Right-wing paranoia over at RMG

(I agree: this is an outrage.  No one, regardless of your position on casinos, should accept this cowardly move by the Speaker. - promoted by David)

Our friends over at RMG had an excellent April Fool’s gag where they pretended that RMG had been sold to us, and they actually altered the site’s layout all of yesterday to mirror ours.  Very funny!  :D

I was hoping that this promotion comment by EaBo, RMG’s proprietor, on a post about the student loan overhaul was also an April Fool’s send-up:

We must work to stop this assault on our freedoms to do business with whom we want when we want.  It is now illegal for you to go to your local bank with the express intent of borrowing money from them so that you can use it for educational expenses.   The free marketplace where provider meets customer has been usurped.   – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno

Sadly, today is April 2, yet that comment is still up on the site unedited, so I have to assume that Rob actually believes it.

Where to begin.  How about with the outright falsehood:


It is now illegal for you to go to your local bank with the express intent of borrowing money from them so that you can use it for educational expenses.

Nonsense.  Today, just like yesterday, last week, and last month, you can walk down to your local bank and take out a loan to pay for education, home renovations, or anything else you want to use the money for.  Where Rob got this patent non-fact, I have no idea.  I defy him or anyone else to back it up.

What you cannot do any more is take out a student loan from a private bank that is getting federal subsidies to protect against default.  In other words, you cannot any longer borrow for education through a system based on corporate welfare.  Personally, I’m against corporate welfare, so I think getting rid of it was a good thing.  But maybe Rob differs with me on that.  ;-)

Having dispensed with the outright falsehood, let’s turn to the rest of the comment:

The free marketplace where provider meets customer has been usurped.

This, I have to say, is hilarious.  In reality, of course, the “free marketplace” has been restored, because banks are no longer receiving taxpayer subsidies to lend in a certain way.  Now, banks are free to lend however they want, free of market distortions introduced by costly and unwise subsidies.

And as for this:

We must work to stop this assault on our freedoms to do business with whom we want when we want.

Well, that’s just out-and-out right-wing paranoia.  If someone would care to explain to me how ending federal subsidies for student loans is somehow a freedom-killer, I’m all ears.  You can’t do it.  As I said, you can still do business with your local bank for education or any other lawful purpose, just like you could before this bill was enacted.  What has been eliminated is exactly the kind of thing that a true conservative should want to be eliminated: taxpayer-funded, market-distorting subsidies.  But somehow, this law is a freedom-killer instead.  Honestly, if President Obama signed an across-the-board tax cut, the right would figure out a way to spin it as the second coming of Karl Marx.

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  1. Where?

    Where Rob got this patent non-fact, I have no idea.

    Where did the wingnuts get "death panels," "where's the birth certificate?" and "global warming is a hoax"?

    Honestly, if President Obama signed an across-the-board tax cut, the right would someone figure out a way to spin it as the second coming of Karl Marx.

    Isn't this basically exactly what happened with the moderate-to-slightly-conservative, based-on-Republican-ideas-from-the-'90s health insurance reform bill?

    • It's just a mantra.

      They don't like it, therefore it's a detriment to freedom.  Remember, there was a time and place where even abolition of slavery was somehow a detriment to freedom.  This is exactly the same logic.

    • I'm still waiting

      for the Republicans to produce Reagan's death certificate. What are they trying to hide?

  2. This is pretty bad.

    They've talked themselves into a frenzy so much that they can't even recognize the removal of a subsidy when they see one.  They've become blind to even their own values, except the value that the 'other side' must lose at all costs.

    • I'm not so sure

      They've become blind to even their own values, except the value that the 'other side' must lose at all costs.

      I'm not so sure they ever had any other "values."

  3. Freedom is instirnsic to these folks, isn't it?

    I mean, we're not "free" to obtain student loans from unattended cash registers, or from bank cashiers easily frightened by firearms, or by beating up rich folks in dark alleys.  Is EaBo planning on doing something about these assaults on our liberty?

    Half these conservatives would move to Somalia if they were serious about what they say.

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • Reminded

      of the mostly snarky commentary on this recent diary by demolisher. Sure, there might be different assessments of the economic impact of stuff like taxation, regulation, and government programs. Perhaps, underlying all this is a notion of freedom quite a bit different from that which liberals regard as axiomatic.

