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The Government Student Loan Program is a Mess

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2014

…A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds that as of the fourth quarter of 2012 only about 40% of student borrowers were paying down their loans…

…A whopping 14% of borrowers who were not officially delinquent had the same balance as the previous quarter and 30% saw their balances increase.

That’s because borrowers who can’t afford to pay down their loans can ask the government for a deferment or forbearance, which freezes their payments while interest continues to accrue. During a deferment, Uncle Sam pays the interest on subsidized loans. To qualify for either option, borrowers merely need to claim an economic hardship or return to school…Student loan debt nearly tripled to $966 billion in 2012 from $364 billion in 2004, but not merely because more students are going to school and taking out bigger loans. The Fed report’s major finding is that government programs intended to prevent defaults are actually causing many borrowers to rack up more debt. (emphasis added)

Our Response & Your Comments

Oregonians facing college also face rising tuition (30% increase between 2009 and 2012). Let’s look at how government’s good intentions are actually causing the problem:

  1. National leaders start with the premise “Every kid needs to go to college.” No – every kid doesn’t. We all know successful adults who didn’t go to college.
  2. Building off that flawed premise they set out to make it easier to go to college by dishing out wheelbarrows full of (your) money to directly pay tuition or loan money to students so they can pay for it. College presidents see this avalanche of dollars rolling their way, smile, and raise tuition to absorb it.
  3. As tuition continues to rise government gives and loans more and more money on increasingly generous terms. And the cycle – funded by us – continues.

So – Who’s making college more expensive? The same geniuses who set out to help kids go to college. Brilliant!

Website: Defining Delinquency Down –


Why Lane County Has Cavities & Micronesia Has a Dentist, Part 3

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The last two issues of Lane Solutions told the story of local dentist Cedric Hayden, DDS. He spent $200,000 of his and his brother’s money to outfit a mobile dental clinic, which they wanted to park in rural areas of Lane County and offer free dental care to low income residents.

But not a single rural city wanted it. Why? Most thought it was a great idea – just not in their towns.

Connecting the dots, Dr. Hayden saw a sad pattern emerging among the “public servants” who profess to care so very much about their less well off constituents and found a place where his skills and compassion would be welcome.

The place? Chuuk, Micronesia, where around 55,000 people have not one dentist.

Chuuk welcomed Dr. Hayden, offered him a place to park his mobile clinic and a six month license to practice.

His first team of volunteers spent their Christmas vacation filling cavities in Chuuk. Dr. Hayden plans to spend three months each year there offering dental care.

We say, “Dr. Hayden – Thanks for your generosity. Too bad it wasn’t welcome here.”


Where Cover Oregon went wrong: Guest opinion

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

– The Oregonian, by Charles Jennings, CEO of Swan Island Networks, Inc., February 22, 2014

I decided to do a rare bit of housecleaning in my home office. As I was tossing out unwanted mail, I noticed the October, 2013, issue of one of the many high-tech trade magazines that periodically show up at my house, unsolicited. What caught my attention was a teaser on the cover about an article inside….

The project? Cover Oregon.

Here are a few choice quotes from the article:

Article subhead:  “With the launch of Cover Oregon, state officials expect their commitment to design thinking to pay off.”

“Thanks to design thinking … the Oregon team feels a lot more confident of hitting the mark,” said Cover Oregon CIO Aaron Karjala…

As we now know, the result of all this balderdash was a high-tech train wreck.

But let’s be fair: Cover Oregon is hardly the first big government IT project to fail. The list includes the Affordable Healthcare website and various sustainable energy programs under President Obama; the SBInet border control project under President Bush ($1 billion spent, zero results); and countless others….

Our Response & Your Comments

“Cover Oregon is hardly the first big government IT project to fail. ”We wonder why?

First, There’s a nasty little secret about government. It’s that is sees its first job as (are you ready?)…creating more government. More government means job security, more people to hire who will produce more government and, best of all – more money, which will lead to more governmental functions and (you guessed it) more government.

When you or we need a new sofa, table saw or whatever, our kneejerk reaction is to go to stores, identify the best product for the lowest price and buy it. We don’t start building the sofa or saw ourselves.

