Democrats help Colleges and Universities sell kids Useless Degrees with no Market Value

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

All you hear from Washington is that we need to spend more on education.  We need to help more kids afford a college education.  To help subsidize the high cost of education.  Though they never question why the cost of education is so high.  Never.  Tuition keeps going up.  And they keep saying we need to spend more on education.

More people than ever are going on to college.  Because it’s a lot of fun.  Drinking and partying.  The drugs.  The sex.  Kids love getting out from underneath their parent’s supervision.  And going to a party college.  Where they can have a good time.  All of the time.  Of course, taking tough majors could get in the way of that fun.  Like math and science majors.  The kind of majors businesses are hiring out of college.  But these majors are hard.  And do intrude on that fun.  So a lot of kids take easier majors.  They still pay a fortune for them.  But their universities and colleges gladly take their money knowing full well that their odds of getting a job with that major are slim (see Duke Grad Student Secretly Lived In a Van to Escape Loan Debt by Mandi Woodruff, Business Insider, posted 12/27/2013 on Yahoo! Finance).

Yahoo editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2013. It first ran on Yahoo Finance on June 10 and was one of the most popular stories of the year. The article details the extreme lengths Ken Ilgunas went to in order to pay back his big student debt bill.

By the time Ken Ilgunas was wrapping up his last year of undergraduate studies at the University of Buffalo in 2005, he had no idea what kind of debt hole he’d dug himself into.

He had majored in the least marketable fields of study possible — English and History — and had zero job prospects after getting turned down for no fewer than 25 paid internships.

“That was a wake-up call,” he told Business Insider. “I had this huge $32,000 student debt and at the time I was pushing carts at Home Depot, making $8 an hour. I was just getting kind of frantic.”

Back then, student loans had yet to become the front page news they are today. Ilgunas could have simply deferred his loans or declared forbearance. He also could have asked his parents (who were more than willing to help) for a leg up. He could have thrown up his hands and gone to grad school until the job market bounced back.

Instead, he moved to Alaska and spent two years paying back every dime. And when he enrolled at Duke University for graduate school later, he lived out of his van to be sure he wouldn’t have to take out loans again.

Ken’s story is a little different as he really wanted to be a writer.  And he took whatever job he could to repay his student loan.  And then earned his master’s without another student loan.  But there are so many kids who are enticed to take on great student loan debt to earn a degree that has little market value in a high-tech economy.  And our colleges and universities sell these degrees to these unsuspecting kids.  They get their money.  Allowing tenured professors and college administrators to live the good life.  While these kids are stuck paying off their debt with their $8/hour jobs that they could have gotten without that expensive college degree.  Or taxpayers end up paying for them.  With taxpayer-subsidies.  Or student loan bailouts.  Which may be coming if Democrats get their way.

Our colleges and universities are slinging these useless degrees for the money.  For higher education is a business.  And a profitable one.  The one type of business that the left doesn’t mind making a profit.  Even an obscene profit.

The Democrats help them with cheap student loans, subsidies and the promise of bailouts to keep that money flowing to them.  And in exchange they teach our kids how to be good Democrat voters.  Which they do.  As the vast majority of our young vote Democrat.  Even when they have to repay their student loans with their $8/hour jobs.  But that may change.  As more of them can’t find work with their expensive degrees they may dissuade their friends and younger siblings from making the same mistake.  Especially as they now have to deal with the high cost of the Affordable Care Act.  Which may be the tipping point for the young.  For as much as the Democrats say they are looking out for them their lives just don’t get better when Democrats win elections.

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The Fed’s Quantitative Easing keeps the Big Three Building Cars

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

Governments love it when people buy houses and cars.  Because building houses and cars generates a lot of economic activity.  So much economic activity that central banks will flood their economies with money to keep interest rates artificially low.  To encourage people to go into great debt and buy these things.  Even if they don’t want them.  Especially if they don’t want them.  Because if you add in people buying things who don’t want them with the people who do that’s a lot of economic activity.  Which is why central banks keep interest rates artificially low.  To get people to buy things even when they don’t want them.  But do because those low interest rates are just too good to pass up.

Automotive jobs are union jobs.  At least with the Big Three.  Which is another reason why the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) keeps interest rates artificially low.  To save union jobs.  Because they support Democrats.  And the Democrats take care of them.  By enacting legislation that favors union-built cars.  Placing tariffs and quotas on imports.  And doing whatever they can to encourage the Fed to keep interest rates artificially low.  So the Big Three keep building cars with union labor.  Even if they’re not selling the cars they build (see Spending on new cars may break record in December by Joseph Szczesny posted 12/25/2013 on CNBC).

Total vehicle sales are expected to be up at least 4 percent year over year, with the industry anticipating all-time record consumer spending on new vehicles, according to a forecast.

While new car sales started the month slowly, they are expected to finish strong, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. That would be a welcome development for industry planners concerned about a recent bulge in dealer inventories, which has led several manufacturers to trim production…

Vehicle production in North America through November is up 5 percent from the same time frame last year, with nearly 700,000 additional units. Even as inventory has increased, production volume remained strong last month, at 1.4 million units—a 4 percent increase from November 2012.

