Monday, May 29, 2017

TRUMP and DeVOS CONTINUE ASSAULT ON AMERICA'S EDUCATION SYSTEM - TURNING IT OVER TO PROFITEERS AND WALL STREET PLUNDERERS

AMERICA’S BLUDGEONED YOUTH: Homeless, Hopeless and Addicted…. Will they start the revolution? 
  
"Public education as a whole came under brutal attack as part of the Obama administration’s effort to shift the burden of the financial crisis onto the backs of the working class."

Trump education budget calls for dismantling core programs, promotes vouchers and charter schools


By Evan Blake 
29 May 2017
The Trump administration’s proposed 2018 budget, released last Tuesday, includes drastic cuts to federal spending on public education, which if enacted would affect everyone involved in public K-12 and higher education. In total, the Department of Education (DoED) faces a $9.2 billion cut in spending, or 13.5 percent of the DoED budget, through the elimination or reduction in funding for more than 30 discretionary programs.
As with the overall 2018 budget proposal, Trump’s Department of Education budget takes a wrecking ball to many foundational programs. The budget entirely eliminates funding for 22 major programs, including the following:
• Supporting Effective Instruction State grants ($2.3 billion), which fund professional development programs and seek to reduce class sizes.
• 21st Century Community Learning Centers ($1.16 billion), which fund K-12 after-school programs serving 2 million students at roughly 11,500 centers nationwide.
• Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant ($732 million), which provides grant aid to low-income undergraduate students.
• School Improvement Grants ($449.1 million), which allocate money to the lowest-performing schools.
• Preschool Development Grants ($249.5 million), which fund preschools in low-income communities.
• Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants ($189.6 million), which fund K-12 literacy programs.
• Mathematics and Science Partnerships ($152.4 million), which seeks to improve math and science education.
• Strengthening Institutions ($86.4 million), which provide infrastructure funding for K-12 schools.
• Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Subsidized Stafford loans, and the payment of Account Maintenance Fees to guaranty agencies, which subsidize undergraduate student loans.
Programs also slated for complete elimination include those promoting foreign language learning, Alaska and Hawaiian Natives Education, Arts in Education, Special Olympics Education Programs, and multiple programs that seek to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and principals at struggling schools.
In addition to these eliminations, the budget proposes the reduction of funding for several key programs by double-digit percentages, including:
• $487.8 million (50 percent) cut from the Federal Work-Study Program, which provides grants to enable low-income students to work part-time to pay for college.
• $103.1 million (32 percent) cut from the GEAR Up program, which supports early college preparation and awareness activities for low-income elementary and secondary school students.
• $166 million (13 percent) cut from the Career and Technical Education Grants program.
• $142 million (15 percent) cut from the TRIO program that helps disadvantaged K-12 and higher education students.
• $95 million (16 percent) cut from the Adult Education program.
Each of these significant cuts represents a separate attack against core programs that provide the scaffolding for public education in the US. The cuts target programs that predominantly serve lower-income communities, and in combination seek to drastically undermine the quality of public schools in these areas.
Through this assault, the Trump administration is deepening the decades-long drive to create the conditions that justify increased federal funding for private charter and religious schools, which are promoted by billionaires such as Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as an alternative to failing public schools.
Thus, in tandem with the savage cuts listed above, the line item receiving the most substantial budgetary increase involves a $1 billion grant for the Title I Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) program, a front organization dedicated to funding school voucher programs nationwide.
As the DoED budget proposal explains, “The proposed FOCUS grants would provide supplemental awards to school districts that agree to adopt weighted student funding combined with open enrollment systems that allow Federal, State, and local funds to follow students to the public school of their choice.”
The real purpose of school vouchers is to starve already desperate public schools of their resources, in order to funnel money to private and parochial schools, which are constitutionally prohibited from receiving direct federal funding.
The DoED budget also allocates $500 million (a 46 percent increase) to the Charter Schools Grants program, as well as $370 million (a whopping 370 percent increase) to the Education Innovation and Research Fund, which will be retooled to “support efforts to test and build evidence for the effectiveness of private school choice.”
During his election campaign, Trump took up the mantle of “school choice,” vowing last fall to provide $20 billion for school voucher programs while in office. Last week’s budget proposal thus represents a down payment on this promise.
The decades-old “school choice” campaign dates back to the 1950s, when the right-wing economist Milton Friedman began promoting the concept that the “free market” should dictate allocations of federal funding for education. Support for such policies only started to become mainstream in the 1980s, after being taken up by Ronald Reagan. Their direct implementation, however, began in full force under Democratic President Bill Clinton, who oversaw the creation of the first 1,700 charter schools in the US.
Under both presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, “school choice” policies thrived under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTP), successive standardized testing frameworks that dictated whether schools would be forced to close or turned into charter schools.
The Obama administration carried out the most sweeping attacks on public education, overseeing the permanent firing of more than 300,000 public school teachers and staff members and the doubling of the number of charter schools in his first term alone.
Throughout this time, Betsy DeVos, heiress to the Prince family fortune and wife of the heir of the Amway pyramid scheme fortune, has been a zealot for the cause of charter and religious schools. She has headed or founded numerous pro-charter organizations, including the Acton Institute (which also promotes the repeal of child labor laws), Education Freedom Fund, All Children Matter, Alliance for School Choice and American Federation for Children.
While the Trump budget cuts will likely be pared back, they have shifted the baseline for future cuts even further to the right and will embolden the most right-wing, pro-privatization elements to step to the fore.
Leading Democrats such as Senator Elizabeth Warren have mouthed hypocritical opposition to the proposed DoED budget, which she deemed “an all-out assault on America’s kids, teachers, college students & student loan borrowers.” Over the past eight years under Obama, however, during which Warren served on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, she directly facilitated the processes that have laid the groundwork for the current budget proposal.
The fight to defend public education must be waged against both capitalist parties, which support the drive to war and the privatization of public education. Public education workers and students must unite with the working class internationally to put an end to war and rebuild society in the interests of the vast majority, which includes a massive expansion in funding for public education.

