College and Money Laundering

In the world of finance, there are tremendous safeguards in place to ensure that money does not get laundered. Money laundering, loosely defined, is the process of taking proceeds obtained through criminal activity and making them appear to have originated from a legal enterprise.  So, what happens when the people who make the laws are the ones actually laundering the money?

Money Laundering

The student loan market is a classic money laundering scheme. Money is taken from the middle class then “washed” using college education as the “legitimate business.” University Administrations flush with cash vote en mass to support the very same government officials who keep money flowing their way.  “Okay, so where is the crime?” you might ask.

The answer is overcharging students for a degree that’s worth merely a fraction of the price paid to obtain it.

Pre-Obama, college loans were managed by a variety of banks, brokerage firms and financial institutions that helped administer many of the government programs which helped students go to college.  While not a perfect system, it worked well enough. Anyone who wanted to go to college could do so.

The Obama Administration, unhappy with this lack of centrality and control of the student loan market, decided to bring it under one umbrella. The result? The Federal government now has complete control of the student loan market. Sounds like a reasonable plan; but, it has been a disaster for the very students it is alleged to help.

Once the colleges understood what was happening, they started raising the cost of tuition. In the past, given the disjointed nature of the loan market, it was difficult to pass on increases to the students. The students, loan officers and the banks had to coordinate the loans. This complexity added an invisible cap on rising prices. In the past, if the tuition at a school was $30,000 per year, the university officials had to be fairly certain that the students could get enough money from the loan market to justify the tuition being charged.

Not any more. Once the government put the loan market under its control, the cost of education began to rise.

This fear of rising education costs was predicted in the late 1980’s by Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education, who published a now classic New York Times op-ed titled “Our Greedy Colleges” argued that the government’s attempts to make higher education more accessible may have also accidentally made it more expensive. “If anything” he wrote, “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.” With the government now giving money to anybody and everybody for whatever amount, costs have correspondingly skyrocketed. Universities are now fairly certain that the government will grant their tuition increases and grant the loan… whatever the price increase!

Why?

Because the Progressive Left knows that the education racket is crumbling. It’s almost a mad dash for the money before it runs out. With more and more avenues for obtaining an education online, at cheaper and cheaper rates, it is getting harder and harder for universities to justify their pricey degrees. In addition, the  universities are still teaching subjects and materials in the same manner they did thirty years ago!

Students are now getting out of college with worthless degrees, entering a nearly non-existent job market and carrying staggering debt from the cost of obtaining the underlying education.  The U.S has 94 million people out of the workforce because they can’t find jobs.  Given these terrible job numbers, one would think college tuition costs would be coming down, yet this is not the case.

Higher education has become a money laundering scheme, where students are being used to incur exorbitant amounts of debt to fund the wages and lifestyles of those administering higher education. This money laundering scheme is being sanctioned by the government and executed by the universities. Given that our higher education system is run by the Left, which votes as a block, the greedy purveyors of this scheme know they have to compensate (bribe) the members of that block to continue to vote them in power.

The same way the bond holders and pension funds were fleeced by the bankruptcy of General Motors to pay off the unions, students are now the vehicles by which their monies are being used to pay off these corrupt Democrats.

There is a revolution taking place in the field of education with companies like Udemy, Code School, Coursera, to name a few, coming online offering courses at a fraction of the prices demanded by traditional universities. Many of the courses are rightfully being designed with the future in mind and so their curriculum offerings reflect that foresight.

Google no longer requires a college degree as a prerequisite to work for their company because they have figured out, in this day and age, its simply isn’t necessary! What is necessary in today’s work force are people who continue to educate and upgrade their abilities themselves by utilizing the latest tools and technologies in order to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving workforce. Sadly, much of academia has totally failed its students in this regard; but, they refuse to adjust their costs accordingly. Greed outweighs their integrity.

Like all money laundering schemes, this one will end with a bust. However, this time it won’t be the Feds coming in to arrest the guilty parties… as they are the ones who originated and have perpetuated the crime.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Focus on The Process

“There are no winners here. The point of Aikido is to train and focus on the process of getting better.”

Trust The ProcessIt took me about five years to learn this lesson from my friend, Brian, who helped me with my training. It was a hard concept for me to grasp. The sports I had formerly played were based upon a performance score that would determine the winners and the losers.

With Aikido, I trained religiously for years, going every day, hardly ever missing a practice.  I realized that the only way to get good at the art was through consistency.  It was doubly hard for me because there were very few tests, and very little feedback.

