"Princely" Unremarkable Remarks, UNC
Taxpayer Funded Campaign Stop
Chapel Hill, N.C.
April 24, 2012
Later today, I am getting together with Jimmy Fallon and the Dave Matthews Band right here on campus. We’re going to tape Jimmy’s show for tonight so I want everybody to tune in, make sure it has high ratings.
[....] the reason I came to Chapel Hill today is to talk about what most of you do here every single day -- and that's study, I assume. Higher education is the single most important investment you can make in your future. So I'm proud of all of you for doing what it takes to make that investment -- for the long hours in the library -- I hope in the lab, in the classroom. This has never been more important.
Whether you're here at a four-year college or university, or you're at a two-year community college, in today’s economy, there's no greater predictor of individual success than a good education. Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average. The incomes of folks with a college degree are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma. A higher education is the clearest path into the middle class. Now, I know that those of you who are about to graduate are wondering about what’s in store for your future. Not even four years ago, just as the global economy was about to enter into freefall, you were still trying to find your way around campus. And you’ve spent your years here at a time when the whole world has been trying to recover, but has not yet fully recovered from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in most of our lifetimes -- and that includes your teachers.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: College--as an economic indicator--has little value. College is where you might apply yourself to the project of advancing your knowledge, unfettered by commie-lib professors with their purpose of indoctrinating new minds to the ways of marxism, fascism; all the -isms necessary to spread their communistic manifesto. In many instances, an impossible task!
Most college students today, are in school at the financial behest of their parents, grandparents or some other benefactor. It's the rare student that does more than part-time work, that being to finance their incidentals. Largely, the current college student is completely unphased by the cost of said education. Do you realize that the tuition costs rise at a rate three-times greater than the rate of inflation?!?
SIDEBAR: With the Federal Reserve printing money--willie-nillie--the official inflation rate is being kept artifically low. This blogger has seen the unofficial inflation rate as illustrated by a loaf of bread: In the last six-months, a store-brand loaf of 'italian' bread has risen from $1.29 to $1.99 per loaf! That's an increase of ten-cents per month in price, with no commensurate increase in value!!
The current affects of my lack of a clear--beneficial--domestic economic policy have pretty-much destroyed the jobs markets! You have me--as well as yourselves--to blame for having no employment upon graduation; one cannot be afraid to get his or her hands dirty in the persuit of success.
Our businesses have added more than 4 million jobs over the past two years, but we all know there’s still too many Americans out there looking for work or trying to find a job that pays enough to cover the bills and make the mortgage. We still have too many folks in the middle class that are searching for that security that started slipping away years before the recession hit. So we’ve still got a lot of work to do to rebuild this economy so that it lasts, so that it’s solid, so that it’s firm. But what I want you to know is that the degree you earn from UNC will be the best tool you have to achieve that basic American promise -- the idea that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family and own a home, send your own kids to college, put a little away for retirement. That American Dream is within your reach. And there’s another part of this dream, which is the idea that each generation is going to know a little bit more opportunity than the last generation. That our kids -- I can tell you now as a parent -- and I guarantee you, your parents feel this about you -- nothing is more important than your kid’s success. You want them to do better than you did. You want them to shoot higher, strive more, and succeed beyond your imagination.
So keeping that promise alive is the defining issue of our time. I don’t want this to be a country where a shrinking number of Americans are doing really, really well, but a growing number of people are just struggling to get by. That’s not my idea of America. I don’t want that future for you. I don’t want that future for my daughters. I want this forever to be a country where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules. That’s the America I know and love. That’s the America within our reach. I think back to my grandfather. He had a chance to go to college because this country decided every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it, should be able to go to college. My mother was able to raise two kids by herself because she was able to get grants and work her way through school. I am only standing here today, Michelle is only who she is today because of scholarships and student loans. That gave us a shot at a great education. We didn’t come from families of means, but we knew that if we worked hard we’d have a shot.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: Years ago--when the "baby-boomers" were raising their kids; your parents--very few parents were able to just send their kids off to college. In many families, the college student only enrolled for classes after he'd worked for six-months or a year, earning the tuition-and-expense money. When did it become the norm for a student to be 'handed an education,' financially?!? A far-more-beneficial path would be the one I just mentioned. The continuing student would have 'a bit of dirt under the fingernails;' a work ethic that would serve him well throughout his or her life!!
