College Debt: A Growing Problem

Most college and high school students, alumni, and parents know that paying for college has become a small fortune. For that reason, loans become the only option for college hopefuls as they seek a better and more profitable future. This problem is not limited to America, but unfortunately has grown to encompass higher education in the UK, Canada, China, and Japan amongst many others. Given that student debt has become such an issue, why are the same lending practices allowed to continue?

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The first reason concerns the benefit this provides both universities as well as their governments. For example, the United States Treasury takes in around 130$ a month from the social security benefits of anyone over 65 with student loan debt, a demographic which includes over three quarters of a million households in that country alone. One important detail to bear in mind is the fact that social security benefits are not substantial to begin with and therefore, any money that is collected out of that sum will significantly impact this population. This detail reveals that student loan debt effects individuals of many demographics, not just millennials as is the popular belief. The government attempts to subsidize these payments with various grants, but the reality of the situation is that it gives these institutions the opportunity to increase their tuitions. As this vicious cycle continues, it is quite evident that the government and universities will continue to benefit at the expense of those seeking education and a better life.

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The second reason is the lack of resistance to these practices. The simple fact that the amount of individuals applying to these institutions continues to increase yearly serves to enable these price increases and for the government to continue lending. Students finally appear to be taking a stand, or at their efforts are at least being publicized. The Corinthian 15, as they have come to be known, are a group of students who are taking a stand against the especially predatory Corinthian Colleges. The students are refusing to pay their debt to the chain of for-profit colleges and despite only making a small difference, they are turning national attention towards a problem that is often overlooked. In recognizing the potential catastrophe large amounts of student debt may result in, it may definitely be in the interest government to fix this issue immediately.

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Oklahoma’s American History Problem: Too True to Tell?

Recently, a new bill has been proposed in the United States’ Oklahoma. This bill, authored by Republican Representative Dan Fisher, seeks to eliminate funding for college-level American history courses in high schools. Politicians in the state are claiming that the course is unpatriotic. Unfortunately, these individuals may not have realized that history is often complicated. The answer, however, cannot be to rewrite it in order to add to the undeserved attitude of superiority many American now possess.

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Many of the individuals who are more educated in the true history of their nation, as one may notice in universities, often do not posses an unrealistic view of their nation. Any student of political science who has received a proper education in United States history knows their nation, similar to others, has made mistakes. Simply creating a new curriculum that does not include the genocide of the Native American people or the Japanese Internment Camps is as great a crime as the atrocities themselves. Why? This is because to deprive the country’s youth of the mistakes and triumphs of their nation’s history is to slander the memory of those who were unjustly forced into slavery, made to move into reservations, or had their rights sacrificed for the sake of safety. Furthermore, it is creating a generation of individuals with an inflated pride of their nation that will more than likely become detrimental for future efforts in establishing international relationships. In conclusion, unless the nation has plans on adopting an isolationist policy, this small gesture can have significant future implications.

This article from The Onion provides a great satirical view of the situation.

 

Why the Pope is Overstepping his Boundaries

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The popularity of Pope Francis is well-deserved as he has finally brought the Catholic Christian faith out of the middle ages. His concern for the well-being of the poor indicates his use of papal authority to positively affect the world. Similarly, his belief that the gay community should not suffer abuses reveals that he would rather promote compassion as opposed to judgement. These, among many other actions taken by the Bishop of Rome, have made him a celebrity of sorts in the political and religious worlds. Unfortunately, the Pope is using his status to venture into the political realm. While this is not uncommon of individuals that have held his position, or other religious leaders, lines must be drawn.

The issue with the Pope’s position in society arises when he forsakes his obligations in order to advance a political agenda. The first example of this is the Pope’s acceptance of John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress in the United States. Given his position in society, addressing a government that has been unresponsive to its population due to political clashes (bipartisan politics in this case) is not an ideal setting for a major religious leader. Rather, it might be more fitting to spend his time in the United States in a manner that suits his position, such as detainees being held unfairly in Guantanamo Bay. Alternatively, the Pope has declined to meet with the Dalai Lama. The justification for this development is that it might hurt efforts to normalize relations with China. When the government of South Africa behaved similarly, Archbishop Desmond Tutu promptly condemned them. Given the position of the Pope as a beacon of morality and hope for the oppressed and marginalized, this action is both shocking and enlightening. It is enlightening as it reveals that, unfortunately, the importance of politics for an institution such as the Catholic Church may cause it to stray from its fundamental mission.

