What Is WRONG With These People?

I don’t know why I constantly ask that question–I know what’s wrong with them. They are greedy and unethical, none too bright, and they lack both human empathy and any concept of justice. The better question is why are they this way? (There used to be a theory about punitive toilet training…)

Are you wondering what has set me off this time?

The Hill reports that

The GOP bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on Friday, would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which erases student debt for those who work for qualifying employers after making payments for 10 years.

The qualifying employers include government organizations and nonprofits, according to the federal student aid website. Those who volunteer for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps are also eligible.

God forbid we should offer people an incentive to enter into (underpaid) public service! No, we should reserve government positions for people who are able to take advantage of the opportunities–people who can use those positions to line their already-overflowing pockets.

People like Betsy Devos.

The Washington Post reports that DeVos recently awarded her department’s debt-collection contracts to two firms, one of which she had invested in shortly before becoming Secretary of Education.

A company that once had financial ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was one of two firms selected Thursday by the Education Department to help the agency collect overdue student loans. The deal could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Previously, the Department has used as many as seventeen companies to collect overdue student debt. Suddenly, they need just two.

DeVos presumably divested her stake in the successful bidder as a condition of her appointment, but of course, once she leaves, she will be perfectly free to reinvest or engage in other business dealings with a company that now owes her big time.

What makes this “deal” worth hundreds of millions of dollars–and what makes me so livid–is that DeVos is methodically engaging in a process of overturning Obama-era regulations that were–by any measure–efforts to be fair to the students DOE presumably is there to serve.

It was DeVos who proposed eliminating the Public Service Loan provision. It is DeVos who has reversed the Obama Administration’s decision to forgive loan indebtedness from students who were defrauded by predatory for-profit “universities.”

CNBC took a look at some of the DeVos policy changes, noting that terminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program would “drastically impact public servants who have made significant financial and career decisions based on PSLF provisions.”

CNBC also reported that

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education was incentivized to award Federal Student Aid contracts to debt collection companies with the strongest records of helping borrowers and the lowest rates of loan defaults.

One of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ first major moves was to revoke this policy, making it more likely for the government to award Federal Student Aid contracts to companies that sell their services for the lowest price. These low-cost collection companies often offer riskier loans and provide less support to individuals trying to navigate the student loan maze.

Betsy DeVos is a poster child for an administration in which absolutely no one has the slightest concept of “the public good”– or, for that matter, ethical governance.


  1. Sheila,

    The better question is why are they this way? (There used to be a theory about punitive toilet training…)

    This mess had its beginnings with Jerry Falwell’s trip to Israel in 1967. By 1980, Ronald Regan was winning the Presidency with the help of Falwell’s Moral Majority. Everything after that is nothing more than an UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCE of extreme anti-Semitic and racial hatred under the mask or guise of Christianity as Walter Cronkite had tried to warn the nation for so many years.

    See my website http://www.Democracide.info for a chronology of their path.

  2. I wanted to say the following in response to the last blog about bubbles, but I think it also applies to this. Our bubbles affect our worldview and shift our outlook on reality, but there is such a thing as just being wrong.

    It does take some critical consumption of news to engage with reality, but in our political environment, there are those that are willfully denying reality, then proclaiming that those that say they are wrong are just “in their own bubble.” While this is present on both sides, conservatives engage in this far more than their liberal counterparts, likely due to trying to keep things “the way they used to be.”

    It is particularly insidious, and allows people to support this kind of mean-spirited policy with loud support from their base, all while feeling perfectly justified that they somehow just know better than everyone else.

