As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama, Bad Loans, and Social Justice

Recently, a leader in the community where I live – whom I won’t name because I like this person and this will be viewed as an attack – casually used the term “social justice” in remarks before a group of people.

By “social justice,” she meant taking money from better off people and giving it to poor people. It didn’t occur to her to explain her remarks, since she assumed everyone held the same notion of what the term meant.

I didn’t. My understanding of “justice” of any kind is “getting what you deserve.”

Now, it is good to try to help people who are poor who have suffered bad luck, and it is nice to try to help set straight those who have failed because of their own irresponsibility or laziness.

But this is not “justice.” It’s charity. It is goodwill.

This is an important distinction, because if you view the poor as unjustly treated and those who are better off and unjustly rewarded, then it becomes incumbent upon society to redistribute wealth. If you think that those who earned their money are getting “justice” resulting from their hard work, and that there are generally avenues even for the most disadvantaged to advance in society, then you want to encourage those with money to contribute to charity, but you have no right to seize their wealth.

This occurred to me as I watched President Obama last week unilaterally, without the agreement of Congress, move to assist student loan and mortgage borrowers.

Both of these actions have costs. But so what? Social justice is being served.

The plan to allow mortgage holder to refinance at favorable rates even if their homes are worth less than their mortgage balance seems to me first of all to be EXACTLY THE KIND OF EASY CREDIT THAT GOT US INTO THIS MESS.

But it also may push up mortgage rates for average people because it hurts bankers and investors in mortgage-backed securities, which will be less attractive, driving up the rates of the securities and those of borrowers.

Do people who invest deserve to have the rules suddenly changed and the government force losses on them? Maybe they invested in mortgage backed securities to put their kids through college.

BUT WHO CARES ABOUT FAT CATS? Because they must have earned their fat incomes unjustly.

The new Obama student loan initiative allows private loans to be refinanced at lower government rates, harming banks – again, who cares, they unjustly made money – by lowering loan payments for lower-income graduates while letting them abandon their loans earlier, before paying them back.

Now, I ask you, who are the lowest earning college graduates? They’re the ones who had the bong in their room, hung out by the keg at frat parties, or majored in The Study of Exotic Extinct Cultures.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THAT?

Because it’s “social justice.”

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44 Responses to Obama, Bad Loans, and Social Justice

  1. Where is the fairness of forgiving loans for someone who went to an expensive college, versus a smaller/cheaper school? The Harvard grad certainly will be getting more of a benefit than the Lake Superior State student. One is certainly more apt to be set-up for a higher earning potential. Are we going to have some sort of “progressive” scale to even this out?

  2. Social justice = BS!

    I also read somewhere that his authority for the student loan bailout was buried on a couple of pages in the Healthcare bill. Guess they should have read it before repeat before they passed it!!

    • That is why he now has the “authority” to do this. Remember, you have to pass it to find out what is in it. This is why the WHOLE bill needs to be repealed!

  3. A very good article Keith.
    “Social injustice” to me is a pathway to marxism/socializm. This is the predominate mindset of the progressives as they believe that government should be the method to provide fairness and equality.
    It is sad that America is at the point that she is at, that this thinking has gained enough of a foothold that it is transforming who we are and how we do things in a profound way.
    Again, well written Keith.

  4. Spot on! This push for “social justice” is part and parcel of something that has bothered me immensely of late: the conflation of “fair” with “equality”. There is this notion that somehow, unequal outcomes are unfair when, in fact, unequal outcomes are always fair. If you were to get in a foot race with Usain Bolt and you both started at the same moment from the same line and had to run the same distance, then the race would be fair, but it would be far, far from equal. The notion that unequal is unfair is dangerous and destructive.

  5. Well said – it is hard to explain this without sounding cold and harsh. My children, both of whom went to college and have small student loans make their payments every month. My husband and I have been primarily responsible with saving for retirement and college so we chose – I repeat chose to take out parent loans for school. Guess what – we pay them every month. They are treated no differently than our mortgage and come before play. Our daughter and her husband put 20% down on a home purchase and got a traditional mortgage. They are now upside down. When home values were sky high, they didn’t take out a second to pay for extravagant upgrades or toys. Fortunately they both work and can make the payment, but boy they would love a 2% interest rate reduction – it would really help, but do you really think that is where the help is going to be directed – to people who really can make the payment. Our son bought a home when they had the “rebate” program, but he made too much money to get full credit for the rebate at either the state or federal level. The child care tax deduction they get is minimized tremendously because they make too much money. Neither of our children are wealthy – they are middle class, college educated kids who work hard and pay their bills before they play – that includes vacations, eating out, having toys, etc. They are not asking for a handout, but for young people in their early 30’s they have quickly foud out how the system of “social justice” works against them. It is discouraging to watch. If either of our kids quit making their mortgages and put the money in a savings account, they would be contacted by their mortgage and given an opportunity to modify their loan – this just does not make sense. I work in the bankruptcy legal field and most of our clients are not out of work – yes many of them are furloughed and have taken pay cuts, but the real source of the majority of their financial problems has been a lack of discipline with spending and the attitidue they are entitled to entertainment, nice cars, etc. I don’t know what the answer is or will be, but perhaps the wisdom of our 80 something parents is what we need to go back to.

