LET’S TALK STUDENT LOANS

What were the Republicans thinking when they DOUBLED the student loan rate? I don’t get it. These people are so out of touch with life in America, it’s hard to believe they ever watch the nightly news or pick up a newspaper.

For the record, I understand why they chose to not forgive student loans. We can’t get car loans, mortgage loans or credit card debt “forgiven.” Students and their parents signed the papers knowing the loans were going to have to be repaid. That’s the price they’re willing to pay/invest to give their child an education.

But to DOUBLE the rates? Are you freaking kidding me? Even the Federal Reserve only raises the interest rates it charges banks by 1/4 to 1/2 points at a time. Mortgage rates go up about that rate each time. Even a 1% increase is rare. This is right up there with highway robbery.

Abbi and I were lucky. We only had to take out one $5000 student loan in her college career. But it was her sophomore year. The interest starts the day the loan papers are signed. She graduated four years later. And they give a six-month grace period. So that’s four and a half years of interest before the first payment is due. It’s a great racket for the student loan business. The reality is that the payments just about cover the interest rate. Seven years later, she’s still paying.

I have a friend who, from the time she was a very small child, told everyone she was going to be a rabbi. She was laughed at (“isn’t that cute”) because Conservative Judaism didn’t allow women to be rabbis until she was in her mid-forties. Shaina jumped on the program the minute that privilege became available. Took out student loan after student loan to go back to college for another 5 years to become a rabbi. The cost? About $90,000 in student loans. Even with very well-paying congregations, she’ll be paying for that one when she’s signing loans for her two boys to go to college. What if her loans were taken out now, at 6%?. Damn. And her first synagogue? Waco, Texas. It hardly seems fair.

But here’s the kicker. Jerry Brown, in his infinite wisdom (see, I can bash Democrats, too) decided to sign a bill into law that lets Illegal Aliens be granted a FREE college education in California. Free. Like costing them nothing. His premise is that with an education, they’ll be more likely to get higher-paying jobs and become productive members of society and no longer on the rolls of those who need government assistance (which they shouldn’t be getting anyway). No wonder California is bankrupt.

Here’s my problem with that. First, there are NO stipulations. I believe that if we’re going to hand out educations at Cal Berkeley or UCLA, there should be a stipulation that the illegal agree to become a naturalized citizen before entering the university. That way, when they get out of college, they become a Tax Paying member of society. As the law stands, they can enter college as an alien free, graduate free, and go back to work in their communities without having to pay taxes — or repay student loans.

And who is paying for this FREE education, you ask? That would be me. And all the families who work their tails off so their kids can go to college. And the college kids who work sometimes two or three jobs to pay for their education and expenses…..and worse…..those families that have to take out student loans now so their kids can go to college — at 6% interest. To sit beside someone in class who is getting a free ride? This whole thing is just wrong.

I take a lot of heat because I believe that anyone in this country illegally should be mandated to become a naturalized American citizen or leave. Get the hell out. I’m tired of hearing stories from my nursing grads about families who drive in from Mexico in their Mercedes to have a baby free in an American hospital so the child can be an American citizen — then, that child is eligible for Medicare, Social Security, food stamps,etc. And just like the Vietnamese who came here in the late 60’s and early 70’s, even naturalized immigrants are given a five-year grace period from paying taxes. Why shouldn’t every college graduate be given that same privilege.

Our great grandparents came into this country as immigrants, too. They had to have a sponsor before they were allowed off the boats. Sometimes, the boat was turned away at Ellis Island and the ship’s captain made the decision whether to continue until he found another port that would accept his passengers (it was usually New Orleans), or take them back to Europe. They got no special treatment. Had to pay taxes, make their own livings, and build their lives without government assistance.

There are so many illegal immigrants here now, it’s hard to find a place in Oklahoma, Texas, California, Florida or Nevada where you can go down the street and half the people aren’t speaking Spanish. And they look at you like you’re crazy if you don’t understand what they’re saying. They don’t even bother to learn to speak English. There are rallies all over California for “Immigrant Rights. What are they willing to pay for those rights? We pay for ours. It won’t be long until Spanish is the national language — or Mandarin if the Chinese decide to call in our debt and take the country as collateral.

Abbi has a friend from Australia who is trying to get a green card — working visa — and is having a hellofatime getting to work in this country LEGALLY. He’s meeting with an immigration attorney tomorrow and hopes there are hoops he can jump through to accomplish this feat. Now, he has to get a 90-day visa, then go back to Australia to get another one. And since he does a considerable amount of business here already, you’d think we’d want him here. But….

I have a friend (you’ll hear about him in the book) who got married to get his first green card. That marriage didn’t last long, neither did the second or third. But, then he got mugged at a bridge tournament in Miami and had his passport and green card stolen. So, he got married again to get new ones. That marriage lasted a couple of years, and he got divorced again. But once you have a green card, there’s no more proving anything to anyone. It’s yours for life. However, Kraig pays taxes, owns a home, and accepts his responsibility as a working member of the country he has chosen to live in. But he will never give up his Canadian citizenship because if he ever needs major medical care, he can go back and get it free.

I’m not sure when this country got stupid, but we’re sure there. We’re coddling people who don’t pay taxes on the backs of those who do. Sometimes, it feels like Constitutional Rights only apply to those who aren’t entitled to them.

And that’s my bitch for today. I’ll try to be more user-friendly tomorrow…..it depends on the news.