Marco Rubio and the Marketization of College

Marco Rubio and the Marketization of College

If you haven’t heard yet, Marco Rubio has come up with a strategy to address the high costs of college. And like always, his answer is to  marketize public goods . Specifically, Rubio’s college-cost proposal is backing “ indentured servitude .” Paula Dwyer at Bloomberg delves into the details : The new method, called income sharing, typically involves a “loan” (I’ll explain the quotation marks later) from investors to students. Instead of paying the money back with interest, students contract to pay their investors a set percentage of income for a fixed number of years after graduation. This concept owes its origin to Milton Friedman (who else?), and as Dwyer points out, many critics of this idea find “the concept of investing in human assets creepy.” You don’t say. I appreciate that Rubio is trying to solve the massive issue of high college costs – a topic which evades the attention of many Republican candidates. But trusting the market to on every single issue, from subsidizing low wages to ensuring paid family leave  is intellectually dishonest. Moreover, it leads our nation in a dangerous direction. As Professor Michael Sandel has warned us : If you look at it, we have drifted over the last three decades from having a market economy, to becoming a market society. A market economy is a valuable and effective tool for organising productive activity. But a market society is a place where everything is up for sale. It’s a way of life, where market values reach into every sphere of life. That can be everything from family life in personal relations, to health, education, civic life, and civic duties. This has happened with relatively little debate. Part of the appeal of market faith is that it seems to spare us the need, as citizens, to deliberate, reason together, or argue together, about how to value goods. Markets seem to be a neural way of sorting it out. But it’s a mistake to see markets that
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Daily Clips: December 2nd, 2015

Daily Clips: December 2nd, 2015

December 2, 2015 Nick Cassella
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Most Americans think attacks on abortion clinics are “domestic terrorism.”  That’s good to hear. A majority of Republicans (54 percent) even believe that such attacks should be labelled as terrorism. Which is a good place to start I guess. The wealthiest 20 people now own more wealth than half the American population.  That’s neither fair nor good for our economy. Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist:  Dana Milbank doesn’t mince his words here. He goes after the Donald and his supporters noting, “though all Trump supporters surely aren’t racists or bigots, even a cursory examination of social media reveals that many are.” Five assumptions about this Republican election cycle:  Here’s an interesting breakdown of the 2016 GOP race by Brian Beutler. To the extent that conventional wisdom is possible in a campaign this erratic, a consensus is emerging among political analysts that looks something like this: 1. Despite his large, and enduring polling lead, Donald Trump still can’t win the nomination; something, at some point, will happen to derail his campaign. 2. Cruz will be the main beneficiary of Trump’s demise. 3. The establishment will coalesce behind Rubio as a more palatable alternative to Cruz. 4. The race will consolidate into a bloody slugfest between Cruz and Rubio, with Rubio enjoying overwhelming support from party actors and Cruz from conservative activists. Rubio will have a difficult time convincing ideological voters that he’s more authentically conservative than Cruz, who will gladly cite his rival’s official endorsements as evidence that he’s been compromised by the establishment. 5. As suggested by Rubio’s attacks on Cruz’s vote to end the NSA’s bulk , warrantless collection of electronic metadata, foreign policy will be the one arena in which Cruz will prove vulnerable on the right.

Even Richard Nixon Knew that Trickle Down Economics Was a Scam

Even Richard Nixon Knew that Trickle Down Economics Was a Scam

Despite its flaws, I read and enjoyed Destiny and Power , Jon Meacham’s new biography of George H.W. Bush. Meacham, who is a brilliant presidential biographer, gives Bush a little too much credit for being a decent man when he should have probed harder into Bush’s inability to be a decent leader. Privately, Bush was smart and reasonable about a number of issues—he seemed to oppose Dick Cheney’s lust for war during George W. Bush’s presidency, for example, and he was a moderate on abortion—but publicly, he failed to lead. Another example of Bush’s failure to lead? His stance on trickle down economics. During the 1980 presidential campaign, Bush rightfully ridiculed Ronald Reagan’s plan to provide tax breaks for the wealthy as “voodoo economics.” This is a term that caused the Reagan administration a lot of trouble after they brought Bush onboard as vice president: But even though Bush, as was his style, became an avid public supporter of trickle down economics, he privately understood that it was a scam. This passage from Chapter 31 of Destiny and Power indicates that the most influential members of the Republican Party understood it, too. On a snowy Saturday in in January 1987, Richard Nixon had come by to see Bush at the vice presidential reside. Nixon loved to talk politics, and he had handicapped the ’88 race for Bush. The most prescient thing the former president had said in the three-and-a-half hour session, though, was about governing, not running. “George, you know you were right about ‘voodoo economics,’ don’t you?” Nixon had asked. “We’ve got to handle the deficit. You know there is going to have to be a tax increase.” Nixon’s prediction had proven accurate. The month Bush defeated Dukakis, the General Accounting Office projected that tax increases “are probably an unavoidable part of any realistic strategy for
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Daily Clips: December 1st, 2015

Daily Clips: December 1st, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plan, explained: In case you haven’t heard, Hillary Clinton put forward a bold infrastructure plan “that would generate $500 billion in additional infrastructure spending over the next five years.” She rightly called such an investment a “down payment” on our future. Matthew Yglesias notes: Infrastructure spending is in a sense a win-win for the economy, which both directly creates jobs and indirectly lays the foundation for further growth. But to maximize the growth-generating potential of infrastructure might require undermining some of its job-creating punch. David Brooks talks to himself: It seems that each column Brooks wades deeper and deeper into…I honestly don’t know. This time, he has a conversation with a dead man about the Paris climate talks; namely, Alexander Hamilton. Brooks moans that any climate agreement will result in cheating which in turn “will create a cycle of resentment that will dissolve any sense of common purpose.” His attitude on climate change might as well be, “We’re all fucked – let’s pack it up, boys.” The two American economies:  Peter Temin argues that the US has become a “dual economy.” By this he means “the disparity between the top thirty percent and the remainder has increased to the point” where both sets should be thought of independently. According to Temin, “the upper sector of the dual economy is the FTE sector, named for its main components: finance, technology and electronics. The lower sector of the American dual economy is the low-wage sector, and education is the way for people to go from the low-wage to the FTE sector.”   Two-thirds of Americans want U.S. to join climate change pact : But hey, since when did the US government care what the people thought?

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