Democrats had better be careful when touting student loan forgiveness proposals

Out of necessity, Democrats are pushing a lot of overdue social and economic policy proposals. After all, the wealthy, the powerful, and corporations have been getting all the spoils of our expanding economy. Student loans are at the forefront of these programs, and the burden they put on the economy is palpable.

I was all in on Elizabeth Warren's student loans forgiveness proposal from its inception. The meat of her proposals is as follows:

It cancels $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with household income under $100,000. It provides substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000. The $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000, so, for example, a person with household income of $130,000 gets $40,000 in cancellation, while a person with household income of $160,000 gets $30,000 in cancellation. It offers no debt cancellation to people with household income above $250,000 (the top 5%). For most Americans, cancellation will take place automatically using data already available to the federal government about income and outstanding student loan debt. Private student loan debt is also eligible for cancellation, and the federal government will work with borrowers and the holders of this debt to provide relief. Canceled debt will not be taxed as income.

An economic analysis from leading experts on student loan debt finds that my plan would provide at least some debt cancellation for 95% of people with student loan debt (and complete and total student debt cancellation for more than 75%), provide targeted cancellation for the families that need it most, substantially increase Black and Latinx wealth, and help close the racial wealth gap.

But then I got a call from Dr. John Theis, a professor at one of our colleges here in Texas and one of my politics and history mentors.

"Egberto," John said. "Do you support student loan forgiveness?"

I detected by his tone that he knew my answer, and I could detect his stance, as well.

"I support it, Doc," I replied. "Don't you?"

"No I don't," Theis replied. "It is a bad idea."

He started to explain the economic concept of moral hazard, but the underpinning thread was fairness. So I asked him to write an article explaining why he does not support student loan forgiveness.

Continue Reading

California passes CROWN Act to protect black workers against hair discrimination

On Thursday, California’s state assembly voted 69-0 to pass the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), a bill that explicitly includes hairstyles and hair textures under its equal rights protections. Senator Holly Mitchell, a Democrat representing Los Angeles, introduced the proposal. This important bill is now awaiting signature from California Governor Gavin Newsom (a Democrat) before it can be signed into law.

The bill makes California the first state to ban discrimination against natural hair. Why is this so meaningful? In short, because discriminatory practices have long been baked into policies that operate under the veil of “professionalism” or “dress codes.”

Without a doubt, this negatively impacts black people—and especially, black women—at work, in the military (there was a ban on dreadlocks until 2017) and even in other situations, like going through airport security. (You might remember that the TSA faced allegations about “racially discriminatory” hair searches, and have since had to change their practices.) 

The bill doesn’t dance around this reality, which is nice to see. The bill (basically) wants to update the state’s existing anti-discrimination law to expand on “race.” This means that “traits historically associated with race” would be explicitly protected.

Continue Reading

Las Vegas is testing accepting school supplies in payment of parking tickets

Las Vegas has begun an experiment with a novel way to get school supplies to schools that need them: From June 19 through July 19, any non-safety-related citations for a vehicle violation (e.g., parking tickets) will be payable with school supplies. According to release from the city council, a person can bring in supplies meeting or exceeding the cost of the citation.

Continue Reading

The United States still spends 10 times as much on fossil fuel subsidies as they do on education

Nothing signifies how backwards our country’s priorities are more than what we spend our money on. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), not known as a bastion of socialist sentiment, has released a report on fossil fuel subsidies around the world. Analyzing costs around the globe, spent by governments on energy in general, the IMF found that the United States spent the second most, behind China and just ahead of Russia, on subsidies with $649 billion in 2015 alone.

Forbes points out that this number is more than the U.S. defense budget and “ten times the federal spending for education.” The IMF says “Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017.” And while the fossil fuel industry continues to argue that pulling back on fossil fuel subsidies would deal a devastating blow to the global economy, and we all need to slowly continue to poison our air and water and planet, while we move to renewables, the IMF’s Christine Lagarde says that this still has to happen.

”If you look at our numbers from 2015, it is no less than about $5.2 trillion that are spent on fuel subsidies and the consequences thereof. And the Fiscal Affairs Department has actually identified, you know, how much would have been saved fiscally but also in terms of human life, if there had been the right price on carbon emission as of 2015. The numbers are quite staggering.

If that was to happen, then there would be more public spending available to build hospitals, to build roads, to build schools, and to support education and health for the people.”

To say that our country’s priorities in regards to education are backwards is not a news flash. California spends six times as much on incarcerating Californians as they do on education. This trend is a conservative trend. Just look at the current administration’s Republican-ideological work. Trump’s education secretary is interested in increasing class sizes, downsizing teachers, and cutting federal education budgets. Trump’s energy secretary is taking pictures hugging it out with fossil fuel magnates, and then helping to increase their tax subsidies.

Continue Reading

Colorado crosses the billion dollar mark in marijuana tax revenues

It has been five years since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales. In that time, the state’s seen a rise in its revenues from taxes on cannabis, voted to use some of that tax money for public education and fighting opioid addiction, while also lowering highway vehicular fatalities. All around it’s been a big success. Colorado’s “experiment” with legalizing marijuana has reached a new milestone: the state has collectively raked in over $1 billion since legalization.

CNBC reports that the revenue Colorado is bringing in are increasing, with April and May of 2019 showing the highest returns the Centennial state has seen, with roughly $24 million coming in each month. Gov. Jared Polis explained the overall success of the legalization of marijuana at a CNBC event recently, “It’s creating tens of thousands of jobs, tax revenue for the state, filling up buildings for landlords and reducing crime.” The majority of the money brought in through taxation of marijuana sales goes into the state’s general fund, with its way into a variety of social programs, including education, drug prevention programs, and treatment.

ABC News writes that Colorado records 2,917 licensed businesses with 41,076 individuals licensed in the cannabis field. And Colorado’s ability to produce and sell marijuana is dwarfed by the potential markets seen in California and New York and New Jersey, all states moving in the same decriminalization and legalization of marijuana directions.

Continue Reading

End of content

No more pages to load