Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) laid out a new plan that would tax millionaires and use that revenue to help students
refinance their student loans, as reported by ThinkProgress
“Delivering the keynote address at the Higher Ed Not Debt Campaign launch event on Thursday at the Center For American Progress, Warren argued that America faces a choice: “Do we invest in students, or millionaires?” Warren plans to introduce a bill that would create an “America that invests in those who get an education” by revising the tax code and enacting the Buffet rule.
“The Buffet rule is named after billionaire Warren Buffet and would establish a minimum tax on income in excess of $1 million. The measure, which never got out of Congress, raises approximately $50 billion in revenue and ensures that millionaires do not pay lower tax rates than middle-class families.
“Congress acted to lower the federal unsubsidized student loan interest rate to 3.86 percent for undergraduates for the 2012-2013 academic school year. But unless it acts again, the $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt will continue to grow.
“Warren’s plan would allow students with outstanding student loans to refinance at lower rates. The cost of the change would be covered by a “dollar for dollar” effort where for “every dollar the Buffet rule brings in, we use that dollar to refinance student loan debt,” she explained. She estimated that recent graduates who borrowed the maximum in undergraduate loans could see their payments drop by $1,000 a year and total interest paid over the life of the loan could be cut nearly in half. Continue reading “Having millionaires help with student debt”
IN 2005, Ali Riaz, then president of a search technology company that would eventually be sold to Microsoft, was having dinner with one of his board members when he admitted that he was struggling with managing everything that running a fast-growing, cutting-edge company entailed, as reported in the New York Times.
“I said, ‘I feel like there must be a better way to deal with the inflow of pressure,’ ” Mr. Riaz said. “Kids getting bigger, parents getting older, business is growing — just using hard work and natural-born talents was getting hard. I wondered if there were techniques I could use.” The board member suggested he get a coach and offered to make an introduction. Mr. Riaz, a smart, driven entrepreneur, thought this was a horrible idea.
“I was a little like, I don’t need a psychologist, buddy,” he said. “We Type A entrepreneurs don’t talk about this kind of stuff. We solve problems and push ahead.” Mr. Riaz quickly saw that she had some insight into how entrepreneurs think and how to help them. “I realized at the end of our first conversation that in order to work with her meant work,” he said. “In my 25-hour day of work, I realized I didn’t have time to work with her.” A few months later, he changed his mind.
Continue reading “Life coaches for the wealthy”
Americans’ desire to save money rather than spend it may help those vowing to show more financial restraint in the new year, as reported by Gallup.
“Still, this desire may not translate into more savings in 2014, as those with the least resources in terms of disposable income are actually the most likely to prefer saving money to spending it. This may mean that even as much as the country professes to enjoy saving money, not all are able to do so for financial reasons.
“In fact, Americans with the absolute lowest annual household incomes, $20,000 or less, are the most likely to say they enjoy saving money (66%) rather than spending it (30%), compared with Americans at other income levels. The propensity to save drops off notably among those bringing in $50,000 or more, though the majority still lean that way, including 56% of those with household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 and 55% of those earning $75,000 or more.
“These results come from aggregated Gallup data spanning 2009 to 2013, including interviews with 6,127 U.S. adults. Particularly since the 2008 financial crisis, the majority of Americans have said they prefer saving money to spending it. This stands in contrast to their preferences between 2001 and 2008, when they were more evenly divided between saving and spending money. Even as the economic recovery nears its fifth year, the preference to spend rather than save has not recovered to pre-crisis norms. Continue reading “Those with less more prone to save”
f you can believe all the hand-wringing and soul-searching these days among artists, art critics, and sundry other arts professionals, you’d imagine that nobody is really happy about the $142.4 million paid for a Francis Bacon triptych at Christie’s the other day—or the $58.4 million for a Jeff Koons at the same auction or the $104.5 million for a Warhol at Sotheby’s the following night.
As The New Republic suggests: “Those prices are as repellent as Leonardo DiCaprio’s baronial frat house shenanigans in the coming attractions for Martin Scorsese’s new tale of Gilded Age excess, The Wolf of Wall Street. Among the most revolting sports favored by the super-rich is the devaluation of any reasonable sense of value. At Christie’s and Sotheby’s some of the wealthiest members of society, the people who can’t believe in anything until it’s been monetized, are trashing one of our last hopes for transcendence. They don’t know the difference between avidity and avarice. Why drink an excellent $30 or $50 bottle of wine when you can pour a $500 or $1000 bottle down your throat? Why buy a magnificent $20,000 or $1 million painting when you can spend $50 or $100 million and really impress friends and enemies alike?
“These questions will not go away. And it is a little too easy to blame it all on the super-rich and the various counselors and courtiers who cheer them on at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Of course there’s nothing we can do about what Steven A. Cohen and Peter Brant choose to sell at the auctions or what Roman Abramovich and Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani choose to buy. But the total lack of embarrassment with which everybody involved conducts themselves must at least in part be blamed on an educated public that has become embarrassed about discussing—much less advocating for—anything that suggests a principle or standard of taste. While the professional people who worry about every $10,000 in their 401(k) may shake their heads at the stratospheric auction prices, they get a kick out of them, too—too much of a kick, I tend to think. Continue reading “The rich ruin art for everyone”
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. As today’s New York Times puts it: “Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.
“Whether you think it deeply unjust, lamentable but inevitable, or obvious and unproblematic, this is hardly news. It is true in most societies and has been true in the United States for at least as long as we have thought to ask the question and had sufficient data to verify the answer.
“What is news is that in the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially. Continue reading “No wealthy child left behind”
Class in Britain used to be a relatively simple matter, or at least it used to be treated that way. It came in three flavors — upper, middle and working — and people supposedly knew by some mysterious native sixth sense exactly where they stood, reports today’s New York Times “As the very tall John Cleese declared to the less-tall Ronnie Corbett in the famous 1966 satirical television sketch meant to illustrate class attitudes in Britain — or, possibly, attitudes toward class attitudes — “I look down on him, because I am upper class.
“It is not as easy as all that, obviously. The 2010 election was enlivened at one point by a perfectly serious discussion of whether David Cameron, now the prime minister, counted as upper upper-middle class, or lower upper-middle class. But on Wednesday, along came the BBC, muddying the waters with a whole new set of definitions.
“Having commissioned what it called The Great British Class Survey, an online questionnaire filled out by more than 161,000 people, the BBC concluded that in today’s complicated world, there are now seven different social classes. (“As if three weren’t annoying enough,” a woman named Laura Phelps said on Twitter.) These range from the “elite” at the top, distinguished by money, connections and rarefied cultural interests, to the “precariat” at the bottom, characterized by lack of money, lack of connections and unrarefied cultural interests. Continue reading “Class more than upstairs/downstairs”