Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Random bits of stuff and fluff...

So, big news! Ricky Martin is GAY! GASP. The only thing that is shocking here is that it took around a decade for him to officially come out. Anyone, including my almost 90 year old grandmother, who saw him shake his fabulous latin bottom on the Grammys knew he was gay. Who knows why it took so long. He wanted his privacy, he didn't want his musical career, such as it has been here in America lately, to be centered on who he was in private? Whatever. Congrats to him for owning who he is.

I am so flabbergasted by the public response to the health care bill, I don't even know where to start. So I won't. What I will say is if anyone, ANYONE was paying attention, health care isn't the only thing the federal government decided it wanted to take a hand in with that bill.

Attached to the reconciliation bill was legislation that takes all federal Stafford and parent PLUS loans, loans most college students use to pay for some or all of their education, out of the hands of private lenders, and puts them into the hands of the William D. Ford Direct Student Loan program. Otherwise known as DL. All of these loans will now be processed and owned by you, the tax payers, and handled through the DL program. Just thought I would let you know. As of July 1st no private lenders will be involved in those programs. Lenders, guarantee agencies and servicers around the country will be laying off tens of thousands of employees as a result.

I am not a fan of this move, and I added my two cents to the discussion, but it didn't matter. They sold this as a huge savings plan. The BILLIONS of dollars that are supposed to be saved by making this switch are supposed to go into increasing the Pell grant program, which is a federal grant for very needy students. Since the beginning of the discussion 2 years ago, the amount of savings we should see has decreased, shocking, and now they are taking around 9 billion of those savings to help balance the whole health care deficit. So much for more grants.

And for the record, I am against creating or increasing a grant program that benefits the few (you have to be pretty needy to get a Pell grant) on the backs of the large quantity of students who borrow through the federal loan programs. I am fan of more grants, but not this way. Ironically, this is kind of the same thing many colleges got in trouble for doing a few years ago when it came to light that some colleges were getting money back from lenders in the form of a percentage of the interest charged on loans to their students, in exchange for a certain percentage of loan volume to that lender. The schools often put that money into scholarship funds. I didn't that was right either and we never did that at my college, and I don't think it is right at the federal level either.

And finally, it is raining, AGAIN, here in New England. So far our basement is dryish. We have deployed all sump pumps, so they are ready and waiting to be put into service should they be needed. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

And Spiderman is alive and well, living in my house. I can sing the theme song to the cartoon in my sleep. In fact, I do sing it in my sleep. Spectacular, spectacular Spiderman...daaadaadaaadaadaadaaaaaaaaaaaaa.


Audubon Ron said...

I wondered how you would respond to that.

Chip said...

Um... what about the point that private companies made zillions off the loans but carried no risk? Oh... wait... that's just like the whole mortgage debacle, so yeah, never mind I asked.

mkosboth said...

The federal student loan situation was a victim of the mortgage debacle, not part of the problem. They are not the same AT ALL.

Wenderina said...

I'm reserving judgment on the whole healthcare bill...I really have to wait and see how it all works. But at least it is SOMETHING happening out of Washington D.C. And don't worry too much about all those jobs, if I know my federal government, they'll be outsourcing contract positions for all those folks and the good news is, if the contract work didn't used to come with benefits, hopefully how they'll get healthcare!