Student Loan Debt: Unsafe In Any Amount

| Educate!

Something amazing happened recently. The NJ Society of Certified Public Accountants addressed the issue of student loan debt and in a variety of formats:

  1. In June, the NJ Society conducted a poll of CPAs. The survey’s results showed more than 80% of 623 CPA respondents considered student loan debt to be a major financial crisis, so much so that debtors have put off key life decisions like purchasing a home, having children, or saving for retirement;
  2. Based on this survey, the NJ Society formed a Student Loan Debt Task Force to study the issues, educate its members, and support legislation aimed at providing relief to borrowers;
  3. Earlier this month the NJ Society’s Government Relations Vice President, Jeffrey Kaszerman, aired a podcast “Addressing the Student Loan Debt Crisis” and relayed the following grim statistics:
  4. Student loan debt is the second-highest consumer debt, behind mortgages [which is less comparable as mortgages are secured by tangible assets];
  5. Student Loan debt has doubled over the last 10 years to $1.6 Trillion;
  6. There are over 44 million debtors;
  7. Sixty-one percent of graduates have student loan debt;
  8. Average student loan debt of graduates is $31K;
  9. Levels of debt for older generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) exceed that of Millennials (on average Gen Xers have $40K; Boomers $33K) which is evidence this debt cuts across multiple generations.

One observation, mentioned by Mr. Kaszerman’s guest on this podcast, Don Meyer, Chief Marketing Officer of the NJ Society, was astonishing:

“Regardless of the generation, research shows most of these borrowers don’t ever intend to pay this off.  They intend to take it to their grave, which is a horrible thought. From the age of 22, they expect to die before they can pay it off.”

I think Mr. Meyer’s word “intend” was an unfortunate choice.  A better term to describe the struggle of debtors to repay would be “realistically impossible.”

In fact, if Americans were aware of the extent that student loan debt has been carved out to serve the pockets of the educational and financial industries as well as the government, they’d think twice before considering higher education.

Beginning in the 1970s and over the next 4 decades, in bi-partisan administrations, student loan debt has been stripped of most consumer protections including, but not limited to, Truth in Lending, Statute of Limitations (federal), Fair Debt Collection practices, and bankruptcy (debtors can file and have their debt extinguished in bankruptcy only under the most dire of circumstances).

Recently this fact was laid out when a top official of the Department of Education (DOE), A Wayne Johnson, quit in order to push an agenda to cancel much of the country’s student debt.  In reference to his two years at the DOE, Mr. Johnson said “[You’re] not going to fix something broken at its core.”

One of the issues which makes this debt so difficult to repay is the questionable practices of the loan servicers who administer and process loan proceeds and payments.  The servicers are approved and assigned by the DOE. Borrowers have no choice of loan servicer, who profit nicely. 

Loan servicers have been known to lie, deceive, misapply loan payments, force forbearance on debtors (a grace period for repayment in which interest continues to accrue, increasing principal balance), tell borrowers they are delinquent when they are not, hold online payments for days before applying to the loans, limit the date and number of times borrowers can make online payments, and apply payments to loans where interest rates favor the profitability of the loan servicer.  Additionally, loan servicers have been known to have very cozy relationships with educational institutions.

In 2007, then NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo instituted an investigation of the cliquey relationships between loan servicers and colleges.  His research resulted in Congressional testimony which revealed an “unholy alliance” of deceptive practices, which were widespread between colleges and lenders.  These practices included revenue-sharing agreements (kickbacks), interest, fees, stock incentives, and other perks.

Sallie Mae, one of the largest student loan servicers has been investigated by both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the US Government.  In 2015, Sallie Mae settled with the US government for deceiving almost 78,000 veterans by charging interest on their student loans in excess of the rate capped by the Military Lending Act.

SLM Corporation, the holding company for Sallie Mae, is a publicly traded entity which dates to the 1970s. It was originally a government entity.  In 2014, after decades of negative publicity (if you googled “Sallie Mae sucks” there’d be hundreds of thousands of responses), Sallie Mae ‘rebranded’ as Navient.

In 2017, the CFPB sued Navient, for failing borrowers “at every stage of repayment,” including employing practices that failed to correctly apply for payments, obscured loan information, used widespread deception, and harmed disabled borrowers including severely injured veterans. 

In February 2018, my article “This is US. Student Debt Devours Young and Old” detailed the difficulties of repayment for a woman whose 1987 original $10,000 in federal student loan debt turned into a repayment scheme of 30 plus years.

