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Germany eliminated tuition, while Americans are drowning in $1.2 trillion student loan debt (Update)

by Democrats Ramshield Tue Dec 16th, 2014 at 06:34:12 AM EST

(Cross posted by author from the Daily Kos)

Written by an American MBA expat living in Germany.
I was privileged with the support of the Daily Kos community to have ordinarily publish this diary which went onto viral status, having received over 30,000 Facebook shares and 588 Tweets.

I have since received from members of the Daily Kos community large substantial numbers of requests to update and republish the diary at DKOS as the original diary can no longer be commented on and participated in. Therefore I republished this diary yesterday where in response to requests from readers for updated material, I unpublished this diary and am republishing it today substantially in rewritten form as a service to the community.  

I am therefore impressed this is an important discussion that deserves our attention for a serious subject matter. Therefore as my reader, I would like to invite you to give this indepth report in the matter of this diary a close read. I'd also like to thank Meteor Blades and all of the original recommenders of that diary who are too numerous to repeat here. The recent events in Ferguson, MO and other such senseless tragedies perpetrated by the racist American police state have brought the crisis of our democracy into the international media spotlight.  

Germany has just joined other nations of the Continental European Union to eliminate all university tuition, as a human right. So it is that we find ourselves as part of the neo feudalist American state that has left Americans mired by contrast in $1.2 trillion of student loan debt. This has created a bubble which threatens to unravel the $17 trillion American economy. As such we find ourselves to be substantially disturbed at these turn of events, in what must be described as state supported student loan slavery. It should further be noted that the modus operandi of student loan enslavement is consistent with the anti-democratic model of what may only be described as the United States of oligarchy. To reiterate, a recent Princeton university study that has since gone viral has declared the United States is no longer a democracy, and has in fact become an oligarchy. To which this article notes it is an oligarchy that has mired the American people in $1.2 trillion of student loan debt. This has become so onerous for the American economy to bear that it is now become a threat to the US economy itself.    

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy
    TMCBy Brendan James PublishedApril 18, 2014,

    A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy--namely, that it no longer exists.

    Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

    Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters. ".

This comes in addition to the fact that all countries in the European Union as a human right have some type of medical access for all of its citizens. Yet on these benchmarks the neo feudalist  United States continues to lag far behind. In doing so creates a separate and unequal state mired in a wage slave economy emanating out of a history of chattel slavery. So the $1.2 trillion dollar student loan debt slavery economy has become an intricate mechanism to keep the American working class impoverished in neo feudalist America, along with the concurrent effects of medical bankruptcy, (which accounts for most bankruptcies) and underwater mortgages in which there is no bailout in sight, in an economy and state where only Wall Street banksters received bailouts.

Imagine as the American federal government doesn't honestly (colloquially put) give a big enough rat's ass about you or your kids to offer you a tuition free university education(in a government for and by the 1%), but the German government does care enough about your family as a human right to give you a free university education, even if you've never been to Germany and never paid any taxes to the German government, all you got to do is come to Germany. Oh by the way, you also get access for yourself and your family members to a student health medical plan which has no deductibles, and doesn't have pre-existing conditions restrictions. That is the difference between a government working for working class people, as opposed to the best government money can buy, who works overwhelmingly for the 1%.

Quote from USA Today -
"According to the Congressional Budget Office's latest projections, the federal government projects a record $50-billion profit on student loans this year. ExxonMobil made $44.9 billion in 2012, according to published reports, making it the most profitable company in the country."
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/06/16/us-government-projected-to-make-record-50b-in-student- loan-profit/2427443/  

May we ask ourselves precisely who is the primary beneficiary of the $1.2 trillion student loan debt. In what has been labeled by de facto by USA Today as the most profitable business in America to date. Now you may ask, how big is a trillion dollars? Obviously the above quote is self-explanatory
 When asked how big a trillion was, noted mathematician John Allen Paulos told CNN...

"1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years".

The Times (British newspaper) September 22 2014
German universities scrap all tuition fees
All German universities will be free of charge when term starts next week after fees were abandoned in Lower Saxony


Forbes: "There Is No Such Thing As A Free College Education" (Oct. 3rd 2014)
Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, states "Tuition fees are socially unjust" and that "they particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies."