But there are some concerns that the industry may be turning up production faster than the market can handle. General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler continued to build inventories last month, and their combined supply climbed from 87 days at the beginning of November to 93 days by the end…

Some of the buildup can be traced to dealers’ ordering pickup trucks and utility vehicles before the planned shutdowns for model changes at GM and Ford. But those two makers also have decided to take more downtime at some of their plants this month in an effort to reduce excess stock.

Automotive news is often contradictory.  Sales are up they tell us.  Even when inventories are growing.  A sign that sales are not growing.  Because when people buy more cars than they build inventories fall.  But when people buy fewer cars than they build inventories rise.  So when inventories are rising typically that means sales are falling.  So this isn’t a sign of a booming economy.  But one that is likely to slip into recession.  Especially when the Fed finally begins their tapering of their bond buying (i.e., quantitative easing).  The thing that is keeping interest rates artificially low.  And once they do those inventories will really bulge.  As they do during the onset of a recession.

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Adam Lanza suffered Severe Mental Health Issues that drove him to Violence

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

There is a line on the sit-com The Big Bang Theory where Leonard warns someone that Sheldon is one lab accident away from being a super-villain.  Here’s what Wikipedia says about Sheldon.

Sheldon exhibits a strict adherence to routine, a total lack of social skills, a tenuous understanding of humor, a general lack of humility or empathy, and displays textbook narcissistic behavior. He also has a very hard time recognizing irony and sarcasm in other people although he himself often employs them… Despite speculation that Sheldon’s personality traits may be consistent with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive personality disorder and asexuality,[5][7] co-creator Bill Prady has repeatedly stated that Sheldon’s character was neither conceived nor developed with regard to any of these conditions.[7]

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy.  And Jim Parsons plays Sheldon brilliantly.  He’s hilarious.  But what the show jokes about can be a real danger.   As a person with exceptional intelligence suffering from these mental health issues can become dangerous.  And the further from reality they drift the more dangerous they can become (see Newtown killer had occasionally violent tendencies by Larry Copeland posted 12/27/2013 on USA Today).

The mentally troubled gunman in the Newtown massacre had obsessive behavior, changing his socks as many as 20 times a day, and his mother tried to manage her life around the bizarre quirks of her son, according to thousands of pages of documents released by Connecticut State Police on Friday…

He had apparently displayed signs of the potential for violent behavior to at least one former teacher…

One of Lanza’s former teachers told investigators that the shooter was anti-social and that he rarely interacted with other students.

“I remember giving creative writing assignments to students instructing them to write a page or two on whatever they wanted to talk about,” she said. “Adam would write ten pages, obsessing about battles, destruction and war. In my years of experience, I have known (redacted) grade boys to talk about things like this, but Adam’s level of violence was disturbing. I remember showing the writings to the Principal at the time. Adam’s creative writing was so graphic that it could not be shared…”

One witness, a man who told police he’d known Nancy Lanza for about two years, said he was aware that Lanza “suffered from Asperger Syndrome…

Another witness told police that Nancy “had taken him out of school because he was sensitive to sound and light.” A nurse told investigators that Nancy Lanza had to do three loads of laundry a day because Adam Lanza obsessively changed his clothes, sometimes changing his socks 20 times a day…

“(The witness) said that Nancy Lanza told him she had no intentions of re-marrying and accepted the obligations of caring for Adam. Nancy said that she and Adam planned for her trip to New Hampshire. The trip was an experiment to allow Adam to stay at home alone for a few days.”

As soon as the Newtown massacre hit the media the left was calling for new gun control legislation.  Even before they knew who Adam Lanza was.  Or the extent of his mental issues.  And they were extensive.  This kid should have been institutionalized.  His mother resigned herself to living the rest of her life taking care of him.  Probably because that was the only option available to her.  As it can be difficult to commit someone until they have proven to be a danger to the public.  Something that is typically proven by committing an act that harms someone.  Of course by that time it’s too late.  As in the case of Adam Lanza.  James Holmes (2012 Aurora shooting).  Jared Loughner (2011 Tucson supermarket massacre).  Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech Massacre).

Were the guns to blame?  Or the madmen firing the guns?  A lot of people own guns.  But very few of them commit massacres.  Perhaps the better question is this.  If guns were unavailable to these people would they have still found a way to kill?  As smart as they were?  Or would these ‘super-villains’ have just said, “Oh well.  No guns available so I guess it’s sanity for me.”  And walk away from their delusions?  Or would they think of another way?

Taking guns away won’t stop these people from hurting others.  They may have just used their intelligence to think of another way.  Perhaps one more deadly than shooting people one at a time.  Identifying them early and institutionalizing them would work better.  For if they were institutionalized they wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone.  With a gun.  Or with anything else their intelligence dreamt up.

