ve got to say my jaw dropped when I read this in Bloomberg; I hadn’t thought that privatization rot had gone so far:

From Pennsylvania to Oregon, the number of top public universities bidding to shake off government control keeps growing.


How exactly does “public university” “shake off government control”? By letting the administrators cut their own checks?

The universities want more control over tuition and academic programs as they become less dependent on public subsidies. Some state systems have resisted because, without their flagships, they lose premier faculty and students as well as clout in legislatures that set funding.

Pennsylvania’s West Chester University, the fastest-growing of 14 state-owned campuses and the one with the highest SAT scores, could break away under legislation filed this year. Its departure would deepen a divide between independent ‘haves’ and tightly controlled ‘have nots’ plagued by dwindling funding and enrollment. Pennsylvania State University and three other public institutions already operate autonomously.


“Plagued by”? Note the lack of agency. Who’s doing the “plaguing,” and why? And what does “autonomously” mean?

After gaining greater independence, many public universities have increased tuition, raising fears that West Chester would follow suit.

“For any university that leaves the state system, tuition and fees will likely go up — creating an added burden for students and their families,” Frank Brogan, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, said in a statement opposing the bill when it was introduced.

The independence drive is analogous to the rise in K-12 education of charter schools… Like charters, breakaway universities want less red tape and more freedom to experiment with academic programs.


Whatever “less red tape” and “more freedom” means, other than open season for executive looting. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/06/privatizing-americas-public-universities-shock-doctrine.html



Bill Black: How Hayek Helped the Worst Get to the Top in Economics and as CEOs


By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives


Libertarians are profoundly anti-democratic. The folks at Cato that I debate make no bones about their disdain for and fear of democracy. Friedrich von Hayek is so popular among libertarians because of his denial of the legitimacy of democratic government and his claims that it is inherently monstrous and murderous to its own citizens. Here’s an example from a libertarian professor based in Maryland.

When government uses its legal monopoly on coercion to confiscate one person’s property and give it to another, it is engaging in what would normally be called theft. Calling this immoral act “democracy,” “majority rule” or “progressive taxation” does not make it moral. Under democracy, rulers confiscate the income of productive members of society and redistribute it to various supporters in order to keep themselves in power.

In order to finance a campaign, a politician must promise to steal (i.e., tax) money from those who earned it and give it to others who have no legal or moral right to it. There are (very) few exceptions, but politicians must also make promises that they know they can never keep (i.e., lie). This is why so few moral people are elected to political office. The most successful politicians are those who are the least hindered by strong moral principles. They have the least qualms about confiscating other peoples’ property in order to maintain their own power, perks, and income. In his bestselling 1944 book, ‘The Road to Serfdom,’ Nobel laureate economist F.A. Hayek described this phenomenon in a chapter (10) entitled “Why the Worst Get on Top.”


But von Hayek’s critique of democratic government has proven to be the most monstrous blood libel of the post-World War II era – falsely declaring that democratic government must end in tyranny and the mass murder of its own people.

The political scientist Herman Finer … denounced (The Road to Serfdom) as “the most sinister offensive against democracy to emerge from a democratic country for many years.”

The economist Paul Samuelson, in a reminiscence of Hayek published last December, was more dismissive still. “Where are their horror camps?’ he asked, referring to right-wing bugaboos like Sweden, with its generous welfare spending. Almost 70 years after Hayek sounded his alarm, ‘hindsight confirms how inaccurate its innuendo about the future turned out to be.”


Why the Worst Get on Top – in Economics

Economists claim that their work should be evaluated based on predictive success. Von Hayek was made a Nobel Laureate in 1974, three decades after his prediction that democratic states were headed to tyranny and mass murder of their own citizens. In those three decades of experience in the nations he focused on (Western Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) – and the forty years since his award – this happened in zero nations. He is batting zero for 70 years in roughly 30 nations with, collectively, thousands of elections. What he claimed was inevitable has never occurred. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/06/bill-black-hayek-helped-worst-get-top-economics-ceos.html



Artisanal Union-Busting


from In These Times:


Artisanal Union-Busting
Whole Foods has attempted to crush anything resembling a union drive among its employees.

BY CHRIS LEHMANN


Don't look know, but Whole Foods seems to be interpreting the “whole planet” part of its corporate branding as a Manifest Destiny-style call to market conquest. In an exhaustive Fortune magazine cover story this April, “Whole Foods Takes Over America,” Beth Kowitt explained that the high-end grocer has quietly bulked up into one of America’s leading retail food chains, with plans to operate 1,200 stores over the next few years (counting stores in the UK and Canada). The chain has seen its revenues double and its profits triple since 2007, Kowitt reports, and has lately taken to launching new stores in low-income shopping areas, such as Detroit, Newark and the South Side of Chicago.

