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Monday, May 2, 2016

College debt crisis

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In a recent editorial the Gazette made recommendations on how to vote on the Nebraska Constitutional amendments. Somehow I cannot agree that the idea of stretching term limits for elected State officers from two terms to three is a good idea. The Gazette sees term limits as limiting the choices of the electorate. Not mentioned was the unfair advantage that the incumbent has over the newcomer.

You see I have been there and done that a few years back when elected to the office of Red Willow County Commissioner. I loved the job; the working with the County Employees, the challenge of the budget, responding to the taxpayers' few complaints. It was a role of leadership for which I had been well trained.

I didn't term limit out, the voters gave me the boot. In reflection it was a good thing. Power is addictive and I really enjoyed that part of the job. I had quarreled with the one-size-fits-all bureaucrats in state government in Lincoln and consequently Red Willow County was being looked at with disdain. You see, the McCook area had won the contest for the new state prison that was a-building and I cried foul, as we had met all the criteria except the one unspoken one that important state projects that spend lots of taxpayer money need to be located close to Lincoln and not in some hicktown like McCook.

Lucky for McCook, at the time that our governor was one Ben Nelson who managed to send the Work Ethic Camp our way. That minimum security prison has proven to be a real asset to this community. The concept is that it is better to swallow one's words so as not to make the bureaucrats holding the purse strings angry unless the Governor feels that he wants to do a favor for ye old hometown.

Doing otherwise translates to less money from state coffers and higher taxes for county land owners.

Vote NO on changing term limits from two terms to three.

Note that a California company that tracks such things has released their findings that show the latest college graduating class, 2011, is in debt an additional 5 percent over the class before. This after the Obama administration has, by fiat, taken over the student loan business to make it more efficient. The President states that "We cut out the middle man."

Little noted is that the colleges are a mite greedy and have raised tuition rates to get their fingers on ever more money.

I have noticed that President Obama out on the campaign trail has been promising even more money to college students so that they won't have to borrow from their parents. Whoa. Whatever happened to the "old fashioned" concept that parents were responsible for paying their own kids' way through college? That is the way my folks did it for my siblings. That is the way that Grannie Annie and I did it for our own children.

The one time I co-signed a student loan for my daughter to take advantage of the reduced interest rate I discover the local bank was really interested in getting it paid off ahead of my normal operating loan which had a higher interest rate. Twenty five year payback -- no way.

There is a proposal afoot to let the graduate pay back his student loan at a maximum of 15 percent of his income per year. After 25 years, the remaining balance on the loan is forgiven.

No wonder the country is in debt when the government makes such poor investments. Private enterprise knows better.

Enter flight training in the civilian world. Recent conversations point to tuition costs of a commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings run to something like $100,000. Those are the minimum requirements for a young person to get hired on to an entry-level airline job like flying the Beech 1900s that service McCook. Note, We can do all that much cheaper here but don't have the "prestige" of the large aviation schools. All that, plus new rules requiring 1500 hours pilot experience plus an Airline Transport Rating which means additional expense.

I detect a real pilot crunch looming, not enough pilots available to fill the needed slots. Something has to change!

Think $100,000 debt to pay back on an entry level pilot salary of around $20,000 per year. Then again the best number that I could find for students who borrowed for college and graduated in 2011 left owing an average of $26,000 based on reports from 1035 schools. A Rutgers University study released earlier this year also found 53.6 percent of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 in 2011 were jobless or underemployed. Hmm, that isn't working well either so it looks like a lot of grad parents will have significant debt to pay back. Probably the taxpayer, that is us, will be left holding the bag--again!

It looks to me that we need new leadership in this country. Leadership that understands economics and will get our economy going again.

Obviously our current administration has no clue or else has another, as yet unstated, goal in mind.

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

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Dick Trail
The Way I Saw It