Borrower Sues to Stop Biden’s Unfair, Illegal Student Loan Bailout

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Probably the most common legal argument against the Biden administration’s student loan bailout plan is that the federal Department of Education simply doesn’t have the authority to accomplish it.

That’s a core argument in a new lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of an employee whose student debt is affected by the bailout plan.

Putting aside the issues of unfairness, the legal arguments have always been persuasive. The challenge has been to find a plaintiff who will suffer a legally recognized injury necessary to get into court.

The Pacific Legal Foundation has found a whole group of plaintiffs.

The organization’s client, Frank Garrison, has been paying down his education debt using Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program that will forgive his remaining debt after he makes 120 qualifying payments. He’s about halfway through. He also is using the Income-Driven Repayment program, which caps his monthly payment based on his discretionary income.

Various problems with such federal programs and loan forgiveness, in general, have been described elsewhere, but here these programs mean that Garrison would have had his loan balance zeroed out after about 60 more months, with modest payments along the way.

Now, the loan bailout would automatically cancel $20,000 of Garrison’s debt instead, subjecting him to Indiana’s income tax, while doing nothing to improve his monthly payment due to his Income-Driven Repayment participation. He will owe about $1,000 to Indiana simply because the U.S. Department of Education is changing the rules.

Since several states treat loan forgiveness the same way, there are people across all of those states in the same boat. There are probably a lot of borrowers, among the 8 million qualifying Public Service Loan Forgiveness borrowers nationwide, who also are using the Income-Driven Repayment program in these states.

That’s enough for Garrison and the others to get into court. The key point of the HEROES Act is that borrowers “are not placed in a worse position financially” in relation to their student loans because of war or other national emergencies, but the Department of Education is causing, not remedying, economic harm to people like Garrison.

That means several additional arguments get into court, too:

  • The HEROES Act, on which the Department of Education is relying for the bailout, violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, as well as the nondelegation doctrine. That means that Congress cannot give away its legislative power to the executive branch. The law purports to give the secretary of education the power to modify or amend the law regarding repayment requirements, subject only to the conditions in the rest of the HEROES Act, violating those core constitutional principles.
  • Even if the HEROES Act were constitutional, it does not give the Department of Education the power to cancel repayment of student loans in this case. For one thing, the HEROES Act requires that the cancellation be “necessary” and targeted to economic harm that is “a direct result of a … national emergency.” But it’s not. Student loan borrowers are not, the plaintiff quite reasonably claims (quoting the law), “directly ‘affected individuals’ who ‘suffered direct economic hardship as a direct result of a war or other military operation or national emergency.’” And mass cancellation of debts is “hardly ‘necessary’ to mitigate the economic harms of the pandemic.”
  • The Department of Education’s sweeping decision includes many people who are not any worse off because of the pandemic (and probably a lot who are better off, depending what companies they work for). And for those who are worse off today than when the pandemic emergency was declared years ago, they may not be any worse off “relative to their federal student loans” or due in any way to the pandemic in the first place.
  • Even if the HEROES Act were not only constitutional but also able to sweep in such a variety of borrowers, the cancellation is so economically and politically significant that it violates the “major questions doctrine.” The U.S. Supreme Court has been using this doctrine recently in, for example, West Virginia v. EPA, which stopped the Environmental Protection Agency from (improperly) discovering a huge regulatory power in an ancillary part of environmental law.

The Department of Education is making the same error here.

The major questions doctrine,” the plaintiff notes, “requires a clear authorization by Congress of such an economically and politically significant action, which is lacking here. … Without a valid source of authority, the Secretary [of Education] ‘literally has no power to act’” (quoting a different case).

Congress gave no clue that hundreds of billions of dollars in a massive loan bailout was in the HEROES Act, because it isn’t.

Overall, the HEROES Act was never meant for massive cancellation of the obligation to pay back student loans. Furthermore, the bailout plan’s income cutoffs, its relief amounts unconnected to the pandemic emergency, and its arbitrary provision to double the relief amount if the borrower had ever received a Pell Grant (even decades ago), as I have written elsewhere, further show the Department of Education’s abuse of power—if it was properly delegated any such power in the first place.

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This article was published by Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Free Enterprise Club Announces Its Ballot Measure Endorsements for the November 2022 Election

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

This November, Arizonans will decide on 10 ballot measures. The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is endorsing four of these measures: Propositions 128, 129, 132, and 309. Each of these are necessary and critical to make common sense election integrity reforms and protect Arizonans from the influence of out-of-state special interests that exploit the initiative process to put bad policy on our ballots. We encourage Arizonans to vote YES.