My mother was involved in my early-life little more than the four-years I lived with her and her then-husband in Indonesia. My grandmother, Madelyn Dunham was an essential figure in my upbringing, having lived with her until left for the mainland and college. We--my grandparents' household--were not poor or even middle-class, by any stretch of the imagination! My grandfather worked as a government employee at the Honolulu Municipal Water Station. My grandmother was a vice-president at The Bank of Hawaii from 1970 until her retirement in 1986. They gave me practically anything I wanted, growing up, and--unbeknownst-to-them--financing my excursions into the consumption of drugs of various kinds.
This country has always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of all who are willing to work for it. That’s what makes us special. That’s what made us an economic superpower. That’s what kept us at the forefront of business and science and technology and medicine. And that’s a commitment we have to reaffirm today in 2012. Now, everybody will give lip service to this. You'll hear a lot of folks say, yes, education is important -- it’s important. But it requires not just words but deeds. And the fact is, that since most of you were born, tuition and fees at America’s colleges have more than doubled. And that forces students like you to take out a lot more loans. There are fewer grants. You rack up more debt. Now, the average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $25,000 in student loan debt. That’s the average -- some are more. Yes -- because some folks have more debt than that.
Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards. And living with that kind of debt means that this generation is not getting off to the same start that previous generations -- because you’re already loaded up with debt. So that means you’ve got to make pretty tough choices when you are first starting out. You might have to put off buying a house. It might mean that you can’t go after that great idea for a startup that you have, because you’re still paying off loans. Maybe you’ve got to wait longer to start a family, or save for retirement. When a big chunk of every paycheck goes towards loan debt, that’s not just tough on you, that’s not just tough for middle-class families, it’s not just tough on your parents -- it’s painful for the economy, because that money is not going to help businesses grow. I mean, think about the sooner you can start buying a house, that’s good for the housing industry. The sooner you can start up that business, that means you’re hiring some folks -- that grows the economy.
And this is something Michelle and I know about firsthand. I just wanted everybody here to understand this is not -- I didn’t just read about this. I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this. Michelle and I, we’ve been in your shoes. Like I said, we didn’t come from wealthy families. So when we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poorer together. We added up our assets and there were no assets. And we added up our liabilities and there were a lot of liabilities, basically in the form of student loans. We paid more in student loans than we paid on our mortgage when we finally did buy a condo. For the first eight years of our marriage, we were paying more in student loans than what we were paying for our mortgage. So we know what this is about. And we were lucky to land good jobs with a steady income. But we only finished paying off our student loans -- check this out, all right, I’m the President of the United States we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago. That wasn’t that long ago. And that wasn’t easy, especially because when we had Malia and Sasha, we’re supposed to be saving up for their college educations, and we’re still paying off our college educations.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: I have done nothing relative to the escalating costs of a quality college education. Had that been at the fore--as I'm making it now--I should have gone after 'Big-Ed' much like I continue to vilify 'big oil!!' I did not. That's but one of my many shortcomings, my many failures!! As I continually paint a rosy picture of my involvement with the student-loan legislation, you have to know that as a U.S. senator--of some several days--I failed to vote in July, 2007 as well as September, 2007--nor did I sign on as a co-sponsor--of the current loan legislation!! How well I prove that one can lie-by-omission!!