I first became interested in this industry in the late 1990s while repaying my own loans.  Early in the repayment process – despite paying on time or ahead of schedule – I would receive notices from my loan servicer that the loans were late or delinquent. This would pave the way for the servicer to assess monthly late fees and denial of interest rate deductions (carrot and stick rewards for several on-time payments).

Once the servicer notifies a borrower of pending delinquency, the loan guarantor (these were FFEL loans which contained a 100% federal guarantee to the holder – a program which was a cash cow for investors and was terminated under President Obama) would take steps to aggressively begin collection.  I fought vehemently against these fraudulent and deceptive practices, writing letters and documenting the abuse. Despite paying on these loans for the past 25 years – with an original $35,000 balance – I still owe $4,000.

My own experience helped me focus on other debtors, and for the past decade, as a CPA, I’ve worked with borrowers, young and old, reviewing their loan documents, payments, and noting a common thread.  The struggle to repay this debt is very real and truly frightening. It is a cauldron of trickery.

Here’s a sample of some of my clients:

  1. Nicky, a teacher from Texas, despite having worked continuously since graduation in 2005, paid over $42,000 on original loans of $35,000, yet still owes $25,000.  Nicky’s wages have been garnished for the past 4 years (with 16% fee on each garnished check going to the guarantee agency, a nonprofit entity which re-branded 2 years ago, and three quarters of a billion dollars in surplus, and unconscionably high management compensation). Upon investigation of the loan documents, it’s clear one of the loan servicers fraudulently pushed her into default, which triggered the wage garnishment. Servicers, guarantors, and the government make more if the loan defaults because it extends the interest paid and adds in penalties and fees.
  2. Howard, an attorney with $280K in debt (this is a very, very common amount of debt among professionals including doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, and post-graduates) who makes $80K a year, is in year 3 of an income based 25-year repayment plan (scheme).  This debtor recently received two notices from Fedloan (the income-based loan servicer) that rebates from five years ago, totaling $1,200 are being added back to the principal of three of the ten loans. So, the loan servicers are scouring debtor’s payment history looking for aged payment discrepancies to increase an already unrealistic loan balance.
  3. Samantha, a young graduate who’s currently a teacher’s aide for a preschool has debt that cuts through 3 generations in her family (her mother took out a Parent Plus loan – see #4 – and her grandmother co-signed private loans). Monthly debt payments exceed $800.
  4. Joseph, a father of two college students in his mid-50s has over $120K in Parent Plus Loans (PP). PP loans were introduced as a financing scheme for parents to assist with the high price of their children’s education – just when they’d paid off their own loans. PP loans come with origination fees, high interest rates, and immediate repayment requirements. Joseph’s monthly PP loan payments exceed $1,200.

The above examples are the reality.  Below is Tom’s story. The numbers are most revealing. 

Tom graduated in 2017 from a large nonprofit university in a major US city (annual filing documents show this university has $1.5 Billion in surplus and annual profits – tax-free – are over a quarter of a billion) with debt totaling $131K ($83K private, and $48K federal). After paying his loans for the past 18 months, Tom was recently notified by the university that he also had a third type of student loan, a Perkins loan, for which payments were past due.  Perkins loans are low-interest federal loans for students with exceptional financial need. The Perkins loan originated in 2016, amounted to another $3,000 in debt.

The contracts for Tom’s private loans, totaling $83K, contained variable interest rates, which change monthly, based on the LIBOR rate plus a percentage. The interest rate capped – for each of the loans – at 25% (total repayment of the loans at a maximum interest rate would total almost $400,000). 

Despite on-time payments for the past 18 months, and the contract variable interest rate changing monthly and ranging between 6% to 9%, the effective interest rate paid (because of added fees and capitalized interest) was 21%.  

Exhibit A (read it here: exhibit-a) shows the payment of Tom’s loans for the 18-month period.  After paying almost $20,000, with average monthly payment over $1,000, the principal amount paid on the four loans was a paltry $1,400.  All payments on Loan #1 went to interest and fees.

So, despite the contract which was presented to Tom by the private loan company (in association with the university) stating the initial interest rate was (on average) 6.52%, the effective (actual) rate of interest paid for the first 18 months was more than triple that rate.  The interest rate paid on Loan #1 was 100%; all payments went to interest and fees.

Exhibit A

If the loan servicers – those responsible for assisting borrowers in the repayment of their loans – are fraught with fraud and abuse, how can one honestly repay their debt?