On the other hand, Propositions 209, 211, 308, and 310 include tax hikes, programs for government to dox and harass private individuals for donating to causes they believe in, exacerbating the invasion at our border, and increasing inflation. These measures will harm Arizona families and businesses, and we encourage voters to vote NO.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club endorses and asks Arizonans to vote YES on the following measures:

Prop 128 (VOTE YES) allows the legislature to amend ballot measures that the Arizona or U.S. Supreme Court determine contain unconstitutional or illegal language. Out-of-state special interests flood Arizona with millions of dollars to knowingly put unconstitutional measures on our ballots. Prop 128 ensures we aren’t stuck with their broken laws. Learn more here.

Prop 129 (VOTE YES) requires ballot initiatives to pertain to a single subject, the same requirement for bills passed in the legislature to protect our ballots against radical, sprawling initiatives imported from other states to confuse and logroll voters. Learn more here.

Prop 132 (VOTE YES) requires any new tax or tax increase on the ballot to receive at least 60% of the vote to pass. Currently, a tax increase at the legislature requires support from a 2/3 majority of members to be enacted, but only a simple majority of the electorate on the ballot. Prop 132 protects taxpayers from a small majority raising taxes on the rest, crushing our economy. Learn more here.

Prop 309 (VOTE YES) creates universal Voter ID requirements ensuring no matter when, where, or how we vote, ID is required. It requires all in-person voters to show valid, government-issued photo ID, creates ID requirements for voting by mail, and waives the fee for a government ID for those who need it for voting. Learn more here.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club opposes and asks Arizonans to vote NO on the following measures:

Prop 308 (VOTE NO) allows individuals residing in Arizona illegally to receive taxpayer subsidized tuition at our universities. Sold as providing in-state tuition to “DREAMERs” who have been here since they were young children, the actual language of the measure is much broader and far reaching, only requiring the person to have been in Arizona illegally for two years and graduate from an Arizona high school to receive taxpayer subsidized tuition.

Prop 310 (VOTE NO) increases the statewide sales tax by 0.1%, resulting in a nearly $200 million tax hike to fund fire districts statewide. Many of these fire districts have mismanaged their budgets, and wastefully and recklessly spent tax money in the past. Prop 310 is not the solution, as it increases taxes on all Arizonans to subsidize a few and does not include reforms to ensure responsible and accountable use of taxpayer money in the future. Learn more here.

Prop 209 (VOTE NO) excuses people from having to pay their debt, which will increase inflation, make it harder to access credit, and shift the burden to taxpayers who do pay their bills. Funded entirely by California unions, it is sold as impacting only medical debt, but the language of the initiative actually shields all kinds of debt, not just medical. Learn more here.

Prop 211 (VOTE NO) requires private organizations to disclose donors to the government if they spend more than a certain amount in any given election, violating the constitutional right to privacy and association so that government can target, harass, and dox their political opponents. Unsurprisingly, the measure exempts Big Tech, the media, and labor unions from these same disclosure regulations. Learn more here.

Gays Against Groomers Get Financially Deplatformed

Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes

Editors’ Note: A long article but very much worth the read to alert and warn all citizens of the growing surveillance state and increasing control of Americans by the collusion of state, corporate, and big tech power in every aspect of the lives of ‘We the People’.

 

Dissident group  forbidden by PayPal and Venmo from using their services. This is how the social credit system will be used against us all

Just like that:

This is how soft totalitarianism works: no gulags, no jail time, just being excluded from the marketplace. We are rapidly approaching the point where one may not buy or sell without permission of the Regime.

This is also how soft totalitarianism works: the “Regime” is not the State alone, as in the earlier iteration of totalitarianism. It is rather the informal coalition of elites in government, media, finance, academia, and private industry (Yarvin’s term “the Cathedral” is also good) who share the same illiberal left-wing convictions, and act in concert. It is Venmo’s and PayPal’s right to do what they’re doing. But the effect is bad for democracy.

It’s like with Amazon, when it decided not to sell Ryan T. Anderson’s book critical of transgender ideology, and similarly-themed books. It’s Amazon’s right –– but if Amazon, with its dominant market share of the book market, decides that it will not sell a certain kind of book, then that kind of book will not be published.

It’s entirely legal. Do you want a system in which a bookseller is forced to sell books he finds immoral? I don’t. But in Amazon’s case, making a fully legal decision has dramatic consequences of freedom of speech and debate.

I don’t know how this should work, in terms of legislation to solve the problem of financial deplatforming. But this is an issue conservative, libertarian, and authentically liberal politicians should start talking about –– and, when workable policies and laws present themselves, then acting on them. If not, people who dissent from the Regime’s ideology will find themselves more and more driven to the margins, and forced through non-violent means to comply.

