In the early 1980s, Ralph Nader launched a new advocacy group called FANS, Fight to Advance the Nation's Sports, which aspired to address many of the social ills associated with professional sports. While some of his ideas were arguably misguided, such as trying to ban junk food sales at the ballpark, others were incredibly prescient. One idea was to stop taxpayer subsidies to the mega-stadiums that were being built for big-league baseball and football teams.
Last week’s enactment of historic health care legislation eclipsed another momentous victory for the commons: the reclamation of the federal student loan program which had been captured and milked for decades by voracious private lenders.
The private jet is always cast as the ultimate status symbol. Flip through The New Yorker and other upscale magazines, and you are invited to enter the fantasy world of private aviation, where there are no crowds, no long security lines and no boring waits in noisy airport lounges. You can just drive up to the plane (in your limo, of course) and jet to wherever and whenever you want!
It’s a great victory for the commoners that our tax monies for student loans may soon go directly to students, via a U.S. Education Department program, rather than through banks. Yesterday, by a 253 to 171 margin, the House of Representatives voted to shift billions of dollars in college student loans to the Education Department. The move prevents Sallie Mae (the largest private corporation providing student loans) and banks from continuing to act as parasites on public resources and as predators of needy students.