US Federal student loan interest rates set to rise in July

By Anthony del Olmo 
15 May 2017
On Wednesday, the Department of the Treasury released figures indicating interest rates for new federal student loans for the 2017-18 school year are set to increase by 0.69 percentage points.
Although the Department of Education has yet to officially announce the new rates, Treasury Department figures show that undergraduate Stafford loan rates will rise to 4.45 percent from 3.76 percent. Graduate Stafford loan rates will increase to 6 percent, up from 5.31 percent. Rates on PLUS loans, those for parents as well as graduate students, will increase to 7 percent, up from 6.31 percent.
The government’s interest rate increase has its roots in a 2013 provision signed into law by then President Barack Obama. In that law, the Republican-led Congress and the Obama administration coordinated in establishing how the Federal Reserve set interest rates on student loans. Moving away from a system in which Congress defined interest rates years in advance, interest rates are now tied to financial markets via 10-year Treasury notes.
Although rates had fallen slightly in the years following its implementation, the response by Wall Street to the election of President Trump has provided a significant impetus for their gradual increase.
On top of subjecting student loan rates to the volatility of the financial market, the debt burdens students will confront after they leave college are compounded by the oligarchic and militaristic aims of the Trump administration.
Since the election in November, Treasury yields have risen from 1.71 percent to 2.4 percent as financial speculators have anticipated more federal borrowing based on Trump’s campaign promises for major cuts in corporate and personal tax rates, an infrastructure spending program which will benefit corporations through massive tax write-offs, and increased military spending.
So far Trump’s budget proposal for an expansion in military spending at the expense of social services as well as the tax breaks for the wealthy indicated in the version of the American Health Care Act passed by the House confirm these reactionary promises.
The increase in federal loan rates comes several weeks after current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reversed plans made under the Obama administration to build a new student loan servicing system by consolidating contracts with private creditors into a single vendor.
Despite the largely token measure taken by the previous administration, the move is in line with DeVos’ repeated plans to cut the federal funding and regulations overseen by the Department of Education.
Regardless, the Education Department continues to profit from its contracts with private lenders. Currently, the federal government has $800 million in contracts with nine different loan servicing companies to carry out the tasks of sending bills, collecting payments, and dealing with borrower issues. Under this setup the federal government directly benefits from the student loan crisis to the tune of about $10 billion per year.
With the increase in student loan rates, private lenders are also anticipating higher profits since private loan rates will begin to look more favorable as federal rates continue to increase. David Nelms, CEO of Discover Financial Services, said during an April 25 earnings call, “If the government backs off of that market … we would take the position to take advantage of it.”
Despite the higher rates for private loans, with average fixed rates from 6 to 12 percent and market variable rates from 4 to 10 percent, these lenders account for nearly 10 percent of all student loans, roughly $7 billion to $9 billion.
Notwithstanding their smaller presence, these companies have been known to take advantage of their clients; most private creditors also do not provide income-based repayment programs or deferment plans. Navient, for example, has been prosecuted several times for malpractice, most recently for siphoning nearly $4 billion from millions of debtors.
For private lenders, student loans have created a nearly $200 billion market for asset-backed securities, particularly following the 2008 financial crisis. Known as SLABS (Student Loans Asset-Backed Securities), these securities currently account for over one-third of the $1.4 trillion of student loan debt since their creation by Sallie Mae in 1992. As students are forced to borrow and repay more and more money, a growing student loan bubble could threaten to destabilize the economy just like the housing and dot-com bubbles.
Today, 44 million Americans, one-sixth of the population, collectively owe $1.4 trillion in student loans, which averages to roughly $32,000 per debtor. An estimated seven of every 10 students to graduate college leave in debt. Under the Obama administration, major cuts were made to public funding for higher education. Public universities compensated for this loss with a 33 percent tuition increase nationwide in the first six years of the Obama presidency.
A 2015 study by George Washington University found that millennials, youth roughly between the ages of 18 and 30, are becoming increasingly distressed by this reality. The study found that over 50 percent of millennials are concerned as to how they will repay their student loans, over 80 percent have one long-term debt, and nearly 30 percent are regularly overdrawing their checking accounts.
To compound the pressures placed on students, the likely future interest rate increases will have an impact on their monthly student loan payments and total repayment costs after graduation. Currently, interest rates are fixed for each school year and do not change throughout the life of the loan, but since most students take out loans on a semester or yearly basis, the fluctuations in interest rates per year will require recalculations of monthly payments. Assuming rates will increase each year, this will mean that monthly payments will increase as well.

