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My Turn: Who values the rigged system?

The future of America?
The future of America?
LTD Associates/Mother Jones

People feel like the system is rigged against them, and here is the painful part, they're right. The system is rigged.” ~ Elizabeth Warren

Our federal government was created 238 years ago and exists today solely to protect and preserve the quality of life for the American people.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Of course.
Well, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the stunning incompetence and self-serving politics of the people we elect to the Congress, the quality of life for millions of American families is suffering in 2014.
Take the student debt crisis as an example.
More than 40 million American men and women who made the effort to become educated to achieve the American Dream currently owe in excess of $1.2 trillion in student debt.
The reason why so many are so in debt is simple . . . the cost of an education at a four-year public university has increased by more than 250% since 1984 primarily because state legislators somehow thought it would good to slash investments in higher education.
How great a threat is student debt to the quality of life in America in 2014?
According to Kristin Reynolds, an economist with IHS Global Insight, student loans totaled $113 billion of the $180 billion increase in U.S. household debt from 2012 to 2013.
Student loan payments, an ever-increasing burden on family disposable income, have forced more than 10% of all debtors to be delinquent on their loans.
Guy Lebas, Managing Director for Janney Capital Markets, recently wrote that “student loan debt is one of the greater risks to the consumer economy over the next 5 to 10 years.”
According to Richard Yamarone, an economist for Bloomberg, “student loans are the next subprime crisis.”
Student loan debt prevents today’s college graduates from fully participating in the economy because they don’t have enough disposable income to save, invest, or purchase appliances, cars, and homes and other products and services that keep our economy vibrant and growing.
So, when Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts introduced a bill to allow students to refinance existing student loans and take out new student loans at a significantly lower interest rate of 3.86%, you might have thought that the United States Senate would have jumped at the chance to improve the quality of life for millions and simultaneously release billions more dollars into savings and investment accounts and into the coffers of American businesses of all sizes and types.
Wouldn’t you?
If so . . . you’d be 56% right . . . the senate voted yesterday 56 to 38 (6 senators didn’t bother to vote) . . . a simple majority but not enough under the rigged rules of the senate to pass legislation, no matter how it might improve the quality of life for the majority of Americans.
It was, as you might have already guessed, a partisan vote with 52 Democrats and 4 Republicans voting yes and 38 Republicans voting no.
I know what you’re thinking: GOP senators would defeat this legislation only because it increases the deficit.
Senator Warren’s bill costs taxpayers not a red cent and in fact reduces the deficit by generating $72 billion in new revenue vis-à-vis a surcharge tax on millionaires.
Senator Warren is quoted as having told the Boston Globe that “It’s a basic question of our values. Does this country protect millionaires’ and billionaires’ tax loopholes? Or does it try to help young people who are just starting their economic lives?”
At least 38 senators clearly ‘value’ millionaire and billionaire tax loopholes over young people who are just starting their economic lives.
If you’d like to let the 38 know how you feel about their values, you may tweet them as follows:

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) -- @SenAlexander
  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) -- @SenJohnBarrasso
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) -- @RoyBlunt
  • Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) -- @JohnBoozman
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) -- @SenatorBurr
  • Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) -- @SaxbyChambliss
  • Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) -- @SenDanCoats
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) -- @TomCoburn
  • Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Texas) -- @JohnCornyn
  • Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) -- @MikeCrapo
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) -- @SenTedCruz
  • Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) -- @SenatorEnzi
  • Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) -- @SenatorFischer
  • Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) -- @JeffFlake
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) -- @ChuckGrassley
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) -- @SenOrrinHatch
  • Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) -- @SenDeanHeller
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) -- @SenJohnHoeven
  • Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) -- @JimInhofe
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) -- @SenatorIsakson
  • Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) -- @Mike_Johanns
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) -- @SenRonJohnson
  • Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) -- @SenatorKirk
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) -- @SenMikeLee
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- @SenJohnMcCain
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) -- @McConnellPress
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) -- @SenRandPaul
  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) -- @robportman
  • Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) -- @SenatorRisch
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) -- @SenPatRoberts
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) -- @MarcoRubio
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) -- @SenatorSessions
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) -- @SenShelby
  • Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) -- @SenJohnThune
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) -- @SenToomey
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) -- @DavidVitter
  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) -- @SenatorWicker

Comments? Questions? Contact the author at: or Tweet: @DavyZJones

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