I’m on my way to Canada now to give a couple of LNBL-themed speeches. I have more to talk about now. I do every day.

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This article was published by The American Conservative and is reproduced with permission.

 

ESG Financial “Leaders” Live In La-La Land

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week, I virtually attended “The ESG Leadership Forum 2022” co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal Trust and Nasdaq. Panel discussions covered everything from accelerating the energy transition to how to model climate risks into climate strategy to getting to net-zero with tips on how to “actually deliver” on ESG promises.

Speakers earned an “A+” in leadership lingo and managerial theory, but a big “F” in reality. There was a creative high point where win-win was reimagined as wind-wind to describe one company’s “winning” approach to wind energy. (Get it?) In their defense, it is winning from the C-suite perspective. These companies are guaranteed to reap the benefits of government-backed dividends promised by President Biden through trillions of mismanaged taxpayer dollars. 

In reality, however, we the taxpayers will be stuck with the consequences of the ESG movement, and, most notably, the “path to net-zero,” which is both damaging and delusional. It is behind efforts to shutter reliable and affordable energy—mainly coal, oil, and natural gas—and replace it with less reliable, more expensive alternatives. The arbitrary deadlines to reach this goal are forcing the early closure of energy sources without adequately replacing them. As a result, our degraded energy grid now regularly delivers blackouts and brownouts, especially during heat waves and cold snaps when we the regular people consume it the most. This isn’t because of climate change. It can be attributed to poor planning and blind allegiance to ESG principles that constantly overpromise and underdeliver.  

As Team Biden implements its whole-of-the-government effort to shutter U.S. oil and natural gas, ESG investing is maximizing its effect. Government-mandated red tape, coupled with leasing bans, has increased operating costs. At the same time, ESG investors are limiting access to the very capital these companies need to upgrade, expand, and ultimately keep up. The resulting oil market imbalance of suppressed supply is the leading reasonfor the high costs we pay at the pump. The strained natural gas supply, which accounts for 37% of electricity production, has led to the largest 12-month increase in over 40 years and is why one in six families is now behind on utility bills. 

Adding insult to injury, this will have no impact on the climate. Some reports found that a net-zero U.S. would reduce temperatures by only 0.137 degrees in 2100. Recall that a warming temperature is the purported key driver of the change these financial gurus are fighting. 

The real problem is that these ESG elites are in charge of trillions of dollars of investments and their decisions—even the damaging and delusional ones—have a broad reach. They should not be celebrated, but rather held to account—starting with the fire-fire approach. (See what I did there?)

That is fighting fire with fire. Leading this is Strive Asset Management, a company that offers investors the ability to partake in good old-fashioned planning, where maximizing value takes precedence. Strive CEO Vivek Ramaswamyeven has the audacity to let those that reap the benefits of his fund’s returns use their own money to be the change in the world they want to be.

Americans are starting to wake up to the ESG fraud. To find out more about ESG, what it is, and how states are starting to rightfully push back, check out our comprehensive communications kit on ESG Investing.

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This article was published at Independent Women’s Forum, and is reproduced with permission.

To Our Conservative and Moderate Friends

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Are you considering voting for a Democrat, or not voting for a Republican because you think they’re crazy?

If you’re someone who votes according to the “candidate I like,” rather than the political party, consider what RESULTS your vote will bring to America, Arizona, and your family. A candidate’s likability and respectfulness mean nothing if their actions bring destruction.

You may like a Democrat as a person, and they may seem “reasonable” compared to the Republican alternative, but gone are the days when you could assume both parties have the same goals for America with different ideas to achieve them. Today’s Democrats have the opposite vision for America than Constitutional Republicans.

What is your vision for America, for your everyday life, for your family’s well-being? Don’t give your vote to a politician who will dismantle and eventually destroy your vision. Check the voting record and statements of ANY Democrat. (I’m not saying every Republican is wonderful; only that they will at least do far less damage than any Democrat.) Think I’m exaggerating? Look at what Democrat ideas have done to your daily reality:

THIS is what EVERY Democrat represents—no matter how “reasonable” a person they seem to be. Just look at the results of President Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and virtually every Democrat in power—including every Congressperson. And don’t forget about Mark Kelly who ran as a moderate but votes 94% of the time with Democrats. Mark Kelly = Joe Biden. Katie Hobbs = woke insanity.

This is a different America than we had 20, 10, or even 1 year ago. And the main reason is a Leftist long march through the institutions,(Christopher Rufo) and a long strategy grounded in communism and socialism which has overtaken the Democrat party, big business, education, culture, law, and even medicine. Think about it. This is not the America we could have imagined even a few years ago.

