Besides beefing up militarized police departments, what else can U.S. oligarchs do to keep the masses from revolting? Divide and conquer! Today I begin a series on some of the many false divisions being actively sown by our corporate overlords.
My first topic is in the news due to promised cancelation of a small fraction of federal student loans. It’s hot now because the pandemic pause on loan repayments was set to expire (and has now been kicked down the road to January 1, 2023.)
Supporters of student loan cancelation v. those who think it’s unfair
This one pretty much boils down to an argument about whether you believe that higher education benefits individuals or benefits society as a whole. Talk about a false dichotomy! It benefits both, but you might miss that in the harsh exchanges about Biden’s promise to cancel student loans if elected.
Lots of real people plus a legion of trolls are attacking those promised a paltry $10-20k of debt relief in an era of predatory student lending with interest rates so high the principal lingers for decades.
And, unlike other forms of debt, there is no relief possible via bankruptcy (thank Senator Biden c.2015 for that one).
One big objection seems to be that being coerced into the military in order to pay for college is no longer working as well as it did.
So, where’s the cannon fodder going to come from?
Such are the concerns of our corporate overlords.
I was once in an emergency room doubled over with pain from diverticulitis. Another woman was sharing loudly that her daughter, a special ed student, had left school in 9th grade because, “they weren’t teaching her nothing, and she weren’t learning nothing.” I was too sick to voice the thought in my head: “Aren’t we lucky that the nurses and doctors we’re waiting to see didn’t feel that way?”
A few years later, the RN at my primary care doctor’s office recognized me and introduced herself as a student from my very first year of teaching. She was happily married with two kids and had fond memories of our school year together.
I didn’t ask about her student loans but she was from a low-income family and I doubt she got a nursing degree without debt in some form.
I took out federal student loans for a masters degree in education in order to become a teacher, and part of the focus in those years (early 90’s) was improving science education at the elementary school level. Not my area of strength, so I put more effort there. I also completed the Ms.Ed at my employers’ expense, and paid off the student loans just about as my oldest child entered college.
Who benefited most from education in this situation?
Me? My son? My former student? Or the community she serves as a health care provider and I served as an educator?
Also, right around when a college education started being pushed for everybody in order to benefit wealthy owners who needed high quality workers trained at someone else’s expense is when predatory student lending took off. Clueless boomers like me thought going into debt for a college degree was a good investment in yourself and your future ability to feed your family. That’s because we were able to pay off our student loans in a decade or so without breaking the bank.
A recent flame war on Twitter was set off when an elder commented that millenials seem “cavalier” about the decision to not have children.
This is a nice segue to the next divide and conquer strategy I’ll address: sowing discord between generations.