When “Private” Really Isn’t

Remember when Ross Perot built his third-party campaign on his image as a hard-headed private-sector businessman? And it turned out that his company did most of its “private-sector” business with government?

The revelations about Trump University are highlighting a similar reality: most supposedly “private sector” universities are financed with tax dollars.

Investigations by government officials and reporters over the past few years have uncovered numerous abuses by these schools, which recruit heavily among populations unprepared for higher education, encourage students to take on government-insured loans, and fail to provide them with the education and skills they need to succeed in the job market. According to the U.S. Department of Education, for-profit schools are responsible for 44% of all student loan defaults.

Like Trump “University,” most of these institutions aren’t universities–they’re scams. And  Trump isn’t the only public office-seeker with ties to these lucrative enterprises.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, in a tight race for re-election, is being criticized for his ties to Yorktown University:

The Pennsylvania Senator is expected to get the Trump U treatment over his dealings with Yorktown University, a for-profit college that has been criticized for its lack of accreditation, questionable academic offerings and marketing to veterans who can receive government tuition aid. Toomey is an investor in the online program, served on its boards and agreed to appear in its marketing materials.


Former presidential candidate Marco Rubio was hit in the Republican primary for his support of the now-closed Corinthian Colleges; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took some heat for his support of Victory University, a for-profit based in Memphis, before its untimely demise; and former President Bill Clinton has faced censure for his lucrative work with for-profit colleges, even as his wife has criticized them.

To its credit, the Obama Administration has consistently attacked schools trading false hopes for the tuition dollars being provided courtesy of taxpayers. The Education Department’s long-debated “gainful employment” rule, which requires colleges to track their graduates’ performance in the workforce and eventually will cut off funding for career training programs that fall short, was recently upheld by the courts. The Justice Department recently announced that Education Affiliates would pay $13 million to settle allegations it had falsified federal financial aid claims and issued fake diplomas, the latest in a string of similar actions.

It is past time to shut down these phony “schools” that exist only to prey on the vulnerable while defrauding taxpayers.

Why do I think that wouldn’t happen in a Trump-Pence Administration?


  1. Here’s a thought; Trump and Pence, building on Daniels’ idea a few years ago could come up with a “voucher” system for college students. Private businesses could back specific students, guaranteeing them jobs with salaries to repay their “vouchers”. Oh wait; wasn’t there a legal reason Daniels couldn’t push that through…or have these Republicans so scrambled my brains that nothing like that ever happened?

  2. JoAnn,

    “…..or have these Republicans so scrambled my brains that nothing like that ever happened.”

    Haven’t you learned by now not to use your brain? What is it going to take?

  3. JoAnn – if you are correct that Daniels wasn’t able to move forward with his plan for the servitude of future graduates, I am very glad to know this. That was the most abominable plan for financing college that was ever created.

    I just read an article in the monthly AARP paper that quotes Clinton and Trump on their ideas for shoring up social security. Clinton offered a specific plan that included raising the income that is taxed for SS, along with other ideas to tax the wealthy. Trump’s plan only included benefiting business owners and the wealthy, with the idea that by doing that it would create more jobs and better jobs. It was not a plan to shore up SS at all.

    It appears more and more that there are very few politicians who have not personally gained off of the backs of the average American worker. This applies both to federal and state politicians. It is no wonder that they are willing to fight hard for office. As office holders they are bombarded with money, gifts, very lucrative future jobs and Power.

    While Trump may not need any of these things I have no doubt that he would spend most of his time making sure that he could personally benefit from being the President more than anyone ever has in this country’s history. He cares only about himself and his family members. All others exist to be used for his personal gain.