Conrad Black sums up the RESULTS of Leftist Democrat policies:

“A disastrous and shaming flight from Afghanistan is described by President Joe Biden as ‘a triumphant success,’ while Dr. Anthony Fauci retires with dignity after doing terrible damage to the country with his nonsense about shutting schools, ‘droplets,’ the ups and downs of masking, the ‘abolition of hand-shakes’—almost all of it now thoroughly discredited.

Six years ago, no one could have imagined that these outrages would have occurred, much less that they would be accepted by a bedraggled, degraded, demoralized United States, its federal government in the hands of lawless and authoritarian myth-makers, applauded by the complicit national political media. Can this be America?”

What will your kids and grandkids experience if we keep putting Democrats in power?

It will only get worse.

That’s why a return to Constitutional Americanism is the only way to restore sanity, dignity, productivity, and hope to America.

And the surest way there is to elect Republicans (no matter how flawed one may be) to replace the destructive RESULTS of Democrats (no matter how nice one may seem).

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This article was published at AZ Free News, and is reproduced with permission.

Apparent Victory Rings Hollow for Group Opposing School Choice

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: It is pretty clear that much of our society’s ills stem from our educational system. The rot started in the universities and has now penetrated down into K-12. With school lockdowns during Covid, many parents finally got to see, with their own eyes, the poor quality and ideologically based and indoctrinating education their children are receiving. Many parents object not only to the curriculum but also discovered the attitude that government schools have concerning sex education, classroom discipline, testing for student progress, and teacher training. As such, it has become clear that a good school board, one that keeps left-wing ideology out of schools is vitally important. But between the teacher’s unions, teachers’ colleges, textbook publishers, and Federal interference, reforming the government-run school system will be a lengthy and contentious process. No matter how much money taxpayers provide, student achievement continues to decline. No matter how much money taxpayers provide, government schools seem determined to brainwash students with left-wing ideology. More funding rarely goes to teacher salaries, but rather to expanded bureaucratic bloat. School choice thus is absolutely necessary to allow parents to opt out of poor quality government schools or seek educational choices more suitable to their children and their own family values. Choice and competition will make all educational institutions better than they currently are. In education, one size does not fit all. Education really should not be a partisan issue but teacher’s unions, are the largest contributors to Democrats. Therefore, whether we like it or not, the reality is it now is a partisan issue. Republicans must make school choice, and school reform, the number one priority in local elections.

 

The effort to block a massive expansion of education choice in Arizona appears to be running out of steam.

Beth Lewis, executive director of the anti-school choice group Save Our Schools Arizona put on her best game face Friday afternoon as she announced that her group has gathered enough signatures to put the recent expansion of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program on the ballot for voters to decide.

But it wasn’t hard to detect Lewis’ disappointment.

Earlier this summer, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a bill sponsored by Arizona House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, to expand eligibility for the state’s ESA policy to all 1.1 million of the state’s K-12 students.

That would mean all families could receive about $7,000 to use for educational expenses such as private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curricula, online courses, special-needs therapy, and more.

The program is widely hailed as the gold standard of education choice, cementing Arizona’s first-place ranking for education choice in The Heritage Foundation’s new Education Freedom Report Card. Arizona placed second nationwide for education freedom overall (including rankings of education choice, academic transparency, regulatory freedom, and return), behind only Florida.

Lewis’ group acted quickly to contest the ESA expansion. Under Arizona state law, voters may refer recently enacted legislation to the ballot for voter approval if they gather the signatures of registered Arizona voters equal to at least 5% of all votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

In 2018, Save Our Schools Arizona ran a similar referendum campaign, in which it gathered about 111,000 signatures—comfortably exceeding the threshold of about 75,000 valid voter signatures. This year, sending the issue to referendum required about 119,000 valid signatures.

“Valid” is the key word. Signatures may be invalid for a variety of reasons—for example, if the signer isn’t registered to vote in Arizona, the signature or address doesn’t match what’s on file, and so on.

According to Ballotpedia, the average signature validity rate of ballot initiative petitions such as this one is 75.3%. Even with an 80% validity rate, Save Our Schools would need about 150,000 signatures to meet the threshold.

But Save Our Schools turned in only about 142,000 signatures Friday afternoon. Unless the group achieved an unusually high validity rate—84%—it is likely that it has failed to obtain enough valid signatures.

It appears that Save Our Schools Arizona already sees the writing on the wall. Earlier this week, Lewis offered a litany of excuses to the left-wing media outlet Salon, complaining about the higher signature threshold relative to 2018, the 80-day window to collect signatures, and likely scrutiny from the legal system.

