Eddie: I want to welcome guest blogger Gordon Wayne Watts. I thought a contribution from him would be valuable because he has filed pro se litigation before, in a nationally recognized case no less. He also takes an interest in the student debt crisis. As you may be aware from my page "A New Plan of Action" the school debt crisis is a constitutional legal problem. The student loan crisis will ultimately to be solved in the courts.
The 'Higher Education Bubble,' and the scam that IS American Higher Educatio
Hello, my name is Gordon Wayne Watts, of Lakeland (between Tampa & Orlando), Florida, U.S.A. – I have graciously been invited to write a guest post, here on EducationBubbleAndScamReport.com, by the webmaster, Edward Caldwell, so I shall try and make good use out of this opportunity.
Anyhow, if anyone Google's me, they may find I am the right-wing nut whose court case almost won on behalf of Terri Schiavo, eventually losing 4-3 in Florida's high court, and doing better than either Jeb Bush or Terri's own blood family. (Liberals reading this, don't get alarmed: I OPPOSED Jeb Bush on the Feeding Tube issue, while making my case on the food and water matter, legally distinguishable and distinct from feeding tubes or machines LOL.) That was a miracle in many ways (I'm not lawyer, and can't normally represent others in court; also it was a miracle of volition and free will: NO one in their right mind, or even in their “wrong” mind would naïvely try to do what I did.)
But I didn't come here to discuss divisive politics: Terri's dead, and this case is over; HOWEVER, we are NOT dead, and actually, there is a segue “tie-in” here:
There is now a recent spike in suicides DIRECTLY linked to the stress from inability to file for bankruptcy for “Student Loans” (aka: “College Loans”) –or even have protection from other basic “Standard Consumer Protections,” like, for example, Credit Card users have: E.g., truth in lending; bankruptcy proceedings; statutes of limits; the right to refinance; adherence to usury laws; and, Fair Debt & Collection practices, etc. So, ironically, a “far-right” conservative nut has taken up what many consider a “traditionally liberal” cause... it gets odder, but first let's address the basics:
College Tuition is SOARING, even as quality of American Higher Education plummets. That begs the question: “Why?” For so many years, I was clueless as to the how's and why's, and so I'm sure many others are. Thus, I will act like I'm speaking to a “younger Gordon,” in the past, via some Time Travel technology, and thus get into the right mood and spirit to help bring you “up to speed.”
First off, we know that Higher Ed in the United States in the 1950's was the BEST in the world, so one might expect it to be expensive, right? WRONG: Students then only needed work a part-time job over the summer or, say, work in the cafeteria, and practically NEVER graduated with college debt. But, then “liberals” in Congress made college loans very easily available in the naïve hopes that it would be “student aid,” but really, what happened was colleges raises tuition to match increase borrowing (or Pell grant) ability, so this was, de facto, “College” aid, not “student” aid. LOL Then, so-called Conservatives (and some liberals) in many administrations (including George W. Bush's tenure) wrote laws continually and gradually making it harder & harder for a student to file for bankruptcy.
When students could file for bankruptcy, there was, at least, some “Free Market” check & balance on excess “easy loans.” (Remember the “Housing Bubble” of 2010? Remember what caused it? Riiight! The Government forced lenders to make sub-prime loans to individuals who could CLEARLY not repay them. But, at least they could file for bankruptcy, so there was at least some mitigating factor to slow the “Bubble.”) OK, with student loans, there was already “Tuition Inflation” when liberals succeeded in distorting the Free Market by provision of excess numbers of huge loans—and with U.S. Congress continually raising the “loan limits,” thus resulting in colleges raising tuition to match the newly increased borrowing ability of Joe Blow Student-Debt-Slave. So, when students could no longer defend themselves (think: 2nd Amendment) by way of bankruptcy, the predatory lenders (think robber barons and criminals) were able to attack unchecked.
There was, however, another means of defending themselves that was removed: “Knowledge is power,” and when the Truth in Lending provisions were removed for student loans, the student then was unaware that his or her loans lacked ALL basic Standard Consumer Protections (enumerated above), including, of course, the ability to file for bankruptcy.
