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Archive for the ‘TheNation.com’ Category

This was a Take Action idea I floated to Associate Publisher Peter Rothberg about a month ago.  I researched and wrote up the issue and, as it worked out, it perfectly coincided with this week’s lead editorial.  Going forward, the editors are going to try and create more synergies like this between the  Take Action letters and its related Act Now! blog.  However, as the header to the piece notes, I will not be at The Nation to see that happen.

 

This post was written by ex-Nationintern and freelance writer Corbin Hiar. 

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One important policy issue that has been knocked down the legislative agenda by all the discussion regarding healthcare reform and the financial and auto bailouts is the urgent need to reform the higher education loan and financial aid systems.

The system is clearly broken. Student loans should create opportunities for the young, not cripple them for life. As Act Now! detailed in April, the proposal laid out in President Obama’s ambitious budget could power up the Pell Grant program sufficiently to make a real difference. In addition to protecting Pell Grant scholarships from politicized annual funding debates, President Obama’s higher education budget proposal seeks to increase government loan origination through the highly successful Direct Loan Program and end the sweetheart subsidies the private student loan industry currently enjoys via the wasteful Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

179335018_d96941d1afIn a recent column, Gail Collins of the New York Times described the present system as “something like this:

¶We the taxpayers pay the banks to make loans to students.
¶We the taxpayers then guarantee the loans so the banks won’t lose money if the students don’t pay.
¶We the taxpayers then buy back the loans from the banks so they can make more loans to students, for which we will then pay them more rewards.”

Beefing up the government’s Direct Loan Program and killing off the FFEL corporate cash cow could add an estimated $94 billion in black ink to the government’s budget over the next decade–money that would make the establishment of a Pell Grant entitlement financially viable. Any additional savings could also go to increasing the availability of subsidized Perkins Loans or other measures to expand access to higher education.

Click here to learn more about the FFEL and how you can help to end it.

 

Picture credit: Schlüsselbein2007, altopower (via Flickr)

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Activist Deepak Bhargava discusses the Obama administration’s “stealthy” support for impoverished Americans.

 

Click here to see the VideoNation clip.

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Click here to vote or here to learn more about the kidnapped journalists–I did the (uncredited) research for the April report referenced in the “Act Now!” post.

 

Picture credit: Steve Rhodes (via Flickr)

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Najibullah, a battered resident of the Kandahar province, talks about rebuilding after the latest American air strikes.

 

Click here to watch the interview from the  Brave New Films foundation.

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While I think there are valid reasons for letting the market determine its own interest rates, when 90% of your profit is derived from fees and late payments, clearly the business model has a fatal flaw– a fatal but profitable flaw that is being fiercely defended by the opaque OLL.  Kudos to ANP for another insightful if skewed report.

 

The story being sold in Washington by the Online Lenders Association is very different from the reality being lived by Americans deeply  in debt due to “payday” loans.

 

Click here to watch the American News Project report.

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The Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel discusses the Obama administration’s hopeful first steps and the potential stumbling block posed by the war in Afghanistan.

 

Click here to watch the VideoNation clip.

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I don’t like the impossible dichotomy implied by the phrase “Muslim world” and yet that is what I wrote when I submitted the poll.  Somehow its constant repetition in the mainstream media managed to pervade my thought process.  Ehh.

 

Click here to see the options, vote and comment.

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