TRUMPERNOMICS: IMPLEMENTING OBAMA-CLINTONIMCS


 “CRIMINAL BANKSTERS WILL CONTINUE TO RULE AMERICA!”     Twitter Trumper

THE SINS OF THE FATHERS: THEIR GLOBAL LOOTING of the POOR

THE OPEN BORDERS PARTY of GEORGE SOROS, HILLARY & BILLARY CLINTON, BARACK OBAMA and DONALD TRUMP

 DONALD TRUMP, HIS PARASITIC FAMILY, HIS GOLDMAN SACHS REGIME and GOD FATHER, GEORGE SOROS… .global looters of the poor!

 http://mexicanoccupation.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-jared-kushner-donald-trump-george.html

OBAMA-CLINTON-TRUMPERnomics: The Massive Transfer of Wealth to the Super Rich Ratcheted up!
The American oligarchy, steeped in criminality and parasitism, can produce only a government of war, social reaction and repression. In its blind avarice, it is creating the conditions for unprecedented social upheavals. It is hurtling toward its own revolutionary demise at the hands of the working class.
BUT WE KNOW WHERE THEY LIVE!
“The massive transfer of wealth will not go to investment, but to acquiring bigger diamonds; more luxurious mansions, yachts and private jets; new private islands; more  security guards and better-protected gated  communities to segregate the financial nobility from the masses whom they despise and fear.”

 “Our entire crony capitalist system, Democrat and Republican alike,

has become a kleptocracy approaching par with third-world hell-holes.

This is the way a great country is raided by its elite.” ---- Karen

McQuillan  AMERICAN THINKER.com

US education chief Betsy DeVos plots school privatization with venture capitalists
By Nancy Hanover
15 May 2017
On May 9, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered the keynote address for the annual Arizona State University + Global Silicon Valley (ASU+GSV) Summit in Salt Lake City. The event took place the day before the billionaire heiress was roundly booed by the graduating class at Bethune-Cookman University.
Addressing a standing-room only audience of venture capitalists and school privatizers, DeVos dismissed the American education system as “an outdated Prussian education model.” She emphasized her desire to end government’s role in education and called for scrapping the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Apparently, the US secretary views with contempt the pioneering of free, tax-funded and public education established in the north German state in the early 1800s. The “Prussian model,” which was deeply influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, was to become the international model for modern mass education. Minister of Education Wilhelm von Humboldt, appointed in 1809, is largely credited for this vision of education based on inculcating literacy, broad general knowledge, cosmopolitan-mindedness and academic freedom.
The system was already groundbreaking by the 1830s, featuring professional teacher training, a national curriculum, an extended school year to accommodate rural children, a basic salary for teachers, funding for school buildings and even free and mandatory kindergarten. “The Prussian approach was used for example in the Michigan Constitution of 1835, which fully embraced the Prussian system by introducing a range of primary schools, secondary schools, and the University of Michigan itself, all administered by the state and supported with tax-based funding,” according to Wikipedia.
In 1843 Horace Mann, considered the “father of the common school movement” in the US, visited Germany to study and replicate the “Prussian model.” France and Great Britain enacted compulsory schooling in the 1880s.
It is interesting to note that the “Prussian model” contrasted with a type of Calvinistic utilitarianism promoted by English and Swiss education reformers. DeVos has traced her ideological influences to Andrew Kuyper, a neo-Calvinist opponent of secular education.
DeVos is fully conscious of the scale of the social counterrevolution she wants to impose on American education. Schooling should be largely returned to the churches, according to this arch-reactionary, along with for-profit education companies.
DeVos went on to tell the friendly crowd of edu-business investors and speculators that she was for “get[ing] the federal government out of the way so you can do your job…. It’s time for us to break out of the confines of the federal government’s arcane approach to education,” she emphasized, according to the website EdSurge.
She made her usual “school choice” arguments couched in populist bromides, as in, “Those who are closest to the problem are those best equipped to solve it.” She restated her hostility to universal public education: “Our education-delivery method should be as diverse as the kids they serve, instead of our habit of forcing them into a one-size-fits-all model.” The assembled entrepreneurs were all aware these were code words for opening up the education “market” for profiteering, in addition to slotting poorer children into low-skill utilitarian jobs.
She promised to “cut the red tape” for education businesses and described the education technology industry as a “thousand flowers, and we haven’t planted the whole garden yet.”
The gathering consisted primarily of representatives from GSV Corporation, a NASDAQ-listed bank with substantial venture capital investments in education technology including JAMF Software, coursera, Chegg, Curious.com and Course Hero.
At the conclusion of her address, DeVos was asked about the pending reauthorization of the 1965 Higher Education Act, originally signed by Lyndon Johnson as part of his Great Society programs. “Why would we re-authorize an act that is [more than] 50 years old and keeps getting amended? Why don’t we start afresh?” she replied.
The notion of jettisoning the landmark education legislation must have been music to ears of GSV Capital Assets investors. The Higher Education Act of 1965—enacted under the pressure of a mass working-class struggles and the civil rights movement—opened college doors to millions of middle and working class youth for the first time in US history.
HEA provided funding for grants and scholarships, federally-backed and subsidized loans, created work-study job opportunities, provided resources for libraries and graduate programs and supported the creation of a system of community colleges nationally, which today educate nearly half of all US students at nominal cost.
The 1965 HEA was made law alongside the Voting Rights Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Medicare. All these reforms, won through mass struggles, have been steadily undermined, by Democrats and Republicans alike, and are now targeted for destruction by the Trump administration.
Of course, DeVos’s facile dismissal of the Higher Education Act is not surprising from an administration that seeks to turn the clock back for the working class to the 19th century and from a secretary who has expressed support for child labor.
The highly political personnel directing the Global Silicon Valley group, like DeVos, are aiming well beyond the immediate prospects of cashing in on the education market. They have advanced a document “2020 Vision: A History of the Future,” which links the business of education technology, profit potentials and national social policy.
This document makes a direct parallel between the evolution of the healthcare industry and the present position of education companies. In 1970, GSV points out, the health care industry only represented 8 percent of GDP and had 2 percent of capital markets, whereas today its holds 18 percent of GDP and 16 percent of capital markets. Likewise, GSV projects a massive growth in the education market—at least a 3 percent rise in GDP sector with more than 100 private education companies boasting a market capitalization topping $1 billion. “This represents a mind-blowing trillion dollar opportunity,” the document concludes.
Of course, the growing profitability of the health care industry was at the direct expense of the actual health of the US population, which is now reeling from the near-destruction of the employer-based health care system, the skyrocketing costs of drugs and the resultant declines in lifespans. The plundering of public education by the financial elite will now visit the same destructive policies upon children just beginning their lives.
The reactionary political thinkers behind Global Silicon Valley’s bank are not oblivious to the political crisis they are provoking. Their statement warns that the growth of CEO pay and social inequality has also meant protests like Occupy Wall Street and an “exploding population of low-income students.” For example, “2020 Vision” documents the spread of poverty throughout the US South, showing that between 2000 and 2013, the number of states in which more than 50 percent of the student population was low-income grew from four to 20.
Bluntly stating that a “growing segment of American society doesn’t believe that it is participating in the future,” they add, “As Aristotle observed, ‘Inequality is the parent of revolution’.”
With such considerations in mind no doubt, “2020 Vision” puts forward among its solutions the need for universal national service to address the millions of young people without a future.
GSV works with and promotes General Stanley McChrystal’s call for universal military service to “strengthen a national ethos” and “restore the social fabric of the United States.”
But the venture capitalists add their own entrepreneurial twist to this call for a strong dose of patriotism and obedience among the young. Reprising the words of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell, GSV calls for mandatory national service “as a force multiplier” for business.
In this regard, GSV lauds Israel as a visionary “Start Up Nation.” Ignoring the war crimes and social conditions of Israel—a brutal apartheid-like regime based on the dispossession and repression of the Palestinian people and one of the most socially unequal societies in the industrialized world—GSV glorifies it as the world’s best incubator of new businesses, a positive model for the US. In fact, they ascribe the garrison state’s success in business development to the Israeli requirement for two to three years of military service.
Betsy DeVos’s political bedfellows at GSV and their “2020 Vision” are a clear warning as to US policy plans for the destruction of public education and the dragooning of another generation into growing imperialist wars.