  3. I think part of their logic (if you can even call it that) is that under any and all circumstances if you have experienced a financial hardship of any magnitude, it is without reservation your fault and you do not deserve any assistance even if that would help the broader economy. Rather you deserve punishment – insult to injury – for being so foolish. I mean how stupid can you be to get in a catastrophic car accident and not get back to work tomorrow, not be able to pay a quarter million dollars for open heart surgery, or not get enough scholarships to pay for all of your school and be debt free? I mean really, these things don’t happen to good people. You know…believers in the Prosperity Gospel. That fictitious teaching that Jesus will reward you with great financial wealth on Earth if you act like a sanctimonious a-hole with your boot heel on the neck of those poor people who aren’t rich and probably white just like you. THAT’s what Jesus said, right? Give corporations massive tax cuts (welfare) and squeeze the living daylights out of any poor person who was dumb enough to try to get a leg up with an education. Unless I’m missing something, didn’t we value education in America at some point?

    While I am here: Here’s a caution for anyone you know who’s struggling to pay Student Loans and thinks the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan is the only way they can stay current or get them paid off. BE VERY CAREFUL because that plan often lands people with an affordable payment today, but also a negative amortization. That is, you’re paying on the loan, but the balance is going UP not down because you’re not paying enough to even cover the interest. It’s literally worse than paying the minimum payment on a maxed-out credit card – at least that balance will eventually go down if you make no more purchases. If you stay in standard IBR 25 years, the loan balance is forgiven at that point. HOWEVER the amount forgiven is taxed as income. That could be a major ouch! Furthermore, under the same plan DeVos is trying to end, you MUST be paying back under IBR to get forgiveness at 10 years (actually 120 on-time payments is a better term) in public service. The caution here is if you start down the path to Public Service Loan Forgiveness and change course, you may have done your financial future irreparable harm. There is already talk of legal action if the program ends because people will have made significant life choices to take advantage of a program the government enticed them into, then canceled the deal 10 years in. As I recall, 2017 was the first year for forgiveness to be available to the first applicants.

    As I encounter people heading to college today I advise them that under no circumstances should they take out a student loan. Brand me a heretic, but it’s the truth. Don’t do it. Just don’t. If your life is perfect and you can pay it off your first year of work, maybe. Otherwise they are the single most lethal financial instrument you can possibly take on. You cannot get out of them under any life circumstance and you essentially cannot negotiate new terms.

  4. “What Is WRONG With These People?”

    “I don’t know why I constantly ask that question–I know what’s wrong with them. They are greedy and unethical, none too bright, and they lack both human empathy and any concept of justice. The better question is why are they this way?”

    Sheila; you are probably constantly asking yourself this question for the same reason I keep asking, “What stupid action or Tweet can Trump possible do after whatever stupid action or Tweet of the day?” because we simply CANNOT believe this is happening today in America. You were a Republican working in Indianapolis Republican City Government; I was an Independent working in the same Indianapolis Republican City Government when we could support, and many times, be proud of what we/they were doing. Is this why today’s Republican government at Indiana and federal levels is impossible for us, and others from that era, to believe or to stomach?

    As for Betsy DeVos “divesting” herself of business dealings she was allowed to reinvest in or enter into other business dealing with a specific company after her appointment; Jared Kuchner claimed to “divest” his interest in a development which his family (including himself) continuously provided plumbing for that development. Isn’t it obvious these people are all the “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” families with unending, supporting income levels?

    “The GOP bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on Friday, would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which erases student debt for those who work for qualifying employers after making payments for 10 years.”

    As for eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program; is there any bill providing forgiveness for those owing outlandish student loans who became disabled or seniors living on Social Security and no longer able to work, or those who lost jobs due to their positions and/or entire companies being shipped out of this country? Who is helping them?

    Those words on the base of the Statue of Liberty welcoming “your poor, your tired, etc…” now apply to millions of American citizens, born and raised in this country who, for reasons beyond their control, can no longer work or have been demoted to barely above federal poverty level income…or no income.

    “What Is WRONG With These People?” Most of them have more money than they know what to do with and simply want more of the same.

  5. These are the sort of people who thought slavery was just dandy, so what do you expect?

    They are just animals. They didn’t get the memo about how humans can transcend that status, courtesy of Jesus, among others (oh, the irony). They really worship Satan in the “do what thou whilst” sense, in a pure religion of hedonism, a pure religion celebrating the law of the jungle.