The model that is being followed in Germany and elsewhere in Continental Western Europe is to provide a more egalitarian society, wherein upward mobility becomes possible without an American type imposed class ceiling for the next generation, where an ethos is promulgated that states, we want to promote hard work and ability, rather than social class as the standard for admission to post secondary education. In doing so the Germans and other nations in Western Europe promulgate a society that appears to be less of a class based society, than is the case in the tuition paying American university system, which promotes a strong social class component. Wherein if this social class component is absent what is then promoted is student loan debt slavery, as a form of indentured servitude, which has the effect of creating an extremely compliant work force unlikely to assert itself in high rates of unionization and other types of working class empowerment type modus operandi.
Spiegel Quote:'America Must Learn from Germany -- Before It Is Too Late'

We Need To Learn from Germany': How the German Economy Became a Model

By Thomas Schulz in New York
It wasn't so long ago that many viewed Germany's economic model as outdated and the country as the "sick man of Europe." These days, however, even the Americans have come to praise parts of it, though they still doubt whether they would be able -- or willing -- to adopt it wholesale.

Let's please understand that Germany's economic rise from the ashes of World War II to the richest country in the European Union and the world's second leading industrial export nation is the stuff of legend. Especially when we consider at the same point in time starting from the Second World War the United States had half of all the world's wealth, which is a rather stunning digression for the American working class. While concurrently the 1%'s wealth has reached an opulence hitherto only known in America's gilded age of ostentatious consumption.

Spiegel US newsweekly Time writes that the wide range of German economic and social reforms have been "farsighted" and that German firms, together with those reforms, have forged "the most competitive industrial sector of any advanced economy." The New York Times, meanwhile, says that: "The German economy has been one of the wonders of the world over the last couple of years."

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/the-us-discovers-germany-as-an-economic-role-model-a-82 2167.html

To be clear the European Union is by no means a utopian society of States. Clearly the problems of racism, sexism, poverty and crime exist within the confines of the European Union, just as they do everywhere else. The streets here clearly aren't paved in gold. But Europe in general and Germany in particular has learned the lessons of history and learned them well. There is a real danger in creating a class based access to education system, which is precisely the system that exists in America today.
  Because America's top 1% wealth holders and their surrogates are getting disgustingly richer, and as such they have no desire to learn from the economic success of the European Union, and most saliently the success of the top economies in Europe of Britain, France and Germany. As such the German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel wrote a blistering article, which excoriates America's neo feudalist ruling elites unwillingness to acknowledge and learn from the recent German economic miracle, where in Germany has risen to the second largest exporting nation in the world. Germany instead of having a trade deficit as is the case in America, they have a trade surplus, wherein they grow manufacturing jobs. As such as a business librarian, this diary provides a review of the aforementioned Spiegel article.

Whereupon it becomes clear that the American people have been sold a lie which is that American manufacturing jobs are no longer viable and must be exported to Asia and other developing economies. In fact the German economic miracle owes its success precisely to the growth in manufacturing.
Has the United States become an neo feudalist oligarchy?

For anyone not familiar with the English language edition of the award winning German magazine Der Spiegel, it is the equivalent of TIME magazine in the United States. The German magazine Der Spiegel is no johnny come lately in it's investigative journalism of inequality and the wholesale evisceration of the American working class by the 1%. They have been publishing about this since the 2008 crash wherein as far back as 2011, they openly asked if the United States of America has become an oligarchy. Well, Mr and Mrs Progressive America please tell us, has the United States become an oligarchy, wherein the American government works overwhelmingly along with their militarized police forces to benefit the 1% instead of the 99% of working class America?


http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/the-second-gilded-age-has-america-become-an-oligarchy-a- 793896.html

Please give this Princeton study a close read. "Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy"

Scholar Behind Viral 'Oligarchy' Study Tells You What It MeansA new political science
study that's gone viral finds that majority-rule democracy exists only in theory in the
United States --not so much in practice.
TMC  ByBrendan JamesPublishedApril 18, 2014,
 A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy--namely,
 that it no longer exists.
Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a DEMOCRACY INTO AN OLIGARCHY,where wealthy elites wield most power.