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GUANTANAMO BAY AND THE TORTURE REPORT

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-Benjamin Franklin
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These days, the name Guantanamo Bay appears in the news from time to time. Typically, the focus is on the false promises granted by the Obama Administration or the human rights abuses that are being committed every minute of every day. The prison is located on the island of Cuba, which is ironic given the United States’ shaky relations with the nation. It was established as a byproduct of the War on Terror in 2002. Given the fear instilled in the nation at the time by the media and the government, the American public was willing to look the other way. Gradually, society became indifferent to the reality of unlawful imprisonment for individual’s deemed extraordinarily dangerous. Refer back to the quote stated at the beginning of the piece. Given the origin of the quote, it would be difficult to argue against the fact that the actions of the American public violate the original beliefs on which the nation was created. This part of American history is most similar to the time period where Japanese internment camps were erected for similar reasons.

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Flash forward around ten years and the CIA is made to release a torture report that details there actions against individuals held illegally, actions which most likely continue to take place today. While many of the horrific actions carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency are known, such as force-feeding and water-boarding, the report reveals that the actions were far more severe than the agency made them out to be. Furthermore, the report reveals that the CIA acted independently of government authorization and no part of the government should have that much power. When confronted on the issue, former vice-president Dick Cheney answered it was “Full of Crap“. Given that there are individuals who would argue with the findings of a non-biased government investigation, it becomes evident that many politicians are continuing to work to mislead the American public. Referring back to the Benjamin Franklin’s timeless warning, there is truly a problem that must be faced and it must begin with a change in the attitude of the United States citizens.

Why Elizabeth Warren is a Better Candidate than Hillary Clinton

If you could not already conclude from the title of this article, UnpopularPolitics believes that Elizabeth Warren is undoubtedly a better choice for the 2016 presidential nomination than Hillary Clinton.

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While Hillary Clinton definitely has the credentials and the experience, her principles are not nearly as defined as Warren’s. Most everyone who is versed in current American politics is aware that Warren is the face of the opposition to Wall Street. Meanwhile, Clinton is one of the most prominent, if not the most prominent figure in the Democratic Party. Despite this, Clinton does not represent the true interests of the American public that the Democratic Party alleges they serve. In regards to big business, Clinton will not demonstrate the willpower to regulate as would Warren. While Warren was a professor of law, specializing in bankruptcy and middle class finance law, Clinton was serving on the board of directors for Wal-Mart along with several other corporations. In regards to having a firm stance, Warren displays a superior amount of confidence in her position as opposed to Clinton. Warren’s position as a politician has only served to advance her agenda of protecting the middle class as evident by the application of her education in the role as Special Advisor to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. History demonstrates, on the other hand, that Clinton is likely to change her position on various matters in accordance to public opinion. For example, during the early stages of the Syrian Civil War, she insisted that the Assad regime propose reforms. When public opinion turned against the regime, however, she went so far as to propose that the United States train and arm Syrian rebel groups (which we know was not a good idea thanks to ISIS). These differences provide some evidence for the rationale that Warren better serves the interests of the American public.

In addressing the differences between these two politicians, it is significant to note their similarities and why they have been so successful. These two were both the first female senators of their respective states, Warren for Massachusetts and Clinton for New York. Therefore, it would not be far from the truth to say that they are pioneers in their profession. It also comes without saying that these two individuals are strong advocates for women’s rights within the United States and abroad. Secondly, they are both active under the Obama Administration. As Secretary of the State, she oversaw the response to the Arab Spring, another round of Palestinian/Israeli conflicts, and represented the nation while visiting abroad. Warren was named Assistant to the President by Obama and was tasked with helping establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In conclusion, Warren and Clinton are both capable candidates for the Presidential nomination. Given the hard facts, however, Warren demonstrates qualities and beliefs that suggest she would be a better leader for the United States.