All this blather about the tough time "Michelle Antoinette" and I had in repaying our student loans?!? Complete bullshit!! Remember, any money I earned was a direct result of government at some level; I've never worked-for-wages in the private sector. I made dam'-good-money plying my trade as a community agitator, using Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" to my advantage. "Michelle Antoinette" has also never suffered financially, either as a single person, married person or mother. She's been over-paid in various legal positions as a result of my influence as a community agitator. She even had a 'no show job' with the University of Chicago hospitals earning well over a quarter-million-dollars as late as 2006! Where's "the pain" of repaying student loans with a family income approaching a half-million-dollars annually?!? This blather is nothing more-or-less than thinly disguised campaign bluster. So we have to make college more affordable for our young people. That’s the bottom line. And like I said, look, not everybody is going to go to a four-year college or university. You may go to a community college. You may go to a technical school and get into the workforce. And then, it may turn out that after you’ve had kids and you’re 35, you go back to school because you’re retraining for something new. But no matter what it is, no matter what field you’re in, you’re going to have to engage in lifelong learning. That’s the nature of the economy today. And we’ve got to make sure that’s affordable. That’s good for the country; it’s good for you. At this make-or-break moment for the middle class, we’ve got to make sure that you’re not saddled with debt before you even get started in life. Because I believe college isn’t just one of the best investments you can make in your future -- it’s one of the best investments America can make in our future. This is important for all of us. We can’t price the middle class out of a college education. Not at a time when most new jobs in America will require more than a high school diploma. Whether it’s at a four-year college or a two-year program, we can’t make higher education a luxury. It’s an economic imperative. Every American family should be able to afford it. So that’s why I’m here. Now, before I ask for your help -- I’ve got something very specific I’m going to need you to do. But, North Carolina, indulge me. I want to briefly tell you what we’ve already done to help make college more affordable, because we’ve done a lot. Before I took office, we had a student loan system where tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were going to banks, not students. They were processing student loan programs except the student loans were federally guaranteed so they weren’t taking any big risks, but they were still taking billions of dollars out of the system. So we changed it. Some in Washington fought tooth and nail to protect the status quo, where billions of dollars were going to banks instead of students. And they wanted to protect that. They wanted to keep those dollars flowing to the banks. One of them said -- and I’m going to quote here because it gives you a sense of the attitudes sometimes we’re dealing with in Washington. They said, it would be "an outrage" -- if we changed the system so that the money wasn’t going through banks and they weren’t making billions of dollars of profits off of it -- said it was "an outrage." And I said, no, the real outrage is letting these banks keep these subsidies without taking any risks while students are working two or three jobs just to get by. That’s an outrage. That’s an outrage. So we kept at it, we kept it at -- we won that fight. Today, that money is going where it should be going -- should have been going in the first place -- it’s going directly to students. We’re bypassing the middleman. That means we can raise Pell grants to a higher level. More people are eligible. More young people are able to afford college because of what we did. Over 10 years, that’s going to be $60 billion that’s going to students that wasn’t going to students before.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: Then again, you may work for your mother's cousin-the family plumber. A quality--hands-on--education to be sure! I AM asking for your help! I care not, the quality; the costs of your education. All I care about is pacifying George Soros, this time with my re-immaculation!!
I--and by 'I' I mean ME--took over the student loan program not for any real benefit for the consumer but for the singular control of who, why and where anyone--from the upcoming high school graduates to the senior citizen looking to advance his knowledge--attends institutions of higher learning. The banks did assume some risk in issuing a student loan as well as the processing fees they were entitled to. To that end, name one--JUST ONE--federal program that's run efficiently and economically?!?
There is none; it was a trick question!!
So how can the justification be made that it was good for the consumer to have the student loan program under the auspices of the federal government?!?
Another trick question!!
It matters not that in ten years there'll be more grants. With the economy continuing to "go-to-hell-inn'a-handbasket" there will be fewer and fewer students enrolling in college; hell, they'll be lucky to be able to afford to have the basic necessities!