I'd say that contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government

Yes we've all recently heard about Germany winning the World Cup in soccer in Brazil which is arguably the heart of the world's soccer culture. Of course we've all heard about the fact that Germany has become the world's second largest exporting nation (as part of the European Union), where Germany is now rated as the richest country in the European Union. The EU's population which is greater than that of the United States and whose currency the Euro rivals the power of the US dollar. Of course we've all heard about the NSA spying scandal, wherein the NSA is alleged to have spied on the phones of millions of Germans, to include even the private cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel whom Forbes magazine has rated as being the most powerful woman in the world. On the back of that litany coming out of Germany, is that Germany has recently set a world record in solar powered green energy generation. Also to reiterate as the primary thesis of this article Germany has just done away with all university tuition nationwide which is now taking center stage in world headlines. The question is how is a country of 83 million people with little or no natural resources continuing to lead the world and earn its way into world headlines, again and again. What can we as Americans learn from the German model, along with the other more socialized models of the great social democracies of Western Europe, because let's face it...American capitalism is failing the American working class by all international statistical modeling. This failure axiomatically was at no point clearer than during the advent of the 2008 Wall Street crash, where the Wall Street banksters stole more money than in all of the bank robberies in the history of the United States combined. Yet no one went to jail and everyone at taxpayer expense got bailed out by essentially the best government than money could buy literally.

If we look at the Gini co-efficient in the map below we see that the United States in terms of income inequality has fallen behind every major industrialized country in Western Europe. As a particular badge of shame we incarcerate more people per 100,000 than anyone else in the world wherein about 40% of all inmates are African American males in a clear case where African American males make up 12.6% of the population. Logically we must assume that approximately 6% of of America's population is comprised of African American males, yet it is believe they comprised on or about 40% of all prison inmates in the US.

Spiegel quote: Almost half of all murder victims and about 40 percent of the US prison population are black, even though the African-American share of the population is just 12.6 percent. And in many states, those with a criminal record forfeit many rights, such as access to welfare, for example. In 10 states, those who have been convicted of a criminal offense lose their right to vote for life.

Clearly it seems America is going backwards on issues of civil rights and basic democracy.
 The question is why and who exactly is profiting from our backwardness? So all the people after graduating who can't get a job wind up moving into their parents' basements, where fully a third of those homes are in underwater mortgages. So these people are living in the basement of their parents' underwater houses, being quietly drowned in $1.2 trillion dollars of student loan debt, as part of the corporatist student loan debt slavery economy, because clearly people who are distressed under no benefit, low wage slavery, further distressed by student loan debt can't assert themselves in the way their Western European counterparts have. This has led to the United States having a lower Gini co-efficient than essentially all of the Western European countries, as part of the European Union, as demonstrated by the map below, which has become not only an international badge of shame, but is making America an international laughing stock of inequality and racism.

The Case of Student Loan Slavery in 2014 neo-feudalist America
What! What you say you didn't know that. You say you don't care because... you don't believe in socialism as a good Fox News watcher. Well, did you know that since 1985 college tuition in America is up 544%. Ah, so you don't care about that either because you don't think it affects you and therefore you candidly don't give a rat's ass.  Did you know that in America (as we're always proud of being number one) that with 1.2 trillion dollars outstanding in student loan debt slavery, we're number one in student loan debt slavery in the world. I am going to guess you don't care about that either because you think that's not going to affect you and you only care about what affects you and not others, because you're axiomatically speaking a capitalist pig and we all know pigs proudly have no shame, in a system designed to give more to those who already have more, at the expense of those who have less or fully in the case of over half of all Americans who have nothing at all, that is to say zero net assets. Doesn't this give new meaning to the old turn of phrase only in America. In a clear case where every country in Western Europe have universal medical access as a human right, and they usually spend about 9% of GNP, whereas we spend about 16% of GNP. They cover 100% of their population and we don't cover 40 million people and don't live as long as they do. So what kind of an outcome is that? Also did you know the United States is the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn't have job protected paid maternity leave by right of law? Why won't the plutocrat corporatist American media tell you that, whereas this blog just did, and who does that benefit? Does it benefit you? If not you, then who?