    From a brain development point of view you would call them sociopaths. The ugly truth is that sociopathy is a continuum, and these people are at the “no damned good” end of the bell curve. Ted Bundy was one of them, an extension of who they are.

    What causes it? Poor genetic inheritance (sorry, hippies, but it obviously does run in families), but also the randomness of genetic makeup, and the traumas of childhood that burn the love out of their cold little hearts. Plus, as Sheila points out, below average intelligence, which (again, sorry, hippies) is quite obviously linked to that inability to transcend animal nature and become an actual human.

    30% of the population or so are clever apes, and right now they are flinging their shit at us.

  6. Over It; how much does pollution and dumping hazardous waste wherever it is most convenient have to do with chemical changes in the brain…and the inability to make rational, humanitarian decisions? How much does it have to do with escalating cancers and many other escalating illnesses and diseases and Big Pharma taking advantage by escalating cost of medications faster than the illnesses and diseases? This; like all other problems to day in this government go to Follow The Money.

  7. We now have a clear example of what happens when we rely on the regulatory authority of government. Regulations are easily changed. In the event the Dems take control of the Congress in the upcoming election, they must pass laws that make these regulations explicit.

    Pay no attention to the tweets. They are a distraction. Pay close attention to the raping of our environment, our educational system, and our public research system.

  8. Welp, I guess I’m going to start looking to leave my public service job. I’m about 6 years into paying my public service loan forgiveness program (in fact, I just got my annual certification back a couple weeks go). I was foolish enough to consolidate my loans 3 years ago, which unbeknownst to me, restarted my PSLF time line. I suppose I’d be even more annoyed if I had my proper 9 years of credit.

    I knew this would probably happen, but it still enrages me. It’s the whole reason I stuck with a service job – I would at least get my loans forgiven after 10 years of payments (13 in my case…but I digress).

    I need a drink.

  9. Dick,

    We will all be screwed by the time this jerk is through. Just watch what happens when the stock market starts to weaken. It’ll crash just like a dropping elevator out of control.

  10. Clarification – I’m 9 years of payments into the 10 year program. I lost 3 years by consolidating loans 6 years ago., which restarted my clock.

    Good thing it’s Friday.

  11. As far as I know nobody expected DeVos to be capable of doing her job and her performance is certainly down to those expectations. She’s merely a Koch plant making government more incompetent than private companies so profit can be made where none was possible before.

    She will chip away at education for four years, return home wealthier than at the start, and leave in her wake a less educated public easier to manipulate by other profit makers. She will also leave behind a significantly less capable more expensive Dept of Education.

    She’s just a small part of the damage that we always knew TrumPence would inflict.

    Unfortunately the only way to limit the damage that our little adventure into incompetent government will leave behind is slow and tedious. Thoroughly clean house. It is not true that all Republicans are the cause but it certainly is that everyone part of the problem is Republican.

    All Ds in all races in 2018 and ’20. Not elegant or heroic work, retail politics, but doable and simple and effective. Leave no potential voter unturned.

  12. Marv,

    I wouldn’t anticipate the market crashing anytime soon. Having a house/senate/president whose policy is “do whatever you want!” is pretty good for business. Sooner or later the bubble will burst when the cons/scams begin to come to light – a la the housing crisis. But, that may still be years off.

  13. They are bought, sold, paid for, shackled, Whatever else they are doesn’t matter, because they are not free to move. Having this attitude regarding them is the only way I can live with myself. My next step, when I an a little stronger, will be to find a way to release them!!!

  14. this is just another corprate america move. we elected ceos to manage america,not govern. corprate america.,profit over lives. corprate america,wanted to be,and now is, your goverment..real smart eh?

  15. Time for me to break out Photoshop & get to work relabelling my collection of Boss Tweed jpgs.

  16. Dirk,

    Trump is highly manipulative and can stimulate the market upward, but he will have NO CREDIBILITY when things weaken and there will nothing he can say or do to stop the fall.

