About that rose garden. . .

pots and pans

“. . . and if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers.”

When I was a child I had a romantic vision of the future: I would marry a prince, have a nice, medium sized family, and be allowed to dabble in my favorite pursuits of music and writing, but not expected to contribute greatly to the coffers.

Instead, I’ve worked harder than most women in my life – maybe not at the most difficult jobs – but I’ve put in many, many hours away from home and on the job. As for the prince, neither of my husbands were so inclined, even though the first one was a royal pain. (snicker). I did get the nice family, a child of my own that is the apple of my eye, and three stepchildren that I couldn’t have loved better if they had been my own. Life was not perfect, but I was “allowed” to write and perform music, and be myself. I was also given the opportunity to go to college and become more educated than I’d ever wanted to.

You see, I never planned to get a Ph.D. I was content with the master’s degree and a half. But I needed job security, and without a terminal degree in my field, job security is hard to find. I’m a professor and a writer, and a social scientist. So, terminal degree, here I come. Now I have a 100 graduate hours, or more, and that’s a lot. I’ll have a few more by the time my dissertation is finished. And after finishing it, I won’t be allowed to sit on my laurels (there’s that word again, ‘allowed’). I will need to get a job and work as long as I can, so I can make at least a dent in my college loans. Of course, I’m not worried about those loans. They die with you. Nobody will be saddled with them. But during my lifetime, I will have to pay on them. I read an article the other day about the unique plight of senior citizens who decided late in life to return to school and now have student loans, or whose student loans are still unpaid. A bill sponsored in Congress this spring, the Student Loan Fairness Act, would make repayment of student loans 10 percent of a person’s annual discretionary income, for 10 years, with the unpaid balance forgiven. I could live with that. The question is, what is “discretionary income?” Wikipedia (gotta love Wikipedia) states that Discretionary income = Gross income – taxes – all compelled payments (bills). That would be nifty. And I believe fair. People making a great deal of money would pay more – a lot more – and people like me with no real discretionary income – would probably pay a pittance. The upside is, more people would go to school and not worry so much about making a great deal of money when they got out. So we would have more rural doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs. People with talent would take up work they love, not the work that makes big bucks. The down side is, the Republicans in Congress will never go for it. They fear a lot of things – like having to pay through their noses for an education – (although the rich are not taking out student loans, actually) and the real fear: a more educated populace who is happy are likely to vote Democratic. And that is something that cannot be allowed to happen. And not on their watch, if they want to stay in office. So the little man and woman suffers, so people who never have to meet us can keep their jobs.

No, it is far better, according to these folks, that we keep the little people miserable, keep them poor, and keep them ignorant. They can fight our wars, and die there with our blessings and profound thanks, and work in our low-income service jobs and listen to us tell them who to vote for. But I don’t think most people who vote Republican feel that way. In fact, I know they don’t. Maybe it is time they wised up and started holding their office holders accountable?

And policies this these? They also mean there is no hope for a romantic, like me. I don’t get the rose garden, the picket fence and the chance to rest, ever, on my laurels.

3 thoughts on “About that rose garden. . .

  1. “Nobody will be saddled with my student loans..” Except for the people who made the money available to you. Money does not grow on trees. Those people, who made the funds available to you, expected a return on their investment. If everyone took out loans they never expected to repay, and did not repay them, there would be no more loans because people would realize that there was no return.

    “The Student Loan Fairness Act.. would make payment 10 percent of a student’s discretionary income.. with the unpaid balance forgiven… Since I have no discretionary income, I would pay a pittance on my student loans… That would be nifty, and I believe fair…” Fair to whom? Who would loan money to someone who has no intention nor capability to pay it back?

    I guess I understand why you never expected to “contribute greatly to the coffers” in your romantic vision of the future. You think you should be entitled to student loans that you never have to repay! And then you go on a rant against people (you call them “Republicans”) who would object to such a program and would not participate in it voluntarily, much less like it if they were forced to do so, say, through a taxation scheme.

  2. I usually don’t allow anonymous comments on my blog, especially nasty ones. But I let this one stand, because it is so typical of people who really have no clue about what I’m writing about. First, you need to understand irony and subtle humor; second, you need to understand that in this country, we place an onerous burden on those seeking education by saddling them with loans they can never fully repay, for something that should be virtually free or included in our taxes. Education – a public education – should never cost you so much you can’t afford to pay it back. In Europe this is the way it is. But here in America we charge people up the yang. And the reason? To keep the masses ignorant. Apparently you are one of the masses. And I would also like you to know that I AM ONE OF THOSE TAXPAYERS you talk about. And I have paid them for years and years. So don’t pontificate to me about it. I’m not a burden on anybody. And I would love to tell you this to your face, but since you are hiding behind the anonymous mask, I cannot.
    Another thing – and this is important – I do not advocate free loans to anyone. I’m advocating a change in our education policy. If a person has the means, I believe they should pay for their education. And people with means do pay. If your education takes you to great heights, you owe the system that helped you do it. But for those people who fall between the cracks, I saw we owe them.

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