“@ Hillary Clinton: How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.”

By Nathan Tankus, a writer from New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @NathanTankus

The above tweet is real and is from Hillary Clinton’s official twitter account. It is very difficult to express how appalling this sentiment is. It represents much of what’s wrong with American politics in our current moment. It is

a) an infantilization of your audience. Presumably college students are capable of forming words, let alone sentences, explaining their feelings.

b) asking about students’ feelings towards their student debt. What does this matter? Is policy based around people’s feelings? If people felt good about their student debt would it not be a policy problem? Feeling can be altered by drugs and other stimulants of all kinds. The obsession with subjective mental states in public policy is pernicious

c) What matters concretely is who is getting blocked from obtaining an education because student loans are used to finance education and the depressive economic effects (as well as social effects) of a large load of student debts nonadjustable by bankruptcy.

Of course the request for people’s “feelings” through “emojis” wasn’t about getting genuine feedback – obviously. It was about clumsily attempting to manipulate people’s feelings by presenting Clinton’s “New College Compact” as something to make students feel better. The “content” of her proposals are similar. The overarching theme is expressed in this quote she (or her staff) offers to finish a sketchy overview of her proposals:

I want every young person in America to have their shot at that moment. I want every hard-working parent out there to get the chance to see his or her child cross a stage — or to cross it themselves. America should be a place where those achievements are possible for anyone who’s willing to work hard to do their part.

In other words, what matters is the emotions you or your children feel being educated, not concretely what they do for you. Notice that she says “America should be a place where those achievements are possible,” not that everyone should be guaranteed an education. In our current neoliberal order I guess it is hopelessly idealistic to think everyone should have a good education, it shouldn’t merely be “possible.”

What of her concrete proposals? They are as milquetoast as this ending summary implies. For existing student debt she thinks that the existing loans should be refinanced at current rates. In the future she says that the government shouldn’t profit from student loans. At first glance this is very appealing, but what does this mean in practical terms? In practice it means tying the interest rate on student loans to the interest rate on government bonds.

Since this rises and falls with federal reserve policy, such a policy would directly vary the affordability of college based on Fed decisions. This is lunacy from a public policy perspective. A major federal initiative that is profoundly changed by what unelected supposedly independent bureaucrats do is at best a bad one. Why should interest be charged on student loans at all?

For those students struggling to pay student loans at all Hillary will enact a borrower “bill of rights.” As part of this bill of rights students will be able to enroll in “income-based” repayment options and borrowers in default will be given new “rehabilitation” and “repayment” options. This is needlessly complex and idiotic. We already have a much simpler, well established process – it is called bankruptcy. Currently the barrier for discharging student loans is unbearably high and loosening – if not eliminating – these restrictions is a much more direct proposal. Let alone writing down student debt en masse. This area is one where form (“she’s giving us a bill of rights!”) dominates over content.

Another major element of her proposal is “risk sharing with colleges.” The idea is that since colleges don’t lose money when students don’t finish a degree or default on their student loans they have an incentive to pump out “worthless” degrees. This would put “skin in the game” for colleges. At first glance this is appealing but on closer inspection it falls apart.

First, education is a “positional” good meaning schools compete much more on reputation and exclusivity than price. This means schools that experience higher than average default or dropout rates would likely pass them on to current students rather than have it eat into their “profit margin.” After all, most colleges are at least legally non-profit.

Second, default rates and dropout rates aren’t primarily under a school’s control. This has mostly to do with people’s ability to get a job or ability to support themselves during school. A society with much lower unemployment or even a job guarantee would experience much lower default rates and dropout rates and we couldn’t credit the schools for that either. Punishing or rewarding schools because you have failed/succeeded to implement adequately stimulative macroeconomic policy is terrible policy.

Third, this pushed schools to accelerate the process of shrinking majors seen as “unprofitable” and forever expand STEM majors. It is the essence of neoliberal education policy to see education as a process by which people accumulate “human capital.” There are broader social benefits (positive externalities if you will) to an educated citizenry that go beyond human beings’ use to an employer.

Directing our education policies with that in mind is awful policy. During times of high employment employers suddenly find uses for these previously “unemployable” liberal arts majors. To the extent that certain degrees are unemployable it is because of the arbitrary pickiness of employers, not the training they have received. Why not be picky if you can afford to be?