The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives 
Those competing with H-2B visa holders hit the hardest

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2017) – The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data for the first quarter of 2017 shows abysmal labor force participation, particularly for those without a college education.  A new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that the participation rate has not returned to pre-2007 recession levels, and the rate looks even worse relative to 2000. The unemployment rate has improved in recent years; but the numbers are deceiving, as the official unemployment rate includes only those who have looked for a job in the last four weeks and not those of working-age who are no longer working or looking for work.

Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research and author of the analysis, said, “These newest employment numbers show the dismal employment picture for less-educated, low-skilled workers – the vulnerable Americans  who compete with H-2B non-agricultural guest worker visa holders for jobs like landscaper, construction worker , housekeeper, waiter, bellhop, or kitchen helper." Congress recently voted to give DHS Secretary Kelly the authority to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued.

Camarota concluded, "The latest numbers show no evidence of there being a shortage of U.S. workers for these jobs that are presently being filled by foreign workers."

View the entire report at: http://cis.org/Employment-Situation-Immigrants-Natives-First-Quarter-2017

Among Native-Born Americans:
  • The overall unemployment rate for natives in the first quarter of 2017 was 4.9 percent (6.5 million), a dramatic improvement over the peak in the first quarter of 2010 at 10.2 percent. However, the rate is still above the 4.4 percent in the same quarter in 2000.
  • The overall unemployment rate obscures the low labor force participation rate, however, especially among those without a college education.
  • There has been a long-term decline in the labor force participation rate of working-age (18 to 65) natives without a bachelor's degree. Only 69.6 percent of natives in this group were in the labor force in the first quarter of 2017; in 2007, before the recession, it was 73.8 percent, and in the first quarter of 2000 it was 76.1 percent.
  • The labor force participation rate of natives without a college degree shows no meaningful improvement in the last four years. For example, in the first quarter of 2012 it was actually slightly better than it was in the first quarter of 2017.
  • The decline in labor force participation among those without a bachelor's degree is even more profound when it is measured relative to those who are more educated.
  • In the first quarter of 2017, 69.6 percent of natives without a bachelor's degree were in the labor force, compared to 85.5 percent of those with a bachelor's degree — a 15.9 percentage-point difference. In the first quarter of 2007, the gap was 12.4 percentage points, and in the first quarter of 2000 the gap was 11.7 percentage points.
Among Immigrants:
  • Working-age immigrants without a college education also have not fared well since the recession. Unlike the labor force participation of natives, immigrants without a college education did improve their situation between 2000 and 2007. But it has not returned to 2007 levels. Also like natives, there has been no meaningful progress in the last few years.
  • In the first quarter of 2017, the labor force participation rate of immigrants (18 to 65) without a bachelor's degree was 72.1 percent, somewhat better than that of natives, but still below their rate of 73.4 percent in the first quarter of 2007.
Immigrants and Natives Not in the Labor Force:
  • In the first quarter of 2017, there were a total 50.6 million immigrants and natives ages 18 to 65 not in the labor force, up from 43.3 million in 2007 and 37.2 million in 2000.
  • Of the 50.6 million currently not in the labor force, 40.7 million (80 percent) did not have a bachelor's degree.
  • The above figures do not include the unemployed, who are considered to be part of the labor force because, although they are not working, they are looking for work. There were almost eight million unemployed immigrants and natives in the first quarter of this year; more than three-fourths of the unemployed do not have a bachelor's degree.

JOE LEGAL v LA RAZA JOSE ILLEGAL
…. which one has it good under the Dems???