The effects of that were two-fold:
#1 – Student were, effectively, expected to obey a law without the proper Due Process of notice, and the laws governing lack of notice, strictly speaking, are Unconstitutional because they are laws that “Void for Vagueness.”
#2 – Of course, when students rushed in (due, in part, to the lack of notice of the inherrent dangers of these types of loans), that bid up tuition even more, due to colleges dishonestly raising tuition to match the increased borrowing abilities.
But, a little more on #1, above: The 'Prohibition Against Vague Laws' is a standard of American case law that states that a given statute is “Void for Vagueness” (VFV), and thus unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand its meaning or application. For example, a statute might be Unconstitutionally void for vagueness if a citizen of average intelligence cannot generally determine which conduct is prohibited, who are regulated, or what punishment may be imposed. The VFV doctrine is normally applied to criminal statutes, but applies to civil statutes also. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, at 108-109 (1972) [footnotes omitted for brevity], Justice Thurgood Marshall writing for the court, held: “It is a basic principle of due process that an enactment is void for vagueness if its prohibitions are not clearly defined. Vague laws offend several important values. First, because we assume that man is free to steer between lawful and unlawful conduct, we insist that laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly. Vague laws may trap the innocent by not providing fair warning. Second, if arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is to be prevented, laws must provide explicit standards for those who apply them. A vague law impermissibly delegates basic policy matters to policemen, judges, and juries for resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis, with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory application. Third, but related, where a vague statute "abut[s] upon sensitive areas of basic First Amendment freedoms," it "operates to inhibit the exercise of [those] freedoms." Uncertain meanings inevitably lead citizens to "steer far wider of the unlawful zone' . . . than if the boundaries of the forbidden areas were clearly marked."”
Also, there is a de facto monopoly in Higher Ed in America, since a student can go nowhere else to get an education. Now, monopolies are not necessarily illegal: take, for example, a monopoly the local electric company holds. However, these monopolies are ALWAYS regulated, and if they weren't, and price-gouging occurred, there would be an hue and cry “outcry” of the citizens. However, college students do NOT have as strong a political “mojo” as, say, American homeowners, since they are, on balance, younger, and less numerous. So, indentured servitude (read: debt slavery) results. Every time we get rid of one form of slavery or oppression (Blacks, Women, Jews, or, my peoples, the Native American Indians), they look for another vulnerable group to oppress – to replace the former slaves.
This time, it's the college student.
Oh, one more bonus point just seeped into my over-worked psych: Since tuition is funding flowing TO an arm of the government (State Colleges, in most cases get the tuition, and ALL colleges, public OR private are regulated by the State & Federal Government), therefore, tuition is legally, and by the textbook definition, a TAX, and ALL politicians who do nothing to forcibly lower this over-burdensome tax are bad, and Republicans who do nothing are worse, as they (we: for, I'm a Republican) are baldfaced hypocrites, since the GOP's mantra is supposedly one of less taxing and less spending. Continuing... **psst!** Flat tire and out-of-gas on the Internet Highway – time to pull over... LOL...
OK, my brain has just now started to fry from overuse, and I'll quit whilst I'm ahead. However, it's important to realise that this problem will NOT just “go away” if ignored, and so, by any reasonable measure, we must get informed, for, as I said above, knowledge is power. So, with every fibre of your soul, you must strive for excellence, and fight with honour and valour. To that end, I'd like to direct you to my online research page on the subject, with much information and many online resources. It is posted on four (4) mirrors, since, if one website goes down (hey, it happens!), I won't have put all my eggs on one basket—which is good 'county boy' wisdom:
* http://GordonWatts.com/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html (Hosted by GoDaddy)
* http://GordonWayneWatts.com/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html (Hosted by HostGator)
* http://Gordon_Watts.Tripod.com/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html (Hosted by Lycos/Tripod)
* http://ThirstForJustice.net/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html (The official mirror, as listed in Wikipedia's entries)
In the top-left of each page is a link that looks like this: “This just in-Lawsuit research- VERY IMPORTANT:” and looks like this: http://GordonWayneWatts.com/Student-Loan-Abuse_Brief.pdf (or, ends with .doc for the Word version; and, of course, begins with the same basic URL as the front page of the website).
