Told ya so

I’ve often written about the unintended consequences from the acts of governments. Today, we have a story about an INTENDED act of government—specifically, gun confiscation by the state government of Connecticut. February 17, I wrote about an open letter to the members of the Connecticut State police. In that letter, the members were warned about the possible consequences if they follow orders to confiscate firearms from Connecticut citizens who were suddenly made potential felons by a government gone mad.

That story isn’t over.

Connecticut to gun owners: hey, did you *try* to register? …SUCKERS!

Moe Lane (Diary)  | 

Well, isn’t this just a fine how-do-you-do:

After tens of thousands of defiant gun owners in Connecticut chose not to register their semi-automatic rifles to comply with a hastily-passed gun control law, the state is now taking some action. Officials are reportedly notifying gun owners who submitted late applications that they have one last chance to get rid of their “illegal” weapons.

State officials did accept some gun registration applications that were submitted after the Jan. 4 deadline, however, not all late applications were accepted, the Journal Inquirer reports.

“But rather than turn that information over to prosecutors, state officials are giving the gun owners a chance to get rid of the weapons and magazines,” the report adds.

And completely expected, too. But it gets better! You see, these are the people that tried and failed to register their firearms… and it’s absolutely dwarfed by the people who refused to tell the state of Connecticut about their newly-illegal firearms. You know what will happen to those people? That’s right: probably nothing at all.  Those people vote, and they’ll still have those votes in November unless the state of Connecticut has suddenly developed a way to arrest, detain, and felony convict en masse several hundred thousand people.

Moral of the story?  God help you if you try and fail to comply with the State.  You’re better off by far if you just keep your mouth shut.

Like I said, intended consequences. They allowed these folks to ‘register’ their weapons late and then disapproved the application to create an excuse to confiscate them. Sounds like King George III, next door in Massachusetts in April, 1775, doesn’t it?


I’ve talked from time to time about graduates who emerge from college and are debt-ridden by tens, and sometimes, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. For every graduate, there are three or more who didn’t graduate and also have an accumulation of tens of thousands of dollars of student debt. Debt is endemic across the country.

As I write my blogs every weekday morning, I listen, with half an ear, to Dave Ramsey‘s radio show. The show provides a microcosm of American debt. Easily, 9 out of 10 callers, have massive student debt to Sallie Mae.

Now that debt is impacting other areas of the economy…like home ownership.

Housing market recovery hamstrung by buyers’ crippling student loan debt

High school seniors — and the parents encouraging them to attend college on borrowed money — may find the American dream of owning a home out of their reach after the bill for their student loans comes due.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, loan applications for new homes fell a staggering 20 percent in the past four months. Meanwhile, student loan debt in the fourth quarter of 2013 rose five percent above the last quarter — outpacing mortgage debt, which rose only two percent in the same quarter.

“Overall debt is falling but student loan debt is increasing year-over-year and at a much faster rate,” chief executive David Stevens told The Washington Post. “[Young graduates] are already on the margin for being able to qualify for a mortgage. If you add on a large student loan debt payment of $400, $500 or $600 [a month], that’s going to impact your qualifying ability to buy a home. … First time home buyers are usually 40 percent to 45 percent of the mortgage market. Today they’re close to 35 percent and we think that’s directly correlated to student loan debt.”

Student loan debt is also non-dischargable — the federal government dispatches an army of 32 agencies to squeeze graduates for loan payments. In one remarkable case, a woman recovering from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, an affliction for which the survival rate for patients quickly drops to zero, was told by federal agents that as long as she was still breathing, she had to pay her loans — until the Ninth Circuit Court intervened and discharged most of her debt. (RELATED: Federal loan sharks prey on cancer patients filing for bankruptcy)

“Student debt trumps all other consumer debt. It’s going to have an extraordinary dampening effect on young peoples’ ability to borrow for a home, and that’s going to impact the housing market and the economy at large,” Stevens said.

Student loan debt stands at a total of $1.08 trillion dollars, and tuition grows at an annual rate of 7.4 percent, outstripping both rising health-care costs and inflation. A college degree’s cost has grown 439 percent since 1983.

Over 37 million Americans are shackled with permanent debt, with 40 percent of households headed by Americans under 35 making the minimum monthly payments under interest rates ranging anywhere from 3.4 to eight percent.

This includes many mortgage brokers and realtors who rely on a steady influx of new customers to help pay down their own student loan debt. While home prices and mortgage interest rates are low for the time being, rising rates would likely push more young graduates out of the housing market altogether.

What is worse, guidance counselors in high schools and colleges actively encourage students to use student loans to finance their education. It’s a great deal for the colleges and universities, they have a government guaranteed stream of revenue. That stream allows them to steadily raise the cost of education because the competition is doing the same. There is no restraint on the institutions to curtail costs.

When my wife and I were in college, we had scholarships that covered most of our tuition. We had to work to cover our expenses for room and board. We often worked forty or more hours a week and also carried a full load of classes. I wasn’t in the top, grade-wise, of my classes, but I did pass and graduate with a degree. My wife’s story is similar to mine.

Student debt is a disease that, along with liberalism, has infected education. It is still possible to go to college and pay as you go. No, you won’t have time to party, go to Cancun on Spring break, or hang out with friends. But you can get a very good education, a degree from a recognized institution, and emerge with no or little debt.