“The principal beneficiaries of our current immigration policy are affluent Americans who hire immigrants at substandard wages for low-end work. Harvard economist George Borjas estimates that American workers lose $190 billion annually (DATED FIGURES) in depressed wages caused by the constant flooding of the labor market at the low-wage end.”   --- Christian Science Monitor
                                                                          
“The lifetime costs of Social Security and Medicare benefits of illegal immigrant beneficiaries of President Obama’s executive amnesty would be well over a trillion dollars, according to Heritage Foundation expert Robert Rector’s prepared testimony for a House panel obtained in advance by Breitbart News.”

AMERICA: NO LEGAL NEED APPLY

REPORT: The assault to finish off the American 

middle-class is NOT over


“The report noted that many illegals don't have jobs or have difficulty in landing good jobs because of local laws.”

“However, it identified several states that have begun easing employment laws so that illegals can get a job.”

THE HORDES KEEP COMING!
While the declining job market in the United States may be discouraging some would-be border crossers, a flow of illegal aliens continues unabated, with many entering the United States as drug-smuggling “mules.”
  
POVERTY

ROBERT RECTOR: Importing poverty…. WE
ALSO IMPORT ALL THEIR CRIMINALS


“The lifetime costs of Social Security and Medicare benefits of illegal immigrant beneficiaries of President Obama’s executive amnesty would be well over a trillion dollars, according to Heritage Foundation expert Robert Rector’s prepared testimony for a House panel obtained in advance by Breitbart News.”


US corporate profits up 13.9 percent on cost-cutting and low wages
By Barry Grey
9 May 2017
Former Obama administration officials joined the Trump administration and the media in hailing the April employment figures released Friday as proof that the US economy has reached “full employment” and essentially completed its “recovery” from the Great Recession.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 211,000 private-sector non-farm jobs in April and the official jobless rate dropped to 4.4 percent, the lowest level in more than a decade.
“JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” tweeted President Donald Trump. “Great news,” Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said on Twitter, adding later in a statement, “The steady and sustained increase in job creation equals new paychecks for American workers and income for American families.”
Jason Furman, the chief economic adviser in the Obama administration, said, “The momentum in the job market is really impressive.” The New York Times wrote that the report showed “a labor market closing in on full capacity,” particularly in “the country’s flourishing urban centers.”
On Monday, Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester, speaking in Chicago, said, “We have met the maximum employment part of our mandate and inflation is nearing our 2 percent goal.”
The message from the ruling elite is clear: This is as good as it gets.
To present the jobs report as proof of a healthy economy, certain aspects of the report itself had to be downplayed or ignored, including the fact that average job creation so far this year, 185,000 a month, is actually lower than in 2014 and 2015. Even more significant, the number of people not in the labor force actually rose by 162,000 last month, and the proportion of the population in the labor force fell by a tenth of a percent. At 62.8 percent, the labor force participation rate remains only marginally above a four-decade low.
While the share of prime working age Americans (25 to 54) who are employed rose in April, it remains well below the level at the peak of the last economic cycle and even further below the level in 2000. This means there are millions of working-age people who have been effectively excluded from the job market as a result of decades of factory closures and mass layoffs, a process that has intensified since the 2008 financial crash. These millions of people, living on the edge of society, are not even counted in the official unemployment rate.
Moreover, the vast bulk of the new jobs created in April were once again in the cheap-labor service sector, where many workers receive poverty-level wages. The statistic that is perhaps most revealing about what is being presented as the “new normal” for a healthy economy is the miserable year-on-year average wage increase of 2.5 percent, barely above the official inflation rate.
Even in 2006 and 2007, annual wage growth for non-managerial workers of 4 percent or more was normal. That has been cut almost in half.
On Saturday, the same day the Wall Street Journal reported the April employment figures, the newspaper featured a front-page article on US corporate profits in the first three months of 2017 that pointed to the real driving forces of the new “full employment” economy. Profits at S&P 500 companies surged an estimated 13.9 percent in the first quarter, the biggest quarterly profit gain in five years.
At the heart of the profit bonanza, the Journal explained, was a relentless and ongoing drive to cut costs by holding down wages, cutting jobs and slashing spending on new plants and equipment. US big business, the newspaper wrote, was reaping “the benefits of years of belt-tightening” under conditions of a pickup in demand.
Because of the continuing focus on slashing costs, profits rose nearly twice as fast as revenue. Spending on equipment and buildings, i.e., productive investment, rose by a mere 1.5 percent in the first quarter. Half the sectors of the US economy actually cut capital spending from a year earlier.
The Journal provided some examples. Caterpillar, the heavy machinery giant, reported a quarterly sales increase of about 4 percent, while doubling its profit, excluding restructuring costs. The company has cut its global workforce by at least 16,000 since late 2015, a reduction of roughly 10 percent. It has closed or announced the shutdown of plants in South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois and Belgium.
The energy sector, partially recovering from the oil price collapse of previous years, saw a 31 percent rise in revenues from the year-ago period. Based on its ruthless cost-cutting over the past two years, including the elimination of over 200,000 jobs, the sector enjoyed a profit boost of 647 percent.
Exxon Mobil, whose former CEO Rex Tillerson is now Trump’s secretary of state, reported a doubling of its profits in the first quarter, while its capital expenditures dropped by 19 percent, as it “remained disciplined in its investment.”
Much of the cash being taken in by the top corporations on this entirely regressive basis is being funneled to big shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks.
On Sunday, the Financial Times devoted its “The Big Read” page to an article extolling the achievements of 3G Capital, an investment fund that partnered with Warren Buffett to buy the food conglomerate Heinz in 2013 and merge it with Kraft Foods two years later. What the newspaper called “The lean and mean approach of 3G” has resulted in more than 10,000 Heinz and Kraft workers—one-fifth of the work force—being laid off and seven factories closed down.
3G’s “brutal but disciplined attack on costs” produced a 58 percent surge in profits within two years, and a profit margin of 28 percent. This compares to an average profit margin in the food industry of 16 percent.
Such is the utterly parasitic secret to the much-touted “recovery” in the US economy and job market. A combination of speculation that feeds off of the destruction of productive forces and ever greater exploitation of the working class benefits a new aristocracy by impoverishing ever broader layers of the US and world population.

