College costs are rising. Why won’t anyone stop them?
Why Congress should raise the minimum wage
It beats asking Congress to spend money.
Can Karl Rove keep Steve King out of the Senate?
Did Karl Rove fire the first shot in a new Republican civil war?
Obamacare got a strong defense from the podium on Tuesday. Will it get a strong defense from party faithful?
On Monday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) released the much anticipated results of his investigation into for-profit colleges. The report notes the exponential growth of the industry, its misleading advertising practices, high-default rates of students, and the fact that “the average tuition for a for-profit school is about six times higher than a community college and twice as high as a 4-year public school.” However, the biggest news about this report is that it’s not really news at all.
The insanity of this political moment is difficult to fathom. Even if the latest employment figures underestimate job creation, as many experts expect, we're still in the middle of a slow, tentative economic recovery. At this pace, it will be two or three years, at best, before employment returns to what it was before the recession. Meanwhile, low tax revenues are forcing state and local governments to cut spending, throwing public workers out of work (and onto the unemployment line) while reducing all kinds of public services. Oh, and gas prices are rising.
Many Republicans claim the fight about health care reform is really a fight about freedom. Senator Tom Harkin agrees. But, as he explained at today's annual conference for the advocacy group FamiliesUSA,* that's because the Affordable Care Act will allow Americans to be more free, not less: Republicans claim that this is somehow an ‘assault on freedom.’ Well, it is certainly an assault on the freedom to go without insurance, show up at the emergency room, and stick other Americans with your health care bills! ... When we join together, we have more freedom.
The Senate recently held its third in a series of hearings on for-profit schools, many of which stand accused of mismanaging federal dollars and employing sketchy recruitment tactics, only to have less than half of their students graduate. Among those under scrutiny are big-name proprietary schools like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan. When undercover investigators applied at 15 for-profit colleges, they found recruiters misleading applicants and encouraging fraud so the would-be students—and ultimately schools—could collect more federal aid.
Last night, the Senate passed a pared-down version of a war funding bill that the House passed earlier this month. Billions in domestic spending, which the House had attached to the legislation, got the boot—including all of the money intended to prevent hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs. “Edujobs,” as the provision is known, had been in trouble for months. It was initially a bill unto itself in the Senate, with a $23 billion price tag. But the Senate dropped it, after Republicans and conservative Democrats attacked it as a “bailout” (the nefarious political term of the moment).