Bernie Sanders will use a tax on Wall Street speculators to wipe out $1.6 trillion in US student debt

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Sounds good in theory, but I’m not sure this plan is fully baked. How difficult is it to just move the trades off to foreign exchanges? The plan needs to be airtight or these taxes will be dodged with wild abandon.


I don’t know if will lead anywhere, but it is nice to see candidates engaged in a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom of the moral highground.


It also needs some sort of cost controls, or the universities will become the new healtcare industry. When somebody other than the consumer is paying, the price charged to whatever entity IS paying tend to skyrocket. But at some level, we do need to charge the wealthy higher taxes to improve the economy, and we need to do something about the high cost of higher education.


I’m not an economist.

That being said, the tax rates on the various transactions seem backwards to me. My understanding is that derivatives are much more dangerous that stock trades (in terms of the health of the economic impact, not the risk of loss). If that’s true, shouldn’t they have the higher tax burden, to offset the risk for public damage?


Coming up with elegant systems to solve our problems is not hard.

Setting the wheels in motion is hard.


they already are? This is why many students are deeply indebt, because the cost of higher ed has been skyrocketing these past 20 years.

Private lenders are paying!

It’s to give the federal government more options for public programs like this. The “economy” (meaning wall street) is doing great, as is evidenced by the vast wealth the 1% has been hoarding for a while now.

That will be a lot cheaper once we have more state backed grants. Part of the problem is that we’ve switched to private loan systems and funding from the federal government has dried up over the years.


Never make the mistake of thinking that because something is really bad, ,that it can’t get worse.

And then that debt needs to be repaid. That makes the higher prices in higher ed more like the RE bubble than healthcare IMHO.

I actually meant that the real economy (rather than Wall Street) needs to improve. Because the deep problem with our economy writ large is that Wall Street (largely synonymous with the rich) have more money to play with than they can find productive uses for. So all that money has been shuffling around being lent out at interest and bidding up the price of houses, university educations and stocks. If instead, more money was going into people’s pockets, it would create more demand for consumer goods and there would be more actual, productive investments.

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That has already been the case for the last 20 years. With rampant predatory student lending (preceded by massive reductions in funding to public universities) tuitions increased dramatically. Much like how shitty predatory underwriting for mortgages drove up the prices of homes from 2001-2008


All of these plans need some analysis of what they’re really suggesting. The nuance among the different ways to fund education are super important, even if they make for a poor sound bite.

Some different ways to “fund” education for everyone:

  1. Provide everyone with some guaranteed ability to get a loan, and let them spend it on any qualified institution.
  2. Provide everyone with some guaranteed grant, and let them spend it on any qualified institution.
  3. Directly fund public institutions and provide everyone with access to them.

My understanding is, we largely do the first one today. While this gives people access to funding, it saddles them with huge debt and it creates incentives for institutions to raise prices until all the funds are consumed.

The second would eliminate the debt part, but still incentivise institutions raise prices until all the funds are consumed. It might even be worse, creating incentives for institutions to consume all the grant funds AND have students borrow more on top of that, costing even more.

The third one would control actual costs with an ability to keep them down, and eliminate debt, but it has capacity issues. You can only build so much capacity into the system. Integrated community and state college systems help with this, but there’s still only so much capacity. Presumably, for the same total economic cost of the others, you could build enough capacity, but it would take time.

Of course all 3 sound the same in the sound bite “education for everyone”. :frowning:


I didn’t.

Or it can be forgiven.

It’s wall street that’s benefiting from debt, though. That’s the problem, that we mistake the stock market and financial instiuttions that benefit from our debt (in whatever form it is, student loans, real estate, credit cards - all things that we have to get if we can’t pay directly out of pocket for something, which many of us can’t).

yeah. Not sure why you think I said otherwise.

Going to college (public colleges/universities) used to be cheap (relatively speaking), back when you had a robust state run set of grants and loans that allowed more people who had less means to go to school. And then there was a massive wave of privatization of the loan system. Couple that with running a university like a corporation, and you have what we have right now, which is an economic disaster looming. It will be worse than the 2008 crash, if we don’t do something now, like some sort of loan forgiveness.


I’m for this plan.


Except that healthcare costs in the US are massively higher than healthcare costs in Canada. The reason healthcare costs in the US are high isn’t because the consumer isn’t paying them, it’s because the people who are paying them conspire to make them high. When the government pays the cost of something it often exerts extreme pressure to keep that cost low.

The idea that having consumers make the decisions is the best way to keep prices low is based on an 18th century fabulist’s account of human psychology combined with absurd simplifications of the real world.


The only reason it isn’t an economic disaster right now is the non-dischargability of these loans. No foreclosure or bankruptcy is possible to relieve people defaulting.

Meaning banks are not being inconvenienced by the inability or slow ability to collect on them. As long as the borrowers are slowly being ground down by crushing debt, it is not noticed by the powers that be. The mortgage industry didn’t start complaining until they lost the ability to collect money on their shitty loans and could not resell properties they ended up with title to.


I couldn’t agree more. Wall Street simply has more money than it can find actual, productive uses for. At this point the economy would run better if Wall Street has LESS money to lend out at interest or inflate the cost of.

It’s not just grants.The sticker price was much lower as well, at least for state schools. Tuition for a four year degree from a state college was nothing like the equivalent of the cost of a house as it is today. The people with six digit student loan debt either went to Ivy League schools or got advanced degrees.

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Yes. I am aware, as I was IN a public university in the years when the cost was rising.


The weird thing to me is that the government is much more stringent when it comes to cost controls for medicaid than for medicare (although I understand that they still pay the top dollar asking price for drugs) I think that’s because of the simple fact that old people vote. And then you add in the “poor people deserve ther plight and must be punished,” meme you get the strange system where the governemnt has four different health plans to completely different sets of rules.
edited to add. Let’s see, Medicare, Medicaid, FEHB (for employees),VA, Indian Health Service, I guess whatever crappy system we have for prisoners… More than four systems…


I mean, the fact that they passed a law to prevent themselves from negotiating better drug prices for medicare is beyond weird.


But the free market will fix EVERYTHING! /s


"Congress voted to bail out the crooks on Wall Street, do you remember that?"

Yes, they bailed out Wall Street, and sent Main Street USA nothing. I remember.


At this point, anyone who tries to call basic Keynesianism socialism I’m gonna just smack them with a copy of General Theory until they shut up and read it. I hope more folks realize taxes on Wall Street isn’t a bad thing considering how much of the money generated winds up idle in bank accounts. Billions were brought over in the recent tax reduction and it didn’t go back into new firms or jobs, it went into stock buy backs. What the hell are the billionaires gonna do with those extra digits on their balance sheets? Nothing. And what little they do use it for is trivial. It’s time to stop coddling the rich and make them put that money to use whether they want to or not.