Your student loan is killing the housing market
USA TODAY:Rick Munarriz, The Motley Fool EDT October 5, 2014
Home builder adviser John Burns Consulting published details from a study earlier this
month concluding that student loan payments will cost the housing industry 414,000
transactions this year that would have totaled $83 billion in sales.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/10/05/your-student-loan-is-killing-the-hous ing-market/16665121/

Well, here's something that will affect you. When all of these people are in student loan debt slavery to the tune of $1.2 trillion, it starts to retard the American (GDP) 17.3 trillion dollar economy as a whole. Everything, from new car sales, to new home sales, to people's ability to save for retirement by buying mutual funds through 401k's, etc. Yes, this also affects interest rates. So unless you're out living in a cave somewhere this is going to affect you. In fact it already has and if you weren't quite so ignorant and misinformed by listening to one too many infotainment programs from Fox News, you would already know that. Then again, studies have shown Fox News watchers know less than people who don't watch any news at all which begs to ask the question, what or who are the Fox News' anchors appealing to?

Quote Oct. 2014 form the: Other 98
 "The Bubble That Ate America
Student loan debt (now well over $1 TRILLION) has increased over 500% since 1999, making it by far the fastest growing debt in the nation. Remember the housing bubble that kicked off the 2008 recession? This one is twice as big".

Christopher Denhart is a research assistant at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and he just last year completed his 4 year bachelor's degree. As such he was able to publish an article at what is probably the flagship of the elite corporatist media over at Forbes. He entirely misstates what we MBAs call the assumption of risk as it relates to the cost issues that have hoist $1.2 trillion in student loan debt on Americans. He does so in his misplaced criticism in bashing public funding of higher education in Germany wherein he postulates that elite private higher education is more efficient because students will consume less, whereas he claims in the U.S. at so-called state funded school the advent of the 5 year (or 6 year) bachelor's degree is in, therefore this is evidence that the German system will fail or so he postulates without providing any substantial linkage or evidence of the same (wherein he entirely fails to take into account that high school graduates in Germany are the product of a superior publicly funded high school education system which will allow them to graduate faster as they are better prepared).

Forbes: There Is No Such Thing As A Free College Education

By Christopher Denhart, October 3rd 2014
"The United States has seen the rise of the five year degree. Of the 60% of students who graduate from public schools in the U.S., over half take longer than four years to graduate. Compare that with private institutions (there are natural differences in students at each type of school that pay a role) which see 80 percent of its graduates out in four years. Their sensitivity to the marginal cost of that fifth or sixth year factors into their decision to consume."

(Please note: The misleading title of "There is no such thing as a free college education", his title if it were honest should read 'there is no such thing as a tuition free education'. Of course he would never publish such a title because many millions of the children of America's privileged have obtained a tuition free education, thanks to their families (and large annual government subsidies), to include George W. Bush).

Quote by http://billmoyers.com
October 17, 2014 by Robert Reich
Why Government Spends More Per Pupil at Elite Private Universities Than at Public Universities
A few years back, Meg Whitman, now CEO of Hewlett-Packard, contributed $30 million to Princeton. In return she received a tax break estimated to be around $10 million. In effect, Princeton received $20 million from Whitman and $10 million from the U.S. Treasury - that is, from you and me and other taxpayers who made up the difference.................
Divide by the relatively small number of students attending these institutions, and the amount of subsidy per student is huge.......The annual government subsidy to Princeton University, for example, is about $54,000 per student, according to an estimate by economist Richard Vedder. Other elite privates aren't far behind........... That means the average annual government subsidy per student at a public university comes to less than $4,000, about one-tenth the per student government subsidy at the elite privates.
http://billmoyers.com/2014/10/17/government-spends-per-pupil-elite-private-universities-public-unive rsities/

