Trump knives & branding irons have done their work

Ed Raymond

Carol Burnett paid her first year of tuition at UCLA with a $50 donation.

Poor “Moscow” Mitch. Absolute power does corrupt.  Chimps, bonobos, and  Homo Sapiens share over 99% of DNA. The Senate Majority Leader could not even wait for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s body to reach room temperature before he announced the Senate would vote for Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court as soon as possible. Bonobos love each other and use sex to pacify relationships. Chimps and humans love or hate each other and are power hungry. Mitch is one or the other. I think he’s more of a chimp.

  Since the fall roundup in 2016, Mitch has been branded  A@T (Always-Trumper) because he could diabolically use Trump for his own political ends. Mitch’s mother must be proud. Anything to justify the means. And then most of the Republican Congresspersons lined up after Trump’s election during the fall roundup--and were castrated or sterilized into becoming Trumplicans. As a farm boy who helped castrate pigs and cattle, I noticed the results almost immediately among the gelded and spayed. The losers become zombie-like cult followers. Trumplicans have now been “vaccinated” against reality. The problem is they vote.

In the 2020 election, the main issue is actually age difference

  The median American is now 38 years old. That means he-she was born about a year after President Ronald Reagan’s first tax cuts. But the leadership of the country is the oldest in history. The median senator is 65 years old and is most likely a millionaire. The median house representative is 58 and a strong minority has reached millionaire status. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is 78 and married into multi-millionaire status. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 80 and a millionaire. President Donald Trump is a psychopathic senile 74 and claims he is a billionaire. Joe Biden is a very old 77 and finally reached millionaire status a couple of years ago. Seton Hall Professor Patrick Fisher specializes in research in the political dynamics of political age. He says the difference of age between the generations often underlies “a profound difference in world view.” His conclusion about the difference: “Demographically, politically, economically, socially, and technologically, the generations are more different from each other now than at any time in living memory.”

Carol Burnett at a young 87 has always been my Queen of Comedy because of an active mind, expressive face, and the ability to laugh at herself. At 17 she was editor of her LA high school newspaper and wanted to go to UCLA and major in journalism, but her family was poor and couldn’t afford the $43 tuition. An anonymous donor sent her $50 cash in the mail for her first year’s tuition.  Her career is history, but she still does not know who the donor was. Her philosophy of life: “Learn to cope and live in the now!” If she had been born in 1982 instead of 1933 she probably would be still living in her parent’s basement and trying to pay off a $50,000 student loan.

Millennials between the ages 18-31 make up the largest generation in America. It is also the most diverse in our history. Because of the George Bush recession of 2007-11, they have faced the largest unemployment rate since the Great Recession of the 1930’s, double that of any other age group. Between 2013 and 2017 the median age of Democratic Socialists of America fell from 68 to 33. A majority of millennials now choose socialism over capitalism. They had originally put their faith in Barack Obama but he and the older Democrats chose to bail out the banks and Wall Street instead of Main Street. Joe Biden said most Americans didn’t want a revolution. He had promised the country that under his watch “nothing would fundamentally change.” Biden, once called the leader of the D.C. Windbag Mecca of the Senate, was against Bernie Sanders and his Medicare for All, which had drawn millions of millennials to Bernie’s side. (When Biden defeated Sanders for the nomination, the health care stocks on Wall Street sky-rocketed the next day.) The millennials wanted a revolution that would take them out of their parent’s basement, pay for their mountains of college student debt, allow them to rent or buy apartments and homes, provide universal health care, and perhaps finally enable them to marry their partners.  They were fed up with disaster and crony capitalism, the destruction of unions, the fast-food jobs, and the ever-widening economic inequality. And then, on top of their issues which drove one of 15 to consider suicide, the pandemic hit.

Two generations ago public colleges And universities were basically free

Now, more than 50 million adult Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student debt, and with today’s economy and pandemic, many cannot pay it. The total represents more than credit card debt and is only less than total mortgage debt. Over half of the student debtors are not paying their loans in one form or another. Many have already defaulted or have asked for deferral. Some students are being charged 12% interest on their student loans by banks and other loaning agencies! Here is one example: Paige Black of Philadelphia earned her degree in biochemistry from Chestnut Hill College, but she now owes $130,000 in student loans, lives with her parents, and only pays the interest on her loan which comes to $600 a month.