Focusing on form over content reaches its zenith towards the end of this overview of her “plan”:

We’re going to work closely with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, because they serve some of America’s brightest students, who need the most support and too often have gotten the least of it

This is plainly offensive to students of color attempting to affect societal change around racial inequality. In policy terms it is a drop in the bucket but politically it is an attempt to appeal to white liberal guilt and offer symbolic – but not real – change to placate activists. It is also so overbearing and clumsy. It is hard to imagine someone outside of a very tight-knit, claustrophobic set of institutions and social circles that wouldn’t be embarrassed by such a heavy handed attempt to get support on the cheap.

This isn’t an overview of all of Clinton’s proposals but I think it covers the most important and salient ones. Overall her numerous proposals either pick at the edges of higher education policy or are actively wrongheaded. What’s striking about these proposals isn’t the fact that they are center right at best – it is that they are center right in a Democratic party primary. Presumably in the general election and certainly as president Hillary Clinton would run to the right of such proposals as is cynically expected in American politics. It is amazing to see Clinton already tell the Democratic Party base “nothing will change” on an issue which has gotten such grassroots traction in recent years. As Yves said, let them eat emojis.

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  1. crittermom

    OMG. Hillary’s Bill of Rights for student loans sounds much like HAMP (Hellbent At Making Profits), & we all know the results of that!

    Great article. I now dislike her even more (when I hadn’t thought that possible).

  2. Vatch

    Emojis reduce language to a point where sophisticated thoughts cannot be adequately expressed, like Orwell’s Newspeak. I guess people with student loan debt probably feel “double plus ungood” about their debt.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      At least the plural of emojis was not created using an apostrophe.

      I guess the “tweeter” made it at least halfway across the “stage.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        *slaps hand to forehead*

        Most folk’s would have missed that point.

        One perceives that you are a sage of vernacular orthography.

  3. grayslady

    ” I want every hard-working parent out there to get the chance to see his or her child cross a stage — or to cross it themselves. America should be a place where those achievements are possible for anyone who’s willing to work hard to do their part.” (emphasis added)

    This is such a right wing statement it absolutely makes me see red. The moral self-righteousness is offensive. She may as well have come right out and said, “And nothing for you undeserving poor.”

    1. jrs

      “Working” hard at parenting? Or so hard working at demanding jobs in addition to parenting that the parenting must slip a bit …

      Yea the achievements are possible and not guaranteed EVEN for those wiling to work hard in her own verbiage. My favorite analogy for this “possible” language: buying a winning lottery ticket IS indeed possible, but of course not guaranteed, and in fact of course as everyone knows, not even probable.

      Work hard and do your part, sounds so much like “work hard and OBEY”. And of course in today’s world it is, don’t protest if you wish to keep a job, etc.. Work hard and do your part even if it’s the part of servants cleaning the toilets of the .01%. With Hillary these days I can hear the servants. Shut up and know your part … uh do your part … know your place .. But work hard and do your part can be read benignly as just contributing to society? Yes, and if we lived in a society rather than a rotten oligarchy, maybe. I mean maybe you and I do live in a society, but we serve the oligarchs to survive.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I think emojis are more productive, more efficient than haikus.

    Similarly, SVO sentences are more productive and efficient than SOV sentences.

    Therefore, we should pay emojis more, that’s for sure.

    Progress, one step at a time.

    1. craazyboy

      It just occurred to me that the Chinese already have a much, much richer emoji language. Shouldn’t we just import theirs?

      Plus there is a college major for it, which really makes Hilary’s tweet all make sense.

      1. craazyboy


        I’ll leave I up to you to do the translation, “Lucky Me, I majored in Chinese”, get it into 3 pics, and tweet the correct answer back to Hil.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am sorry to say this, but I flunked my productivity and efficiency test.

          In fact, I am fairly lazy.

          What is the name of that Bertrand Russell book – In Praise of Idleness?

  5. jrs

    No worse than than working at an Amazon warehouse or at Walmart without basic worker rights, all your life, because you never went to college makes you feel I guess. But they deserve it right? How does capitalism make you feel? Like retching.

