Sunday, May 13, 2007

Politicos and The Business of Higher Education

The predation of the huge lending corporate institutions upon young, naive students merely attempting to secure entry to even the basement of the American Dream is indeed pathetic. No less pathetic is the role of their "enablers", the many politicians who will walk lockstep with any entity that contributes to their campaigns; regardless of who these entities profit from or how they do it. "Campaign contributions" is the biggest and most transparent oxymoron in the English language. A campaign contribution is a bribe already. In return for these "contributions", politicians, offer legislative assistance in direct relation to the the portion of the riches that are transferred to them.

John Boehner, who we blogged about earlier, is easily one of the fattest ticks feeding on the twin dogs of student lenders and for-profit schools. In reality, that is a faulty analogy because a tick is a parasite. The situation here is a symbiotic relationship. A more apt analogy would be the feeder fish and sharks. The politicians are the feeder fish gleaning bits of food from the shark's teeth. The amount of money that a lender such as Sally Mae pulls in from the legislation that a John Boehner is able to enact or stop from being enacted is considerable smaller than its one hundred thousand or so contribution to his campaign.

However, Mr. Boehner and the many student lenders and for-profit education he assists, in return for their campaign contributions, are ticks on the students who end up paying higher interest on educational loans and attend for-profit schools based on fraudulent expectations and end up saddled with debt they cannot pay off; on the taxpayers who must pay for the resulting defaults and for DOE officials who let student loan companies keep $278 million here and there, and for legislation that ends up costing the government more expenses so that the ticks can suck more blood in the form of higher interest rates.

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