It’s a lesson our local, state and federal governments need to learn.

Mommas, don’t let your children grow up to be…


You mean owing the national debt? No, it’s more immediate, it’s Sallie Mae, the most insidious instrument of personal debt in the country—courtesy of Barack Obama’s nationalization of the Student Loan Program in 2010. Obama announced his intention to do so in a White House presser in 2009. The dems expected strong opposition to the move. Instead, the ‘Pubs ignored the takeover, addressing the nationalization of healthcare instead.

If any of you listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio program, it won’t take you long to realize the most common personal debt today is…student loans—tens of thousands of dollars of student loans. Just this morning, one woman called in with over $100,000 of student loans for a Master’s in Education. She is having difficulty finding a job and those available have entry salaries less than $35,000 in her area. But now she’s finished and is required to start repaying her loans immediately, employed, or not.

Sallie Mae logo 2009.jpgThe original student loan program was created in 1965 as a part of Johnson’s Great Society initiatives. As originally conceived, it provided for personal education loans guaranteed by the government, a semi-public corporation known as Sallie Mae, if the student met certain fiscal guidelines. The program was market driven with low rates. Students still had to qualify, but for those who did, the government guaranteed the loan.

I entered College in 1964 at a time when the student loan program didn’t exist. In my family, borrowing money was the last resort. I was able to acquire a scholarship that paid most of my tuition. In 1964, college tuition was much, much lower. Less than $300, for in-state residence, per quarter. My college, Southern Illinois University, was on the quarter system, four-quarters per year, at that time. In fact, the cost of room and board, was higher than tuition for many, including me.

How did I pay for those expenses not covered by my scholarship? I got a job and paid for it. I took a full course of classes and worked 40+ hours a week. The going wage was $0.75/hr. By the time I graduated, I was up to $1.15/hr. There was no minimum wage.

Over time, the Student Loan program expanded. Everytime it did, tuition costs went up as well. There is an old maxim in business—Costs expands to the limit of available funds. The more funding that is available, costs of programs and projects will expand as well. The same is true in financing education.

The increase of tuition and college cost was gradual over the years. The student loan program was market driven meaning that the lending institutions still qualified applicants while applying pressure on educational institutions to limit costs. Someone with little ability to pay, may not get a loan to a high-priced private institution. That limitation outraged liberals. In each revision of the loan program, the ‘qualifications’ of the applicants was lowered, until, with the passage of Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, the entire student loan program was nationalized.

Higher education has become a fraud. High school graduates assume that getting a degree guarantees a job. They are not taught that nothing in life is guaranteed. I was amazed that some school districts actually promote careers as social workers and other ‘soft’ career paths, when the actual employment forecasts are practically nil.

Social work, nationally, is one of the lowest paying jobs in the market—if you can find one. Day after day, I listen to callers to Ramsey’s program. At least several times a week, a caller will call about exorbitant student loans, usually $50,000 or more for a degree in social work and no job. If those callers are employed, it is in some other field.

The result is that a college education, for all too many, is worthless. The abundance of college degrees in areas with no employment, dilutes the successes of those who did work to achieve a degree in hard sciences, medicine, or engineering where the employment prospects are, if not more plentiful, pay a starting salary that is enough to live upon and pay off any student debts.

Liberals now claim that higher education is a ‘right.’ At one time, acquiring a degree took years of hard work. When I went to college, the SAT and other national tests did not exist. Each college had their own, devised to meet that institution’s needs and goals. Institutions like MIT, Stanford, and the ‘Ivy League’ colleges had entrance exams tailored to eliminate all but the most qualified applicants.

I applied at a number of Universities, MIT, Stanford, CalTech, and Southern Illinois University. My mother and sister were graduates of SIU. It was viewed at the family school. I was accepted at all of the universities. The only one I could afford was SIU. I had a state scholarship to SIU, not to the other universities. Guess where I went…SIU. For me, that was affordable education.

My wife attended the same university. She worked, had a scholarship as well. She also had some student loans…personal loans to cover costs not covered by the scholarship. After we were married, that debt was the first we paid off. Compared to student loans today, it was minuscule. Today, students are encouraged to borrow, to acquire massive debt to pay outrageous levels of tuition, for an education that, in many aspects, is worthless.

The real fraud in higher education today is that student loans are not necessary. There are still colleges and universities student can attend and cash-flow the costs. You will have to work. You may not take a full load of classes. You may not be able to attend that ‘Ivy League’ university. You can, however, acquire a degree that will be accepted by any employer.

What Obama’s nationalization of the student load program has done is to remove any constraints by universities to control their costs. When there is no restraint on costs, when education is subsidized by taxpayers, when colleges cannot turn down applicants because of affirmative action programs, education becomes…less valued. When the value of a product is less, that product is on the road to worth-less-ness. Instead of a mark of achievement, a college degree becomes the equivalent of a GED.

We are enraged at the nationalization of healthcare, recognizing, rightly, the inevitable rationing of care and reduction of the quality of that care. The same results will occur in education, less actual education with the concomitant devaluation of college degrees and achievement.

We must end the nationalization of education from Common Core to Sallie Mae. Make education a valued and valuable product again.