General Akbar Says...
By now, every American is aware of the problem of distribution of wealth in this country. What is the average American's response when they're stuck in an income bind? Well, speaking for myself (and obviously many others) I attempt to do something about it. Improving one's skill set through education is an option, of course. It's common sense, right? We're all taught that education is the path to success, after all. That is, unless the quality of education available is so bad it leaves you worse off.
I feel that every student in the US deserves a good education. Ultimately, education is an investment in the country's future as well as a successful method of crime prevention. Education (the lack thereof) has a proven connection to crime, after all. I have no children, and I'm happy to have my taxes go toward education. And then along came the conservatives who believe that capitalism is the great panacea while government is the ultimate bad. Privatize schools, they said, and everything will be so much better! More effective and efficient! Government institutions suck! Go business! Guess what? Not really. In fact, the US has fallen in the international rankings ever since. Worse, the conflict of interest between providing a good education and making a profit is actually resulting in multiple cases of fraud. (Trump isn't the only one.) Gee whiz, greed may not be so good after all. Who'd have thunk it?
"...charter schools misspend public money nearly four times more often than any other type of tax-payer funded agency." As for providing an actual education, the statistics for online schools are even worse. Whatever your position on Charter Schools, it's obvious that applications need to be more restricted and the schools strictly regulated. And that's not all. ITT Technical Institute, that bastion of late night television ads, is closing down because the federal government is finally putting a halt to their predatory educational scheme. As in Trump's 'university', low-income students were encouraged to go into debt and pay more and more for expensive classes that don't teach them all the much. Bring on the student debt crisis. All because people want an education and a decent paying job. It's as if "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" was an expected thing in the US or something. You know, it's not like it's listed in the Declaration of Independence or anything.
As if that weren't bad enough, there's another aspect to consider and a very troubling one: the automobile financing industry. In the US (and Texas in particular) it's very difficult to hold down a job if you don't own a car. In fact, I've filled out many job applications which make it clear that you won't be hired unless you have "reliable transportation." I can't stress that enough. You won't even be considered for a job unless you already own a car. If you happen to be of low income, that makes everything that much harder.
This shit is just vile. On top of it all, the auto lending industry is making the same exact mistakes that the mortgage industry made. And when the bubble bursts? Three guesses who will be blamed for the collapse of the market. Yeah. Don't tell me that government regulation is a terrible thing and that the free market is so grand.
 Believe it or not, I actually had a boss who got his PhD at ITT. He was one of the worst bosses I ever had. Not that I blame ITT so much for that. He was one of those individuals for whom engineering is the be all end all that tech companies love to promote into management: great with mechanical/electrical shit and downright awful with people.
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is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.