Memorial Day – back when I was born it was always May 30th not the last Monday in May. May 30th is also my birthday which is now known as “Traditional” Memorial Day, since the government made the changes to ensure a three-day weekend to start the summer.
I’ve always wondered if one of the reasons for my strong patriotism along with the love of our country and respect for the military sacrifices so many have made has to do with me being born on this day. Regardless of the reason I feel all Americans need to remember the reason for this holiday. It is so much more than just the “Start of Summer”.
According to History.com Memorial Day originated in the years following The Civil War. Memorial Day is a day in which many visit cemeteries to remember our fallen. Others go to parades to honor the fallen and those that fought along side of them.
It has been said in The Bible, John Chapter 15, Verse 13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Now comprehend how many have made that ultimate sacrifice for you, your family, your friends, and your fellow countrymen. The number is staggering.
The number of Americans that have paid the ultimate price is over 1.3 million per militaryfactory.com. And this does not include the millions more that have suffered both physical and mental disabilities. Unfortunately these numbers are only through 2012 and don’t include the many others that were killed in action since then. That’s an astounding sacrifice that has been made by people you didn’t even know.
As a birthday present to me I ask that while you are enjoying a long weekend with family and friends – that you take a moment of silence to pray for the fallen and reflect that without their sacrifice you would not be where you are today.
How do we keep from others having to pay the ultimate price? I leave you with this –
It has been said that if the children of the world’s politicians were the first into battle war would not exist.
Term Limits – it seems they are brought up every election cycle. And yes I have heard it over and over from the opposition. That we have term limits built-in through elections. Let’s be real, that is a complete fallacy due to the built-in advantages of the incumbent candidate. These advantages include:
- All the direct mail that an incumbent can send throughout the year to their constituents for free.
- Almost instant access to the media via press conferences and interviews on radio and television.
- Name recognition from the aforementioned above bullet-points.
These built-in advantages are just too much to overcome for all except a very-well financed or wealthy candidate. The research proves this point. According to Politfact.com even though Congress has only a 11% approval rating, 94.6% of them are re-elected. That’s proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that incumbents have a grossly un-fair advantage over the challenger.
Though the above is a problem. The much larger problem and even great reason for term limits is the inefficiency of running for office every two years for Congress and Senate along with every four years for the presidency. Due to this inefficiency we only get a 50% productivity out of our elected official due to their spending half of their time running for re-election. Could you imagine if companies were run in this manner – we’d be in a depression. Though I think it is obvious we are in a “Political Depression” due to our current system of electing our national politicians.
Thus, I have come up with an easy and brilliant solution to get our government working efficiently again without members of congress living off the people for a lifetime. This idea will put the power where it belongs back in the hands of the people. Being elected was never about a lifetime appointment.
Here is my simple solution:
- House of Representatives terms are for four years not two. One person cannot be elected for more than three terms.
- The Senate would remain at six year terms with a maximum of two terms and they would again be appointed by the state governors and not elected.
- The Office of President and Vice President would be for one six-year term.
That insures that no one in Congress can “run for life”. It means that they won’t have to worry about elections every two years. And finally the President can act in the best interest of the country without ever worrying about re-election.
Like most of the best things in life – Short & Simple.
Cary Michael Cox
Debt Snowball – that is when you continue to roll up assorted debts into one. It can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. When a debt snowball is used to consolidate debt into one lower and manageable payment that is a good thing. Many consumers have done it in a good way using home-equity loans to pay-off other higher interest debt.
On the other hand, when you continue to roll-up more and more debt into a debt snowball just to accumulate more debt – you are creating a disaster. Unfortunately that is what Fannie-Mae appears to be doing by changing it’s underwriting guidelines with regards to student loans & payments. Yes that same Fannie-Mae that brought you the mortgage crisis of last decade seems hell-bent to do it again.
Up until now a lender had to count the fully-amortizing payment or one percent of the outstanding loan balance of a student loan in a borrower’s debt to income ratio. That is common sense – count the full-payment or more on a debt to determine a borrower’s ability to successfully repay a mortgage. Since we the people are backing these student loans and mortgages that is a reasonable and sound lending-approach.
Well folks that sound and reasonable approach just got turned upside down by Fannie-Mae. They have now changed their guidelines to allow lenders to accept the payment for the student loan that is reflected on the credit report. No longer following the common-sense guidelines aforementioned.
Here is the problem – the government allows student loan borrower’s to negotiate a lower-payment and defer the additional payment and interest to a future date. Basically they are allowing debt to be piled upon more debt. That usually doesn’t work out very well.
Thus, with Fannie-Mae’s new guidelines you are not qualifying the borrower on their real debt to income ratio – but on a deferred reduced payment that will be due at some point in the future.
This bad debt snowball may turn into another mortgage-crisis avalanche!
Student Loan Crisis is now upon us and we need some reasonable solutions. Furthermore, we need them to be implemented immediately. This problem is a two headed monster – rising student loan debt and escalating college costs. Did you know that the average student loan debt is $27,000 per student according to Forbes. These issues are compounded by shortfalls in the education budgets at the state-level across the nation. Let’s first address an easy solution to the budget shortfalls before addressing the student loan crisis.
Universities are for the most part giant-educational bureaucracies. They, bureaucracies, are like a cancer, they must grow to survive. Moreover, the only way to stop the cancer is to cut out the malignancy. Thus, every university, especially every state-funded university should have to have it’s budget reviewed by outside independent auditors for the big three. Those would be waste, fraud, and redundancy.
One can only imagine how much of these can be found at any college by a consulting firm such as Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, or Bain & Company. Colleges should be required to “take a look under the hood” every two years before raising taxes or tuition.
Now back to the issue at hand solving the student loan crisis. I bet very few people know that student loan funds are deposited directly in to the students personal bank accounts. Giving eighteen year-olds access to cash and asking them to be responsible with it is akin to giving a pyromaniac unlimited access to gasoline and matches! It’s just not a good idea, but that’s what the government does – unbelievable!
A small minority of students may use the money for its’ intended purpose. On the other hand, the vast majority are going to buy beer, pizza, and spring-break road trips. Some females have been know to pay for breast augmentation with their student loan monies. Perhaps they should enhance their knowledge before their looks.
So what’s my solution?
Student loan funds should be directly disbursed in the name of the student for their intended purpose. The student submits a bill for college tuition the government pays the college directly. The students need housing and food? Then the government pays the university directly for the dormitory and meal-plan. Don’t want to live in a dorm with a meal-plan, fine but no student loan money for it. Textbooks, the government pays the bookstore directly.
If the student needs extra money they can get a job at the local Starbucks, wait tables, or get some other part-time job.
My plan will reduce waste, fraud, and abuse of student loan funds. In addition, it brings efficiency back to the use of the government’s funds.
One more thing we will limit the types of degrees one can obtain with student loans, but we’ll save that topic for another article.