Most can’t. The Pew Charitable Trust recently reported a quarter of borrowers defaulted within 5 years of repayment.  Default occurs on federal loans after 270 days without repayment. A default can result in wage garnishment (including Social Security and disability income,) seizure of tax refunds, damaged credit, and constant harassment from collection entities.

Additionally, since student loan debt is unique in that it is exempt from most consumer protections, private loan servicers have little to fear from borrowers’ inability to repay.  Upon delinquency and default, they can go after assets and wages with little to no recourse for the borrower. Also, since most private student loans require co-signers (who step into the shoes of the borrower,) the ability to collect has increased incredibly.

Indeed, that’s a specially-carved-out sweet deal for lenders.

But for borrowers?  Not so much.

Although there are repayment programs purported to help borrowers manage their federal loans, most contain nonsensical requirements or draconian repayment sentences which only work to increase the loan balances.

Take, for example, the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program, which (in theory) allowed borrowers to make 120 monthly payments on their federal Direct loans, and after 10 years, the balance would be forgiven (tax-free.)  Recently, Forbes reported that 99% of applicants who completed this program were denied forgiveness (usually because of some obscure parameter, like making payment to the wrong loan servicer or in the wrong amount or on the wrong date or any number of dozens of requirements).  This left borrowers, who thought they would be free of these loans, forced to continue repayment of principal balances which were increased because of lower monthly payments.

Here’s another example. Howard, the attorney mentioned earlier.  His education included federal debt as an undergraduate ($25K) and another $220K for law school.  Deferring his loans while in law school, and subsequent periods of an economic downturn after graduation, his loans ballooned to $280K.  Although now working full time and earning a good salary, his payments, at $3,247 per month, were totally unaffordable. In order to avoid default, Howard entered the federal Income Based Repayment program.  He is currently in year 3 of a 25-year repayment plan with monthly payments of $300.  But those payments don’t touch the principal, which means any shortfall in monthly interest liability results in increasing the principal by that amount.  

Daily interest on Howard’s loans total $70, monthly interest would be $2,100 ($70 times 30 days).  By paying $300 per month, $1,800 ($2,100 less $300) of monthly interest is not being paid, so at the end of the year, the total unpaid interest is added back to the principal.  In Howard’s case, it amounts to over $21K. That is just for the current year. Each year Howard must recertify his eligibility to be in the program. Failure to annually recertify can mean termination.  Additionally, the following year, when Howard begins repayment in year 4, he is doing so with increased principal balances by $21K (and thus increased daily interest to meet).

The Income-Based Repayment program is a circuitous scheme intended to keep borrowers out of default (and thus the US from explaining rocketing default rates) without reducing principal balances.  

Since 2008 the US has had a Lost Decade in higher education funding at the state level.  In 2017, the loss topped $9 Billion below the 2008 level. This lack of funding provides the cover for colleges to increase tuition – and thus student borrowing. 

Nine billion reduction over a decade in education but according to the current Department of Defense budget, the US will spend the same amount increasing the Navy’s budget bringing it to $205.6 Billion. That is for the current year. The Air Force gets an $11.8 billion increase to $205 Billion.  The Army gets a $12 billion bump to $192 Billion.

In fact, according to a recent report from Brown University, the cost of the global War on Terror topped $6.4 Trillion (4 times the amount of current student loan debt) and cost 801,000 lives.

With no end in sight.  

Below is a snippet of some of the priorities in the DOD budget for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year. It’s important to note the DOD Budget states it has moved away from fighting terrorism as its primary concern, instead of focusing on building “a more lethal, agile, and innovative joint force.” (DOD Overview FY 2020 Defense Budget page 1-3):

    • $ 7.2 Billion for 6,402 combat and tactical motorized vehicles ($1.1 million each);
    • $ 1.6 Billion for 4,090 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles ($392,000 each);
    • $ 1.7 Billion for ground-based missiles;
    • $14.1 Billion for Space wars;
    • $ 9.6 Billion for cyber offensive and defensive operations;
    • $13.9 Billion for 110 4th and 5th Generation Aircraft ($126 million each)
    • $ 2.3 Billion for 12 KC-46 tankers ($192 million each);
    • $ 1.1 Billion for 389 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and 430 Joint Air-Surface Missiles with extended range;
    • $10.4 Billion for 3 Virginia Class Submarines ($3.5 Billion each); 
    • $ 5.8 Billion for 3 DDG-51 Destroyers (almost $2 Billion each);
    • $ 1.0 Billion for 1 FFG(X) frigate;
    • $ 2.4 Billion for 37 missiles and 36 installs to expand THAAD (Thermal High-Altitude Area Defense – $65 million each);
    • $14.0 Billion to update nuclear triad (nuclear armed missiles, submarines, bombers, dual-capable aircraft and related infrastructure);
    • $ 3.4 Billion on special operation forces.