    Earlier in my career, I was an institutional analyst for a regional securities firm located in Dallas. From my observations, it was clear that those involved in the stock market were very insensitive to social issues. It’s all about $$$. Trump’s actions, especially against minorities and the poor, I’m afraid are going to affect the stock market much earlier than most anticipate.

    He’s not going to be able to “have his cake and eat it too.” Neither is the stock market.

  17. “What is wrong with these people?”

    On a farm, it is the limitations of THE BEAST THAT IS ALL ANIMAL AND NOTHING ELSE that makes the sow eat the piglet that is born crippled or colored differently than the rest of her offspring.

    It is the limitations of THE BEAST THAT IS ALL ANIMAL AND NOTHING ELSE that makes the cow deny milk to the calf that is different from the calf she expected.

    It is the limitations of THE BEAST THAT IS ALL ANIMAL AND NOTHING ELSE that makes the chickens devour one peck at a time any fellow chicken that acquires a spot on its feathers.

    It is the limitations of THE BEAST THAT IS ALL ANIMAL AND NOTHING ELSE that makes those same chickens so cowardly that a mere shadow causes the flock to cower in hysterical piles so deep that many fellow chickens at the bottom of the pyramid are smothered and crushed to death.

    And it is the limitations of THE BEAST THAT IS ALL ANIMAL AND NOTHING ELSE that makes a human govern like an animal and nothing better.

  18. The rage on this blog today is totally valid. This is the kind of anger that motivates people to do the right thing. In this case, it is part of the wake-up call regarding abject corruption by these third-world, banana republic idiots having the power to execute their own agendas.

    Can you imagine the interview DeVos had during her vetting for this job? It had to occur before her Senate committee hearing, so she told the Trump-ites what was in store. They loved it. Again, Betsy DeVos is the worst thing to happen to public education and education in general, since the invention of high-stakes, standardized testing. Oh, wait. That was a different Republican administration.

  19. Dirk; with the new tax “reform” in place, businesses on Wall Street are making more money than ever before, allowing them to buy up more stock in these businesses with soaring profits. When the grits hit the fan, and middle-America who supports those businesses can no longer afford their goods or their services, the market will begin it’s decline. Too many Americans are still fooled by Trump’s Tweets about their “tax cuts” before learning which money saving exemptions have been deleted, costs of everything continues to soar – especially medical coverage or medical treatment and cost of meds if they can afford them – they will believe the economy is on the upswing. They will come to full attention when they get hit solidly in the wallet – Trump supporters and detractors alike.

  20. Vernon,

    You’re right. RAGE is the appropriate mindset for the times. Anything less will be useless. Can we wait for the ax to fall? I don’t think so. It’ll be utter chaos by that time.

  21. Vernon; with the appointment of Betsy DeVos, Trump hit the Trifecta. DeVos’ plan for public education to become “God’s KIngdom”, his access to her family’s BILLIONS and direct access to her brother Eric’s Blackwater Troops who are probably readying for the war Trump has been seeking since 2015 when he learned he would have unobstructed access to that nuclear button.

    Whew; I am out of breath with that long-winded sentence/paragraph.

  22. I think we will be due for an economic downturn sooner rather than later due, among other things, to the big bump in our debt arising from the giveaway of what will turn out in time to be trillions, trillions that could and should have been devoted to end wage inequality but weren’t, resulting in a drag on demand, the sole arbiter of economic growth. We are currently seeing stock market froth; not growth. The chump change net increase in workers’ paychecks will be offset by other reductions and credits in the recently passed “tax” bill in a classic “The lord giveth; the lord taketh away” exercise you will never hear discussed in Republican circles.