  4. Every day is April Fools Day on the right

    "Socialist"; "Death panels"; "Money is speech"; "Tyranny"; etc., etc.

    Except they keep forgetting to say "April Fools" at the end.

  5. Not entirely BS

    From the Washington Post

    "Under the measure, private banks would no longer get fees for acting as middlemen in federal student loans. The government would use the savings to boost Pell Grants and make it easier for some workers to repay their student loans. In addition, some borrowers could see lower interest rates and higher approval rates on student loans. Savings are also meant to go toward reducing the deficit and helping to pay for expanded health care."

    I don't see any black helicopters outside my window but doesn't this mean if my son wants a student loan he will go directly to the government rather than to the bank around the corner?

    • All due respect,

      it is entirely BS.

      If your son wants a "student loan," i.e., a reduced-rate, federally-subsidized loan to be used specifically for education, yes, he goes to the government.  Banks have been cut out as middlemen in those transactions, which makes perfect sense to me.  Middlemen by definition exist to skim a profit off the transaction.  Take away that profit, and you save money.  Win-win, except for the banks who lose the student loan business.  Tough luck for them.

      However, if you want to take out a loan to pay for your son's education, but choose to patronize your local bank (e.g. by taking out a home equity loan), you are of course entirely free to do so.

      • A little more subtle though

        those middlemen "skimming a profit" also provided a function in servicing the loan closing and processing.  How (and who) are these loans going to be issued and serviced in the future? I foresee a clusterf**k occurring this summer and fall with student loans for the upcoming academic year.  What branch of the government is going to be handling all of these loans and are they ready for taking over the entire business in a short period of time?

        Not trying to obfuscate, but in my little corner of the world (retirement plans under ERISA) we faced a great upheaval 4 years ago with the passage of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.  One new mandate that we all had to grapple with was a detailed attachment to participant statements outlining plan vesting, investment options and diversification et al.  The first proclamation was that this had to be issued 45 days after plan year end.  Nagging real life detail that whoever drafted overlooked was that many plan sponsors haven't even figured out what they are going to contribute for the prior year until they file their tax returns (including extensions), so worthwhile data to show isn't even there until as late as October 15th for calendar year plans.  Further, the proposed language was contained in a DOL Field Assistance Bulletin issued in December of 2006, with a mandate that final regulations would be issued by 8/6/2007.

        No further advice or regulations of course have ever been issued.  Still waiting (and hoping that this wasn't some insidious trial lawyer trap for issuing non-compliant information based on non-existent guidance).

        • From the NYT article linked in the post:

          Although private banks will no longer be allowed to make student loans with federal money, many will continue to earn income by servicing those loans.

          Don't worry.  The black helicopters aren't coming.  Yet.  ;-)

          • Cash for clunkers

            It work just as well as the cash for clunkers, which took months to pay back the dealers.

            • They didn't have to particpate.

              The dealers, that is.  They could have not participated in the program.

              Complaining that it takes months to get your free money doesn't draw my sympathy.  The fact is that the dealers' volume surged, and they loved every minute of it.  Sure, it's harder work selling cars than putting balls into a cup in the office, but that's the price you pay for making deals I suppose.

              • Free money

                I love that. Actually no money is free. My son will be paying for that.

                • A distinction without meaning.

                  As far as the dealers were concerned, the more was "free"  except for some paperwork and frustration.   Your son and mine will be paying for everything for forever--there's never a time they will not be paying.  There has never been a time when children haven't been paying for things they inherited in society.    The same is and will be true for their children.  Consequently, your observation, though intended to be pithy, no doubt, is, in reality, meaningless.  

                  • Consequently?

                    The nation's growing debt is a problem. What's pithy is your cavalier contention that our children will be paying for everything forever. Perhaps I'm just not quite as happy about saddling my son's generation with OUR debt as you seem to be. I prefer to pay my own obligations and not hand them off to someone else.

                    • And I'd prefer that too.

                      But you've jumped on nothing and made it something.  Look, when you get a coupon that says "Free 12 oz soda" and you go to CVS to get it, you don't argue to the cashier that it's not free because the bottler had to pay for the materials and wages, and the delivery guy had to deliver it and buy the truck and the gas, and CVS had to pay the electricity on the refrigerator, do you?