That’s a subtotal of $88.5 Billion for upcoming fiscal year

The total DOD Budget request is $718 Billion, an increase from 2019 of $33 Billion, which, including funding the above, also supports 900 military bases in 182 countries on 7 continents and 7 bodies of water. According to the National Priorities Project, US military spending outpaces the next 7 largest military budgets in the world.

Clearly, in the US, preparation for war is a priority.  Education? Not so much.

What other country devours its youth? 

Within the past 2 decades, student loan debt skyrocketed past $1.6 Trillion entrapping 44 million borrowers, young and old, in suffocating payments, reeking with fraudulent loan servicers, leaving most borrowers thinking they will die before they can pay it off.

Sounds like a war on education.  

 

  • voza0db

    Another article about student debt… so I must use COPY/PASTE!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/18342ec007130f2140f3b80c1883e75ad47ce078878169e15335794733c8ee58.png

    Since the modern debt slaves enjoy so much using smartphones and social media, they should use those to organize a MASSIVE COLLECTIVE STUDENT DEBT DEFAULT!

    But it seems that they don’t have the right tools to perform such task!

  • voza0db

    “Sounds like a war on education.”… Calling nowadays college degrees (almost all) “education” is stretching the realm of plausibility a little bit too much!

  • Victor S

    That’s why in the Soviet Union, the greatest country in known history, housing, healthcare and ALL education was free. Capitalism enslaves people for the rest of their life through those three, whereas socialism frees them up for the rest of their life.

  • ANTONIO

    ALL FASCIST REGIMES want an uneducated population. The few that can go to university are deliberately sifted out as those with lots of money and no brains, who swallow the capitalist gestalt whole and are unable to engage in critical thinking.

  • ANTONIO

    AND TO THINK that in Cuba you can go for seven years to become a doctor and not pay a single penny, with a job guaranteed at graduation. JEEZ

  • jwreitter

    Thank you Lynn Petrovich! A great article. Just like with healthcare, we need Improved, free Education for All. Cut the military, tax the filthy rich, corporations and financial transactions! There would be more than enough $ to pay for improved education and improved healthcare. But they must be IMPROVED.

  • chetdude

    Don’t forget one of the major offenders who condemned students to a lifetime of onerous debt: Democratic “Front runner” Joe Biden…

  • chetdude

    Exactly correct.

    Health care should be improved by enforcing a NEW goal: instead of ever-increasing quarterly profits for the corporations setting “prices” — provision of Holistic, Comprehensive Health Care for All persons.

    Education should be improved by de-emphasizing areas of “study” that are primarily degrading the environment and threatening life on our only Home Planet (MBA, Economics, Mining and chemical Ag) and emphasizing skills that we will need to survive the backlash caused by the fossil-fueled capitalist consumption and pollution machine such as carpentry, regenerative organic farming, community and consensus building, the arts and music.

  • chetdude

    AND Cuban doctors and nurses get a much more well rounded, holistic education in Health Care than doctors in USAmerica get with the Big PhRMA infused training programs at med and nursing schools…

  • Big Ray

    After graduating with close to $60,000 in student loan debt, I’m now at 339,856.22. I’ve been paying on these loans since 1993 with sporadic employment, several defaults, then rehabs. Now in IBR, but payments do not cover interest that totals an astounding $158,130.94! NO WAY OUT!

  • I hope that^^^ was sarcasm Victor….

  • Yep, Sleepy Joe was in BED with Sallie Mae for decades… Thanks Sleepy Joe.

  • Victor S

    Why would it be sarcastic?! And which part?! Free housing, healthcare, and education alone make it better than anybody else in history, and those three aren’t the only things that make it the greatest of all.

  • Victor S

    Soviet Union completely eliminated poverty, homelessness, unemployment. Anybody else ever did that?

  • Victor S

    In the USSR, poverty, homelessness, unemployment were completely eliminated, whereas in capitalist America we’ve got tens of millions in poverty, hundreds of millions are homeless worldwide, many of whom in America are actually working, but can’t even afford a roof over their head, and millions are unemployed, and nearly half of those that are working, do so in a low paying job.

    lliteracy was all but obliterated, whereas in capitalist America today 43 million can’t read and write.