I sucked at the sport for years! It was only through grit and perseverance that I finally attained a high level of mastery by focusing on one thing:  trying to get better every day. By the time I tested for my black belt, it wasn’t really a test at all. I had been doing Aikido so long –  with so much consistency –  that the results took care of themselves.

While I didn’t learn this invaluable lesson until I was in my mid-thirties, I am able to pass this knowledge and training on to my kids. Three of my daughters now play competitive soccer and they train every day. Come rain or shine… they put their time in on the ball to improve.

Understanding mastery takes a long time and so I rarely get mad at the outcome of their games. As long as the effort is there, and they are learning, I know that eventually they will reach their potential. My goal for them is not to be the best soccer player in the world but rather the best soccer player that they can possibly be.

Rick Barry, the former basketball player for the Golden State Warriors, used to shoot the ball underhanded at the free throw line. He was mocked his entire career for shooting in this manner.  His method was seen as too feminine and dainty for the rough and tumble world of the N.B.A.  Yet, Barry became a Hall of Fame player and retired with the highest free throw percentage ever! When he retired, he acknowledged that he was not the best basketball player ever but shooting free throws in this manner helped him become the best basketball player that he could ever be. For him, that was enough.

Contrast that with his peer, Wilt Chamberlain, who was considered the best basketball player of his generation. Chamberlain was a terrible free throw shooter. Even after being coached by Rick Barry and using his technique to improve his shoot, Chamberlain always reverted back to shooting overhand with the same disastrous results. The reason? He did not want to be seen as shooting in a sissy manner. When asked about Chamberlain, Rick Barry said “Although he was a better basketball player than me, Wilt was never the best basketball player he could have been, and for that he will have to live with that gnawing feeling that he came up short.” ( The insights from the Rick Barry story come from this podcast by Malcolm Gladwell)

Youth sports today are indescribably competitive and getting more so for younger and younger children all the time.  The need to win is so great by parents that the events become tortuous.  Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed an indoor soccer game where the parents came close to blows over the fouls the kids were committing. The behavior of the parents was truly sickening. Mind you, the players were eight year old girls!  It was sickening to be a witness to such twisted values.

On other occasions, I have had parents tell me that my daughters were not good enough or lacked certain skills. It seems most parents have forgotten that kids make mistakes and, in order to get better, they need to make these mistakes.  While its never easy, or desirable, to have other parents criticize my kids, for me its more important that they develop the core discipline that they will then be able to replicate in other areas…on and off the field.

In the seminal book, The Inner Game of Tennis, by Timothy Gallwey , Tim  walked away from his professional tennis career…get this… to focus on becoming a tennis player. He stopped playing competitive tennis and just focused on becoming a better player. What he realized was that his need to win short-circuited his ability to actually win.  Seeing everything through the lens of “winning” or “losing points” actually impeded his growth as a tennis player.

Once he jettisoned his need to win and focused instead on the outcome of his shots, adjusting accordingly without judgement, his tennis game took off.  He became a much better player.  He came to realize that by solely focusing on winning you actually lose more.

Gallwey’s book on peak performance is considered required reading for many professional sports teams. The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks actually make all players read his book to improve performance.

Bill Walsh, the legendary coach of the San Francisco 49ers, was another coach who believed winning was secondary to the process. Walsh, who guided his team to four Super Bowl wins, was almost fired after his first two seasons because of his record: 8 wins / 24 losses.  In his book, he tells the story of how, in the beginning of his career, it got so bad  that one of his assistant coaches complained to the owner that Walsh did not care about winning because he never talked to the team about it.  But Walsh did care about winning. He knew the results were secondary. Before you can win, you have to do things in the right manner that eventually leads to winning. The foundation has to be built first before you can pile up the wins.  The wins are a result of the foundation. It doesn’t work in reverse.

For example, I am fluent in Spanish. However, every day I practice to improve my fluency. There are no guarantees in life, but doings things in the “right way” while staying committed to the process has greatly increases my chances of success in life. In my personal journey thus far, having experienced the highs and lows of life, it is the process that has repeatedly saved me.

Everyone’s process is different; but, for me, getting better every day in every way is the core of my daily practice.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

 

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton- How did we get here?

 

Neither candidate is doing well in the polls given that they both have very high unfavorable numbers. What gives? Trump is doing well because he has not been constrained by political correctness. Had the left not been so intent on stifling speech,we probably would have had another candidate. And with Hillary, she has benefited because of her control of the D.N.C and not allowing another candidate to enter the field.