An open letter to our federal representatives (I emailed this to my three federal representatives:
As you consider how much the federal government should spend in response to the current pandemic, please consider the following:
One trillion dollars equals about $3,000 per person for every man, woman, and child in the U.S., or about $12,000 per family of four! Please be careful not to spend our tax money on anything that is not needed and not directly caused by the pandemic. Specifically, there should be no money spent on the following:
Seniors and others on Medicare, disability, pensions, and other fixed incomes – they will continue to be paid.
People who have had no reported W-2 earnings during the past year – since they have been getting by on unearned income
People who have household earnings around or over $75,000 per year – they qualify for unemployment benefits.
Don’t give grants, but make low-interest rate loans available. We can decide later whether or not to forgive any loans. Don’t allow unrelated “riders” on any pandemic response bill. For example, don’t’ forgive student loans, don’t add any permanent employer mandates such as child care, sick pay, paid family leave, etc. Watch out for and deny other special-interest legislation trying to take advantage of this crisis.
Please try to balance costs versus benefits. We have lived normally with the flu killing tens of thousands of U.S. citizens every year. I am a senior – age 66 – and I don’t need any bailout.
The cost of a four year degree, even at our public universities, has gone up much even faster than medical care. For many college graduates, their post-graduate pay does not justify the amount of student debt that they accumulated.
Similar to community colleges, our public four-year universities should offer certificate programs that focus on specific skills, take less time, and cost less. The certificate should indicate that the student has specific specific skills that employers demand, without the extra classes, time and cost of a broad, liberal four year degree. If desired, students could live on campus and gain some of the non-classroom experience and relationships that colleges offer. This could go a long way towards lowering the cost of college while providing a college education.