On one level, it’s heartening that more choices to purchase quality, non-industrial food have penetrated into lower-income neighborhoods. However, Whole Foods is far from a model of progressive values. Founded and run by John Mackey, a recovered hippie and especially dogmatic libertarian in the Randian grain, the chain has notoriously lowballed health benefits and campaigned to crush anything resembling a union organizing drive among its more than 70,000 employees. “The union is like having herpes,” organic baron Mackey infamously announced. “It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.”

Lately, however, aggrieved Whole Foods employees have been fighting back against the company’s crude anti-union calumnies. In two Chicago stores, workers have staged wildcat strikes and walkouts to protest what they say are draconian attendance policies and unfair dismissals of workers. In one high-profile action in February, front-end cashiers and customer service crew at one Whole Foods walked out to protest the firing of a single mother who had missed work to care for her son after the polar vortex forced public schools to close.

One of the lead organizers in Chicago has been Trish Kahle, a history graduate student at the University of Chicago who began working at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods in March of 2012. Kahle quit her job this past winter when, as she explains, she had several work absences arising from a bicycling accident. To return to work, she would have had to present a doctor’s note, but she could not afford a doctor’s appointment—she hadn’t been able to afford the company health insurance plan because of its high out-of-pocket costs. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16664/whole_foods_artisanal_union_busting



Money and Second-Class Citizenship


from Consortium News:


Money and Second-Class Citizenship
June 2, 2014

As America divides more and more into a class-stratified society, the idea of “gated communities” has spread into other areas of separation in which the rich get special benefits, the middle class is treated shabbily and lower-income people face outright disdain, Lawrence Davidson reports.


By Lawrence Davidson



There are many forms of discrimination, but one that Americans seem to have a high tolerance for is bias based on class, a discrimination that is a natural outgrowth of capitalist ideology which, in turn, has been assimilated into American culture to the point that even the poor accept it, hoping that they or their children might someday become rich themselves.

Thus, unlike race and sex bias, discrimination based on class has been under-regulated with lower-income groups left to largely fend for themselves. That has led to a number of examples of abuse, such as what happened in New York City’s housing market, as described in an exposé on the front page of the New York Times’ real estate section on May 18.

First some background: Since 1943, New York City has sought to protect the income diversity of its population by classifying a percentage of its housing market as “rent-controlled” or “rent-stabilized.” There are technical differences between these statuses, but we will refer to them both as part of a regime of “rent-regulation.”

Landlords and developers who provide a certain number of such “affordable housing units” (particularly rent-stabilized units) alongside apartments renting or selling at market rates can qualify for city-or-state-subsidized low-interest loans and tax breaks. Even though the landlords and developers are thereby benefiting from publicly provided money, they still complain that the rent-regulation regime is a burden. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/02/money-and-second-class-citizenship/



Money and Second-Class Citizenship


from Consortium News:


Money and Second-Class Citizenship
June 2, 2014

As America divides more and more into a class-stratified society, the idea of “gated communities” has spread into other areas of separation in which the rich get special benefits, the middle class is treated shabbily and lower-income people face outright disdain, Lawrence Davidson reports.


By Lawrence Davidson



There are many forms of discrimination, but one that Americans seem to have a high tolerance for is bias based on class, a discrimination that is a natural outgrowth of capitalist ideology which, in turn, has been assimilated into American culture to the point that even the poor accept it, hoping that they or their children might someday become rich themselves.

Thus, unlike race and sex bias, discrimination based on class has been under-regulated with lower-income groups left to largely fend for themselves. That has led to a number of examples of abuse, such as what happened in New York City’s housing market, as described in an exposé on the front page of the New York Times’ real estate section on May 18.

First some background: Since 1943, New York City has sought to protect the income diversity of its population by classifying a percentage of its housing market as “rent-controlled” or “rent-stabilized.” There are technical differences between these statuses, but we will refer to them both as part of a regime of “rent-regulation.”

Landlords and developers who provide a certain number of such “affordable housing units” (particularly rent-stabilized units) alongside apartments renting or selling at market rates can qualify for city-or-state-subsidized low-interest loans and tax breaks. Even though the landlords and developers are thereby benefiting from publicly provided money, they still complain that the rent-regulation regime is a burden. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/02/money-and-second-class-citizenship/



Laura Flanders, Cornel West, Chris Hedges and Richard Wolff/Left Forum 2014





Published on Jun 2, 2014

Thomas Paine 1776 & NOW ! - Flanders-West-Hedges-Wolff, -
June 1,at Left Forum 2014,in New York City at John Jay College. Bud's video for the [ Forming ] Commonwealth, C-Corp. - Sharpening Spearheads for Economic & Social Democracy; Militant Communalism .


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