Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

#DontDoubleMyRate: How a Passive Aggressive GOP Congress Damages Our Nation

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Twitter hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate has been trending, off and on, for the past several weeks.

Naturally, the GOP faction, led by Speaker of the House, John Boehner, claims they “appreciate” college students, and “sympathize” with their predicament – which is a crippling blow to our nation, to students, and to universities, public and private, throughout the union.

However, their inaction – more accurately described as passive aggressive behavior – their actions are neither stalwart nor honorable, for they steadfastly refuse to collaborate to do the Good and Right Thing by the people. By claiming they desire to help, and then through their inaction, they actually damage the entire nation.

That type behavior, formerly formally diagnosed by the mental health professionals as “Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder,” is a chronic, long-term condition in which a person seems to actively comply with the desires and needs of others, but actually passively resists them.

People with this disorder resent responsibility and show it through their behaviors, rather than by openly expressing their feelings. They often use procrastination, inefficiency, and forgetfulness to avoid doing what they need to do or have been requested by others to do.

Common characteristics of Passive-Aggressive personality disorder include:

  • Acting sullen
  • Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
  • Being inefficient on purpose
  • Blaming others
  • Complaining
  • Feeling resentment
  • Having a fear of authority
  • Having unexpressed anger or hostility
  • Procrastinating
  • Resisting other people’s suggestions

A person with this disorder may appear to comply with another’s wishes and may even demonstrate enthusiasm for those wishes. However, they:

  • Perform the requested action too late to be helpful
  • Perform it in a way that is useless
  • Sabotage the action to show anger that they cannot express in words

The nut of the whole ordeal is that people who exhibit such behavior are inherently selfish, non-communicative, manipulative, and greedy.

And there you have it, Passive Aggressive Behavior.

It’s the perfect definition of the Republican Congress.

Oregon Explores Novel Way to Fund College

By DOUGLAS BELKIN Updated July 3, 2013, 12:25 a.m. ET

As lawmakers in Washington remain at loggerheads over the student-debt crisis, Oregon’s legislature is moving ahead with a plan to enable students to attend state schools with no money down. In return, under one proposal, the students would agree to pay into a special fund 3% of their salaries annually for 24 years.

The plan, called “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back,” would create a fund that students would draw from and eventually pay into—potentially bypassing traditional education lenders and the interest rates they charge. The state would likely borrow for the fund’s seed money, which could exceed $9 billion, but the program’s designers intend it to become self-sustaining.

Oregon’s Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill, already approved by the House, that creates a study committee charged with developing a pilot program for Pay it Forward, Pay it Back. The legislature will decide in 2015 whether to implement the pilot.

“We have to get way out of the box if we’re going to get serious about getting young people into college and out of college without burdening them with a lifetime of debt,” said Mark Hass, a Democratic state senator from Beaverton, Ore., who leads the chamber’s education committee and who championed the bill. The legislation was supported by the Working Families Party.

The idea originated with the Economic Opportunity Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group in Washington state that bills itself as “a think tank for the middle class.” Legislators in states including Washington, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania and California have expressed interest in the concept but Oregon is the first to take legislative action on it, said the institute’s executive director, John Burbank.

“If it’s done correctly it’s essentially creating a social insurance vehicle for enabling access to higher education,” he said.The Oregon effort comes as public funding for higher education has plunged, tuitions have surged and the total student-loan debt in the U.S. recently surpassed $1 trillion. On Monday, interest rates on certain government tuition loans doubled to 6.8% after the Senate failed to block the increase.

Oregon’s plan has parallels to income-based repayment models used for decades in the U.K. and Australia, and more recently in the U.S., in which borrowers pay government lenders a share of their incomes to cover education loans.

Under the Oregon plan, students who don’t graduate would still pay a fraction of their incomes into the fund; the amount would depend on how long they were in school.

Dave Girouard, chief executive of Upstart, a Palo Alto, Calif., company that seeks investors to provide capital to professionals for a guaranteed percentage of their future earnings, said the Oregon plan could suffer because it might turn off students with the biggest earning potential, for whom traditional interest rates would be preferable to promising a share of future income. What you don’t want is a program filled with “people who don’t intend to work as hard or have a bias toward earning less money,” he said.