    1. RUKidding

      I monitor one or two rightwing sites periodically to see what’s being fed to the masses. There’s a lot of seriously dismissive (well, downright rude, of course) talking points about how those in service jobs, such as WalMart, McDonalds, etc, simply don’t “deserve” better pay bc they “chose” not to go to college and get a “good degree.” And they’re lazy, lousy, freeloaders expecting something for nothing blah de blah…

      The fact is that it’s not altogether clear whether a college degree pencils out in terms actual ability (no matter how hard working you are) to get a high enough paying job to enable one to pay off student loan debt. IOW, are you better off with other types of training that don’t put you in serious debt, even though you might make less money.

      HRC’s “notion” – and it’s just a campaign “notion” that is utterly devoid of any meaning with absolutely no intention of any real follow-through – that “helping” students get college degrees with somewhat less debt-encumberence, per usual, really does nothing in any meaningful way to address what’s happening globally as far as the ability to obtain jobs are concerned. Nor does it address – in any way – how graduates will be better positioned to obtain “good jobs.”

      The notion that those with tertiary educations are somehow going to be better citizens is also arguable, although more education can be a good thing as long as you’re not stuck in college loan prison for the rest of your days. But the idea that someone like HRC actually cares about or wants citizens to be “better educated” is risable. She doesn’t. That’s why she’s (or her handlers are) asking college students to respond in pictures.

      I’d be insulted except I can’t be bothered to expend the energy on that emoji, er, emoticon, er emotion.

  6. jrs

    Hillary can now be automated out of a job (and not a moment too soon). We can now replace Hillary with the Eliza algorithm. I hear you are feeling upset about your student loan debt, is that right?

  7. Chris in Paris

    Is it me or does this sound super WASP-y? Have these people moved so far from the mainstream that their over-reviewed and edited proposals sound like just rancid oatmeal?

    1. lylo

      Not just you.
      I get a hint of a ‘let’s help the poors’ vibe from Clinton a lot though, like everything vaguely populist that she has said for the past 10 years is just to help herself up the liberal elite social ladder.
      But that can be said of most of them, on both sides of the aisle…

      1. kimsarah

        Yes, but Hillary can feel for the poor. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that she was “dead broke.”

  8. Kim Kaufman

    That Hillary, a supposed frontrunner, who has been in politics for decades, in her second try for President, didn’t come out of the “I’m running for President” gate with a bag full of good policies from the getgo is pretty stunning. She’s apparently is just following what Bernie did come out of the gate with and is putting forth a lamer version because it appears to be popular.

    Why isn’t there an emoji for a middle finger??? Or the thumb on the nose wiggling the four fingers version?

    1. RUKidding

      HRC definitely appears to me to believe that being POTUS is her due and entitlement, and she’s just coasting along until the day she can receive her crown & scepter on some gold-plated throne (not of the bathroom variety).

      HRC appears to me to be putting very little effort to actually, you know, connect with average citizens, but really, dahling, how dreary and worthless is that?

      HRC natural constituents are the Lords of Wall St, the Banks, the Hedge Funds, etc, and she certainly has appealed to THEM to boost her into office.

      Seems to me that anything having to do with “connecting” to the little people is an after-thought and not very well executed.

      Why “average citizens” are champing at the bit to vote for her is way beyond my comprehension, but then again, how citizens can get “excited” by this monumental waste of time, money, energy Kabuki Show called the US General Election is another thing that I don’t understand.

      Given the absolutely insulting pathetic-ness of the GOP Klown Kar, I am, sadly, thinking that HRC is who the bulk of the .01% will pay to sit on the throne. Hence, that may explain why HRC is simply phoning it in. Why should HRC bother to do anything more?? Seriously.

      1. James Levy

        She’s seen as what the British call “a safe pair of hands” by many people: they know she’ll do pretty much what her husband and Obama have done, with little chance of her engaging them or asking anything of them, and that’s just fine with millions of rank-and-file Democrats. People are afraid of change and they are afraid of the Republicans (they have some reasons to hold those fears). Like all societies in decline, the overwhelming desire is to preserve things in amber. What people want to hold fast to, the 1990s if you’re a Dem and the 1950s if you’re a Repub, precludes any rational or serious consideration of where we need to go and the vast changes that are going to take place whether we like them or not. The deep contest in 2016 will be between stasis and change. Clinton and Bush are the candidates for stasis par excellence.

        1. Christopher Fay

          the 1970s was the golden age of the States, that’s where my clueless democrat brother-in-law lives till this day.