    • I agree with you. I have three children. My husband and I are middle class. I obtained my education while serving in the US Navy. I worked full time and went to school full time. My husband went to school while I was in the service and there was only the two of us. We have always carried our own weight and have never gotten any benefits from the government. In fact, the system has always worked against us too because we always lived within our means. We have sacrificed for the past 21 years to provide what is best for our children. We sent them to Catholic schools so we don’t have a fancy house, we borrowed money against our house when they were little to put money away for college so it would not be an issue when they grew up. We don’t have fancy vacations, furniture, cars, etc but they have a chance to get their education without loans to pay back. Two and a half years ago I had to go on disability due to multiple sclerosis that I was diagnosed with in 1995. I am so glad we lived within our means because we had the money saved to allow my youngest to finish Catholic High School and all three have their tuition paid for. No they cannot go to Harvard, heck they can’t even go away to school but they can get a degree. The ironic thing is, they are STILL not eligible for scholarships and grants based on need because we knew I was getting worse and paid off our house before I could no longer work. We do not ask for handouts. We consider ourselves fortunate and still give to charity. It is ridiculous that everyone feels they are “owed” something by the government. Just as I tell my kids, you are provided with the opportunity to set your own course which is a lot more than most people in the world get. When, if ever, will this be enough?

      • Thanks Willdit and wmp for your wonderful posts. So informative and moving. And of course, you have been paying taxes all your lives to fund people who have lived without the discipline and dedication you have shown.

  6. The problem is that we have moved beyond the tipping point where we have a majority of voters who pay no taxes, but are able to out-vote the rest to make them pay ‘their fair share’. Now we depend only on a subset of that majority to have a conscience (many don’t) and some wisdom (many don’t), and not listen to Obama’s candy-man campaign economics that are destined to destroy the country.

    This country was born because of the injustice of “taxation without representation”, now we have the opposite problem, representation without taxation.

  7. I went to school and earned (a bad word for liberals) a bachelor’s and a master’s in engineering. I received almost no handouts, I worked and took out student loans. I owe a pretty good pile of money (maybe half payed off), but the student loan payments are a very small piece of my income. It was a fantastic business decision. Obama should be preaching this experience, not “free money”. Student loans as is are marginally profitable for a bank. If O messes with that, it is just another horrible act by this bush-league marxist.

  8. . The POTUS, his wife,and all of his public supporters are doing everything they can to pit one American against another in an desperate attempt to retain power. They talk about social justice, but only for certain groups of people who will then return the favor of a largess of taxpayer’s money either by voting for them or donating large sums to a campaign fund. Their brand of social justice is a fraud; it is nothing more than political quid pro quo.

    These are dangerous times; the public is aware and alarmed . Our elected officials in DC, and other major cities are promoting and endorsing civil unrest all in the fraudulent name of social justice. The lawbreakers who claim they want life to be “fair” are allowed to do as they will because our elected officials need a revolution to shake our foundation to make changes to our way of life.

  9. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    These words from the Declaration of Independence provide the foundation of our government. Our system of government is based on “equal rights” — We are born with the God-given right to live our lives in freedom, where the fruits of our labors belong to the individual who earned them, and it’s the government’s responsibility to protect our individual freedoms.

    Progressives are using “social justice” to tear down our foundation of government. Under social justice individual freedom takes a back seat to the collective, and the individual and the fruits of their labor belongs to the community. The government acts as the arbiter of rights, distributing each individual’s freedoms and wealth as needed for the greater good.

    Excellent article Keith. I hear the term “social justice” most every day. Many people use the term without really knowing what it means. It is up to each of us to educate them on the true meaning of the words.

    • Right Susan. They didn’t mean for government to take a measure of liberty and pursuit of happiness from some and give it to others. They wanted to ensure that we all had the same chance, not the same result.