  4. Marv; I started watching the Convention news Monday afternoon, laughing and applauding the anti-Trump protesters. At least they tried. Watched most of the convention Monday night, switching to “All In The Family” when it got too boring to stay with. You have probably seen my reaction to Pat Smith’s speech; it still upsets me to think of her being used as a pawn by Trump. By the way; he has gotten HIS way regarding appearing every night of the convention after the committee convinced him it would be in better taste to introduce Melania then return for his acceptance speech tonight. He not only does not recognize good taste he has no dignity; he is shaming this country. I began watching early on Tuesday but by the time they got to the Kentucky roll call I was too nauseated to continue, couldn’t eat breakfast the next morning. Watched nothing last night but will try to watch his acceptance speech tonight; I believed it vital to know what they are up to but couldn’t handle it.

    Nancy; Daniels actually did try to involve businesses and the education system in the general manner I described. He also appointed most Board Members at Purdue University and they, in turn, hired him as President of Purdue. I do have a question about one situation with that position; Daniels was often seen around Indy on his motorcycle with his short, bald, bow-legged self. Purdue had a standing rule, no motorcycles on campus; I haven’t been able to learn who won that issue. At least he turned down the offer from one group to run for governor when Trump rescued the state from Pence.

    This is the last night of the convention – let the games begin!

  5. After listening to interviews with convention attendees, I don’t think anything the Trump/Pence ticket did would deter them from their belief that Trump is the “Savior”of America. Jerry Falwell, Jr.just told an NPR interviewer that he very definitely believes Trump is an honest man. When asked about Trump’s Christianity, Falwell excused Trump’s “not sounding like us Evangelicals” on the fact that he’s a New York businessman. They have all drunk the Loop Aid.

  6. Sheila,

    “It is past time to shut down these phony “schools” that exist only to prey on the vulnerable while defrauding taxpayers.”

    Good idea. However, the first thing you have to do is “shut down” the PHONY POLITICIANS like Ross Perot. In the 80’s, we did just that in Dallas and things then moved rapidly ahead in a very positive way.

  7. One of the big things we need to do is change the way we deal with student loans. They should be viewed the same as other debt, renegotiable and dischageable under bankruptcy proceedings.

  8. If you make it your only priority getting rich it is pretty easy. The ones who do it typically wonder why it isn’t everyone’s only priority. The rubes are there for the picking.

    The Cleveland Circus fills the screen nightly with potential Trump University fodder so anxious to start harvesting the country.

  9. JoAnn,

    Just a suggestion, but if you really want to do something effective, why not a spend a dollar or two and read up on “CIA: Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare “( A tactical manual for the revolutionary. First published by the Central Intelligence Agency and distributed to the Contras in Central America). It can be purchased from Amazon.com.

    From the Preface:
    “Guerilla warfare is essentially POLITICAL WAR. Therefore, its area of operations exceed the territorial limits of conventional warfare, to penetrate the political entity itself: the “political animal” that Aristotle defined.”

    “In effect, the human being should be considered the priority objective in a political war. And conceived as the military target of guerrilla war, the human being has his most critical point in his MIND. Once his mind has been reached, the “political animal” has been defeated, without necessarily receiving bullets.”

    “Guerrilla warfare is born and grows in the political environment; in the constant combat to dominate the political mentality that is inherent to all human beings and which collectively constitutes the “environment” in which guerrilla warfare moves, and which is where precisely
    its victory or failure is defined.”

    “This conception of guerrilla warfare as political war turns PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS into the decisive factor of the result. The target, then, is the MINDS of the population, all the population: our troops, the enemy troops and the civilian population.”

    “This book is a manual for the training of guerrillas in psychological operations, and its application to the concrete case of the CHRISTIAN and democratic crusade being waged in Nicaragua by the Freedom Commandos.”

    “Note: In this text the editor has replaced the phrase Sandinista with “Government” as this manual should be a guide to fight and conquer any oppressive government. [I might add such as the Obama Administration]”

    Let’s don’t forget Vice President George Bush was a former head of the CIA. Just a coincidence?

  10. Trump University business degree:

    Be born to wealthy parents and be absolutely relentless in conning people.

  11. Pete,

    “…..relentless in conning people.”