Jason Gettel, a policy analyst for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank, said in a presentation to the legislature that the program would need time before it could pay for itself.

In the 2010-11 school year, there were about 21,000 first-year students in public state colleges and universities in Oregon paying $171 million in tuition. To move them, and the next 23 classes behind them, into this program would cost the state more than $9 billion over 24 years until enough students had graduated and were paying into the system to cover its outlays.

Using 2010 census data not adjusted for inflation, Mr. Gettel estimates students would pay an average of about $800 back into the program the first year after graduation. As their incomes grow, that would increase to about $2,000 in year 20, by which time they would have paid off the cost of their educations. Over the next four years they would contribute an additional $7,400, which constitutes the pay-it-forward aspect of the program—a sort of finance cost, Mr. Gettel said. Students would pay more or less depending on how much money they earned.

The idea was first presented to Oregon legislators by students from Portland State University last year. Tracy Gibbs, one of the students, said that by freeing graduates from the steep overhang of debt many now face, the plan would allow young people to buy houses and contribute to their retirement accounts.”This will open up for our generation the same opportunities that our parents and grandparents had when they were done with college,” she said.

Write to Douglas Belkin at doug.belkin@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared July 3, 2013, on page A2 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A Novel Way to Fund College.


In Oregon, a Plan to Eliminate Tuition and Loans at State Colleges

Published: July 3, 2013

Going to college can seem like a choice between impossibly high payments while in school or a crushing debt load for years afterward, but one state is experimenting with a third way.

This week, the Oregon Legislature approved a plan that could allow students to attend state colleges without paying tuition or taking out traditional loans. Instead, they would commit a small percentage of their future incomes to repaying the state; those who earn very little would pay very little.

The proposal faces a series of procedural and practical hurdles and will not go into effect for at least a few years, but it could point to a new direction in the long-running debate over how to cope with the rising cost of higher education. While the approach has been used in Australia, national education groups say they do not know of any university in the United States trying it.

The Oregon plan had an unusual, and unusually swift, gestation. Less than a year ago, neither elected officials nor advocacy groups there had even considered it.

It began last fall in a class at Portland State University called “Student Debt: Economics, Policy and Advocacy,” taught by Barbara Dudley, a longtime political activist who teaches in the school of urban and public affairs, and Mary C. King, a professor of economics. Ms. Dudley was referred to John R. Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, a liberal policy group based in Seattle, who had studied the no-tuition approach. She, in turn, referred the students to him, and they adopted the idea as their group project for the semester.

The students and Ms. Dudley later made a presentation to state lawmakers, including state Representative Michael Dembrow, Democrat of Portland and chairman of the higher education committee, who ran with the idea.

“It’s unbelievable that it’s all happened so fast,” one of the students, Ariel R. Gruver, said this week. “We never imagined that we would actually accomplish something like this, and definitely not in such a short time.”

Lawmakers held hearings on the plan, debated amendments, and passed it, with the final vote taking place Monday in the State Senate. The Legislature’s majorities are Democratic — as is the governor, John Kitzhaber — but the vote in both houses was unanimous. An aide to the governor said Mr. Kitzhaber was likely to sign the bill.

“When we talked to legislators, conservatives said it appealed to them because it’s a contract between the student and the state, so they see it as a transaction, not as a grant,” said Nathan E. Hunt, one of the students who proposed the plan.

The speed and unanimity offer a sharp contrast with Washington, where Democrats and Republicans have been unable to agree on a new law on federal student loans, resulting in the doubling of interest rates as of Monday.

“Everybody is concerned about the problem of student debt load and the rising cost of tuition,” Mr. Debrow said. “Not everybody agrees on the causes, but everybody agrees on the effect. We all hear about it when we’re knocking on doors, running for office.”

For many legislators, he added, the issue has become personal. “It affects their kids, their grandkids,” he said.

The bill instructs the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission to design a pilot program, which would then require the Legislature’s approval. For now, only the broadest outlines are clear.

The idea calls for the state to provide some money to get the program running — how much would depend on how big the pilot is — but that in the future, payments from former students would sustain it. The plan’s supporters have estimated that for it to work, the state would have to take about 3 percent of a former student’s earnings for 20 years, in the case of someone who earned a bachelor’s degree.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: