We call on all activists fighting banker-imposed austerity – here in the U.S. and worldwide – to come to Detroit, Michigan, on October 5 and 6, 2013. Join the people of this city under siege in convening the International People’s Assembly Against the Banks and Against Austerity.
Join us in Detroit on October 5-6 to demand:
- Cancel the debt to the banks which is strangling our schools, cities, states and countries.
- Guarantee workers’ jobs and pensions and services for the community. No union busting. $15 minimum wage!
- End undemocratic, racist emergency management of our cities and schools.
- A jobs program funded by the banks to put the unemployed to work rebuilding our cities. The banks owe our communities billions of dollars for the destruction they have caused.
- Moratorium on all foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions. Housing is a right.
- Repudiate student loan debt. Education must be free and available to all. Increase funding for public education.
- Stop racism and attacks on immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.
- The federal government must bail out the people, not the banks.
- Money for cities, not for war–Hands off Syria.
- Ban Fracking. No tar sands oil, petcoke, wood ethanol, etc. Reverse climate change.
Competing Congressional plans to fix student loan interest rates miss July 1 deadline as millions of students grapple with over a trillion dollars in debt.
Monday marks the deadline for a hike in student loan interest rates, an increase affecting 7 million students. Congress left town Friday without taking action to prevent the interest rates on new subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. Subsidized Stafford loans are low-interest rate loans available to students with financial need.
When faced with this issue last summer, Congress postponed the increases for one year. Lawmakers went home this time without an agreement on a long-term solution, though the Senate on July 10 will vote on a proposal that would extend the 3.4 percent interest rate for another year.
"As a result of their obstruction, the Democrat-led Senate will leave town and allow interest rates on some new student loans to increase on Monday," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before the recess.
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said the Senate "will take action in the next few weeks to fix this problem. We are confident they will get there, and that the solution will include retroactive protection for students who borrow after July 1 so that their student loan rates don't double."
In assessing the best plan for establishing interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans, it's no surprise that lawmakers are split across party lines. As is the case on many important issues Congress is wrestling, partisan politics are at play.
Senator Warren Introduces the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, her first piece of stand-alone legislation, on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. The bill would enable students who are eligible for federally subsidized Stafford loans to borrow at the same rate the big banks get through the Federal Reserve discount window.
From her floor speech:
“Some people say that we can’t afford to help our kids through school by keeping student loan interest rates low,” said Senator Warren. “But right now, as I speak, the federal government offers far lower interest rates on loans, every single day–they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But this summer a student who is trying to get a loan to go to college will pay almost 7%. In other words, the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right. And that is why I’m introducing legislation today to give students the same deal that we give to the big banks.”
“Big banks get a great deal when they borrow money from the Fed,” Senator Warren continued. “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education. Lend them the money and make them to pay it back, but give our kids a break on the interest they pay. Let’s Bank on Students… Unlike the big banks, students don’t have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They have only their voices. And they call on us to do what is right.”
The federal government must double down on grants to low-income students and dramatically simplify the system of student loans, says a new report by the non-partisan New America Foundation.
The report, released on Tuesday, lays out more than 30 recommendations for fixing the nation's increasingly strained system of paying for college, chief among them a more substantial and permanent investment in direct aid to students through Pell grants. The government should make the funding for the Pell program an entitlement in the federal budget, shielding it from annual wrangling, and should boost the maximum amount of individual grants, the report says.
It also proposes that the government create a system of incentives aimed at realigning how college use institutional aid dollars: Those with few low-income students and high tuition after discounts would be required to match a portion of Pell dollars with institutional aid; schools with many low-income students that meet a required graduation rate would get bonuses.
The New America Foundation's report was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of a larger initiative to explore policy recommendations on ways to restructure and reform the financial aid system.
Beyond its recommendations on grants, the report suggests a wholesale overhaul of programs for student loans.
We've reported on the federal Parent Plus loan program, and how the lack of loan limits allows families to borrow more than they can reasonably afford to cover ever-increasing college costs. The government should end the Plus program, the report argues, as it "can encourage families to over-borrow and provides colleges with a convenient source of funds if they wish to raise their prices."
The federal government should stick to one loan program – the main federal loan program known as the Stafford loan, the report suggests. It also suggests that the many different repayment plans currently available be replaced with one that bases monthly payments on a percentage of income – a modified version of some existing plans.
The report also offers ideas to reform day-to-day handling of student loan payments. Errors in the servicing of student loans often frustrate borrowers and exacerbate the difficulties of repayment, especially for those whose loans were shuffled to a group of new nonprofit servicing companies.
As we've noted, these companies won a carve-out from Congress in 2010 that guaranteed them an opportunity to get in on servicing federal student loans. The report advocates ending this carve-out, arguing it "has made the federal student loan program more complicated and costly than it should be," and that all servicing contracts should be awarded through competitive bidding.
In 2008, the United States economy experienced a nearly unprecedented crisis, due to a perfect storm involving banking deregulation, complex derivatives, financial mismanagement, and larger systemic causes, including an inadequate educational system. Three years later, people rose up in protest—an organic national movement called Occupy Wall Street, its members chanting "we are the 99%" and saying that our system was broken, gamed by the wealthy and powerful.