I still remember paying $120 I had saved up over the summer of 1950 to the Moorhead State Teachers College financial office to cover my freshman year’s tuition. I had been recruited to play football and baseball so had a tiny scholarship, but the living costs were up to me. Over four years of college I had about 30 jobs which actually paid the total costs. The minimum wage in 1950 was 75 cents. I don’t remember what I was paid for all of my jobs at the classy Frederick Martin Hotel in Moorhead: waiter, window washer, birthday party singer, banquet worker and server, and all-around flunky. I enjoyed most of the jobs.  I also pitched semi-pro baseball for Gary, Minnesota and Melroe Manufacturing at Gwinner, North Dakota during two summers.  I had a regular route delivering mail for the Fargo Post Office during Christmas vacations. I also was paid at the corporal rank by the Marine Corps for undergoing boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. A buddy and I also spent the state and county fair season selling foot-long hotdogs and ice cream on the carnival midways of a couple of dozen state and county fairs. A friend and I delivered the Sunday Minneapolis Sunday Tribune to surrounding towns. I spent one winter selling men’s clothing in one of the local department stores long extinct. After college graduation and three years on active duty as an officer in the Marine Corps, married with three children, and with the help of the GI Bill, I tended bar in the Skol and Tree Top rooms at the Frederick Martin Hotel while earning my Masters’ Degree in English Literature. I also earned an informal degree in psychology while serving drinks to the finest drunks in Fargo-Moorhead.

I mention all of this because the taxpayers of Minnesota made it possible for me to attend college without a dime from my parents. They made it possible for me to earn BA, BS, and MA degrees. They made it possible for me to be named co-captain of the football team, sing in the college choir, take my regular turn on the mound in the Steve Gorman Baseball League, be elected president of the Student Commission, and be selected for Who’s Who In American College and Universities. Thank you, taxpayers---and FDR Democrats.  Four of the five Raymond kids coming off that180 acres of rocks and sand near Little Falls graduated from college. One sister graduated from nursing school and served in California hospitals. The other sister graduated from business school, was secretary to the president of St.Cloud State Teachers for a few years before spending 30 years on Capitol Hill serving as head secretary for six representatives. A brother graduated from the University of Minnesota, thanks to the GI Bill and Minnesota taxpayers, served in the FBI before his appointment as head of security at Lockheed in Burbank, Cal. We all could work our way through college because Minnesota taxpayers funded K-12 and higher education. After all, education is the constitutional responsibility of the states.

But then came Ronald Reagan, “Toolittle” Pawlenty and the Tax Cutter Mob

Student debt is now a national crisis. With the pandemic and the economy as two more crises, we have replaced student grants with student loans. We have replaced state and federal support of education with student tuition. The ever growing burden of financing education has been shifted to millions of Americans who now have a total debt of $1.7 trillion—and growing.  The only solution now is to pay off all the student debt with a tax on the richest Americans. The rich have been filling their pockets, wallets, estates, yachts, and Lamborghinis for over forty years while the middle class has been “disappeared” by the   destruction of unions and the transfer of their wealth to the Ten Percent.   It’s time for the millionaires and billionaires to step up to help the country instead of  hiding their money in tax havens—and hiding from the COVID-19 on their yachts, in their country estates, or preppy survival bunkers.

The cruel “experiment” of financing education through student loans instead of state taxes has dramatically failed. Student debt has become a major factor in the collapse of the American Empire. It has made the racial wealth gap worse. It has weakened the entire economy. It has prevented the debt holders from buying homes, marrying, starting families, and buying other major consumer products such as autos. The fact that a person through  age 26 can still be on the parents’ health insurance is a sign that student debt is a great handicap to personal progress.

Patrick Donahue and his wife of San Diego have financed the college education of four daughters, and at age 64 still owe $97,932. They are responsible for the debt, so they are unable to put anything aside for retirement. Most student debt borrowers are between 18 and 39, but there are 2.8 million Americans over 60 who are still attempting to pay off education debt. Seventy-three percent of borrowers over 60 are paying off student debt they either took out or co-signed to help children or grandchildren, but 27% are still trying to pay off their own student debt! Borrowers over 50 owe $290 billion of the $1.7 trillion.

Kimberly Weihl, a 55-year-old from Midland, Michigan, owes $77,000 for her and her daughter’s student debt. Her daughter is a waitress who is living at home and cannot afford to pay down her share of the debt. We have to remember that students cannot file for bankruptcy if they cannot pay their debt. Wages, tax refunds, and Social Security payments can be garnished. Both political parties got us into this mess by not funding higher education. Both have to get us out.