    Crime was almost unheard of ( we’re drowning in crime in capitalist America ).

    There were no drug addicts and very few alcoholics in the Soviet Union ( in America drug abuse is out of control, and so is alcoholism ). People in the Soviet drank plenty, but to celebrate this or that, not to numb themselves as people in capitalism do, and they weren’t addicted.

    Nobody was in debt in the Soviet Union. People were debt free, whereas it’s completely opposite in capitalism. Both individuals and countries are debt ridden. Even at it’s worst, at the time of it’s illegal dissolution, the country was only $66 billion in debt ( most of which was accumulated during the so-called perestroika, a Trojan horse operation of the West, carried out by the traitors of Gorbachev & Co ), and with a GDP of $2.65 trillion at the time, that’s only 2.5%. Which capitalist country today has it that good, or ever did?! We’re $23 trillion in debt, which is over a 100% of our GDP, and many others are not that much better, and some, like Japan, with the 250% debt of their GDP, are much worse. Name one one country in history that ever accomplished what the Soviet Union did?

    Thanks to capitalism, we’ve got 1% that has more than the rest of us, and 26 individuals that have more than half of us ( 3.8 billion people ).

    Capitalism destroys everybody, whereas socialism makes everything great. At one time socialism even made America great, and it made the Soviet Union the greatest of all, because unlike America, it completely eliminated capitalism. That’s the only way to go, to go all the way. Capitalism has to be completely eliminated for socialism to succeed in the long run. You can’t mix them up. Capitalism is a cancer, and it will always take up the upper hand if it’s not eliminated in time.

  • Victor S

    Soviet Union through The Eyes of Common People

    To common folk living in the Soviet Union times, the country is not remembered in terms of “$1=76 kopecks,” “the strongest military,” or “the all-mighty KGB.” I mean, we all knew we were well protected and could always count on our country’s military and its KGB, by we didn’t really see its might. A common person didn’t have a slightest idea of what a dollar looked like. We weren’t thinking about Soviet Union’s GDP, its grand industry, or its economic growth. We were thinking in different terms and looked at other things:

    Soviet Union: when you walk the streets of your city any time of day or night and you don’t hear a bad word, much less encounter any form of violence. Metal bars on the windows of the first floor? You must be crazy! An apartment is not a jail cell! Secure metal doors guarding entrances of the apartment buildings? That’s just wild! Cellars and attics, to say nothing of entrances to the apartment buildings, were always wide open, and no homeless or drug addicts were ever there. There were no homeless or drug addicts. At all.

    Soviet Union: when you hang your laundry in the inner yard of your apartment complex and don’t even think that it may be stolen or damaged. Because for as long as you live, you have not encountered such accidents.

    Soviet Union: when you know personally all fellow-apartment dwellers, even if there are 300+ units; you may stop by any of them if you happen to run out of matches or salt unexpectedly and ask for it.

    Soviet Union: a WWII participant comes onto a city bus and half of the passengers get off their seats offering it to him or her. Or when such people walk into a store – people make way for them in lines.

    Big stores worked just like the supermarkets today: you fill up your cart and go to checkout station. Except there were no security guards, and security cameras were not stuck in every corner, making the store look like a prison; there were lots of exits one could use to bypass checkout, but people didn’t shoplift.

    Soviet Union: there are soda vending machines with mineral water around every corner, and the glasses are always where they are supposed to be.

    All telephone booths have phone books in them. How long would the books stay there now?

    Soviet Union: free high quality education for all. One could not get that kind of education in any other country of the world, even for millions of dollars; in my country we got it for free. Coupled with a guaranteed job placement.

    Soviet Union: free sports clubs and gyms with all kinds of sports sections, free summer camps for children, and free health spa resorts. It’s when you visit your area clinic and are prescribed a ticket to a health spa resort, say, in Crimea. For free. Just because your doctor found some minor problems with your health and thought it would be best for you to take care of them now.

    Soviet Union: when there are no terrorists and drugs in Northern Caucasus, but health spa resorts and best mineral water in the world. There are no Nazis with their swastikas in Ukraine, but aviation and tank-building industry, clean cities, and kind, happy people instead. As to Baltic States, they were producing high precision electronics and radio technology, vehicles and world-famous balsams, had the highest-paying jobs, and spotless even to the USSR standards, squeaky clean streets. Now these countries harbor Marches of former SS militias, and half of their adult population cleans toilets in Europe.

