Today in sad truths
So today I got this email from MoveOn.org:
Dear MoveOn member,
Can I share something? I’m worried. I have two kids, and I honestly have no idea how I’m going to pay for them to go to college.
When I went to school in the mid-90s, I paid little less than $4,000 a year for room, board, and tuition. Today, it costs more than $21,000—and that’s if you go to a public university, in-state.1By the time my kids (ages 4 and 1) go to college? OMG. I can’t even think about it.
President Obama is trying to help. In the stimulus bill—you know, the one Republicans say didn’t help anyone—he cut interest rates for student loans in half. But that’s set to expire in July, at which point interest rates will double, hammering families like mine with the equivalent of a giant middle class tax hike.2
And as usual Republicans are digging in their heels, just trying to block Obama from getting anything done.
This is a slap in the face of middle-class families, and we can’t let it fly under the radar.Our plan is run a major public education campaign with Facebook ads and visibility events before graduation ceremonies next month when all the media will be paying attention. But we can’t do it unless MoveOn members chip in $200,000. Can you contribute $5?
Student debt has become an absolutely explosive issue, especially among young people and their families. Since 1999, student loan debt has increased by over 500%. In 2010, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded total outstanding credit card debt in America for the first time ever. And in 2012, total outstanding student loan debt is expected to exceed $1 trillion.3
In fact, we’ve seen two of the largest petitions in MoveOn history in recent months calling on Congress to provide relief for those drowning in student debt.This is a sleeping giant of an issue, and in the coming weeks it can really blow up.
The Republicans’ effort to double student interest rates is just the latest outrage. For yeas they’ve been slashing funding for higher education, leading directly to skyrocketing tuition at public colleges and universities. Just last year they cut $8 billion out of the Pell Grant program for low-income students and reduced the income threshold for eligibility for a full Pell Grant.4
Remember how Republicans backed down on the extension of Obama’s payroll tax cut for the middle class? We can do that again, but we need to start now by making sure every family in America hears about it.
Thanks for all you do.
–Steven, Joan, Wes, Marika, and the rest of the team
And you know what, I would love to help. Except that my five dollars wouldn’t REALLY be my five dollars, because it’s part of the $36,000 I took out in student loans to continue my education for a single year. Which is on top of the $16,900 I owe my incredibly generous parents for my last year of undergraduate after losing half of my scholarship funding.
I took a year off from school between finishing my undergraduate degrees and starting my graduate degree, and worked 40+ hour weeks the entire year (sometimes as much as 60 hours), from literally the day I graduated until the day before I moved. I managed to save about $11,000 in that year, because music studio and non-profit jobs? They don’t pay much. And I was lucky to have two jobs in my field; hell, I would have been lucky to have one. After paying my rent here ($5200 or so), and buying textbooks ($400 per semester), and just living for the first semester, that $11,000 was gone. Completely.
So in short, I would love to give $5, but I’m one of the people who desperately needs what this email discusses. I need those lower interest rates. I need to have a chance to actually make money in my lifetime, instead of continually hemorrhaging it just so I can do what I believe I was born to do.
Extending this stimulus benefit would give me that chance. Affordable higher education would give me that chance.
What were you doing talking about the economy and politics? It’s so pathetic. Let me tell you something about the US. We were doing pretty well in the 90s but replaced Clinton with Bush. I know, right? It’s so embarrassing. I don’t even… Whatever. So then in 2008, we voted Obama president who was totally gorgeous but then the Congress had a Republican majority, and Conservatives were like, weirdly jealous of him. Like, if Obama would try to pass a bill to bring health care coverage to the 50.7 million Americans without it or attempt to make a plan to bring jobs to the 13.9 million actively seeking employment, they’d be like, “Where’s your birth certificate? And why can’t they just work for practically no money and have faith that God will save this nation?” And he’d be like, “Why are you so obsessed with me? And that makes absolutely no sense.” So then, during the economic crisis, which was quite a challenge for the government to solve, Obama was like, “Conservatives, I can’t invite you to help me figure this out, because I think you’re all traitors of the US economic and political system.” I mean he couldn’t have traitors at his meetings to resolve the problems of our country. There were gonna be progressives there with *ideas*. I mean, right? They were TEA PARTIERS. So then the Republican party started campaigning intensely against the Democratic party, it was so retarded. And then they totally bombed the Republican Primary debates because they had no rational thoughts, and they came back making jokes about their blunders, and all their supporters left were in the 1% or religious zealots, and now I guess they’re on crack.