I Don’t Know if 10-20K is Enough in Terms of Student Loan Forgiveness

For generations, we have been told that the only way to get ahead in life is to earn a college degree. While there is a certain amount of truth in that statement, the other truth is that college is getting more expensive by the day.

Earlier today, President Biden announced a plan for reducing college debt for earners making less than $125K annually. The details are as follows:

Borrowers who hold loans with the Department of Education and make less than $125,000 a year are eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness if they received Pell Grants, which are given to students from low- and middle-income families. Individuals who make less than $125,000 a year but did not receive Pell Grants are eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness.

Of course, the Republicans are losing their minds. G-d forbid that a politician (especially POTUS) would do something for the American people instead of themselves. This hypocrisy is disturbing given the fact that many of them accepted forgivable PPP loans during the pandemic.

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Though this is a campaign promise fulfilled (and could help the Democrats in the upcoming Midterms), I don’t know if 10-20K is enough to relieve the financial burden for some people. I understand that it was a compromise, as does Biden, but I have to question if it helps Americans who have triple digits in student loan debt.

“I understand not everything I’m announcing is going to make everybody happy,” Biden said. “Some think it’s too much — I find it interesting how some of my Republican friends who voted for those tax cuts think we shouldn’t be helping these folks. Some think it’s too little, but I believe my plan is responsible and fair. It focuses the benefit of middle-class and working families, it helps both current and future borrowers and it’ll fix a badly broken system.”

The truth is that relieving 10-20K is better than nothing. But I still think that it could have been a little higher.

It is a Sad Day in America: Roe V. Wade is No More

A few months ago, we celebrated the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. When I wrote that post, I still had hope that the right of anyone with a uterus had the right to decide their own fate. That hope died this morning.

By lunchtime, the federal government had washed its hands of the issue. It is now illegal to have an abortion in America. Each state can now decide if the procedure will be allowed and to what degree. In many states, this means that will be either completely against the law or limited to saving the life of the pregnant person.

American women are officially back in the dark ages, depending on where they live. Thankfully, both my home state of New York and New Jersey are among the handful of states that put the life of the pregnant person over politics. But not everyone is so lucky.

How many women will die from back-alley abortions or putting foreign objects in their bodies? How many females of any age will be forced to give birth to their rapist’s child or carry a dead fetus to term? How many women of color who are already living under hard conditions will have another proverbial plate spinning in the air?

The overturning of Roe is the beginning of a slippery slope. According to Judge Clarence Thomas (who I loathe with a passion), this decision opens the door to taking a second look at other rulings.

Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion released on Friday that the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

In a similar vein, Loving v. Virginia could also be overturned. That means that his marriage to the equally loathsome Ginni Thomas could be viewed as illegal.

If they thought we would go quietly into the night, they have another thing coming.

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We can donate to pro-choice organizations (Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc). We can march and let our voices be heard. We can vote in November and more importantly, vote blue. Though it is dark, the sun will rise again. We just need to fight for that sunrise.

P.S. Congress finally passed a gun control bill. It speaks volumes about this country that we confer more rights on a weapon than a living, breathing human being.

The Only Way to Prevent Mass Shootings is to Vote

There was another mass shooting in America yesterday.

In Chattanooga Tennessee, three people were killed and fourteen were injured when someone walked into a nightclub and started shooting on Sunday. Two of the victims died by bullets and a third died after being hit by a car while trying to escape.

The only way to end this madness is to vote in the upcoming midterms. We need politicians who support common-sense gun laws while respecting the rights of lawful firearms owners.

I am going to end this post with an op-ed by the actor Matthew McConaughey. A native of Uvalde, he speaks the cold, hard truth.

May the memories of those killed be a blessing. Z”L.

Florida Republican Fuckery: Banning Math Books and Cutting Tax Ties With Disney

As I see it, the only way for the government to function is for those in power to at least, be able to listen to someone else, whether it is another politician who has different beliefs or a business owner.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to feel otherwise. In addition to his Don’t Say Gay law, his state is upping the ante on book banning within schools. Following on the heels of the so-called “CRT (aka Critical Race Theory)” bullshit, 54 math books have been rejected because some claim that CRT is included in the material.

First of all, CRT has nothing to do with math. It has everything to do with the denial of the truth of American history and the fact that racism, in all forms (especially against people of color) is still alive and well in this country. Second, this concept is not even taught in the K-12 classroom. It is only taught at the university level or higher. That means that the student is not exposed to it until they are at least 17.

Third of all, math, in all of its forms, is one of the core concepts of learning. It starts when we are very young and being taught to count by our parents. Even if we choose a career that has nothing to do with numbers, it has everything to do with our daily lives. Whether it’s maintaining a budget or calculating miles, it is absolutely essential. In going down this path, DeSantis and his ilk are limiting the education of his state’s children and their future opportunities.

While this has been happening, he has been tangling with Disney in regards to their response to the Don’t Say Gay legislation. As of yesterday, the company has been stripped of its tax status and independence that has been in existence since the late 1960s. For decades, Disney has had tax breaks and has paid its own way in regard to municipal services such as law enforcement, the fire department, etc. This means that the funds will come from the taxpayer. Nothing gets politicians out of office and voters to the voting booth faster than a tax hike. If he wants another 4 years in office, I would re-think his decision.

I don’t agree with everything that the company puts out, nor am I an economist. While we have to recognize that Disney did not do anything until its employees walked off the job, I admire that they are standing their ground. Given its popularity and the number of IPs that it owns, I don’t think that this is a wise decision. If I were to make a guess, I would say that the tax dollars that come in from the park’s visitors add a pretty penny to state coffers.

When one takes political office, they are serving all of their constituents, not just the ones who agree with them. It would behoove Governor DeSantis and other Republicans to remember this. I guess the only way they will learn this lesson is when we boot them all out of office come November (hopefully).

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