The movement brought an entire nation's frustration with a runaway banking and financial sector, student debt, and unequal educational opportunities to the forefront of public debate. And thoughtful institutions responded, investing time and money to look into the phenomenon. On April 17th and 18th of 2012, the Rockefeller Foundation funded two panel discussions to address these urgent questions. The panels were sponsored by the New School and were held at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, and the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Moderator John Cassidy of The New Yorker perhaps summed up the issues best when he noted that the 1960s and 1970s had discredited the idea of an all-efficient government, and the 90s and zeros had done a very good job of discrediting the idea of an all-efficient market. "What's to replace both of those ideologies?" Cassidy asked. "That remains to be seen--Occupy Wall Street is obviously a part of the discussion."
Panelists included, among others, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow; Pulitzer Prize-winning financial journalist David Cay Johnston; world-class international economists Jeffrey Sachs, Raghu Rajan, Carmen Reinhart, and Robin Wells; the Financial Times's Martin Wolf, and Bethany McLean of Vanity Fair.
Both panels grew out of The Occupy Handbook, a compendium of articles, edited by Janet Byrne, featuring leading economists and others on the causes and implications of the Occupy movement. This video features selections from the two panel discussions as well as public remarks by contributors to the Handbook.
As the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement is approaching, activists are organizing multiple events with the themes centering on the ongoing debt crisis, student loan crisis and mortgage crisis.
"We want to celebrate our resistance over the past year with actions pointing to the ongoing debt crisis, the student debt crisis, the home mortgage and loans debt crisis," said Karanja G. an activist with the movement.
He told Press TV’s U.S. Desk that police brutality, oppression, and racism were among some of the other issues the 99 percenters sought to address at the anniversary of their movement.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstration started out on September 17 last year with around a dozen college students spending days and nights in Zuccotti Park in New York.
The demonstrators protest against government corruption an unequal distribution of wealth wherein one percent of the American population benefits from the capitalism system, while the other 99 percent is exploited. The protesters say they are that 99 percent.
Paul Ryan is the mastermind behind the extreme GOP budget plan. It's a plan Mitt Romney endorses.
But what does that budget mean for America? The GOP budget plan hurts seniors, it hurts middle-class families, and it hurts students. All to pay for tax cuts for those at the top..
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: back to the failed top-down policies that crashed our economy.
Paul Ryan’s top-down budget plan is a sham
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney both support trillions in budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires that will result in tax hikes on the middle class and deep cuts in education and other investments we need to grow. Ryan’s extreme budget plan, which Mitt Romney has embraced, would make deep spending cuts now to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, which would weaken the recovery and cost the economy jobs.
According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Liebman, based on Mitt Romney’s own projections on the impact of deep spending cuts on the economy, Paul Ryan’s budget plan could cost the U.S. more than 1 million jobs.
Paul Ryan’s plan would raise taxes on the middle class and cut taxes for the wealthy
Ryan’s extreme budget plan would benefit the wealthy while raising taxes on middle-class families, slowing our economic recovery and hurting seniors and the middle class.
Deep tax giveaways for the wealthy:
Paul Ryan’s extreme budget includes a tax “reform” plan that would make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and give millionaires an additional tax cut worth over $250,000 a year. Paying for these tax cuts for the most fortunate families would require higher taxes on the middle class, gutting investments in our future, and ending Medicare as we know it.
Raise taxes on the middle class:
Just like Mitt Romney’s tax plan, middle-class families could pay thousands of dollars more a year in taxes to help fund tax cuts for millionaires. Ryan would cut or eliminate middle-class tax deductions like mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and health premiums.
Paul Ryan’s plan would gut middle-class investments
To pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, Paul Ryan would gut investments critical to middle-class security.
This includes cutting Pell Grant scholarships for nearly 10 million students, cutting clean energy investments by 19%, and slowing scientific and medical research by eliminating tens of thousands of grants.
Paul Ryan’s plan would end Medicare as we know it
Paul Ryan’s extreme budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program which would increase seniors’ health costs by $6,350 a year. Ryan has also proposed a plan that would have privatized Social Security, subjecting seniors’ retirement security to the whims of the stock market.
Paul Ryan is severely conservative
Like Mitt Romney, Ryan’s severely conservative positions are out of touch with most Americans’ values. He would take us backward on women’s health and equal rights.
Paul Ryan would take us backward on women’s health:
Ryan cosponsored a bill that could ban in-vitro fertilization, as well as many common forms of birth control, including the pill. It could also ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. He supported letting states prosecute women who have abortions and doctors who perform them.
Paul Ryan would take us backward on equal rights:
Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight for equal pay for equal work. He voted against repealing the discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and supports writing discrimination into the Constitution by amending it to ban gay marriage.
If this isn't enough information on Paul Ryan, and what Romney & Ryan would mean for America, let me sum it up briefly:
Note: No senior citizens were harmed in the making of this video.
On Sep. 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street started a revolution. One year later, join us for three days of education, training, and protest in New York City.
The 1% is controlling our fates; we are drowning in loans, student debt, fraudulent mortgages. You are not a loan. Democracy is sold to the highest bidder, destroying our political process, our communities and our environment. Join a mass mobilization of the 99%. Stand and be counted. Let’s occupy our future, together.
They can steal your job, your home, your freedom, your vote.
They can’t steal our ability to dream together.
Nothing is impossible once you refuse to live in fear.