Mr. Denhart not only creates a proposition wholly at tension with itself, but also in the employment of sophistry erects a straw-man argument. The simple fact of the matter is his position though widely disseminated is none the less intellectually irresponsible and laden with sophistry as an ill-formed deceptive and misleading postulate. Axiomatically speaking we know the $1.2 trillion student loan debt burden shouldered by student borrowers and often their co-signing parents is brought about by financial distressed circumstances, wherein these American families have been forced to take on this debt. It is the same distressed financial circumstances that have caused people to graduate all too often in their fifth or even sixth year as an axiomatic economic reality of students working their way through college and university and it's taking longer to graduate as a straight forward malfunction of the American tuition paying system. For Mr. Denhart in a sophistry laden fashion to attempt to convolute this into a badge of pride for the tuition paying system is to turn reality upside down. As it's an absolute axiomatic reality that the vast majority of students who are able to afford to attend private expensive tuition paying universities in the United States cannot be seen as being economically distressed students who have to work their way through college and university and who are forced to devout much of their time to work for money instead more exclusively to their studies. Therefore their faster graduation time axiomatically speaking is a reflection of their socially privileged status (which often includes graduating from expensive private preparatory schools that have academically given them an advantage allowing for quicker college completion) which cannot be converted into claims of greater efficiencies by elite high priced tuition paying private universities and colleges in America, who are responsible for the destruction of affordable tuition everywhere through greed and elitism. Mr. Denhart's position must be seen as nothing more than an attempt to confuse the uninitiated in his support of a system that is designed to give more to those who already have more at the expense of those who have less in a clear posture where now the majority of Americans have nothing at all. Ergo, the $1.2 trillion student loan debt has become so onerous that it now threatens the growth of the entire $17 trillion dollar economy in the United States, which concurrently threatens now the world economy. In a clear posture where just like during the 2008 crash, the 1% and the Wall Street banksters are happy to wreck the American and global economy if only it means enriching themselves.  

"I'm 57 and owe $152,000 in student loans"
"Rosemary Anderson, 57, is on the hook for $152,000 in student loans she took out 20 years ago.
The divorced mother of two grown daughters represents a growing number of older Americans with student debt.
The 50-and-over crowd makes up 17% of $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt -- a 30% increase since 2005, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York".

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/13/news/economy/older-student-debt/

Now let's be honest the German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel recently pointed out that Ferguson, MO has a history of slavery which I reviewed in a recent article, which thanks to the generosity of the Kos community was voted #1 on Jotter's list for September 17th. I would also hasten to point out that given America's history of chattel slavery as a continuing blight of our history, which we've never dealt with in the same way that Germany has dealt with its blight on history. Germany has paid reparations and is continuing to pay for reparations to this day because Germany has taken responsibility for its past actions. Therefore they are able to move on, whereas we in America to date have never confronted our history of slavery in terms of offering reparations to redress past wrongs of chattel slavery. Until we do, the mentality which allows for the low wage slave economy as an outgrowth of the history of chattel slavery of how America treats its poor and working class will never change.

Let's face it, student loan debt enslavement is an important part of the American wage slave economy in neo-feudalist America, because when you have young people and some older workers stuck hopelessly in permanent student loan debt you have a compliant wage slave work force, because they really need that job. Therefore politically they're going to be too afraid and demoralized and too atomized to push for the kind of reforms that we see in the countries of the European Union in general, (Germany in particular where there's no university tuition as education is believed to be a human right). As a person's future shouldn't depend on the family that they were by luck born into, being able to afford to pay for their education without causing that person to fall into permanent student loan debt slavery. This is the sad truth about what's happened in America in terms of its neo-feudalist student loan debt slavery market, now valued at 1.2 trillion dollars as part of the overall wage slave economy of ever lower wages and little or no benefits in pushed to the wall America, where you have people literally working themselves to death. This was recently the case with 32 year old Maria Fernandes. Maria worked 3 jobs and fell asleep in a parking lot with her car running in-between jobs and died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The only people who are really talking about this issue seriously are people like Noam Chomsky and Andrea Tosi founder of the Swiss based RePeace group, who seriously talk about to what extent our elected politicians have betrayed the American working class dream in favor of the 1% of the richest Americans.  