AMERICA’S YOUTH STARVE

FOR EIGHT YEARS BARACK OBAMA AND HIS HAREM OF CORRUPT DEM POLS HAVE  SABOTAGED OUR BORDERS TO EASE TENS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGALS INTO OUR JOBS, WELFARE OFFICES AND VOTING BOOTHS. 


What is left for Legals is only the tax bills for La Raza's looting!


The new reports show that in addition to “traditional” coping strategies of skipping meals and

eating cheap food, these teens and pre-teens are increasingly forced into shoplifting, stealing,

selling drugs, joining a gang, or selling their bodies for money in a struggle to eat properly.



THE DEMOCRAT PARTY: 

FUCK AMERICA’S YOUTH…. WE’VE GOT OUR ILLEGALS CLIMBING THE BORDERS, JOBS AND VOTING BOOTHS!



OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS pounds America’s youth as they build a border to border Mexican welfare state on our backs!


AMERICA’S YOUTH STARVE
                                 
…… ILLEGALS SUCK IN BILLIONS IN WELFARE… they also get our jobs! 


The new reports show that in addition to “traditional” coping strategies of skipping meals and eating cheap food, these teens and pre-teens are increasingly forced into shoplifting, stealing, selling drugs, joining a gang, or selling their bodies for money in a struggle to eat properly.

AMERICA STUDENTS STARVE:

Report on the impact of OBAMA-

CLINTONOMICS-TRUMPERNOMICS


THE  GIG JOB – In America, No Legal Need Apply

"Possibly most affected by this shift in the economy is the Millennial generation, those  aged 18-30. The report notes that more than half of those under age 25 participate in independent work, not just in the United States but throughout the European Union as well."

US Federal student loan interest rates set to rise in July

By Anthony del Olmo 
15 May 2017
On Wednesday, the Department of the Treasury released figures indicating interest rates for new federal student loans for the 2017-18 school year are set to increase by 0.69 percentage points.
Although the Department of Education has yet to officially announce the new rates, Treasury Department figures show that undergraduate Stafford loan rates will rise to 4.45 percent from 3.76 percent. Graduate Stafford loan rates will increase to 6 percent, up from 5.31 percent. Rates on PLUS loans, those for parents as well as graduate students, will increase to 7 percent, up from 6.31 percent.
The government’s interest rate increase has its roots in a 2013 provision signed into law by then President Barack Obama. In that law, the Republican-led Congress and the Obama administration coordinated in establishing how the Federal Reserve set interest rates on student loans. Moving away from a system in which Congress defined interest rates years in advance, interest rates are now tied to financial markets via 10-year Treasury notes.
Although rates had fallen slightly in the years following its implementation, the response by Wall Street to the election of President Trump has provided a significant impetus for their gradual increase.
On top of subjecting student loan rates to the volatility of the financial market, the debt burdens students will confront after they leave college are compounded by the oligarchic and militaristic aims of the Trump administration.
Since the election in November, Treasury yields have risen from 1.71 percent to 2.4 percent as financial speculators have anticipated more federal borrowing based on Trump’s campaign promises for major cuts in corporate and personal tax rates, an infrastructure spending program which will benefit corporations through massive tax write-offs, and increased military spending.
So far Trump’s budget proposal for an expansion in military spending at the expense of social services as well as the tax breaks for the wealthy indicated in the version of the American Health Care Act passed by the House confirm these reactionary promises.
The increase in federal loan rates comes several weeks after current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reversed plans made under the Obama administration to build a new student loan servicing system by consolidating contracts with private creditors into a single vendor.
Despite the largely token measure taken by the previous administration, the move is in line with DeVos’ repeated plans to cut the federal funding and regulations overseen by the Department of Education.
Regardless, the Education Department continues to profit from its contracts with private lenders. Currently, the federal government has $800 million in contracts with nine different loan servicing companies to carry out the tasks of sending bills, collecting payments, and dealing with borrower issues. Under this setup the federal government directly benefits from the student loan crisis to the tune of about $10 billion per year.
With the increase in student loan rates, private lenders are also anticipating higher profits since private loan rates will begin to look more favorable as federal rates continue to increase. David Nelms, CEO of Discover Financial Services, said during an April 25 earnings call, “If the government backs off of that market … we would take the position to take advantage of it.”
Despite the higher rates for private loans, with average fixed rates from 6 to 12 percent and market variable rates from 4 to 10 percent, these lenders account for nearly 10 percent of all student loans, roughly $7 billion to $9 billion.
Notwithstanding their smaller presence, these companies have been known to take advantage of their clients; most private creditors also do not provide income-based repayment programs or deferment plans. Navient, for example, has been prosecuted several times for malpractice, most recently for siphoning nearly $4 billion from millions of debtors.
For private lenders, student loans have created a nearly $200 billion market for asset-backed securities, particularly following the 2008 financial crisis. Known as SLABS (Student Loans Asset-Backed Securities), these securities currently account for over one-third of the $1.4 trillion of student loan debt since their creation by Sallie Mae in 1992. As students are forced to borrow and repay more and more money, a growing student loan bubble could threaten to destabilize the economy just like the housing and dot-com bubbles.
Today, 44 million Americans, one-sixth of the population, collectively owe $1.4 trillion in student loans, which averages to roughly $32,000 per debtor. An estimated seven of every 10 students to graduate college leave in debt. Under the Obama administration, major cuts were made to public funding for higher education. Public universities compensated for this loss with a 33 percent tuition increase nationwide in the first six years of the Obama presidency.
A 2015 study by George Washington University found that millennials, youth roughly between the ages of 18 and 30, are becoming increasingly distressed by this reality. The study found that over 50 percent of millennials are concerned as to how they will repay their student loans, over 80 percent have one long-term debt, and nearly 30 percent are regularly overdrawing their checking accounts.
To compound the pressures placed on students, the likely future interest rate increases will have an impact on their monthly student loan payments and total repayment costs after graduation. Currently, interest rates are fixed for each school year and do not change throughout the life of the loan, but since most students take out loans on a semester or yearly basis, the fluctuations in interest rates per year will require recalculations of monthly payments. Assuming rates will increase each year, this will mean that monthly payments will increase as well.