    Except for the few who are greatly profiting from this new trickledown on steroids environment (and aside from the virtually meaningless runup of the Dow, which measures public largesse rather than corporate performance), all we have done with this recently passed legislation is to further redistribute the nation’s wealth upward as the marginally increased demand (considering the upcoming Fed’s rate increases designed to blunt inflation) will not result in robust economic growth. For now, I am sticking with my prediction that we will move toward recession this year or 2019 at the latest as the toxic effect of this recently passed “tax” bill takes hold. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a first rate economist, tells us that trickledown economics has never worked in large economies – and ours is large.

    Meanwhile, let’s not mistake froth for substance. Undeserved gifts to the rich and corporate class at our expense and that of our grandchildren does little for economic growth, which depends entirely on aggregate demand. A better investment in economic growth would have been to very substantially increase the wages of working Americans who would spend their money in the marketplace and thus stimulate demand, an investment in the public good which is clearly a better investment than the ones we have chosen, with our public gifts sitting in Swiss banks and not reinvested here as claimed due to lack of strong demand. When and if we Democrats control the Congress and the Oval Office, I hope this recently passed “tax” bill is repealed or gutted in favor of a more Keynesian look at both fairness and reality.

  23. JoAnn,

    We all need to understand our President. He definitely needs a war to stay in control. Using minority scapegoats isn’t working out as he and Bannon anticipated. Serious misperceptions have caused crucial miscalculations in their planning. Terrorism and war are his only chance.

    Why would he have recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, if he wasn’t looking for trouble, especially for the Jewish community in the U.S.?

  24. Marv; will Trump’s internal terrorism against his own administration continue till he gets his desired/needed war while we are trying to sort out the confusion? To borrow a line by Dolly Parton from “Steel Magnolias”; do we know whether to scratch our watch or wind our butt? The revolving door at the White House cannot strengthen his remaining “chosen few”, primarily family members, Jewish family members of one denomination of Judaism, the predominant denomination in Jerusalem? Lurking in the wings is Pence with his private denomination of christianity (deliberate small “c”); can there be an internal holy war brewing we are unaware of? Even in this current maelstrom of failing governing and mass confusion; can there be a hidden plan by Republicans as there was that hidden racist committee against President Obama which was finally forced before the public? We KNOW we are being publicly misled by his continuing flip-flops; we are being told to ignore his Tweets but how else will we know when he is flipping and when he is flopping?

    While we are wondering where the Democratic party is hiding and if they have a hidden plan; we may be missing a more dangerous hidden plan by Republicans which is being covered up by allowing Trump to run amok. I told you I have been forced to become a conspiracy theorist; I am now confused by my own conspiracy theories! Like Sheila; I keep asking others and myself, “What Is WRONG With These People?”

  25. Here is another pile of putrefying, smelly, toxic cow manure and I smell Mike Pence –

    >>>New office will help medical providers deny treatment on religious grounds. The new “division for conscience and religious freedom” in the US Health and Human Services Agency will defend healthcare workers who, on religious grounds, refuse to treat patients or take part in procedures. The division will be part of the agency’s Office for Civil Rights.

    Severino said, “For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now.” Severino is the director of the health department’s civil rights division, and an outspoken opponent of abortion, same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.

    To the subject of today’s blog, remember how quickly the ranks closed during the late Bush and early Obama regimes when corporate America needed a bail out.

    The following sums up in words the depths the Republican Party has sunk, so to sum it up:
    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Abraham Lincoln

    “You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”
    — George W. Bush, 25 March, 2001.

    It would appear The Trumpet (aka Agent Orange) and his gang of Republicans have taken George W. Bush’s words to heart.

  26. Who knew that Trump’s doppelgänger was a woman? I hereby renew my lifelong pledge (unbroken) never to buy Amway products. Can we organize a boycott?

  27. This is another example of mean-spirited people who have no social conscious. Helping others, whether it be through loan forgiveness for working in public service (which was not avilable to us older folks), supporting social & medical assistance programs or medical research, or encouraging charitible giving deductions on ones federal inome tax is outside Republican view and values. Vote to make changes (at least starting to make changes) in 2018.