These types of tragedies in the American wage slave economy are the types of tragedies that are the mark of a pariah state built on slavery in a history of chattel slavery turned contemporary wage slave state. We put people on a trend mill to nowhere, because no matter how hard they run for the carrot they can never reach it and never get ahead, further exacerbated by their student loan enslavement as well. That means for most Americans today they can never afford to retire either because this is the ugly truth. When the burden in terms of the assumption of risk moved from companies that we work for, who provided a retirement and a gold watch at the end of your working life, to secure our retirement, to the individual IRA or 401k plan, the individual worker took on the assumption of risk, that we MBA's refer to it as, became staggering and indeed untenable. What that means is Corporate America just got a whole lot richer than working class America in cost shifting of your retirement burden which just got YOU a whole lot poorer. So in Germany where they have a secure state pension system funded by the tax payer, workers are protected from being ripped off by Wall Street, in the way that American workers aren't protected as in evidence by the 2008 Wall Street crash. Afterwards the Federal Government bailed out the Wall Street banksters! Well how about bailing out working class Americans by ending tuition in America today for everyone, as a human right. How about bailing out Main Street America from its 1.2 trillion dollar burden of student loan debt, (with COMPLETE student loan forgiveness), because of all this crap about lowering interest rates doesn't stop student loan debt slavery. This is untenable and has become so onerous that it has now threatened the growth of the entire economy and must be addressed with immediate student loan debt forgiveness, so as to provide substantial redress and concurrently provide (just like in Germany) free tuition for ALL current and future students.

In other words in the United States, the 1.2 trillion dollar student loan debt has become too large not to fail. But as the federal government works for the 1% of the richest Americans and not the 99% of working Americans, there is therefore no $1.2 trillion student loan bailout in the offering for working class America from the best government that money can buy. Nor is there any offering to end tuition in America anywhere on the horizon.

$1 trillion student loan debt widens US wealth gap
Zbylut, an accountant-turned-attorney in Glendale, Calif. He's been chipping away at nearly $160,000 in student debt since graduating in 2005 from law school at Loyola University in Chicago. Now 48, the tax attorney estimates he could have $150,000 to $200,000 in a 401(k) had the money he's paid toward loans gone there.
"I'm sitting here in traffic. I've got a Mercedes behind me and an Audi in front of me and I'm thinking, 'What did they do that I didn't do?'" Zbylut said by cellphone from his Chevrolet. He's been turned down twice for the type of mortgage he needs to buy a home big enough for himself, the fiancee he would have married already if not for his debts and her 10-year-old son.
"I have more education and more degrees than my father, as does she than her parents, and yet our parents are better off than we are. What's wrong with this picture?" he said.

What is wrong with this picture is he and his family have been betrayed by the best Government money can buy. You may ask is it that simple? The short answer is yes! The working class social compact has been broken in neo feudalist America.
Now you might think with all of its accomplishments that Germany would be the happiest place on earth. It would seem that the people of Denmark under the Scandinavian system have that title instead. What do you think? Are they right? Oh yes, they also have no university tuition there either. Maybe it's time that we eliminated tuition in America as a human right as well. What do you think? Please give us your comments below.

Also German non university blue collar vocational apprenticeship programs are second to none in the world, where apprenticeships are virtually speaking free of charge. In fact apprentices are paid modest salaries while training.
Now that Unions in America have been eviscerated there are very few apprenticeship training programs in the U.S.

Spiegel quote:"The United States has no equivalent to the German training system or comparable programs for retraining or continuing education."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/the-us-discovers-germany-as-an-economic-role-model-a-82 2167.html

USA Today: Hunger in America: 1 in 7 rely on food banks - LORTON, Va. - When Mary Smallenburg, 35, of Fort Belvoir, Va., opened a package from her mother to find cereal and ramen noodles, she burst into tears. Without it, she wouldn't be able to feed her four children. "It got to the point where I opened my pantry and there was nothing. Nothing. What was I going to feed my kids?" Smallenburg says, adjusting a bag of fresh groceries on her arm. Smallenburg's family is one of 50 military families that regularly visit the Lorton Community Action Center food bank. Volunteers wave a familiar hello as she walks in the door.

