Category Archives: The Rag Blog

The cost-cutting approach to higher education

by Harry Targ, published March 25, 2015, The Rag Blog

Though some reform ideas have merit, the real problem is lack of funding from the government.

Reform advocate: Purdue University President Mitch Daniels at commencement exercises for Purdue North Central, 2014. Image from

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Purdue University President Mitch Daniels testified March 17, 2015, before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce on what he calls higher education reform. He also spoke during that week to the American Council on Education and the Brookings Institute.

A centerpiece of his recommendations was “income share agreements” whereby students partner with investors, particularly alumni, who would provide funds for their education in exchange “for a small share of the student’s future income.”
Daniels was touting this idea in addition to new cost-saving policies at Purdue University, such as offering three-year degree programs, using different metrics rather than course hours to measure student preparation, and tuition freezes. He has also urged a reduction in costly federal regulations.

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The Democrats’ delusions and a strategy for change

by David P. Hamilton, The Rag Blog, June 30, 2014

A central goal of the left in the U.S. should be to create an independent electoral base, a voice from which the left can speak directly to the mainstream.

Painting by Anthony Freda /

Sometimes you might have cause to wonder, but the Democratic Party is indeed better than the Republican Party. That says almost nothing. The economic policies of contemporary Republicans are more right wing than those of Benito Mussolini, the founder of modern fascism. Being better than Mussolini is no great distinction.

During the “Obama recovery” since 2009, 95% of all income gains have gone to the top 1% economic elite, the capitalist ruling class. As their income rose 31%, the other 99% saw their income grow by a meager 0.4%. In the process, inequality increased rapidly. Such are the riches Obama’s economic policies have delivered.

Had there been a Republican in the White House, the comparable figures would have likely been 100% and 0%, but that does not negate the fact that this Democratic Party-led government primarily serves the economic elite, their foremost constituency. These figures indicate that U.S. presidential elections don’t give leftists a choice between good and bad or even bad and worse, but between awful and abominable, and that keeps happening repeatedly every four years.

Bush and Obama: a comparison

The principal goal of the bank bailout initiated by Bush II and carried forward by Obama was to remove “toxic assests” from banks’ balance sheets. After Obama appointed Wall Street insiders to his major economic cabinet posts, $700 billion was allocated for this purpose, mainly directed at the nine largest U.S. banks. Most of those “toxic assets” were bundles of underwater mortgage loans, where rapidly declining real estate values had left home owners with loans far greater than the market value of their homes.

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