    Soviet Union: when a police officer comes up to a lost child, helps her find home, walks her there and turns her to the parents, salutes, and leaves. He dives from the bridge after the fallen child, saves him from drowning, turns him to the parents, salutes, and leaves. He does it because he is an honored soviet officer, not because he is concerned about moving up in ranks.

    Soviet Union: when an adult could walk up to a lonely child on the street and ask if he needed help. Today this adult will be all but eaten alive and accused of pedophilia for sure.

    Soviet Union: when every third family leaves the key under a rug by the door, but there are no robberies. But if once in a blue moon someone’s TV is stolen, the very next day the offender would be in prison and all of the 100,000 town will be talking about it for several months.

    Soviet Union: when you get married and receive a one-bedroom apartment. Free and clear. When you have a child (first or second, depends on circumstances) that apartment is now traded in for a two-bedroom. As your family grows (usually with the third-fourth child) so does your apartment, and you trade in your two-bedroom for a three-bedroom. Free and clear. Mortgage? What does that mean? Must be some foreign word we are not familiar with. Nope, never heard of it, don’t know what it means.

    Soviet Union: when there are kind movies and educational programs on TV. There are no mountains of corpses and oozing blood, pyramid schemes, silicone-filled prostitutes, or humor below the waist.

    Soviet Union: when one can stay out of stores for half a year, but still know what the prices are. If bread was 24 kopecks six months ago, it is 24 kopecks today. But wait, I am wrong! It could be 22 kopecks. Your paycheck every spring grew bigger. When you find a ruble in your book ten years after you put it there, it is still a valid ruble, not some worthless paper. It would even be worth more ten years later. Some of the most persistent ads from the soviet days read, “Keep your money in the Bank!” Because one could as well keep them under the pillow: no inflation or robbery threatened a soviet person.

    Soviet Union: when it is prestigious to be a steel founder or a polar pilot, like it is cool to be a banker now. When a word “gangster” is pronounced with contemptuous disgust, not with excitement and admiration, like it was in the nineties in Russia. The word “terrorist” sounded exotic and somewhat like “evil three-eyed octopus from another galaxy” to a soviet ear.

    Soviet Union: when no one could have imagined school security guards; not even in our worst nightmare could this sort of life distortion be a reality. The strictest person in the whole school used to be the janitor. A “visit to the principal’s office” sounded to a student like a “visit to the court martial.”

    How else can I explain it to those who didn’t live there?

    Imagine a place that feels most trustworthy, safe, and cozy to you. Your nursery; perhaps, your grandma’s house in the village; it’s different for everyone. Did you imagine it? That’s how we all felt in any place of our huge country.

  • Victor S

    We’ve never had any taxes in the Soviet Union. Even if people were “taxed” at 90% as some claim, once we got our paycheck, which was more than enough to live on, it was never taxed in any way. The prices you saw are the prices you paid. No sales tax of any kind. There was no property taxes, so when people owned their property, they actually owned it. In capitalism you never own anything. Property taxes alone make that impossible.

    And everything was more than affordable, because people actually worked for themselves. Everything costs money, and it has to come from somewhere, and in capitalism, since the rich pay little to no taxes, we keep taxing an overtaxed working man even more, and/or go deeper into debt. It was the opposite in the USSR. That’s why even at it’s worst it was doing better than everybody else at it’s best.

    In the socialist SU, all our profit went to benefit us in the form of freebies and cheapies, and the rest of it benefited the country, which it spent on defending us and developing the country, which also benefited us.

    And all our freebies and cheapies were earned, because in the SU everybody worked, it was the law. If you didn’t work for more than 3 months without a valid reason, you were incarcerated for 18 months. Freeloading, exploitation was a crime and it was punished.

    Btw, somebody in California, sitting on his behind all day, smoking who knows what, collecting his unearned entitlements, and calling himself a socialist, isn’t one. He’s just another kind of exploiter, masquerading as a socialist, living at somebody else’s expense.

  • maxime begin

    You don’t wanna mess with her…! Victor, who, by the way, is a woman, lives in a bubble where Stalin shares his love of unicorns. Victor denies Stalin’s genocides and talks about communism as if it were God. Victor denies all the crimes of the Soviet regime by accusing the CIA, the Americans etc… Victor is completely disconnected from reality, that’s how simple it is.

  • She us Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs !!!