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Student Loans and Prevailing Wages

by Mark Riley posted Apr 26 2012 1:56PM

If you don't make a lot of money, or you're trying to get a college educartion (or both), you may feel the walls of life are closing in on you. You are not crazy. They are. In case you haven't been told, interest rates on college loans are set to double in July. While both President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney agree the rates ought to be frozen, there's a message coming from Republicans in Congress. Suck it up college kids! We're busy catering to the job creators, not you. You don't count. And by the way, don't try to use that college ID to vote, either!

I hate to say it, but I would dread being a college student in 21st century America, especially if your parents aren't rich. That this generation wants to better itself through higher education seems lost on those who had a much easier time attaining it. There are some in America who believe this country is somehow going to maintain its vaunted greatness by saddling is young with debt, then having them work as grocery clerks and Starbucks baristas after they graduate. Try paying back tens of thousands of dollars in debt on $20-30,000 dollars a year.

Yet one holds out hope that those who suck up to the 1% will see the error of their ways and do the right thing on interest rates. I've always thought that college loans (and scholarships and grants, those dying instruments) were an investment not just to make money, but in the nation's future. Call me silly, but I think we all benefit from an educated, informed mass of young people making their way in the world. The selfish preoccupation with making money at all costs is the ugly underside of the American Dream. 

So it is here in New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to think that asking businesses that benefit from taxpayer largesse to pay workers a decent wage is like making the Communist Manifesto required reading at City College. No sooner does the City Council pass a prevailing wage bill for certain workers in buildings where tax incentives have been granted that Hizzoneer yelps about a court challenge should the Council have the temerity to override his veto. Then, in the strangest frame of all, he makes it seem as though paying workers a little more somehow hurts those looking for work. Every now and then, the Marie Antionette in Mike Bloomberg shows through, and this is one of those times. All those who lambast him for being an out of touch billionaire now have new ammunition. He truly seems tone deaf about how everyday New Yorkers live their lives, and how government can, under certain circumstances, ease the burden of struggle in this, the greatest city in the world.

Yes, wheher you're a college kid, or someone trying to make ends meet on $25,000 a year, there are some folks who just aren't paying attention, or they just don't care.

Which one is it? You tell me.

Listen to me Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 9 AM on WWRL AM 1600.  Follow me on Twitter @MarkRileyMedia.
Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
Location : New York City
04/26/2012 1:56PM
Student Loans and Prevailing Wages
Please Enter Your Comments Below
04/27/2012 3:11PM
Makes good sense
Your blog makes good sense. Now, even if you want a job as a barista, at Starbucks, you have to have a college degree. That is ridiculous. Our dear mayor never met a real estate developer he didn't like. He doesn't care how much of our tax money he gives them. But, he doesn't think that they should have to do anything for those subsidies. But, how dare he take the City Council to court with our tax money?
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