    You can’t neutralize the “conning ” by rational argument from the OUTSIDE. The effective way, like we neutralized Ross Perot, is from the INSIDE. He was strongly convinced that it was going to be too expensive for him PSYCHOLOGICALLY to continue his program of BACKING THE BLUE. His MIND was influenced.

    It was about 30 years ago, much like now, when an unarmed African-American was shot by a Dallas Police Officer. The community was outraged. And here comes Ross Perot into the act with his movement “Backing the Blue.” All I can say is, “that is lasted about two weeks before he closed the movement down.” And thing settled back into some semblance of normality. The message was delivered to him from inside the “con” not the outside. It’s stage managed. So you have to enter into their stage. You don’t create another stage.

    All the outside protests accomplished nothing…..only more ammunition to grow Perot’s movement.

  12. Let us not lose sight of the fact and the basic problem regarding Donald Trump goes beyond the man himself. He has been allowed, encouraged, supported, donated to (with his personal $13 BILLION net worth), by his supporters and is fully backed by the Republican party. The GOP could have – and should have – stopped him over one year ago; the other 16 wannabe presidential nominees turned tail and ran from this national bully, once our National Fool. They are to blame for where we are now and what we face in the future. Our allies around the world cannot and will not agree to work with him. He will not only destroy America and Americans but will destroy all diplomatic associations which have prevented nuclear war thus far. This will happen quickly if we do not vote the sitting Republicans out of Congress in November; that is a MUST even if Hillary wins. The Republicans seem bent on destroying our educational system from within the states; they will gain never before seen opportunities from the national level with Trump.

    A 12 year old child would run with the keys to the candy store if they were handed to him…and Trump’s political knowledge and understanding of humanity MIGHT be that of a 12 year old. Different levels of mental health authorities have followed his campaign (probably followed his career for years) and recognized serious, easily diagnosed, mental problems. The delegates and attendees at the convention have demonstrated a level of questionable common sense, if not intelligence, in their resounding responses to the questionable speakers thus far with the grand finale at 10:00 tonight. Many represent the results of depleted education systems; probably few are college graduates. Expect encores tonight; Trump promised this convention would be based on “show biz” format rather than political…that is one truth he has told.

  13. JoAnn – I knew about Daniels’ idea of student’s signing their life away to businesses as a way to finance an education. I just had not heard that it was no longer being considered. As a Purdue graduate, I was disgusted when he appointed trustees with the intention that they would hire him as the next President and I believe that I have mentioned before on this blog that I lost any sense of pride in Purdue since he was hired. As for the ban on motorcycles on campus – I never heard about that and recall motorcycles being used while I was there. I don’t think they could have legally banned them from the streets that are on campus because I thinkg they are actually West Lafayette streets.

  14. Nancy; It has been too long to remember where I read about the motorcycle ban at Purdue; probably about the time we learned he had been appointed president. Then again; who knows what to believe in the media?

  15. Yes, Pete! YES, YES, YES! (the White House, no apostrophe in there) I have taken to putting a stack of serene Rocky Mountain instrumental music CDs in my car, as even the public radio stations are covering the Trumpence thing. There’s no escaping it. Indoors, I’m viewing Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic Channel, or listening to one of the softer Music Choice channels. The RNC gives me “distress in the lower tract” in a serious way!

  16. Daniels plan to bring feudalism to higher education in the form of patrons who pay students expenses in return for some form of indentured servitude after they graduate is alive and well at the Purdue campus.

  17. Gail; that is really bad news, why hasn’t this been made public. The last I remember seeing anything about this was when it seemed to die out before it began.

  18. Unfortunately politics attracts both public servants and con artists. We have to distinguish between them. Never has that been easier than this year for President.

  19. Roger Ailes, Trumpence’ presumed Secretary of Propaganda is swirling the bowl. What, do they expect Donald to get elected without his own media?

    Of course America’s big three in lying are Donald, Roger and Wayne LaPierre. Can we flush all three and return to democracy and the Constitution?

  20. We need to vote for Trump! He promises that crime in the U.S. will come to an end under his leadership. That’s a good enough reason for me (tongue in cheek).

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