            1. Vatch

              I used to be a lesser evil voter most of the time, but Obama cured me. I’ve been clean since 2012. I currently support Sanders; he’s not perfect, but he’s much better than a lesser evil. If he isn’t the D candidate in November, 2016, and the D candidate is an establishment tool, I’ll vote Third party (probably Green). If Sanders fades, is there anyone else in the D party who could take his place? Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

          1. ds

            You mean the 60s. the 70s were better than today in every capacity: neighbors, dating, jobs, public discourse, education, etc.; however, it was the beginning of the end. The Oil Shock of 1973 pushed the last of the artificially high post war growth model over the cliff.

    2. kimsarah

      She had four years of globetrotting to come up with some kind of a solid agenda. Unless she instead was busy, say, raising quid pro quo money for the foundation.

  9. YankeeFrank

    Actually, forcing us to only use emoji is brilliant if you know the history of neoliberal institutions attempting to engage the public on twitter. Most fall horribly flat at best because its pretty easy to limit derision and insult to 140 chars or less, I mean fewer. However ironic, its hard to rant the complexities and ironies of real human emotion using emoji. I think Clinton is onto something here. In order to complete the neoliberal revolution they will simply stop teaching English to us in school. English will only be for the top .1%, the rest of us will only learn to write in emoji.

    1. ds

      i was acually thinking, if it is limited to emojis, a computer could probably tabulate it without needing to hire a shill huuman. kind of like HR facilities, a computer nixes about 90 percent, usually falsely.

      there is a huge cheerleading n the media about computers taking over simple, but requiring judgement tasks. i dont think computers will be able to do that, but they could be used to eliminate large numbers of people, with the remainder troubleshooting the limited “AI.”

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    “There are broader social benefits (positive externalaties if you will) to an educated citizenry that goes beyond human beings use to an employer.”

    This really is the problem in a nutshell.

    A truly “educated” population is the greatest possible threat to the status quo. The concept of “education” must, therefore, be defined down to one of “job training,” and those “hard-working” parents made to feel grateful for any crumb of opportunity, regardless of the cost.

    As usual, cost is mistaken for value, and vague, confusing statements of “policy” mistaken for “concern” and “commitment.”

    1. PQS

      YES. College = High Level Worker Bee Training Ground

      And vive la difference vis a vis Neolib and Actual Liberals:

      “Notice that she says “America should be a place where those achievements are possible,” not that everyone should be guaranteed an education.” – this is a Neo lib position that essentially internalizes the Rightwing tenet that only the “opportunity” to succeed is on offer in America – not any guarantee or even a role for a guarantee. Certainly no role for gubmint to assist with the process.


      And really, what IS the neolib obsession with complexity, too much detail, and too many moving parts? Good Grief. It’s like they TRY to make things harder and more apt to Eff up. I would really, really like an answer to this question. Maybe I’ll pose it directly at a campaign event:

      “Madam Secretary, why is it preferable to have a “new student loan compact/program” rather than just eliminate the bankruptcy exception to discharge student debt?”

      “Why is a complicated “individual SS investment account” with middlemen and fees preferable to just raising the cap on payroll deductions?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Guaranteed outcome (result) vs. guaranteed opportunity.

        Is this that, we are guaranteed that no one attempts (opportunity) to deny us of our freedom of speech?

        Or is it that we are guaranteed that we are able to exercise that freedom?

        You can say it’s both.

        In that case, here is an example of guaranteed opportunity and guaranteed result (as much as humanely possible).

      2. redleg

        Because raising the cap on payroll deductions is much harder to pillage than individual accounts.
        The complexity makes it much easier to skim without getting caught, and if the system fails the luchre skimmed is out of the system.

        The system isn’t broken, it’s working perfectly.

      3. James Levy

        The fancy answer formulated by Tainter is that as societies mature, they sink greater and greater capital and energy into working around established, entrenched systems that no one can even imagine getting rid of any more. Everything must be an add-on because removing the old root and branch is too scary and upsets too many apple carts, so everything gets more complex, convoluted, capital and energy intensive, and prone to inefficiency and failure. Eventually, the basic inputs of labor and resources can no longer support the Rube Goldberg superstructure, and the whole thing collapses back to a simpler state.