                      Of course not.  You understand the context.  The Coke is free to you specifically because somebody else is picking up the cost.  Likewise, the C4C rebate money is free to the buyer & retailer specifically because the treasury is picking up the cost.

                      So, thanks for the lame attempt at gotcha and thread derailment.

                    • You're welcome

                      It's just as you've said "you understand the context". I think you understand mine as well, as long as the electorate sees government programs as being "free" there will be no end to spending. When the government spends the people pay, now or later, but they pay.  

                      My apologies offered however. I didn't intend to derail, I don't like it when others do it, i just couldn't let that phrase go unmentioned.

                    • That must be why...

                      ... all the socialist countries are all bankrupt.

                      Oh wait.

                    • Now I am confused

                      Is the growing debt not a problem? Are you happy handing your obligations to someone else? I get your sarcasm but who said anything about socialist countries?  Looking at what I wrote, with what exactly do you disagree?

                    • Maybe pertinent to your comment

                      You can see this in bankrupt Greece, where government spends 52% of GDP; or in California and New York, where the government-employee unions have pushed tax rates to punishing levels and the states still can't pay their bills. Americans can see that this is where Mr. Obama's agenda is also taking Washington, and this is why they are rejecting it.

                      From the WSJ February 17th.

                    • Greece...

                      ... has no bond rating to speak of and California's problem is political more than financial.  They can pay their bills but decided to straight-jacket themselves.  It's a Norquistian experiment gone haywire.

                    • From the WSJ News

                      or WSJ Editorial section?  My bet is the latter...

                    • Right you are, Ken

                      It's from the WSJ's notoriously right-wing editorial page.

              • Free Money NOT

                The dealers typically carry a line of credit, with the government not paying in time - they had to borrow money in one of the worst credit markets in history. Private companies don't have the option of not paying their bills or printing money.

                Same idea as the Cobra extension - private companies have to borrow money to pay health care premiums of ex-employees. The idea of the extension is good - not the method of paying.

                The stupid thing about cash for clunkers is the government could have contracted with a private company and had it set up in a few weeks, but no they know best - they can run it efficiently.

                • Oh please

                  Let's play this game:

                  1.  I agree to pay you $5000, soonish. 2.  You want to spend that $5000 sooner, so you take a loan out at the bank. 3.  I pay you that $5000 thereafter. 4.  You end up +$5000 - $42 in bank interest and the time to do some paperwork.

                  From the perspective of the dealer, that's free money.  You simply can't spin it any other way.

                  • Banks

                    Are not loaning money, especially to auto dealers with iffy fiances, so where does it come from ?

                    The banks with good reason are worried about getting paid back, it's not like you can have a secured loan against a government rebate ?

                    • Bullhockey

                      Are you in the auto business?  At all?

                      First of all, often it's not banks per se but the financial arms of motor companies who do the lending.  Secondly, there's a huge difference between "Please sir, can I have a loan" and "Please sir, can I have a loan -- my collateral is 100% of the loan, to be paid by the full faith of the United States of America."

                      Try again homie.

    • Those Internet Pipes

      I would suggest that if your son is interested in getting a Student Loan, he may be able to facilitate one either through the College he is attending or he may "Google" student loans and either find an online site to apply or find an easily accessable government office in his area that he can walk into and then talk to a real person.

      I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe, just maybe, this will not be hidden from students, or only available to students with DNC connections. This will probably be fairly easy.

  6. Keep your hands off my socialist entitlement

    It's all in the eye of the teabagger.

    It's only socialism if somebody ELSE gets the check, it's only tyranny if somebody ELSE gets the entitlement, and it's only hate if somebody doesn't like them.

    Look at the GOOP'ers scrambling to take credit for the stimulus checks they fought. Look at the GOOP'ers unpledging to repeal healthcare reform; how long before they start taking credit for it?

    • They're already taking credit for HCR.

      Some are basically saying, "If it weren't for pressure from me (insert specific provision) would not have been included, without which the bill would have been worse."  Of course, these people are hoping their constituents don't realize that they never actually voted for reform even WITH their pet amendment included.

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