Now, then, last fall, I acted to cap student loan payments faster, so that nearly 1.6 million students who make their payments on time will only have to pay 10 percent of their monthly income towards loans once they graduate. Now, this is useful -- this is especially helpful for young people who decide to become teachers, or maybe they go into one of the [....] social work or one of the helping professions. And they may not get paid a lot of money, but they’ve got a lot of debt. And so being able to cap how much per month you’re paying as a percentage of your income gives you a little bit more security knowing you can choose that profession. And then we wanted every student to have access to a simple factsheet on student loans and financial aid, so you can have all the information you need to make your own choices about how to pay for college. And we set up this new consumer watchdog called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and so they’re now putting out this information. We call it “Know Before You Owe.” Know before you owe. It’s something Michelle and I wish we had had when we were in your shoes -- because sometimes we got surprised by some of this debt that we were racking up. So that’s what we’ve done. But it’s not enough just to increase student aid. We can’t keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition or we’ll run out of money. And colleges and universities, they’ve got to do their part also to keep college costs down. So I’ve told Congress to steer federal aid to those schools that keep tuition affordable, that provide good value, that serve their students well. And we’ve put colleges on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from just going up every single year a lot faster than inflation, then funding you get from taxpayers, at least at the federal level, will go down -- because we need to push colleges to do better, and hold them accountable if they don’t.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: Even the most incompetent boob among us should realize that the longer the term of the loan, the higher the interest paid. THAT is the reason for the 10% cap on payments! More revenue to the Treasury that my regime will undoubtedly piss away, faster than it comes in! All those 'helping professions' I mentioned...?!? They're all controlled by the appropriate union. How do unions vote?!? The way they're told!! By whom?!? What ever owe-bamacRATic politician, in whatever owe-bamacRATic level of government that needs that controlled vote to win election; re-election!
Are you--the student--really dumb enough to think that we--the socio-fascist politician--will actually force institutions of higher learning to reduce their income?!? That makes absolutely no sense! Much like the "Buffett Rule"-completely stupid!!" Nothing more than polictical posturing! We--the socio-fascist politician--are wholly dependent on professors, grad-student lecturers--as I was--and other administrators for the indoctrination of the student to the socio-fascist mindset. We have no other way--yet--to influence the vast numbers that colleges, universities and trade schools have!
Now, public universities know well, and Governor Perdue knows well -- states also have to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. I know that Bev is fighting hard to make tuition affordable for North Carolina families. That’s a priority for her. But last year, over 40 states cut their higher education spending. And these budget cuts have been among the largest factors in tuition increases at public colleges over the past decade. So we’re challenging states to take responsibility. We told them, if you can find new ways to bring down the cost of college and make it easier for students to graduate, then we’ll help you do it. But I want everybody here, as you’re thinking about voting, make sure you know where your state representative and your state senator stands when it comes to funding higher education. They’ve got to be responsible. They’ve got to be accountable as well to prioritize higher education. All right. So helping more families, helping more young people afford a higher education; offering incentives for states and colleges and universities to keep their costs down -- that’s what we’ve been doing. Now Congress has to do their part. They need to extend the tuition tax credit that we put in place back when I came into office. It’s saving middle-class families thousands of dollars. Congress needs to safeguard aid for low-income students, like Pell grants, so that today’s freshmen and sophomores know that they’ll be able to count on it. That’s what Congress has to do. Congress needs to give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work/study jobs over the next five years. That's what Congress needs to do. And then there's one specific thing -- and now this is where you come in -- there's one specific thing that Congress needs to do right now to prevent the interest rates on student loans, federal student loans, from shooting up and shaking you down. So this is where you come in. I want to explain this, so everybody listen carefully. Five years ago, Congress cut the rate on federal student loans in half. That was a good thing to do. But on July 1st -- that’s a little over two months from now -- that rate cut expires. And if Congress does nothing, the interest rates on those loans will double overnight. So I’m assuming a lot of people here have federal student loans. The interest rates will double unless Congress acts by July 1st. And just to give you some sense of perspective -- for each year that Congress doesn’t act, the average student with these loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt -- an extra thousand dollars. That’s basically a tax hike for more than 7 million students across