  10. My daughter graduated from a small Midwestern college with a science degree (biology) and a certification to teach K-12. She was NOT an education major but a true science major. During her student teaching she was offered a teaching position at the second roughest public high school in the school district. Her first year teaching she was stabbed in the hand by a student, if that gives you any idea what kind of school it is.

    Since she is a science teacher and working in an inner city school she is eligible for student loan forgiveness as long as she teaches there for X number of years. She has one more year to go, and her loans will be forgiven.

    Perhaps it is my bias, she is my daughter, but I see programs such as the student loan forgiveness programs as a positive. It enables students to earn their degrees and not be in debt for years as long as they give back to the community. She is still earning her way through college by giving of her time, talent and drive to educate the mush for brains that are our current crop of students. (And to brag, her principal is going to put her up for teacher of the year this year. Yes, I am a PROUD father)

    If more college students were to pursue careers that give back instead of taking from the country, perhaps we would be in better shape as a nation. My undergrad was in criminal justice, with minors in history and psych. I spent the majority of my life using my degree working in law enforcement and investigations. If it wasn’t for the fact that my body is slowly breaking down on me, making it impossible for me to do what I was trained for and loved, I would still be doing something in my field.

    Loan forgiveness programs, to me, are a positive for both the community and the student. When my daughter graduated she was offered research positions with two bio-ag companies that would have paid her two and half times what she makes as a teacher. She CHOSE to teach because it was not about the money, but rather about giving back to a country that has given so much to her family (we came over in the early 1900’s).

    For me this is what “social justice” is. Paying back to the community, state, country for the opportunities that have been provided to us all over the generations.

    • Please explain what degrees “take from the country.”

      Here’s an idea. Research in big ag companies develop better and more drought, bug resistant crops helping to feed millions of extra people a year. Why is this not considered doing something positive?

    • Maybe you could explain to me exactly whos money it is that is loaned to the student to go to school? If they never have to pay it back, who money is lost? PLEASE EXPLAIN….You can’t possibly believe that no one is losing money.

    • I have to agree with Robin on this one. You need to clarify what you mean by “careers that give back instead of taking from the country”. My niece is finishing up her degree in chemical engineering and is probably going to take a job with the firm where she has been interning the past couple of years. The company produces numerous products, such as hydraulic equipment and refrigerants, without which much manufacturing and food distribution would be nearly impossible. That she’s going to be gainfully employed, pay taxes, and produce products necessary for society sounds like “giving back” to me.

    • Every degree that allows a person to work for a living and not rely on the government for handouts is a good degree that does not “take from the country.” You need to think about what you write and how you obviously feel you and your daughter are somehow above others because of the professions, ie. degrees, you have chosen. Guess again.

    • Maybe she should consider ‘giving back’ the money that the bank lent her to go to college instead of letting strangers, who may not have had the opportunity to go to college, pay off her loan with their confiscated tax dollars. That would be the fair thing to do.

    • Every government employee, regardless of the degree earned, can get the taxpayer to foot the bill for their college loans by pledging to work at their high-paying, full benefit cushy government jobs for a specified number of years. I’m sorry but I don’t consider that much of a sacrifice on their part.

    • To answer/clarify some of your questions.

      There are college degrees that do not prepare the student for the real world. Not to diminish those that may have them, but degrees in physical education, fine arts, music, general liberal arts and others, in many cases do not prepare the student to be able to survive in today’s modern world. While being able to differentiate between Baroque, Renaissance and classical music is wonderful, or knowing the difference between cubism and impressionism may be noteworthy, how many of these graduates will actually go on to utilize their degree and become self-sufficient, versus spending a life time relying on grants from the NEA?

      Further, to eschew the opportunity to make significant money in the private sector in order to pursue the opportunities to educate our young does not make her “better” than someone else. All individuals that pursue a degree course that allows them to produce and improve society are note worthy.

      Unfortunately, too many teachers coming out of the education mills called teacher’s colleges are not even familiar with the subjects they are licensed to teach. Science teachers should be first and foremost scientists. Classically trained to be able to empirically exam and explain their subject matter.

      As to the question of “who pays” for the loan forgiveness programs, yes it is the taxpayer, but on the flip side this could be considered money as an investment into the community. One that does reap a benefit to the greater community in that you are getting teachers into inner city schools, schools that many do not even want to venture into, to actually teach.

      Will she leave the profession after she is free of her debt, I doubt it. She loves what she does and has made a significant impact on the students that she has touched.

      With the amount of entitlements that the government hands out yearly, or the amount of grants that go to exhibitions of art that are an affront to the sensibilities of many communities, the investment into education via a loan forgiveness program is small, and yet can return significant gains.