    2. Ulysses


      “Like many institutions that represent the public good, public schools are under attack by market, religious and educational fundamentalists. Schools are considered dangerous because they are public, not because they are failing. State and corporate leaders are seeking to take power out of the hands of public school teachers and administrators because public schools harbor teachers with the potential to engage in pedagogies that are imaginative, empowering, critical and capable of connecting learning with the practice of freedom and the search for justice. The pedagogies of oppression – whether in the form of high-stakes testing, teaching for the test, imposing punitive disciplinary measures or the construction of relations that disempower teachers and empower security guards – are part of a broader attempt to destroy the social state and the institutions that produce the formative culture necessary for a democracy”


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Unfortunately, as PQS points out above, college = high level worker bee training ground.

        Public or private.

        And graduates ask, ‘why can’t I get a job with that education?’

        The implication, the inference is the goal of his/her education is to become a worker bee, to be a part in the machine, the system.

        In comparison, what does the tuition paid have to do with a life time of enlightened living?

        The inquisitive asks, why do so many see education as primarily a way to make a living (with the accepted notion that a college grad should make more than a high school grad), and not to be imaginative, critical and empowering oneself and others?

        Worse still, football coaches, sorry, super star PE teachers are paid a lot more than other teachers. I am a big fan of the 99,99% common people-student athletes, not the 0.01% super jocks and, with them, the increasing fitness inequality. And money is drained from other programs in order to inculcate the youth about vicarious fitness – the more you robotize yourself in a meaningless job, the more you rob yourself of your hunter-gatherer inheritance within yourself, the more you yearn to passively watch sports and, thereby, contribute to the ever-widening fitness fitness (and wealth) gap or inequality.

  11. different clue

    I suspect another whole cluster of reasons the Clinton Campaign tweeted out a “request for emojis” has to do with their efforts to seem digitalistically relevant. I suspect the Clintonite Forces contemplated the Young Obamanauts’ apparent facility with digital social media and decided that if they do something with digital social media, it will show that the Clintonites are also hip, groovy, cool, relevant and where-its-at.
    Since I myself am analog, hipless, ungroovy, tepid, irrelevant and where-its-not; I am not qualified to assess the likelihood of success the Clintonites will meet in their efforts to “silicon-wash” themselves.

  12. TG

    Indeed. But, I propose that you are over thinking this.

    You are analyzing Hilary’s POSITIONS. Yes, under careful analysis they are appalling. So what? They are almost certainly all lies. She’s just making them up – or her poll-driven staff are.

    What would be appropriate is to just ignore all of this, and state out front that Hillary is a corrupt whore for the rich and powerful whose end goal is simply to turn the entire world back to the 9th century where a powerful few lived as feudal lords and everyone else was a chronically malnourished landless peasant.

    In other words, unless you are a billionaire, Hillary is the enemy. End of story.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘turn the entire world back to the 9th century where a powerful few lived as feudal lords’

      Jus primae noctis, comrade.

      Bill read about this at Oxford, with eyes big as saucers.

      Then he found out Epstein’s Island is real.

    2. Jack

      I’ve talked about this before, but any discussion of feudalism or neo-feudalism has to be prefaced by the fact that the increasing historical consensus is that never was anything remotely like a unified system of European feudalism. There were certainly lots of people around with titles like Baron, Duke, and King, and Priests, Knights, and Peasants, but the actual specifics of the power relationships and how everyone interacted varied wildly between any specific time and place.

      Modern elites may very well be looking back nostalgically at the medieval past as a model for the present/future, but if so what they envision their ideal world as being is largely a caricature that never truly existed. If they want to make that kind of world, they’re going to have to consciously shape it in a way similar to the Japanese under the Shogunate, rather than the ad-hoc, natural process that emerged from left-over Roman latifundia in Europe.

    3. ds

      That’s not fair to feudal lords. Though it was a bumb deal for the peasants, the lord did have responsibilities, through customs, to keep the serf on the land, provide a bakery, release grain during famines, etc.

      the employer has none of these compunctions. they interfere with the rational (profit maximization of the moment) of the market!

  13. Massinissa

    I will be impressed by Hillary when she starts supporting FDRs 2nd bill of rights. Anything less and I vote for someone else. Probably whoever is on the Green ticket.

    1. different clue

      Only a credible New Deal party could credibly call for something like that. I envision a party calling itself the New Deal Reactionary Party. It would speak to people like me. After all, I am a tax-and-spend New Deal Reactionary. The New Deal was a good deal for most of us. I want my New Deal back. And we won’t get it back from the DLC Third Way Clintobamacrat Party.