But Lewis reserved her greatest ire for the efforts of school choice groups such as the Goldwater Institute and the American Federation for Children, to protect the expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Salon reported:

‘They’re already signaling massive legal battles,’ said SOS Arizona director Beth Lewis, who said that petitions are frequently challenged over not just issues like duplicate signatures but also incomplete addresses for signees and smudged notary markings.

Lewis appeared especially aggravated by the pro-ESA grassroots activists who urged voters to decline to sign her group’s petitions. According to Salon, she accused these activists (without evidence) of being backed by the Goldwater Institute and American Federation for Children:

In the meantime, the final weeks of petition gathering have turned hostile, as groups backed by the Goldwater Institute and AFC have launched a massive ‘Decline to Sign’ campaign, holding protests at petition gathering spots, urging supporters to call businesses near petition sites to complain that ‘this is hurting our children’s education’ and videotaping both petition circulators and voters who sign, posting clips of those interactions online. In this atmosphere, petition volunteers say they’ve been surrounded, harassed and followed for blocks on end, while pro-ESA protesters say they’ve been insulted or sworn at by referendum supporters.

While Lewis said there wasn’t ‘any organized opposition’ to the [2018] petition process … this year, ‘It’s like a war zone at some of these events.’

The “Decline to Sign” protesters, who want to protect the ESA program, see it differently.

“Hundreds of volunteer parents from all different backgrounds have come together to peacefully hold signs and talk to voters about the ESA program,” said Taylor Hoffman, a mother of two from Gilbert, Arizona, including one child with special needs.

Hoffman described how she and fellow protesters have had great success in persuading voters not to sign the Save Our Schools petitions. In one case, they approached a father who was considering signing.

“We brought up the fact that Save Our Schools has a history of fighting against multiple school choice laws in Arizona, including the original ESA program that helps special-needs students,” Hoffman said. “The dad decided not to sign and walked away.”

One of the greatest hurdles for Save Our Schools Arizona is voter support for education choice, which has reached all-time highs in the wake of prolonged school shutdowns, Zoom school, and concerns over-politicized classrooms.

Morning Consult poll released in August found that 66% of Arizonans and 75% of parents of school-age children said they support Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Meanwhile, only a third of voters said they believe that their local district schools are on the “right track.”

Save Our Schools’ assault on education choice at a time when parents need it most may have awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.

“The grassroots movement of Decline to Sign not only slowed down SOS signature gatherers, but it created a community of like-minded folks that genuinely care about what is best for kids,” said Grant Botma, a father of three from Gilbert, Arizona. “No politics. No hidden agenda. Just parents fighting for what is best for their kids and kids in the community.”

The coming weeks certainly will see signature challenges and likely will see litigation. One thing is for certain: Arizona parents will be watching.

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This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

BREAKING: NEA Resources Discuss ‘Sadomasochism,’ ‘Bondage,’ and Other Sex Acts

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: This article is a reminder of how hostile teachers’ unions are now to family values and children. And yet, we have them instruct our children. That does not make a lot of sense, does it? Conservatives need to respond in two ways. Run for the school board and make sure someone is watching the curriculum. Indeed, since the education of our children is one of the most important things you can provide for them, school board elections, which have been long ignored, are arguably more important than many other higher-profile political positions. We have for too long taken schools for granted, assuming they were being well run. That assumption has proved disastrous. Secondly, if there ever was a case for school choice, this is it. With things like this going on in the public schools, why support them? Public schools no longer support the needs of “the public”, that is, the parents and their children. In fact, parents are considered at a minimum to be a nuisance, and by many Democrats domestic terrorists, in blocking the project to remake society along the lines preferred by cultural Marxists. If you really want the ultimate in parental control, find a private or charter school to your liking and support school choice at the ballot box.

 

Teachers reportedly wearing badges promoting LGBTQ-friendly websites

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, as well as the Hilliard, Ohio branch, are under social media fire after it was revealed that resources from the union’s LGBTQ+ Caucus include how-to-guides for explicit sexual acts.

According to local media, some teachers in Hilliard have been wearing badges provided by the Caucus. The badges include a QR code that redirects users to a variety of LGBTQ-friendly websites and resources. The Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo reported that one of these resources, Teen Health Source, provided a “Queering Sex-Ed” document that provides instruction regarding “sex acts that don’t get enough play.”

The acts, which are formatted as if they are cooking recipes, include anal sex, bondage, rimming, domination, sadomasochism, sexting, fingering, muffing, outercourse, and fisting.