America -- more than 160,000 students here in North Carolina alone. Anybody here can afford to pay an extra $1,000 right now? I didn’t think so. So stopping this from happening should be a no-brainer. Helping more of our young people afford college, that should be at the forefront of America’s agenda. It shouldn’t be a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is an American issue. The Stafford loans we’re talking about, they’re named after a Republican senator. The Pell grants that have helped millions of Americans earn a college education, that’s named after a Democratic senator. When Congress cut those rates five years ago, 77 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for it -- along with a couple hundred Democrats including the Democrats who are here. So this shouldn’t be a partisan issue. And yet, the Republicans who run Congress right now have not yet said whether or not they’ll stop your rates from doubling. We’re two months away. Some have hinted that they’d only do it if we cut things like aid for low-income students instead. So the idea would be, well, all right, we’ll keep interest rates low if we take away aid from other students who need it. That doesn’t make sense. One Republican congresswoman said just recently -- I’m going to quote this because I know you guys will think I’m making it up -- She said she had
"very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with debt because there’s no reason for that."
I’m just quoting here. I’m just quoting. She said, students who rack up student loan debt are just sitting on their butts, having opportunity "dumped in your lap." I mean, I’m reading it here, so I didn’t make this up. Now, can you imagine saying something like that? Those of you who have had to take out student loans, you didn’t do it because you’re lazy. You didn’t do it lightly. You don’t like debt. I mean, a lot of you, your parents are helping out, but it’s tough on them. They’re straining. And so you do it because the cost of college keeps going up and you know this is an investment in your future. So if these folks in Washington were serious about making college more affordable, they wouldn’t have voted for a budget that could cut financial aid for tens of millions of college students by an average of more than $1,000.
They certainly wouldn’t let your student loan rates double overnight. So when you ask them, well, why aren’t you making this commitment? They say, well, we got to bring down the deficit. Of course, this is the deficit they helped run up over the past decade. Didn’t pay for two wars. Didn’t pay for two massive tax cuts. And now this is the reason why you want students to pay more? They just voted to keep giving billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies that are raking in record profits. They just voted to let millionaires and billionaires keep paying lower tax rates than middle-class workers and their secretaries. They even voted to give an average tax cut of at least $150,000 to folks like me, the wealthiest Americans -- a tax cut paid for by cutting things like education and job training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: Contrary to the popular beliefs, money does not cure all ills! The answer is not money, if it were, why do those institutions that are not the Texas Aggies, the Notre Dame Irish, et al, with athletic programs that support far more acitivities than do the budgeted funds from government continue to exist. I promote more government spending for one reason: control; CONTROL; C-O-N-T-R-O-L!! So long as the institutions take government money--at any level--said schools are obligated to bend to the will of said governmental entity!! If government money were "the be-all, to end-all" then why is there at least one specific contrary institution, that being Hillsdale College?!? Hillsdale College is one of the very few in the entire United States that take absolutely no government funds of any sort; from any level! Nor do they allow students--or perspective students--to take federal grants or loans. Where the hell is MY CONTROL in that?!?
Now, that’s their priorities. And that doesn’t make any sense. Do we want to keep tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and didn’t ask for them? Or do we want to make sure that they’re paying their fair share? Do we want to keep subsidizing big oil, or do we want to make sure we’re investing in clean energy? Do we want to jack up interest rates on millions of students, or do we want to keep investing in things that will help us and help them in the long-term -- things like education and science, and a strong military and care for our veterans? We can’t do both. We can’t have it both ways. We’ve got to make a choice about what our priorities are. You know, I’ve said this before, but I’m just going to keep on repeating it: In America, we admire success. We aspire to it. I want everybody to be rich. I want everybody to work and hustle and start businesses and study your tails off to get there. But America is not just about a few people doing well. America is about giving everybody a chance to do well. Everybody -- not just a few -- everybody. That’s what built this country. That’s what the American Dream is all about. A lot of us had parents or grandparents who said, maybe I can’t go to college, but some day my son, he’ll go to college and I’ll be so proud of him. A lot of us had parents or grandparents who said, maybe I can’t start my own business, but maybe some day my daughter, she’s going to start her own business, she’s going to work for herself. A lot of us had parents or grandparents who said, I may be an immigrant, but I believe that this is a country where no matter what you look like and where you come from, no matter what your name is, you can make it if you try.