THE  GIG JOB – In America, No Legal Need Apply


"Possibly most affected by this shift in the economy is the 

Millennial generation, those  aged 18-30. The report notes that 

more than half of those under age 25 participate in independent 

work, not just in the United States but throughout the European 

Union as well."

AMERICA’S YOUTH STARVE

FOR EIGHT YEARS BARACK OBAMA AND HIS HAREM OF CORRUPT DEM POLS HAVE  SABOTAGED OUR BORDERS TO EASE TENS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGALS INTO OUR JOBS, WELFARE OFFICES AND VOTING BOOTHS. 


What is left for Legals is only the tax bills for La Raza's looting!


The new reports show that in addition to “traditional” coping strategies of skipping meals and eating cheap food, these teens and pre-teens are increasingly forced into shoplifting, stealing, selling drugs, joining a gang, or selling their bodies for money in a struggle to eat properly.

THE DEMOCRAT PARTY: MUCK AMERICA’S YOUTH…. WE’VE GOT OUR ILLEGALS CLIMBING THE BORDERS, JOBS AND VOTING BOOTHS! 
OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS pounds America’s youth as they build a border to border Mexican welfare state on our backs!
 AMERICA’S YOUTH STARVE
                                 …… ILLEGALS SUCK IN BILLIONS IN WELFARE… they also get our jobs!

AMERICA STUDENTS STARVE:

