Sunday, April 10, 2016

Austerity in public education is just another way to perpetuate slavery

Denying education to people is how to enslave them. We know this from early American history. In 1740, a law was passed to prohibit blacks from learning how to read. That same law established criminal penalties for teaching blacks to read. White slave owners had figured out early on that a good slave is an uneducated one. Without an education, a slave is completely dependent on his master.

The prohibition on the education of blacks continues to this very day, but it's not as obvious as preventing blacks from learning to read. Now it's preventing blacks from having the same opportunities for education as whites. Sure, some get through and they are held as examples to show that the system is fair.

A look at the statistics will show otherwise. Blacks make up the majority in our prisons at 40% while they are only 12% of our population in total. They suffer very high unemployment rates, and as a result, often wind up in our military or in our prisons. There is a definite schools to prison pipeline to keep the blacks down. All of this falls under the euphemism of austerity.

Austerity in education is the new path to slavery. It is designed to put everyone but the 1% in charge. The fewer people who go to college, the more people to use as slaves. The people who do go to college will amass debts and become slaves. The elite understand that a good slave has but a high school diploma or none at all. The better slaves have a college education, are saddled with an enormous load of student debt, and never go into business for themselves.

Not everyone wants to run a business. Many of us just want to raise families and have fun with our kids. We want to work 40 hours or, eventually, 32 hours, get a check and go home. We want to save money for our retirement. We want to go on vacations. We want to send our kids to school. Every vote against education - free education - is a vote for slavery for the rest of the country.

Some Northern European countries have figured this out and have made education free for anyone who wants an education. Kids from the United States are figuring this out and are even moving to Europe for some of that free education goodness. Only one politician running for president gets this, the rest think that we have to earn an education.

I was taught to read by a public school. I didn't have to earn it. My parents bought me books to read, the best being a series of books by Herge with titles like Tintin in Tibet, The Secret of the Unicorn, and The Shooting Star. I found myself stopped in mid-sentence to look in dictionaries for words that didn't know. I didn't have to earn those books, yet somehow all that free reading has made me a better person.

Where there is free education, there is an informed, engaged and technologically advanced culture, ready and willing to work for a living. With education comes humanity and civility. With education comes freedom from slavery.

We have free public schooling from kindergarten through high school. The only reason to burden kids with debt in college is to make sure that only the wealthy get a college education without also committing the sin of entering involuntary servitude. The primary purpose of this system is to make sure that the wealthy can pass down their wealth to their kids without competition from the middle class.

There is one other reason to deny education to others if you're a family of enormous wealth. To hide the fact that much of that wealth is earned through rent seeking.  What are rents? We are all familiar with paying rent for a room or an apartment or even a house. With experience renting apartments or even houses, we become familiar with absentee ownership. This is just one form of slavery.

If you buy a house, another form of slavery is usury, paying interest on the loan for a house. Early in the life of a loan, most of the payment is interest. As the loan ages, the payment becomes more principle than interest until the loan is paid off. The interest on a loan often doubles the cost of the house over the life of the loan. This is another form of slavery.

Then there are dividends and capital gains from the ownership and sale of stock. When a stock appreciates in value, shareholders are often treated to a dividend from the stock rather than an increase in the value of the stock. The highest dividend paid in recent years is $4.44 by Chevron the oil company. Dividends are paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually. If you have a million shares of Chevron stock, and the dividend is paid annually, you earn $4.44 million a year. Other than ownership, there's no work involved. Who pays for that dividend? Chevron customers pay for it at the pump.

Who owns the most stock in America? According to G. William Domhoff, Research Professor at the University of California:
"In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America."
The top 10% own the vast majority of income producing assets in the United States. They are earning the dividend income. The rest of us work to produce it for them.

There is one more form of rent seeking to cover: royalties. Many of us have heard of royalties on patents and copyrights. The wealthiest writers and musicians earn most of their income from royalties on their creative works. If you bought a book, a CD or a DVD, part of the cost of your purchase is the copyright royalties for the content.

Patents are granted to inventors for their creative works. If you use technology at all, chances are, you paid royalties on patents on that technology as a part of the cost of your purchase. From iPhones to thermostats, patent royalties take their cut of the sale. Patents on drugs inflate the cost of drugs to the point that we pay $84,000 for Hepatitis drug Sovaldi in the United States, but in India, they pay $1,000. Guess who pays for that?

With a free college education for everyone, we stand a better chance of avoiding slavery. With a free college education for everyone, we stand a better chance of solving the mounting problems we have created for ourselves, from global warming to an ocean filled with plastic. With a free college education, we can make better choices about how to run our government and who to vote for at the next election.
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