Thursday, March 03, 2016

The U.S. Government’s Student Loan Racket

It’s not often that we’re surprised by a government spending statistic, but what Breitbart News‘ Mike Flynn reported over the past weekend about one particular line item within the U.S. Treasury Department’s annual financial report for the U.S. government floored us.

    Tucked away in the report, however, was a surprising fact. Student loans now make up 37 percent of the total assets of the U.S. government. In some ways, a major business of the U.S. government now is getting students to take out loans to pay for college.

    The total value of assets held by the federal government is $3.2 trillion. The government’s assets include its cash, gold reserves, property, and the value of land, equipment, and inventories. The lion’s share of the government’s assets, though, is the value of loans it has issued. The total value of government-issued loans is over $1.2 trillion, almost 40 percent of its total assets.

    By far the largest loan program run by the feds is the student loan program. Last year, the federal government held as assets almost $1.1 trillion in student loans. This is up almost 10 percent from 2014. The federal government earned almost $1 billion on these loans last year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s total liabilities is over $21 trillion, putting its official net worth at roughly minus $18 trillion.

Among those liabilities is the over $1 trillion worth of national debt that has been incurred because the U.S. government borrows the money it uses to make student loans. Approximately one out of every ten dollars that the U.S. government has borrowed since Barack Obama became the U.S. President has been for the purpose of sustaining its student loan “business”.

And with an annual revenue of $1 billion, the U.S. government is getting a return on its “investment” of something on the order of 0.1%. When you consider that one in four of the student loans issued by the U.S. government are delinquent, it is highly likely that the U.S. government is actually losing money on its student loan business.


Profane hatred blossoms on campus

by PETE HOEKSTRA (Pete Hoekstra represented Michigan for 18 years in Congress, including as chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee)

Accepting Syrian refugees into the United States is an emotional issue.

People are suffering and dying in Syria and throughout the broader Middle East. The grotesque nature of the situation is very real. Innocent Christians, Jews, women, homosexuals and children are being killed, sold as sex slaves and brutalized. Nobody in America wants that.

Nor, however, does anybody in America want ISIS and other radical Islamist groups to exploit the refugee crisis to export their savagery to Europe and North America. ISIS has stated that it intends to infiltrate the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the barbaric ISIS terrorists using their families as cover. The FBI director and director of National Intelligence said that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement cannot thoroughly vet the backgrounds of the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees the president has vowed to bring to the United States.

This week I was invited to participate in a press conference at the Rhode Island state capital where we requested that Gov. Gina Raimondo rescind her open invitation to Syrian refugees. Organizers wanted to first know how the federal government would ensure that the individuals and families who are permitted to enter the country will not threaten the safety and security of U.S. citizens.

It is a simple, straightforward concern that is as much about ensuring basic national security as it is compassion.

It soon became apparent that the press conference would not proceed cordially, with one side expressing its opinion followed by a competing press conference offering a different point of view.

I cannot broadly characterize the group I encountered in Rhode Island - organized by the United Council of Churches and students from Brown University - as anything other than ill-mannered and hate-filled. Rather than opening themselves to a polite discussion or allowing one side to present its facts and opinions, we were treated in a most uncivilized manner.

The type of behavior that occurred this week unfortunately is not unique. Earlier in February, protesters shouted down a conversation on Jewish identity led by actor Michael Douglas and human rights activist Natan Sharansky on the campus of Brown University. Anti-Israel hecklers delayed a lecture by Hebrew University professor Moshe Halbertal at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in November.

Also in November, faculty at the University of Missouri confronted a photographer and called for "muscle" to prevent him from covering an event held in a public space.

Some 30 campus groups objected to a speech at Yale University by Somali-born women's rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2014. It happened within a few months of Brandeis University rescinding an invitation for her to speak following an outcry by a vocal campus minority.

I'm not OK with clergy, students and those of different opinions chanting and swearing, but it is their constitutional right. I'm not OK with clergy, students and those of different opinions screaming and hollering to silence the free speech of others. I'm not OK with clergy, students and those of different opinions ensuring that they don't listen or learn from others.

I'm not OK with clergy, students and those of different opinions lying and expressing hateful speech in the name of love, but again it is their constitutional right. I'm not OK with their conduct, but in America we tolerate it, as obnoxious and spiteful as it may be.

I'm not OK with any of that adolescent behavior. I have never known it to solve problems or heal divisions.

The ugly demonstration at the press conference was a wonderful experience in how not to accomplish anything. I'm sure that those who disagreed with us felt that they had a good day. They were louder than everybody else. Congratulations, but what exactly did they achieve?

They did not succeed in reaching a consensus or fostering ideas on how to balance national security with welcoming those seeking to escape horrific circumstances.

Let's hope that someday those who proudly wore their clerical garb, those who identified as open-minded college students and those who were simply there to express a different opinion will learn that dialogue is better than swearing, that listening is better than screaming and that passion is good but it needs to be balanced with reason.

A version of this piece previously appeared on Washington Times


Campus Jihad?

New York's CUNY University system has a rich history. City affiliated universities produced Jonas Salk, who created the polio vaccine; Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and a who's who of CEO's, politicians, and authors. But these days, it seems to be only producing one thing: virulent anti-semitism.

Throughout the CUNY system, Jewish students are reporting rampant instances of harassment and intimidation. Via the NY Post:

    Among the incidents cited by the group:

    At John Jay College, which specializes in criminal justice, Jewish students have been the target of so many slurs that at lease three have transferred. One John Jay administrator responded to a Jewish student's concerns by saying, “What are these white kids complaining about?”

    On Nov. 12 at Hunter College, during a demonstration for free tuition, Jewish students were denounced as “racist sons of bitches,” “fascists” and “Nazis” and were greeted with comments such as “Jews out of CUNY.” One student tweeted at the time, “Full-blown anti-Semitism allowed at my college . . . I witnessed this and froze in fear.”

    At Brooklyn College, the pro-Palestinian group disrupted a faculty meeting last week and called a professor wearing a yarmulka a “Zionist pig.” Brooklyn College slammed the “hateful” comments and the disruption.

    At The College of Staten Island, a pro-Palestinian demonstrator told a Jewish student last November, “I don't hug murderers.” Swastikas also defaced the college's desks and walls.

This is utterly and completely appalling. It's clear that Islamists and those who sympathize with them are willing to stand up and defend their culture. As Americans, we need to do the same. America is the unique product of the marriage of European Enlightenment ideals and Judeo Christian heritage. It's time we stopped apologizing for it and stood up to these hate mongers.


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