“The NEA is the largest teachers union in the country, representing more than 3 million public school teachers in all 14,000 local school districts,” Rufo said in a tweet. “And they’re actively promoting resources for ‘putting a fist or whole hand into a person’s vagina or bum.’ Disgraceful.”

“Focusing on gender identity, sexuality, is taking time away from…academics,” agreed Lisa Chaffee, who is affiliated with Ohio Parents Rights in Education. “And it is putting teachers in a position to have to answer questions they should not. These are questions for at home.”

Hilliard Superintendent Dave Stewart, who refused to appear on camera, released the following statement to local media:

“The badges in question were provided to any teacher who requested one by the National Education Association (NEA) and Hilliard Education Association (HEA). The front of the badge that is visible when worn says “I’m Here.” The intent of the badge is a message of safety and inclusion for all students.

The QR code on the back of the badge is not there to be shared with students; rather, it is provided to adults by the NEA should they be interested in learning more about LGTBQ+ issues and supporting LGBTQ+ students. Any teacher who chose to wear one of the badges clearly understood that the resources at the link were intended for adults, not students. The resources are provided for teachers’ personal growth and professional development. No teacher was ever required to wear one of the badges or access any of the resources linked to the QR code.

Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, teachers have received the following guidance from their association leadership regarding the badges:

  • Teachers were reminded that the resources linked to the QR code were for adult learning only. Additionally, they were reminded that the resources should not be included or used in designing any lesson plan.
  • Teachers were reminded that if asked about the “I’m Here” message on the badge, their response should be age appropriate.
  • Teachers were advised that it may be in their best interest to cover the QR code on the back of the badge.

The Hilliard City School District remains committed to ensuring that all students feel safe, included, and welcomed in their learning experience. While the badges were not created or provided by the Hilliard City School District, the district embraces the inclusive nature of the message. Questions about the specific resources provided to teachers should be directed to the NEA or HEA.”

“We obviously want it to be a safe space for everybody but we want it to be clear about what the zones are about how conversations are handled and they are not just like this, sort of misfiring in different directions,” said Omar Tarazi, a Hilliard City Council member and candidate for State Representative who has a child attending Hilliard schools.

“There’s professionals that are trained and get extensive years [of] training on how to handle these sorts of things and we are not sort of deputizing everybody with a badge,” Tarazi added. “Their role is education. There is an element of that where you have to have a good relationship with students. But that doesn’t mean you are the personal therapist for every student.”

Neither the National Education Association nor the Hilliard Education Association has commented at this time. However, Maria Bruno, who is the public policy director for Equality Ohio, an LGBTQ advocacy group, has argued that the QR code does not link to any objectionable material.

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This article was published by Chalkboard Review and is reproduced with permission.

There Is No Such Thing As Student Debt Cancellation

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

President Biden finally announced his promised student debt relief program. The government will forgive up to $20,000 of student debt for Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 for others with an annual income below $125,000 ($250,000 if married). On top of this, he is extending the grace period on student loan repayment until the end of the year. The plan is estimated to cost $24 billion per year for a decade, for a total of $240 billion.

The victory lap surrounding the announcement suggests the government does not fully understand its own policy. Consider two representative politicians, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, who describe Biden’s policy as debt “cancellation.” Recent columns in Forbes and CNET show similar statements. The word “cancel” is very telling; it gives the impression that student debt disappears. The cancellation narrative is reinforced by advocates talking about the benefits of the debt relief, while remaining silent about its costs. There is no such thing as debt cancellation. The loan will be repaid. The only question is who will foot the bill. Recognizing that the Biden administration’s policy merely shifts the burden from some Americans to other Americans, the economic and ethical questions involved are more salient than many realize.

The student debt forgiveness policy means the government will forgo roughly $240 billion in payments over the next decade. How will it deal with this revenue shortfall?? There are a few possibilities. The government may:

  • Cut spending
  • Raise taxes
  • Issue debt
  • Create money

The options are not mutually exclusive. The government might employ some combination of the four. But, no matter how you slice it, that $240 billion dollars will come from somewhere. Basic accounting requires it.

Further, the idea that the government is footing the bill for this policy is a bit misleading. The cost of the program does not fall on the government. It falls on those who miss out on expenditures that would have otherwise occurred, those who pay higher taxes as a result of the program, those who pay higher interest rates or are crowded out due to additional government borrowing, or those who see the purchasing power of their dollars reduced more than usual.

Remember, the government cannot give without taking.

Biden’s student debt forgiveness policy raises important ethical questions. For example, individuals making up to $125,000 a year qualify. But median income in the United States is only around $45,000. Why should low-income Americans pay for loans taken out by those who earn much more? 