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It was a Bad Year for the NHS which Portends a Bad Future for Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

Britain has had its problems with their National Health Service (NHS).  Where national health care is proving to be unaffordable.  Especially now that their population is aging.  People are living longer into retirement and consuming more health care resources.  While a falling birthrate is producing fewer new taxpayers to replace those retirees leaving the tax-paying workforce.  Forcing them to raise taxes on those still paying taxes.  Or cutting spending on those who aren’t paying taxes.  Those consuming the lion’s share of their limited health care resources.  Those retirees.

Those are the choices.  And they are the only choices.  Because when it comes to national health care it’s a zero-sum game.  Either you take more from some to pay for others.  Or you spend less on everyone to make those limited resources cover more people.  Which is the great flaw in national health care.  Because your health care depends on what others are willing or able to give you.  Something that’s been happening ever since health insurance became an employee benefit.  For before that you paid for your health care.  And no one denied you anything.  Because you were in control by paying your own bills.  But then came the third parties.  First the health insurance companies.  And then the government.  As always is the case when you introduce ‘middle men’ costs rise and efficiencies fall.

As health care became a benefit it required generational theft.  Taking money from the young and healthy to pay for the old and sick.  When health care became a right the generational theft grew greater.  And when government took over the generational theft grew even greater.  As government is notoriously less efficient than private health insurers.  Requiring ever more money to provide the same level of health care found in the private sector.  Which is why 2013 was not a good year for the NHS (see Was 2013 the NHS’s annus horriblis? by Nick Triggle posted 12/27/2013 on BBC News Health).

It has been a bruising year for the NHS in England…

It kicked off with the publication in February of the Francis Inquiry into events at the Stafford Hospital, which accused the service of betraying patients.

By the start of the summer, another 14 hospitals with the highest death rates were being hauled over the coals for their failings in their care…

As autumn came, another review – this time on complaints – was scathing about the attitude of the NHS to complaints.

The report, led by Labour MP Ann Clywd who had broken down on radio over the care given to her late husband, said there was a culture of “delay and denial”.

Of course, controversy has surrounded the health service before…

But that was about how the service was structured.

This year has been about the very basics – the quality of care – and so in that sense it has felt different…

According to Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, the giant hurdle in the way of further progress is money.

“This is perhaps the trickiest position the NHS has ever been in,” he says.

“We are looking at a period of 10 years where money will be incredibly tight and what we are seeing now is a mismatch between what is being asked for and what is achievable.

The United States has an aging population just like Britain.  And has the same problem paying for their health care as they do.  Requiring ever greater amounts of generational theft.  As Obamacare all but picks up our young by the feet to shake whatever money they can out of their pockets.  Which begs the question if the NHS is such a case study in what not to do why did President Obama and the Democrats do the Affordable Care Act?

The answer is simple.  Because Obamacare is not about health care.  It’s about government power over one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  For if it was about health care they wouldn’t have done the Affordable Care Act.  Because of the lessons offered by the NHS.  Lessons President Obama and the Democrats ignored when passing Obamacare into law.  As they weren’t being honest with the American people.  Because they want what the British have.  Even if it reduces the quality of our health care.  Which is obvious by their passing the Affordable Care Act despite all of their woes in the NHS.  Which will soon be our woes.

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President Obama and the Democrats lied about how Affordable the Affordable Care Act Is

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2013

Week in Review

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was to make health care affordable.  In fact, it was going to be free.  Sort of.  Not health care per se.  But the Affordable Care Act.  For it was going to take the $1 trillion over 10 years the U.S. was spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and use it to pay for Obamacare.  So as far as the American people were concerned who had grown accustomed to the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Obamacare would be free.  That is, all the wonderful free stuff included in Obamacare would come without a single dime of new federal taxes or spending.  Of course, President Obama and the Democrats were lying to the American people (see New ObamaCare fees coming in 2014 by S.A. Miller and Geoff Earle posted 12/25/2013 on the New York Post).

Here comes the ObamaCare tax bill…

Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.

But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”

The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.

The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.

There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov Web site…

Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax that will inflate the cost of items such as pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs.

Those with high out-of-pocket medical expenses also will get smaller income-tax deductions.

Americans are currently allowed to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their annual income. The threshold jumps to 10 percent under ObamaCare, costing taxpayers about $15 billion over 10 years…

Under ObamaCare, individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay an added 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. They’ll also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.

They’re adding an Obamacare tax/fee/levy to all health insurance policies we buy.  And a $2 fee per policy in addition to the others taxes/fees/levies.  Insurers have to pay a 3.5% user fee for the privilege of selling their policies on the health care exchanges.  Which, of course, they will recover by increasing the price of their polices that the government is forcing us to buy.  There’s a medical-device tax.  And a Medicare surtax.  As well as an extra 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, on top of all of these new taxes, fees, levies, user fees, surtaxes, etc., taking more money out of our pockets they’ve also reduced the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses we can claim as a tax deduction.  Meaning we will pay more of our income as income taxes.  Making the Affordable Care Act anything but affordable.

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