Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Free Everything For Everyone

What can 2020 Democrats say to the millions of Americans who have scrimped and sacrificed for a decade or more to pay off student loans? Do Democrat presidential candidates give them any thought at all when proposing to erase a trillion-and-a-half dollars of student debt that others owe? Will there be a reparations program for those who worked like slaves to pay off their loans? Or, must we pay the debts others incurred as well? Where is the justice in that?

My choice of where to attend college was based on what I could afford and Massachusetts state colleges and universities were within my reach. Others at my small, Catholic high school went on to expensive, private colleges because their parents could afford to pay, or because they took out loans. Taxpayers in Massachusetts subsidized the universities from which I graduated and I appreciate that, but I paid taxes too because I’ve worked since I was sixteen, including while I was in high school and college. I worked full-time during two years of undergrad and another two years of grad school.

Working is what I was doing while many of my peers were smoking weed and drinking beer in dorms and frat houses. Never did I take loans or grants from government, and I didn’t ask my parents for money either, knowing I was one of eight children. I paid my own way, but when my wife went back to school later in life she took out some loans because we had four children, some of whom were also going to college. We paid those loans off within a few years and celebrated the last installment.

Not only would some 2020 Democrats forgive student loans, but they’d also make college free as well. Taxpayers would fund students who major in women’s studies, gender studies, and queer studies, and other majors of questionable academic value even though there are few, if any, jobs for which those “studies” prepare them. Democrat candidates are promising all kinds of free stuff — and not just for Americans either. During last Thursday’s televised debate, a moderator asked how many of them supported free healthcare for illegal aliens and every hand went up. Two weeks ago I wrote about hundreds of illegal aliens from Africa who walked across the Rio Grande and instantly became legal by telling border guards they were seeking asylum. From Texas, they were put on buses to Portland, Maine.

The Democrats who have retaken control of Maine government are working hard to renew state welfare subsidies for the City of Portland when that city gives welfare to former illegal aliens — now asylees. California recently authorized free healthcare to illegal aliens. Most of the Democrat presidential candidates promise “Medicare For All” if they’re elected. What they don’t tell us is that hospitals and other health care providers would go out of business if they had to accept only Medicare rates for their services.

When my primary care physician (PCP) was fired from Bridgton Hospital for refusing to take on the huge caseload new management tried to impose on him, I had to search for a new PCP. My wife’s PCP had left Bridgton Hospital earlier and joined Intermed in Portland, but that practice wasn’t taking on any more Medicare patients — which is what I had become when I turned sixty-six. I understood why; they were losing money on Medicare patients. Fortunately for me, however, my wife’s PCP agreed to take me on anyway.

My point here is that private health insurance payments far exceed low Medicare rates, but even with those de facto subsidies, Medicare is still projected to go broke. Still, Democrat presidential candidates are declaring they would abolish private health insurance if elected — which would, of course, hasten Medicare’s bankruptcy. About 150 million Americans pay for private health insurance policies.

Here’s hoping I’m not wrong in my belief that voters in 2020 will realize we cannot afford what Democrats are proposing. Heck, we can’t even afford what we’re doing now with the national debt increasing at almost a trillion dollars a year. In 2019 our $22 trillion debt eclipsed our gross domestic product (GDP) and shows no sign of slowing down. The two biggest drivers of annual budget deficits are Social Security and Medicare and politicians of both stripes lack sufficient courage to tackle those “third-rail” issues.

I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will likely vote for him again in 2020 if present trends continue. However, he’s not doing much about deficit spending. He has increased economic growth with tax cuts and reduced regulation. Federal revenue is up as a result, but not enough to balance the budget. Unfortunately, the best I can say about Trump and the deficit is that the Democrats are likely to be worse than he has been. 


Unknown said...

I joined the Navy after I turned 18 because I saw no chance of going to college. High school counselors were useless when and if you could find one. I eventually got a BA and an MS which I paid for myself. The company I worked for had a college reimbursement program which new management ignored on the basis that you were hired to do a job so why do you need more education? I had mislaid my DD-2014, so the VA was not helpful. Paying my tuition was not always easy, but I did it. If you take out a loan for anything, it is your responsibility to repay it. Not mine.

DAWN said...

I can get easily riled up on this subject.

We put three boys through college. At one point all 3 were in college at the same time! We paid 1/3. They worked hard during school and during summers/breaks to give us 1/3 towards the bill and then 1/3 went to school loans to be paid after they graduated and were working full time. When they graduated, they all owed no more than about 20K.

It was a great plan and worked well. What I resented was the fact we knew of exchange students from outside this country who were coming here getting a free ride. They paid for nothing. They didn't have to work like my boys did. One told me she was going to get her education here and go back in her home state to work. How is that fair? My boys didn't get 4.0 GPA's because they were working at Applebees during the weeknights and running Division 1 Track/X-Country.

Now, I've decided to go back and get my degree. Finally. I will be 60 when I graduate. I'm paying cash. Online. No breaks for me even for paying cash. The cost is just way more than I think is reasonable for what I'm getting. Who else am I supporting?

Brian said...

Hers's a question....why draw the line at 12 years of free education instead of 16 years?

Reality Check said...

In 1785, John Adams wrote: "The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and must be willing to bear the expense of it."

CaptDMO said...