      Remember that these programs only apply to teachers that are willing to work in the worst of the worst schools and with the most difficult student demographics.

      There are also programs designed to encourage people in the medical profession to complete their degrees and then go and work in under-served/impoverished areas such as Appalachia. There are things that government can do encourage college students to be willing to make a difference in areas that others might not have the willingness to travel.

      Many cities had offer discounted mortgage rates to police and firefighters to encourage them to move into high crime areas. The idea being to help bring stability to these communities.

      If my tax dollars are going to go to programs that improve communities and our society by bringing more teachers willing to teach in difficult or dangerous schools; more police and firefighters into the local neighborhoods to help stabilize those areas; and bring doctors to areas that most doctors do not want to live in, then I am for these programs.

      It is a lot cheaper in the long run to provide quality education, medical care and community stabilization with a little bit of government funding than it is to simply through money down the drain by providing a growing social services program to people who will not do for themselves.

      Just like the money spent on roads, infrastructure, military, first responders, some of the programs I have mentioned are an actual investment into the community, and not just a hand out to an artist or musician who can’t find a patron. Or a free ride to those to lazy to actually work.

      Hopefully this has clarified for some my thinking.

      • Your daughter sounds like an incredible young woman. There are some instances where these types of programs are worthwhile and this certainly sounds like one – especially if she plans on continuing in her profession. I’ve often thought that it is more important for a teacher to be first a professional in their field of educating and then be trained to teach – it is normally the other way around. I know that some would argue that if you are a dud with your teaching style all the knowledge in the world isn’t going to matter. Apply this principal to our President – so many say he is such a grand speaker. I personally find his speaking style annoying, but giving him the benefit of being a good speaker – that certainly has not made him a great leader.

        I’d be a proud parent too.

      • I’m sure if your daughter was an artist instead of a teacher you’d feel differently about using the NEA’s money, and your views on what constitutes taking from the country would be different. That’s why I dislike any of these programs. If your daughter wants to teach in bad schools that’s her choice. I still shouldn’t have to pay for her degree. If it’s so important to the community let them or the state pay the cost.

  11. Isn’t social justice a type of discrimination? If college graduates can have their student loans forgiven, then why do we not forgive the expenses one incurs training for a trade? Don’t trade people contribute to the society too?

    Perhaps I’m just an old crab. Back in the old days we had something called pride and we would have rather worked two jobs than take charity.

  12. So how did Barack Hussein Obama “pay” for his “college” at Columbia & Harvard Law…?
    (or is that also part of the NO ONE IN THE MEDIA WILL LOOK INTO OBAMA’S BACKGROUND theme)

  13. They’re called “the artists.” The free-thinkers. The ones writing the songs you mind-numbingly hum to on the way to your “society approved” job. The humans painting the paintings you never could have imagined in your wildest dreams. The poets expressing their emotions through an understanding you have lost long ago (hopefully not?)

    Well done…..

    No, I do NOT think people who are lazy and don’t TRY should be rewarded. I do, however, believe people who pour their hearts, souls, guts & life into their work should be given credit (and love) It’s NOT easy. I’ve had a job every day since I was 15…in several industries…

    Mom & Artist and sticking up for your soul…by FAR the hardest!! You know what a soul is, right?

    I know it’s hard to distinguish, sometimes. I know this. I do. However, some of us “artists” are pouring our lives and souls into our belief of our ART. Gut-wrenching, soul-pouring, future life-loving art.

    (Some ARE ” lazy fuckers” I can help you distinguish. Promise.)

    Bless you- hope this reaches your corporate hearts.
    If not…no harm done. Just remember…Karma is real. You could be pissing on the next ” Picasso” (not me) .. I haven’t done Cubism since High School. Just Sayin’

    Happy Holidays F***ers!!
    XOXO
    Sara

    Wanting HOPE for my son’s generation ( you’ll be glad you knew me when)
    Sara

    ( Yes I know my grammar/spelling isn’t perfect. It’s called being a busy single mom/artist with no spare minutes!! even “leisure minutes”…gotta go catch up on things that matter!) xo

    • Oh…and I still give $$ to the homeless. They are SOULS. They are just lost. They are not burdens…they are GIFTS. How can you help? How can you change? Where is your life? They make you think these thoughts. They make you uncomfortable…why? Scared you’ll be there?
      Imagine that.
      Have empathy.
      Grow.
      Lesson learned.
      How do you feel now corporate guy? I know in 5 minutes ( oh 2?) you’ll be back to your awesome, plush life.

      Hopefully, I made you think.

      I really do love you. I do. I love all walks of life. Wish you were the same.

      XO
      Sara