Report on the impact of OBAMA-

CLINTONOMICS-TRUMPERNOMICS


School privatization critic Diane Ravitch offers advice to the Democrats


By Nancy Hanover 

30 May 2017

Diane Ravitch, the widely read education historian, author and advocate for public education, titled a May 23 blog, “Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats.” The full-length opinion piece was also published the same day in New Republic with the underline “The Democratic Party paved the way for the education secretary’s efforts to privatize our public schools.”
For those who might think to themselves, “Finally the truth at last!” there is more to the story. Ravitch aims not to discredit the Democratic Party, let alone encourage a political break from this party of Wall Street and war, but to advise it.
The article states that Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has generated “a tsunami of liberal outrage” for good reason. Ravitch emphasizes that the secretary is hostile to the very idea of public education. Indeed, Trump’s budget proposals demand $10.6 billion in cuts, measures that could deny tens of thousands of young people the chance to go to college, put the community college system on rations and slash K-12 school programs across the country. The day prior to the release of the budget, DeVos promised “the most ambitious expansion of education choice in our nation’s history.”
Ravitch’s article then refers to the stage-managed “grilling” of DeVos by Senator Al Franken at her confirmation hearings, and the reaction of other Democrats like Senators Cory Booker and Michael Bennet who decried her nomination as an “insult” to the nation’s children.
“Listening to their cries of outrage, one might imagine that Democrats were America’s undisputed champions of public education,” Ravitch says. “But the resistance to DeVos obscured an inconvenient truth: Democrats have been promoting a conservative ‘school reform’ agenda for the past three decades,” she states.
The education historian substantiates this by briefly reviewing the record, starting with the support of Bill Clinton for standardized metrics linked to monetary rewards, which ultimately laid the groundwork for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
As usual, Ravitch does not spare Obama. “The Obama years saw an epidemic of new charters, testing, school closings and teacher firings. In Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 public schools in one day. Democratic charter advocates—whose ranks include the outraged Booker and Bennet—have increasingly imported ‘school choice’ into the party’s rhetoric,” she states.
She hones in on the money trail: “[S]upport for mandatory testing and charter schools opens fat wallets on Wall Street. … In 2005, Obama served as the featured speaker at the inaugural gathering of Democrats for Education Reform, which bundles contributions to Democrats who back charter schools: Among its favorites have been those sharp DeVos critics George Miller, Michael Bennet, and Cory Booker.”
Ravitch’s narrative highlights the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, its open alliance with Wall Street hedge funds and its thoroughly reactionary attacks on public education in the interest of profit-taking.
The problem with her argument, however, is the “inconvenient fact” that Ravitch has been an unswerving supporter of the Democratic Party every step of the way. This included supporting Obama twice, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and countless other regional and local Democrats.
She called Obama’s Race To The Top “disastrous” and “demoralizing,” but formally endorsed him. Ravitch stated about Clinton: “I am supporting her vigorously in this election but have no idea what she will do about K12 education.”
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Despite the brutal cuts assented to by the Democrats, despite their entrenched alliance with Wall Street privatizers—Ravitch continues to back them and encourage her supporters, through the Network for Public Education, to back them. In other words, Ravitch is also culpable for “paving the way” for DeVos, both in fact and by her very own arguments.
But why? There is a certain contradiction. The 78-year-old academic/policy analyst has a substantial record of sticking her neck out in defense of public education, producing among the most well-known and consistent series of exposures on privatization nationally.
An honest observer can only conclude, however, that she is more interested in preventing the discrediting of the Democratic Party and the union apparatus than she is in defending public education. In this, she speaks for the upper middle class social layer that stocks academia, the union hierarchies and various pseudo-left organizations that have a taste for mild reforms and find Trump distasteful, but are appalled by the prospects of a revolutionary working class movement for socialism.
In the vein of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or the Working Families Party (a Democratic Party faction allied with the union hierarchy), Ravitch seeks to conceal the class character of the nation’s oldest capitalist party and reinforce illusions that it can be pressured to defend social and democratic rights.
The type of “pressure” they suggest is demonstrated by the May 23 letter by American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten to the membership of the union. She called the Trump-DeVos budget “manifestly cruel to children and catastrophic to public schools” advocating—not strike action or a mass mobilization to defend public education—but a letter writing campaign to DeVos!
Such transparently pathetic appeals to the billionaire who has devoted her life to the destruction of public education will hardly impress teachers. But these developments speak to the recognition by Ravitch, Weingarten and others of rising working class opposition to Trump and DeVos. They feel compelled to work overtime to keep it safely confined within the Democratic Party.
Ravitch concludes her piece with a series of prescriptions for the Democrats: They “should reclaim their mantle as the party of public education,” they “should support strong teachers’ unions,” they “should fight privatization of all kinds,” etc.
This appeal is above all directed towards her readers—teachers and advocates in defense of public education—to not lose faith in the Democrats and the capitalist system this corporate-controlled party defends.
Ravitch represents a very politically conscious element within American politics. She is most famous for her “come to Jesus” moment when as assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush, she switched from being an advocate of standardized testing and school choice to an outspoken opponent of high-stakes testing, charters and market-based school reform. Since that time, she has rubbed shoulders with various pseudo-left organizations like the International Socialist Organization, elements within the “BadAss Teachers” and #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.
She combines this supposed radicalism with the politics she absorbed in her early days in the political and personal orbit of the late teachers’ union president Albert Shanker. A seminal figure, leading the United Federation of Teachers and the AFT each for two decades, Shanker garnered a reputation in the late 1960s for leading wages struggles and serving jail time for illegal strikes. He coupled his limited trade union militancy with extreme right-wing policies, supporting the Vietnam War and conducting anticommunist purges within the union.
Shanker is perhaps most notorious for his role in sabotaging the struggle against mass closures of schools in the wake of the 1975 New York City bankruptcy, even going so far as to offer $150 million from the Teachers’ Retirement System for investment in city municipal bonds.
Like many other neo-conservatives, Shanker traces his ideological outlook back to ex-Trotskyist Max Shachtman who, in his hatred of the Soviet Union and disillusionment in socialism, became a key adviser of the anticommunist AFL-CIO bureaucracy and the US State Department.
Shanker’s legacy became a prototype for the AFL-CIO and the trade union apparatus. Faced with the end of the post-World War II boom and a historic decline in the world position of American capitalism, the unions by the 1980s would abandon any resistance to the corporate-government onslaught against the working class and convert themselves into direct agencies of the corporations and banks.
In 1983, Shanker signed onto A Nation at Risk, setting the stage for the modern “education reform” movement, and subsequently pioneered the concept of charter schools. It was Albert Shanker who originated the mantra of “reform with us, not against us” to which Randi Weingarten and the AFT now fully subscribe.
This coincided with a sharp shift to the right by the Democratic Party, which would jettison liberalism from its program of liberal anticommunism and join the Republicans in dismantling the social reforms associated with the New Deal of the 1930s and Great Society programs of the 1960s. By the 1990s, the Clintons would join the Republicans in promoting the “school choice” nostrums promoted by free market guru Milton Friedman.
With a photo of herself and Shanker on her home mantle, according to Education Week, Ravitch apparently considers the late union leader a friend and close ideological colleague. In her book Left Back authored in 2000, Ravitch expresses a viewpoint very close to his neo-conservatism, giving vent to her antipathy for the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik Party and socialism. Today she is tightly aligned with the right-wing trade union bureaucracy of the AFT and, no doubt, the US State Department like her mentor, but under conditions of a far more serious crisis of capitalism.
It is, therefore, no surprise she is a full-throated advocate for the anti-Russia campaign of the Democratic Party attacking Trump from the right. In this, she sides with intelligence agencies and the military in their factional battle for state control and efforts to tilt foreign policy further in the direction of war with Russia.
Ravitch recently writes, “The president’s unwillingness to answer questions about contacts between his campaign team and Russian officials, and the pattern of contradictory and misleading statements on those contacts, are toxic. Never in American history has a president been suspected of collaborating with a hostile foreign power to win an election.”
Ravitch’s continued support for the Democratic Party takes place under an unprecedented social counterrevolution and an escalating frenzy for war. Her allegiance to the party is not politically na├»ve or tepid, no matter how coyly she wields her pen. It follows inevitably from her anticommunism and ideological support to the pro-capitalist trade unions.
“Don’t like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats” is, despite superficial appearances, aimed at dampening down opposition and providing a lifeline to the crisis-ridden Democratic Party and the capitalist system it represents.
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