Now, costs of college, and various scams and other illegal activities, have caused College Debt to, for the FIRST time in this nation's history, surpass Credit Card debt, and so, Edward's choice of use for the words “scam” and “bubble” for his website's URL (EducationBubbleAndScamReport.com), are 100% and TOTALLY factual and correct, and if you doubt that, see both my research, in which I cite my sources, and do your own research, if you still respectfully dissent.
Besides the “tuition inflation” effect of removing bankruptcy protections, a Free Market check on “easy loans” (and resultant tuition inflation), not having bankruptcy for student loans is immoral.
Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy FOUR (4) times, surely for HUGER AMOUNT$ than mere college students:
“Donald Trump -- or companies that bear his name - have declared bankruptcy four times...Trump's first visit to bankruptcy court was in 1991, when his Atlantic City casino, the Taj Mahal, was buried under a mountain of debt. The Taj carried a $1 billion price tag and was financed by junk bonds carrying a staggering 14 percent interest rate. As construction completed, the economy slumped, as did the Atlantic City gambling scene, soon plunging Trump into $3.4 billion of debt...In December 2008 his company missed a $53.1 million bond interest payment, propelling Trump Entertainment Resorts into bankruptcy court and plunging its stock price from $4 per share to a mere 23 cents.”
(“Donald Trump's Companies Filed for Bankruptcy 4 Times,” By Amy Bingham (@Amy_Bingham),
April 21, 2011, ABCNews.com)
Credit Card users can (and do!) file for bankruptcy -and yet, college students can't legally get their loans discharged in bankruptcy unless they meet the 'Undue Hardship' test, which, according to most experts, is basically next-to-impossible to meet.
So, what's the conclusion of the whole matter? ANSWER: Go above, and click on my links.
You are welcome to not only link to, but also copy and upload to your site, if with attribution preferably complete & unaltered, but you may, of course, quote me as well) per my legal release here:
“Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee.” – Sirach 4:28 (Holy Bible, CATHOLIC CANON, King James Version)
“Eliminate all other [untrue] factors, and the one which remains must be the truth” – SHERLOCK HOLMES
“Things that make you go 'hmm...'.” – ARSENIO HALL
Read, print out, upload to your site, share, and then ACT ON and DO! – GORDON WAYNE WATTS
“Either do – or do not: There IS no 'try'.” – YODA
* * * * * * *
PS: For those who wonder “did he really win the Schiavo case all by himself, getting almost half his panel, doing better than Jeb Bush (ho got zero votes), or Schiavo's family (who got a third of their panel), and this all without being a lawyer?” – ANSWER, citing my sources:
 In Re: GORDON WAYNE WATTS (as next friend of THERESA MARIE 'TERRI' SCHIAVO), No. SC03-2420 (Fla. Feb.23, 2003), denied 4-3 on rehearing.
 In Re: JEB BUSH, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA, ET AL. v. MICHAEL SCHIAVO, GUARDIAN: THERESA SCHIAVO, No. SC04-925 (Fla. Oct.21, 2004), denied 7-0 on rehearing.
 Schiavo ex rel. Schindler v. Schiavo ex rel. Schiavo, 403 F.3d 1223, 2005 WL 648897 (11th Cir. Mar.23, 2005), denied 2-1 on appeal.
To make the liberals happy:
“AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF BY AMICUS GORDON WATTS in support of Appellee, Michael Schiavo’s petition to affirm”:
Now, write a letter to the editor, call your Congressman, go postal on a social media like Facebook, Blogger, or Twitter, or even send out to your email list, demanding REAL 'CHANGE.' -- Now, get up off the mat, and FIGHT!!
“Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will fight for you.” – Sirach 4:28 (Holy Bible, CATHOLIC CANON, NRSV, 1989)
With kind regards, I AM, Sincerely,
– Gordon Wayne Watts
Eddie: Thank you for your post Gordon. Our readers can certainly take away some interesting information from your essay.