We have 45 million Americans on food stamps. 130 million who don't have access to dental care. 40 million who don't have medical insurance. A lot of Americans are in underwater mortgages to the tune of $1.2 trillion. The economic pain in America is real because unlike Germany, we in America have stopped large scale manufacturing, because WE HAVE BEEN SOLD A LIE that those manufacturing jobs have to be exported to developing economies because Americans can't compete with the wages in developing economies, yet Germany is a high wage exporting and manufacturing superpower. Within the European Union, Germany has become the second largest exporter in the world precisely because it kept a hold of its high wage manufacturing jobs, and people in Europe and in Germany in particular are dressed well. They can afford to be. They are after all the richest country in the European Union. So can we in America once we get our manufacturing sector back to support our local tax base, so as to re-build the working class American dream from the ground up. All we have to do is take charge at the ballot box and vote the people out who work for the 1% and vote people in who will work for the 99%. You might ask is it that simple, yes it really is. Because as American voters we are the owners of this country, all we have to do is simply take ownership of our futures at the ballot box.  
German society is able to produce goods that countries to include developing countries around the world want at competitive prices, while leveraging economies of scale, which the United States is not able to do, because unions which have been traditional sponsors of employee education have been routed out in America in the GOP led class warfare, which has left America's manufacturing base internationally impotent. This has led to large scale evisceration and destruction of the American working class, which is rapidly being deskilled, de-industrialized, as a product of the GOP led class warfare against the masses of the great American working class.  
Perhaps in America today there should be a new movement. Not a protest movement or a movement espousing anything at all other than the words unity for mass default on all the bankster's predatory lending in the neo-feudalist American state. In the mass default of predatory student loan debt and in the mass default of underwater mortgages the system has to breakdown, because the system relies on your compliance in rules that completely operate to your detriment. If a mass default ensued, there would have to be a market correction to the benefit of American working class borrowers because they cannot foreclose on everyone, the courts would be backed up for decades; it couldn't happen. It would be impossible to produce, the only question is could we produce the unity needed to effectuate such a mass default of predatory bankster lending. If the answer is yes, it could happen from sea to shining sea, then the American working class would be the winner and tuition free education would likely be the norm in America as well, as much of Continental Europe.

 Also for anyone who wants to move to Germany please feel free to contact me.

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My email address: democratsramshield@yahoo.com

Doesn't Germany rely on other debt slaves, to keep its financial wolves fed and their education, public services healthy?
by das monde on Wed Dec 17th, 2014 at 10:44:41 PM EST
No. German leadership may think that piling up infinite claims to future production abroad is the path to prosperity, but this is Error - it actually makes Germany poorer than it needs to be to do this - and you should in no way buy into that narrative.
by Thomas on Sat Dec 20th, 2014 at 01:03:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It does, however, make a certain subset of politically connected Germans very, very wealthy...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Dec 20th, 2014 at 07:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's nice to see your readership growing, DR. I remember how much vitriol was poured on your early dkos diaries by Americans unwilling to get their noses rubbed in inconvenient facts.

I like how you kept plugging away anyway...

And now the tide is turning as they realise that you are blogging in good faith, good for you.

It is ironic however how unpopular Germany is becoming in Europe because of its demented banksters, at the same time as you are extolling its undoubted virtues, (especially compared to America's).

The irony being that whilst Germany leads the way in Alternative Energy rollout worldwide, its retrogressive attitudes risk bring all of Europe to its knees. As Jake's trenchant sig points out, austerity is killing people!

So my only critique of your otherwise excellent diaries is your omission (in good faith, I repeat) of downsides to The Great German Model you somewhat unquestioningly laud to high heavens.

Acknowledging Germany's failings would added imo much-needed balance to your diligent diarying.

Congrats on your well-deserved success in reaching more eyeballs, and for pointing out repeatedly the obscenely greedy and predatory nature of American capitalism.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 20th, 2014 at 07:31:53 AM EST
I find the American model for higher education is not very well understood.

85% of American universities are public. They have low tuition rates. For instance, my own, the State U. of New York, has a rate of under $5k. Expenditures per student are around $25k. Half of this is the research budget culled from gov't and private sources. Another big chunk comes from the endowment (i.e. philanthropic giving). Then a smaller % (about 10%) comes from state taxpayers.