In 1785, John Adams was WRONG!I suspect he was speaking only of practical education as well. My go-to for mockery is Rutgers-New Brunswick (NJ) course offering list.
12 years (13 with mandatory kindergarten, and free "daycare" just around the corner)
Good point.
8 years of "free" education, and and daycare, is quite enough.
After that, I suspect folks might demand more value, less rent-seeking
extortion, and deny the delusional expectations , for "equal education for all".
But, of course,that's just me.

Uber_Fritz said...


I read some really great comments on this subject and the key words are "nothing is free." One can easily see that the Democrats are engaged in pandering merely to get votes. They, the Democrats, know no bounds. I, too, voted for Trump and I most certainly will again. He is getting things done with many obstacles in his way. Can you possibly image if the Democrats were cooperative?

My story is similar to most that I've read. First, I worked three summers during high school for minimum wage about $1.23 per hour. One job brought to the grounds crew at Wheaton College and another job was at the Foxborough Company. I attended Northeastern University and went on 1/2 scholarship my first year. Fortunately, NU has a cooperative education program and it served two ends. First, I worked to earn money; Second, I made contacts and had useful experience. I left NU without any debt.

I started a teaching career and decided to attend Law School at NESL in Boston. This required that I ride Bonanza Bus three days per week for four years. I would estimate that the entire time frame cost about $35,000.00, cheap by standards today. The point is that my wife and I paid for it, out of pocket, and accumulated no debt.

We have two daughters who performed admirably both academically and in athletics. Both attended URI as out of state students. Both received handsome academic scholarships. And my older, after a year of track performance, earned a so-called "grant in aid." That paid for everything. We paid for our younger daughter's residuals. My younger daughter is working at a PhD and she is footing the bill. My older daughter is DPT with specialty areas. Even after procuring a 1/2 academic scholarship, she accrued 90K in debt. She made her finally payment last week.

My wife, not yet 65, is working to reach the requisite Medicare quarters. At 65 I had mine because I worked virtually every summer while teaching for 36 years. There is a common thread and it's apparent!


I'll be damned if my tax dollars are going to an programs developed by the Democrats!

DAWN said...

"When you say cancel student debt, you're saying a minority of people who had the advantage of obtaining a degree should have their debt paid off by hardworking taxpayers 2/3 of whom don't have degrees themselves or already paid their own student debt off. This is immoral." Dan Crenshaw

Brian said...

I notice that in all this whining about people getting "free stuff" none of the examples are about all the "free stuff" given to the rich....tax deductible interest on yachts, tax deductible filet mignons at "business meals", lower tax rates for Warren Buffett than for his secretary, corporations getting off with paying no taxes with loopholes created for the rich as well as direct federal subsidies to enormously profitable corporations that tax payers foot the bill for, etc, etc

But it is the little guy you take your anger out on.

Brian said...

And speaking of wasting taxpayer money how about Trump living out his military parade dream that he loves so much when put on by his dictator buddies in Iran, North Korea and Russia.

He is turning July 4th from a display of patriotism into one of nationalism. Patriotism is, according to Merriam Webster, a "love for or devotion to one's country." Nationalism is a "sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups."

If Obama pulled this crap on the 4th of July right wing heads would have exploded.

Anonymous said...

My son-in-law finished medical school with $250K debt. He then had to do a residency and a fellowship. The residency paid $40k per year - just enough to get by in the city of his residency but not to pay off the loans. He's now a pediatrician doing a pulmonology fellowship (helps kids with asthma and cystic fibrosis). He will be nearly 40 when he finishes, and then and only then will he be able to start paying off loans - he figures it will take six years so he'll be close to 50. He took a fellowship in Ohio partly because the cost of living was cheaper there than many other US cities. I don't have an answer, except to say the current system is untenable. My son-in-law will have a job at the end of this very long road, but many students who get degrees in various subjects and professions (such as lawyers) will not. BTW, pediatricians and family doctors are the poorest paid as doctors go, so he's certainly not into it to get rich.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thank you for a thoughtful post, Anonymous. In the future though, please put your name on it or invent a pseudonym to use consistently.

In Ken Langone's recent book "I Love Capitalism," he discussed donating $100 million to NYU Medical School to make it tuition-free if students pledged to become primary care physicians. He also raised $350 million more from others. He's a billionaire founder of Home Depot who worked his way through college himself.

Brian said...

Remember when right wingers used to try and make fun of Obama for the times he used a teleprompter? It does not get more hilarious than Trump not knowing that airplanes did not exist in 1776 and having to blame it on the teleprompter going out!!!!!!

You can't make this stuff up!!!!!!

DAWN said...

My husband is a CPA and doesn't agree with the whole "tax the rich hard" mentality because of what he's seeing in the tax returns. Why do we want to punish those making money? What is the definition of rich?

My son and daughter in law work hard. They make six figures and are taxed heavily. Ten years ago my son was delivering newspapers and making 25K a year in the journalism world. This was with a 4 year college degree! So he switched careers working his way from the bottom to the top in the tech world! Now the government wants to penalize him because he's finally making money! Is this fair?

My husband who does their taxes says our daughter in law should probably quit her job because her salary is basically going to pay for their taxes. Is this what kind of a culture we want? Reward the non working people and tax the ones who are working hard?