There are other equity issues, as well. Some students and graduates sacrificed consumption to pay down their loans more quickly and, as a result, will not see as much of their debt forgiven. Those who made the minimum payments or no payments at all will benefit. Those who have repaid their loans in full receive nothing. Why are those who have repaid their loans less deserving of financial assistance than those who haven’t?

Further, the possibility that such a policy will be enacted again seems likely to create further problems. Lawrence White predicts individuals will be more inclined to take out larger loans, at higher rates, because there is now a greater chance that Uncle Sam will force someone else to pay for it at some point in the future.

There is no denying that some Americans are struggling, and some of those struggling have student debt. If the Biden administration is genuinely concerned about those struggling, it could provide greater assistance to those with low incomes. If it is genuinely concerned with those struggling to repay their student loans, it could have phased out the debt forgiveness over a much lower income threshold. That it took neither of these paths suggests it is primarily concerned with winning votes from educated elites in the next election at the expense of everyone else.

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This article was published by AIER,  the American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

Stupid Wealthy People

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Bellevue, Washington, is predominately wealthy, educated (in years of schooling), white, and Asian.  As with similar wealthy and educated enclaves in America, it embraces ludicrous woke dogma and allows it to be taught to children in the local school district.

That makes the residents stupid.

One resident is an exception.  She wrote the following letter to the Wall Street Journal, in response to a recent op-ed titled, “How Teachers Are Secretly Taught Critical Race Theory.”

The Bellevue School District, east of Seattle, is considered one of the best in Washington. Yet, in recent years, divisive ideology has taken root.

My daughter’s sophomore English class replaced its unit on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” with a two-month-long unit on cultural identity in which students read articles about “whiteness,” “queerness” and “cultural assimilation.” The same year, she experienced cultural- or racial-identity units in three other subjects: world history, health, and even band.

Since middle school, her core subjects have routinely been interrupted for discussions of microaggressions, and she has been asked to create her ethnic and racial family tree five times. My younger daughter’s middle-school history teacher scrapped the required curriculum (the events leading to World War II) in favor of reading newspaper articles pushing for open borders and illegal immigration.

In my daughters’ history classes, essay prompts are no longer thought-provoking questions but slogans such as “No Human is Illegal” and “Decolonize Your Curriculum.” The slogan “Black Lives Matter” currently appears on the facades of our school buildings and on clothing worn by teachers.

Yet when parents express concern about CRT in the classroom, educators in our district deny its use or inundate us with psychobabble.

Bellevue’s politicization of the classroom can be explained by its key demographics, which are displayed in the table below.  To show the sharp contrast between Bellevue and other cities, demographics are also listed for my adopted home of Tucson.

 

Bellevue Tucson
Non-Hispanic Whites 52.0% 43.3%
Asians 37.5% 3.2%
Total Whites & Asians 89.5% 46.9%
Hispanics 7.4% 44.2%
Blacks 2.6% 4.9%
Residents with a Bachelor’s or Higher 69.1% 28.2%
Median Household Income $129,497 $55,023
Poverty Rate 6.8% 20.8%

 

The above reflects the fact that cities with a high percentage of Asians, especially Han Chinese, East Indians, and Filipinos, tend to be wealthier, because, collectively, these groups are at the top in income and education in the US.  By contrast, cities with a high percentage of Hispanics, especially recent immigrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, tend to be poorer.  

Generally, the wealthier a locale, the more that the residents have an obsession with race, a need to virtue signal, and an infliction of cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy.

For example, the Bellevue school district advocates for open borders, and it doesn’t mean the Canadian border.  Yet it has few Mexican students and is far from the Mexican border, unlike Tucson and the Tucson school district.

Talk is cheap.

Don’t take this as a slam against Mexicans, other emigrants from Latin America, or immigration in general; but, again, the fact is that migrants who cross the southern border are typically poor, poorly educated, and unskilled.  If large numbers of them were to migrate to Bellevue, the city’s household income and test scores would fall.

As I’ve detailed elsewhere, there are other cities like Bellevue in terms of being predominately wealthy, educated, white, Asian, and woke.  One of them is Arlington, Virginia, where companies that espouse diversity and inclusion have established their headquarters, or are in the process of doing so, including Amazon, Boeing, and Raytheon.

Judging by where they chose to locate their headquarters, their definition of diversity is different from mine.  To them, it means a locale dominated by the wealthy and college-educated.  It doesn’t mean Tucson.  Nor does it mean my wife’s hometown of Bradford, Pa., which is in the northwestern part of the state, in the Allegheny Mountains about 70 miles southeast of Erie.