To be sure, there are also some states that charge an unconscionable amount of tuition (Michigan, California and Pennsylvania are all in the $10k-15k range per year). But the national average is $7.5k per year. This amount should be within the means and grasp of poor families, when you consider that anyone with a family income of under $38k qualifies for federal Pell Grants ($5.6k a year). Add to that work-study (i.e. 10 hours of work a week in the university library) of $4k, student loans of $3.5k (the annual cap for gov't subsidized loans), and a poor student should have $13k at their disposal. This doesn't include scholarships or financial aid (i.e. tuition reduction).

The headline grabbers are the private schools which have tuitions of $50k a year. They comprise 15% of schools in the USA. Tuition is exorbitant. In fact, for many, tuition at such schools is a ripoff. Why? Because expenditures at many such schools average half the cost of tuition per student. Although many of these schools defray tuition costs with proceeds from very large endowments (Harvard, for instance, has a treasure chest of $30+ billion), and research expenditures (60% of all research grants are ceded to the university for operations).

There is redistribution of funds at these privates, however. Students apply on a need/blind basis (i.e. the admissions committee does not see the applicant's financial background). Every student who requests financial aid is required to file a federal form (FAFSA) that determines the maximum that his/her family can pay toward tuition. Private universities then attempt to devise ways to meet the remaining need. They do it through scholarships, financial aid. In this fashion, 40% of all tuition money is redistributed from the rich to the poor. While this may seem positively egalitarian and beneficent, there is a catch. The well-connected and well-heeled often have an easier time getting into private universities. How do admissions committees know that a student is well-connected? Two ways. Either someone has noted it in their application file or else the student has not bothered to file a FAFSA form (thereby demonstrating a lack of need or a lack of interest in financial aid).

The student loan horror stories you hear about happen for two reasons. One, professional school (Law, Medicine, Business), is highly expensive and doesn't provide scholarships, for the most part. These are graduate programs. As well, students who are less than stellar, and who therefore do not receive great financial aid packages, sometimes make the decision to attend schools they cannot afford. Unfortunately, they take out enormous unsubsidized private (non-gov't) loans. Gov't loans are capped at $3.5 a year for first two years, and then jump to $5.5k for second two years.

The second reason for the student loan fiasco is because of the recent surge in bogus for-profit institutions. Some of these schools have CEOs that make $30m a year. They are scams. The default rate at many of these schools is upward of 75%. There are no regular faculty. The schools bury American politicians with campaign dollars, which makes our reps reluctant to expose the scam. These for-profits comprise a huge part of the student loan industry at this point. Non-profit universities have a default rate of less than 5% on loans.

In most American states, higher education is still affordable. At the highest levels of private universities, education is affordable as well, since poor and lower middle class students are fully funded with scholarships. In the Ivies for instance, a family making just under $100k a year will receive 90% tuition remission. The battleground for unaffordable higher education is in the high tuition states like Pennsylvania as well as the middle-tier privates that don't have the financial resources to fully fund their poor or lower middle class students.

by Upstate NY on Tue Dec 30th, 2014 at 01:38:55 AM EST
Thanks for this information.

The tuition fee at my engineering school was 100€ (that was before the euro)  when I attended, and is nowadays around 1000€.

here is a summary of a good engineering school in Lyon or here for the sister school in Paris

So in Lyon, you have around 1500€ including health 100% reimbursement and student-life participation.
In Paris, you have something around 1400€ for the same thing.

Salaries for the newly graduated are in the range 30k€-50k€ per year not counting social security and taxes.

by Xavier in Paris on Sun Jan 4th, 2015 at 06:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt, cheaper tuition would be much healthier for the USA. States are cutting back on funding, rather than the reverse. A further study should compare nations by expenditures per student, since presumably you can contain tuition costs if you spend less per student. Of course, this has repercussions for the quality of education.
by Upstate NY on Wed Jan 7th, 2015 at 11:54:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The costs cited somewhere in the comments here are in line with what is considered to be the public expenditure for students in France, so I do not believe there would be such a big difference, except maybe for some very high end universities.
by Xavier in Paris on Thu Jan 8th, 2015 at 12:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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