  14. redleg

    Another Dem talking about changing the perception of a very real problem instead of solving the damn problem.

    1. James Levy

      I think the people who own and control this country dumped the idea of solving problems somewhere back between the Nixon pardon and the second Reagan inaugural. If government solved any problem it might be called on to solve more problems, and what would that lead to–socialism! Better to let problems fester than to encourage the proles to imagine that government could actually accomplish things. Putting a man on the moon was the last great national endeavor. It was done brilliantly and relatively cheaply when you consider the leap from Sputnik to Apollo took little more than a decade. Since then, the fix has been in. No more Manhattan Projects, no more Apollo triumphs–not even a transcontinental railroad “golden spike” moment. Everything that mattered was to be privatized, and those things Mr. Market didn’t feel would turn a profit would not happen. So today, a product of that elite mindset like Mrs. Clinton can’t even imagine solving a problem.

      1. abynormal

        “a product of that elite mindset like Mrs. Clinton can’t even imagine solving a problem.”…yet she’s spent the majority of her life reaching for this moment. there are pages of Hillary quotes, spouting the same disconnected rhetoric.
        “God bless the America we are trying to create.”
        “He ran a gas station down in St. Louis… No, Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader of the 20th century.” –introducing a quote by Mahatma Gandhi
        “Who is going to find out? These women are trash. Nobody’s going to believe them.”
        “We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
        “I’m not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president.”
        “I have said that I’m not running and I’m having a great time being pres — being a first-term senator.” —on her presidential ambitions

        “Only one thing to it: a strong stomach. The guts to gladhand a man you’re going to stab in the back; pledge allegiance to principles you stomp on every day; righteously denounce some despot in the press and sell him arms under the table. The talent to whip up the voters’ worst passions while you seem to call on their highest instincts, and the sense to stay wrapped in the flag. That’s politics.”
        Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

  15. charles 2

    “to the extent that certain degrees are unemployable it is because of the arbitrary pickiness of employers, not the training they have received. Why not be picky if you can afford to be?”

    I can answer that question because I lived in it personally in the IT service industry age back in the prehistoric time. The answer is : you can afford to train people not directly educated with directly useful skills when your competitors also do, and growth is a winning strategy.

    As for the positive externalities of a liberal art trained citizenry, the best way to optimise it is to require that EVERYONE gets a liberal art education. This is best done at the high school level, funded by public funds, with an extension at the University level through compulsory credits to be earned in liberal arts for all majors.

    1. ds

      As a STEM grad, we need to dissosociate the term from jobs right now. with the H1b visa and burn and churn HR methods, there is no job shortage. Even medicine is reaching a point. though there is a severe doctor shortage, there arent enough residency slots for all the grads, with single digits increasingly not matching after graduation.

      There may be an argument that tehre is less of a surplus, for a handful of dreary, high pressure stem jobs, but there are many more non-stem jobs out there.

      this is just a right wing talking point, blaming people for the inability of the system to privde employment.

  16. Blurtman

    She’s hip. She’s now. She’s Hillary!

    She is in the same league of in your face phoniness as Richard Nixon. who also fooled a lot of sheeple.

  17. hncl

    What she (her campaign staff, of course) wrote is disgraceful. Don’t people recognize when they’re being told to eat cake anymore?

  18. OIFVet

    I am emoji-illiterate. Perhaps I need to take out a college loan and get a degree in emoji from one of the numerous fine online institutions of higher profiteering. It will be as useful as any of their other degrees, and I could reply to The Hillary. I only need one emoji for my answer, only I don’t know how to type the middle finger emoji.

  19. ewmayer

    Hillary’s proposals need to be viewed in light of the fact that she takes big money from the banking and debt-slavery-peddling sector. At the same time she does her usual double-talking ‘triangulation’ BS when it comes to policy: Consider her bizarrely all-over-the-map voting & advocacy history with respect to the 2005 bankruptcy reform act, which – among other bank-subsidizing things – made student loan debt into ‘odious debt’, that is, non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. She says she ‘would have voted against’ the final version of the bill, but as she was the only senatorial abstainer, we’ll never know. In any event, like her husband, it’s clear that her only guiding ‘principle’ is avarice for money and power – she will say and do whatever she thinks will further her accumulation of same. We can only hope that the Team Clinton’s ongoing efforts to obstruct justice in re. private-email-server-gate eventually rise to such flagrancy that even the DO(in)J will have choice but to indict, in classic Nixonian “it’s less the initial crime than the ever-more-desperate attempts to cover it up” fashion.