Bradford was settled by impoverished Swedes, Scots-Irish, and Italians, and it was bypassed by the great migration of blacks from the South, because they settled in the large industrial cities of Buffalo, Erie, and Pittsburgh.  Consequently, non-Hispanic whites comprise 93.2% of the population; Asians, .3%, Hispanics, 2.9%; and blacks, .4%.

Nearby is the community of Kane, which is named after Civil War General Thomas L. Kane, who led Pennsylvania’s Bucktail Regiment and was wounded and taken prisoner in the war.  That leads me to ask, What was Bellevue’s contribution to the Civil War and the freeing of slaves?

With its high percentage of whites, Bradford must be wealthy and privileged.  Far from it.  Suffering from offshoring and deindustrialization, Bradford’s median household income is only 29% of Bellevue’s income, its poverty rate is 4.6 times higher than Bellevue’s rate, and its percentage of college graduates is only one-fourth of Bellevue’s percent.

If there were ever a town that needed social justice, Bradford is it.  Yet the town isn’t fixated on social justice, unlike Bellevue.  Nor is it fixated on race, although it probably was 100 years ago, when Swedes, Scots-Irish, and Italians were seen as different races.

Speaking of Italians, as this grandson of poor Italian immigrants knows, for much of the twentieth century Italians were not seen as white by the Anglo-Saxon-Protestant establishment.  Instead, they were seen as wops, dagos, greasers, and mobsters.  In the South, they were seen as being on a par with African Americans or maybe one small step above.  Many were consigned to black schools, and eleven of them were lynched in New Orleans.

The source of much-woke stupidity is the government’s mumbo-jumbo classification system of race, ethnicity, skin color, and geography, as exemplified by the labels of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American.   The rich diversity of America and the world was reduced to these six categories primarily for political purposes.  In the process, hundreds of unique ethnocultural groups lost their identity, including the hundred or so in the White category, the hundred or so in the Asian category, and the hundred or so in the Hispanic category.

Being a contrarian, I still see myself as Italian, not white.  It helps that according to the Sherwin-Williams color chart, my skin shade is Accessible Beige, or SW 7036.

Similarly, my Mexican friends in college referred to themselves as Mexican, not Hispanic or Latino or Latinx.  The same for my former Mexican neighbors in the barrio of San Antonio, including the stripper and good friend who lived in the adjoining duplex.  She had the stage name Candy Kisses but referred to herself as Mexican.  And today, working-class Mexicans in Tucson still tend to see themselves as Mexican, not Hispanic.

The residents of Bellevue and other wealthy cloisters apparently believe that each of the six official government categories is homogenous and discrete.  They don’t acknowledge any ethnic diversity within each, any socioeconomic diversity within each, any differences in political power within each, or any overlap or intermarriage between the six categories.  Nor do they acknowledge that throughout world history, the six categories have included victors and the vanquished, victimizers and victims, and oppressors and the oppressed.

This leads the stupid people to see everyone in the White category as benefiting from privilege, racism, colonialism, oppression, and injustice; and at the same time, to see everyone in the other five categories as victims of whites—as if Japan didn’t colonize Manchuria and Korea, as if the Mongols didn’t colonize China, as if Pol Pot didn’t murder millions of his fellow Cambodians, as if Mao didn’t starve millions, as if the Han Chinese value diversity as if India doesn’t have a caste system and a hatred of Muslims, as if Hispanics didn’t enslave more Africans than the English and Dutch did as if the Comanche didn’t brutalize other tribes, as if Shia and Sunni Muslims haven’t been killing each other for centuries, and as if all of the inter-tribal butcheries in sub-Saharan Africa would never have happened if it were not for European colonization and the creation of artificial borders.

I could continue the “as ifs” for pages, but you get the point.

The people of Bellevue are probably incapable of getting the point, because they’ve been taught not to get the point, and because they live in a socioeconomic bubble.  Judging by what is taught in the Bellevue school district, they don’t want their children to get the point, either.

Stupid, indeed.

BREAKING: Kari Lake Reveals Katie Hobbs Fought to Eliminate the Pledge, Anthem and Constitution from AZ Schools

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

On Tuesday, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake revealed that her Democrat counterpart Katie Hobbs fought to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance, national anthem, and Constitution from being taught in elementary schools across the state.

Lake slammed Hobbs for her voting record, and warned Arizonans of the consequences a Hobbs government would have for their children.

“In Hobbs’ Arizona, your kindergartner wouldn’t learn the Pledge of Allegiance,” Lake began, “but your precious five-year-old would be taught about sex.”

Lake described the Pledge, the anthem, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence as “American cornerstones” and “pillars of our great nation,” saying she was shocked that Hobbs fought to keep them out of the classroom…..

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Continue reading this article at The Post Millennial.