  28. Again,I hate to be Debbie Downer,but the truth is this terrible idea from Devos isn’t much different than how the Obama administration left millions of homeowners hanging when they were defrauded by the mortgage companies/banksters. I agree with the subject and tone of today’s post,but this is selective outrage,no?

    An excerpt:

    President Obama will carry several legacies into his final two years in office: a long-sought health care reform, a fiscal stimulus that limited the impact of the Great Recession, a rapid civil rights advance for gay and lesbian Americans. But if Obama owns those triumphs, he must also own this tragedy: the dispossession of at least 5.2 million US homeowner families, the explosion of inequality, and the largest ruination of middle-class wealth in nearly a century. Though some policy failures can be blamed on Republican obstruction, it was within Obama’s power to remedy this one — to ensure that a foreclosure crisis now in its eighth year would actually end, with relief for homeowners to rebuild wealth, and to preserve Americans’ faith that their government will aid them in times of economic struggle.


    I agree,what is wrong with these people? Republicans AND Democrats. I got mine is what it’s all about.

  29. All of this coincides with Biden’s support against the filing of bankruptcy for those carrying student loans. I can’t help but think the suits are now bundling up student loans just as they did mortgages (MBS) to facilitate the sale of bonds.

    Someone above mentioned rage,yes,I believe the voters (the smart voters) have had enough class-warfare inflicted upon them by the donor/investment class ostensibly supported by both political organizations.

  30. Happy Birthday, Dolly!

    Hope you’re right, Geraldine!

    Empathy is so critical to human development, and the lack manifests itself early, leading to awful stuff. (See current “administration”)

    Marv has been warning us about this disaster for a while now. It’s here … It’s really here.

  31. “The GOP bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on Friday, would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which erases student debt for those who work for qualifying employers after making payments for 10 years.”
    So does this mean that such a proposal must pass the House and Senate because it is legislation? If so, that gives us opportunity to speak out to our reps and sens against such a thing. Or is an act different from a law? Argh.

  32. “The Obama administration set out to save more homeowners from foreclosure, but the effort has been bedeviled by complaints that banks repeatedly lost homeowners’ paperwork or incorrectly told them that they didn’t qualify for help. The Treasury Department didn’t act quickly enough to force banks to abide by the rules of the program, housing advocates have said. Nearly 70 percent of the homeowners who applied for the program were rejected, according to government data.”

    William; read the quote above from the Washington Post. The money was provided to the banks to aid this program by President Obama but Bill Clinton signed the final repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999 before leaving office which ENDED ALL regulations on banks and George W. ran with it. Banks found other uses for the money, they are still unregulated and with no regulations, there is no help from banks in any area, not only preventing foreclosures. The Treasury Department didn’t act; banks are still only in business to make money, not help people. Many home owners, after renegotiating their mortgages, fell behind again due to the economy. Bernie Sanders required Hillary Clinton’s agreement to put in place a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act as part of her campaign to resolve this problem prior to agreeing to put his vote and his support behind her in the election. Donald Trump also “mentioned” seeking a 21st Century Glass Steagall Act if elected. That of course has never again been mentioned.

  33. Betty,

    “Marv has been warning us about this disaster for a while now. It’s here … It’s really here.”

    Betty, you’ve always understood me better than anyone else. There are some real rotten bastards out there and its hard to face up to them. I have an advantage over all of you as I mentioned a few months ago…….. I was raised by a psychopathic father and a sociopathic mother. They were both diagnosed having their little problem. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m also a rarity of making it through that environment still in one piece.

    There are certain advantages from the environment I was raised, if you call it that. I don’t blink like most human beings. It’s probably a disadvantage socially, but definitely an advantage in sports, the military, and deep oligarchy politics.

    I’m sure you realize, we’re losing ground almost on a daily basis. At this rate, in a few months, there won’t be anything to fight for. I’m not going to wait around for the death notice.

    Vernon many thanks. After reading your book, I decided if I want to tell my story, you have to begin with the beginning even if the beginning doesn’t sound too good at the beginning of the story.

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