North Carolina, that’s who we are. That’s our values. That’s what we’re about. So, no, "set your sights lowe" -- that’s not an education plan. "You’re on your own" -- that’s not an economic plan. We can’t just cut our way to prosperity. Previous generations made the investments necessary for us to succeed, to build a strong middle class, to create the foundation for America’s leadership in science and technology and medicine and manufacturing. And now it’s our turn. We’ve got to do the right thing. I want one of you to discover the cure for cancer, or the formula for fusion, or the next game-changing American industry. And that means we’ve got to support those efforts. So if you agree with me, I need your help. I need you to tell your member of Congress, we’re not going to set our sights lower. We’re not going to settle for something less. Now, all of you are lucky, you already have three congressmen who are on board. So don’t -- you don’t need to call them. They’re already doing the right thing. But I’m asking everyone else who’s watching or following online -- call your member of Congress. Email them. Write on their Facebook page. Tweet them -- we’ve got a hashtag. Here’s the hashtag for you to tweet them: #dontdoublemyrate. Your voice matters. So stand up. Be heard. Be counted. Tell them now is not the time to double interest rates on your student loans. Now is the time to double down on smart investments to build a strong and secure middle class. Now is the time to double down on building an America that lasts. You and me, all of us here, every single one of us -- we’re here only because somebody, somewhere, felt responsibility not just for themselves, but they felt responsibility for something larger. It started with them feeling responsible for their families. So your parents sacrificed, your grandparents sacrificed to make sure you could succeed. But then they thought bigger than that. They thought about their neighborhood, they thought about their community, they thought about their country. Now -- [....] And now it’s our turn to be responsible. It’s our turn to keep that promise alive. And no matter how tough these times have been, no matter how many obstacles that may stand in our way, I promise you, North Carolina, there are better days ahead. We will emerge stronger than we were before. Because I believe in you. I believe in your future. I believe in the investment you’re making right here at North Carolina. That tells me that you share my faith in America’s future. And that’s what drives me every single day -- your hopes, your dreams. And I’m not quitting now because, in America, we don’t quit. We get each other’s backs. We help each other get ahead. And if we work together, we’ll remind the world just why it is that America’s the greatest nation on Earth.
Being truthful, I--your exalted ruler--might have said: We--and by 'we' I mean the owe-bama Regime--must invest in what works!! Be it fossil fuels, be it in revising the tax code to eliminate tax deductions for those evil oil companies. The best single change--which would benefit those at every level of the citizenry--is to reduce federal spending to the level that minimal borrowing would be necessary.
That ain't gonna happen under my--read: Soros'--watch!!
I rely on those with not'ta whole lot'ta common sense to ensure that my re-immaculation campaign will continue on schedule. I need this second term as your exalted ruler to complete the conversion of the United States of America into a completely socio-fascist state!! I would've had it done, excepting that dam' "Tea Party" Movement. With the loss of control over the House of Representatives, I no longer had that dupe-marionette, Nancy PORKlosi to do my bidding; much as 'pinky' reid does each day!!
I have one benefit probably NONE OF YOU will ever achieve: No matter how long I rule, I will continue with this--nearly half-million-dollar paycheck--FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!! That's another financial burden you'll have to bear, so....
ya better find a job....
and it better be a good one!!
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