Tuesday, January 10, 2006

College Funds or Yacht Funds? --

By Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. © Tribune Media Services, from Black news.com

The Reverend Jackson hits home in this comment. Read the whole thing. It is pretty long, so here are some excerpts: (Emphasis is mine)

One resolution for the new year: let’s make clear the choices we are making as a country. I am certain that if Americans understood the choices that are being made, they would be outraged – whether conservative or liberal, male or female, rich or poor, whatever their race, religion or region.

Consider one choice the Congress is about to make. If the current leadership has its way, the Congress will pass over $100 billion in tax cuts early this year, the vast bulk of which will go to the very wealthy. At the same time, it will cast the final vote to make the largest cut in student college loan programs in history – some $12.7 billion over five years.

I doubt that many Americans would support raising the cost of college for students in order to reduce taxes on the wealthiest Americans, yet that is exactly what the administration and the conservative leadership of Congress are planning.


This comes at a time when tuitions and fees are soaring. After factoring out inflation, private college costs have risen by over 1/3 in the last 10 years. Public college costs have soared by over 50%. States are cutting back public subsidies to colleges, forcing them to raise tuitions and fees. We are witnessing the slow privatization of higher education. The result is to price college out of the reach of more and more American families.

These costs are rising just as we tell Americans that college or specialized training after high school is the sole ticket to the middle class. The good union jobs in industry that paid wages, pensions and health care are disappearing fast. Our leaders – whether Bill Clinton or George Bush – say they can’t do anything about that. But, they argue, get your child a college education and they will do just fine in the global economy of the 21st century. Without that, the next generation is likely to face a future less secure and less fortunate than their parents.

Yet at the same time our leaders tell us that college is indispensable, fewer and fewer families can afford it... ...

At this moment, our leaders should be summoning the nation to a major effort to insure that college education is affordable to all. The wealthy should insist on paying higher taxes to insure that the children of all Americans can afford the education that they will need. Corporations should be unleashing their high priced lobbyists to demand that legislators increase grant and loan programs, and that states increase their subsidies to public schools.

Instead, the Bush administration demanded cuts in student loans, and the right-wing that controls the Congress voted for the largest cut ever – even as they insist on cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans. This doesn’t make sense and isn’t popular. So the Republican leadership mislead Americans about what they have done. Republican legislators have been on TV parroting the claim that the cuts will provide “significant new benefits” to students, by lowering fees and simplifying the application process. What they don’t admit is that parents and students, already struggling to make ends meet, will end up paying thousands more in higher interest rates.

Educating the next generation isn’t a time for political posturing, for clever spin, for misleading parents and kids. Let’s resolve to make the choices clear. And let Americans decide whether the choices made by the current crowd in power make sense for America.

This message need to get out to more and more Americans. Spread the word!

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