  20. equote

    A question on what we call ‘student debt’. Is it a form of debt bondage? What do YOU think?

    Bonded labour – or debt bondage – is probably the least known form of slavery today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people.  A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan.

  21. human

    Has everyone missed that she now has a list of addresses (twitter) in the same manner as signing up for an eMail list? The responders now have a “relationship” with HRC that she may use within a Terms of Service agreement.

  22. SJB

    That comment about every person having “one shot” is also appalling. So if you are a kid who struggles in the rigid school system and can’t follow the pre-determined route from high school to college to job, you are screwed? If you drop out of college you lose your one chance of success? If you have children young you are doomed to poverty? This is totally neoliberal thinking. We are all living like its The Hunger Games and if you mess up you die? WTF is wrong with these, i don’t even want to call them people, these psycho monsters???

    1. jrs

      But it is more or less true for how life IS perceived in America. With education the focus is always on young people not 30 or 40 year old people going back to school (although retraining is magically said to cure all ills, even though employers don’t necessarily WANT some retrained middle aged person even when the training is decent. They want a 20 year old intern). Now I won’t say absolutely that all people only have one chance, that’s way too extreme. But in America life lived properly especially in terms of career, is still perceived very narrowly, you do the right things at the right age.

      1. SJB

        But it isn’t right! And it wasn’t always this way. This was the land of second chances. I know, I benefitted from it. Why shouldn’t my children, and why shouldn’t our supposed leaders support it?

  23. nat scientist

    The only point to working hard is to make your working easier. Does that work for you, or do you get the hard, and they get the easier? Hill and Bill are just the shills.

  24. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Can we not at least acknowledge the existence of the root cause of the problem? We have dramatic excess capacity in nearly everything in the world (steel, oil, revenue-free Silicon Valley companies, Chinese stocks, and yes college grads) because money is free. How many of these student “loans” would have been approved in the first place if there was anything close to “bank loan underwriting” any more? You know (for those who may have forgotten) where the so-called “banker” analyzes the creditworthiness of the borrower and their ability to repay? If we’re going to launch into some kind of new era of hyper-communism (where the State completely controls all of the flows in the economy) then can we please just put aside all of the blather about “capitalism” and “freedom” and “markets”? Hell, save a few trillion and let the regulators all go home, if the economy is simply what the State says it is then we can streamline it into one nice queue, if you control enough “assets”, you simply go to the head of the line and the State does whatever you want. Loaned a cool trillion to deadbeats living in Mom’s basement so they can get a “Bachelor of Science in Leadership Communication” degree from Phoenix University? No problem, just submit this form to the Beltway Central Monetary Unit Production Factory and they will make sure it gets added to next week’s production run.

    1. financial matters

      The lack of underwriting was supported by the state and the free money was given to the banks and college executives rather than to support free education.

      Prioritizing is key. Recognizing the non-neutrality of money and that its scarcity is what helps give it value, Ingham brings up the question of how to best use this social resource. He ends his book ‘The Nature of Money’ with two observations.

      “First, whatever claim is made to have found the best solution to the questions of how, and how much, money is created, we can be certain that it is not the only one, and that it was arrived at after an essentially political struggle for economic existence between different interests. Second, without such a struggle money cannot have value.”

  25. ewmayer

    Re. “Japan and S Korea remember WW2 | BBC” – My guess is their memories differ somewhat.

    Re: “Detainees’ lawyers question Obama commitment to close Guantanamo | Reuters” – How dare they question the President’s soaring rhetoric™ on this subject?

    Re: “Oregon cat is world’s oldest at 26 years, 13 days: Guinness | Reuters” – Definitely some Maine Coon in there, Lambert will be pleased (the ghost of PT Barnum, perhaps not so much, although that wasn’t a Maine Coon, just a Maine-resident cat) … but, sharp cheddar and mice? Hey, that’s my diet!

    Re: “Three men arrested following treasure hunt in New York City’s sewers | Reuters” – Cf. Beavis and Butt-Head in The Beaverly Buttbillies. (Aside: the music video in that ep. by The Bubblemen and B&B’s reactions to it: classic.) The bubblin’ crude…

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