Germany’s president announced his resignation not long ago. Germany, like Israel (and almost Australia) have a distinction between their elected head of state and elected head of government. The Head of State is supposed to sort of be above the fray and thus a less partisan figure. The republican equivalent of monarchy. I have to admit, the idea has a certain appeal… but does it get lost when most foreigners (even those that keep up with current events) don’t know who your Head of State is?

I meant to write a full-on post about this New York Times article about a young woman drowning in student loan debt, but others did the job better than I could. My main contribution is this: At 26, the girl showcase in the article as a precautionary tale, is left with more after rent and student loan repayment than I was left with after rent when I was 26.

I have in the past defended little leagues and youth sport organizations placing sportsmanship above competition, but no way to I defend a team forfeiting by scoring too many goals. Mercy rules accomplish the same thing without the perverse incentives (scoring on your own goal to win a game!).

Time-Warner is defending the privacy rights of its customers… if only because they can’t be bothered to track them down and give them up.

Subway allegedly fires an employee for giving his courtesy sandwich to a fire victim.

Starbucks is finally offering free WiFi. This was really put them at a disadvantage compared to other coffee places up to and including Seattle’s Best, which Starbucks owns but which has always had free WiFi. Payfor WiFi could work, but you can’t ask people to sign up for a subscription or a significant daily charge.

My ex-roommate Hubert used to have a computer fantasy baseball league where we would draft up press releases for our team. Mine were generally humor-based and regularly featured the local politicians. One had them trying to justify calling a day off work to celebrate my team winning the pennant. That’s not nearly as bad as changing the name of your county.

More than half of identity theft cases are committed by parents. Credit card companies don’t check ages. Now, technically I am sure Mom thefted my identity at some point or another for simple expedience, but I doubt that’s what is being talked about here. Via Costa, who has a good take on it.

Are best friends bad for development? I don’t even think this is a case of development theory gone awry. Once again, I agree with Costa. I think this is about control.


Category: Newsroom

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8 Responses to Linkluster XVIII

  1. rob says:

    Republicans could milk the f out of forgiving some chunk of student loan debt. It would not be a pure giveaway because colleges conspire to limit financial aid and probably collude on sticker price. IIRC, colleges are pretty much the only institutions allowed to get together and decide how much they’ll charge. It’s widely beleived (and probably true) that debtors tend to lean left. Reducing student loan burden would give a pretty big incentive for ~23-30 y.o. college grads to vote Republican. Even though the demographic may not be huge, it’s probably prevelent in media. The barista with a nosering will make common cause with the righteous right if it means turning a 100K loan into a 20K loan.

    The program might even be revenue neutral. Universities got the money through unethical means, their endowments seem like a good place to find the money. Taking the money from universities pits colleges against students/recent students, which could show the little guy how little “liberal” institutions care about him. Hurting university administrators and profs can only make Republicans feel warm and fuzzy. What can profs do? Keep voting Democratic?

    If Republicans made student loan reduction a plank, it would be mighty interesting.

  2. DaveinHackensack says:

    “Germany’s president announced his resignation not long ago. Germany, like Israel (and almost Australia) have a distinction between their elected head of state and elected head of government. The Head of State is supposed to sort of be above the fray and thus a less partisan figure. The republican equivalent of monarchy. I have to admit, the idea has a certain appeal… but does it get lost when most foreigners (even those that keep up with current events) don’t know who your Head of State is?”

    Australia’s head of state is the Queen of England, represented locally by her Governor-General. I believe that’s the situation with most other commonwealth countries (e.g., Canada). I doubt the countries with separate heads of state (elected or otherwise) care if foreigners who don’t follow current events know their names.

  3. DaveinHackensack says:

    “Republicans could milk the f out of forgiving some chunk of student loan debt. It would not be a pure giveaway because colleges conspire to limit financial aid and probably collude on sticker price.”

    Forget it. It’s becoming conventional wisdom that we have a debt-fueled education bubble. And the Republicans will never win a Santa Claus contest with the Democrats. Which is just as well, as we can’t afford much more Santa Claus government with our exploding deficit and debts (not to put too fine a point on it, but I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of your idea being revenue neutral).

  4. trumwill says:

    Dave,

    My wording was perhaps unclear. About a decade ago, Australia voted on whether or not to become a Republic. Had the referendum succeeded (which many thought it would, though it failed with the help of those that wanted a real president), they would have had a ceremonial president. Thus, “almost Australia.”

  5. Abel says:

    That sob story about the girl with too much student loan debt is hilarious when you reach paragraph 30 to realize that she got “an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women’s studies.” A $100,000 “investment” in religious and women’s studies didn’t pay off. Really? Who didn’t see that one coming.

  6. rob says:

    Dave, Republicans lost any claims to fiscal responsibility after Bush. It would be wonderful if the Republicans were the shrink the government party. They aren’t. Every so often a Republican suggests borrowing money so taxes can be deferred.

    If the ed bubble is conventional wisdom, that makes my plan a better idea, not a worse one. All the Republicans need to do is drive a big enough wedge that young democrats stay home. Second, revenue neutrality can be ensured be reducing total student loan debt by only the amount confiscated from university endowments. Unlike Democrat giveaways, student loan reduction would actually benefit young college educated whites. People with the potential to be productive.

    Come to think of it, there are already student loan forgiveness programs for people who do lefty-approved things.

  7. DaveinHackensack says:

    “Dave, Republicans lost any claims to fiscal responsibility after Bush.”

    Bush was certainly no fiscal conservative — he was more like an LBJ who signed some modest tax cuts in addition to his guns and butter spending. But Bush is the past. When he was the present, the Democrats had nice invidious comparisons to make between his deficits and Clinton’s surpluses; now, Republicans can make invidious comparisons between Obama’s yawning deficits and the relatively petite Bush deficits that preceded them.

  8. trumwill says:

    The party that’s out of power (whichever party is out of power) always has stronger opinions on the government spending within its means.

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