Not so with government. Because they know that if they do it themselves they’ll need to hire people, managers to manage them, assistants to serve them and lawyers to defend them. Who will hire more people, etc.

Does it cost more? Sure, but they have an infinite supply – your money. Does it result in “IT train wrecks?” Yeah – but you’ll pay for that, too.

So remember “The Iron Rule of Government:” More government always means even more government – at your expense.”


Why Lane Co. Has Cavities & Micronesia Has a Dentist , Part 2

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Lane Solutions Issue # 58 we introduced readers to Dr. Cedric Ross Hayden, DDS.  His goal was simple – he and his brother had spent $200,000 of their money to construct a mobile dental clinic. Dr. Hayden wanted to take it around Lane County, park it in rural, underserved cities and provide free dental service to low income residents. Sounds like a good deal. Right?

Here’s where it all went wrong. Rural cities didn’t want it. One said they had a zoning ordinance prohibiting shipping containers from being parked in town. Yes, Dr. Hayden’s clinic was a reconfigured shipping container. But inside, you could barely tell it from your own dentist’s office. Would the city give a waiver for medical or dental equipment? “Nyet,” ruled the commissars.

According to Dr. Hayden, who only wanted to serve the poor, about whom these cities say they care so much, the typical reaction was “Great idea – just not in my back yard.”

Watch for Lane Solutions Issue #60 and find out why a faraway island country welcomed Dr. Hayden with open arms – and open mouths waiting for a good dentist.


Why Lane Co. Has Cavities and Micronesia Has a Dentist

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ed. Note: This is the first of a three part series

Dr. Cedric Ross Hayden, D.D.S had a dream. He wanted to outfit a mobile dental clinic, staff it with volunteer dentists and hygienists, move it around rural areas in Lane Co. and offer regular, free dental care to low income Oregonians.

Here’s how it would work: Dr. Hayden would drive the clinic to a small town. He’d park it there long enough to meet local dental needs. Then he’d take it to nearby rural towns, parking it for a week or so. His goal was to visit these towns three times a year, providing regular dental treatment.

Was Dr. Hayden asking anyone to pay for his clinic? No. He and brother Matthew had already funded it with $200,000 out of their own pockets. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?

As ESPN sportscaster Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.” Because his dream would turn to dust.

What went wrong? Why would small burgs in Lane Co. not welcome him and his mobile dental care facility with open arms? And why does Micronesia have the dental care that Lane County didn’t want? Find out in the next issue of Lane Solutions as we focus on one town’s “Thanks but no thanks.”


Oregon prisons, social services in need of millions of dollars as lawmakers adjust budgets

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

…When the Oregon Legislature convenes Monday, two large state agencies will be asking for tens of millions of dollars.

Lawmakers will revisit the 2013-15 budget to address collective bargaining costs, a record $40 million wildfire season and revenue forecasts that fell $70 million short of earlier projections

Corrections officials say they need about $90 million, and Human Services officials say they need about $100 million to fill their gaps, though some money is expected from other sources…

The Oregonian, January 28, 2014

Our Response and Your Comments

Here are three rules to remember when you’re reading about government “needing” more money:

Government (at every level – city, county, state, federal) always needs more money;

Government can never do with less money;

You can always do with less money because of Rule #1.

As Ronald Reagan opined: “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”


How to Lose Your Job and Get Another One Fast

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Job shift follows complaints

 The financially strapped Eugene School District created a new administrative post this month that pays about $160,000 a year in salary and benefits and appointed to the job a high school principal who has recently been investigated by the district for unspecified job performance problems and criticized by parents for poor leadership, newly provided records show.

–       Josephine Woolington, The Eugene Register Guard, November 23, 2013

Lane Solutions Responds and Leave Your Comments…

According to the Register Guard, Churchill High principal Kim Finch was replaced after an investigation into her leadership. According to two parents she had created a “toxic atmosphere” and “fearful working environment” for Churchill staff.

Now – Don’t you wish you could create a “toxic atmosphere” and be rewarded with a job specially created for you at a cost of $160,000 paid for, of course, by your neighbors in Eugene? As they say – “Nice gig.”

But you and we know that it ain’t gonna happen. Because your company ain’t gonna pay for it out of their profits.

Some readers, however, will say “corporations do it, too.” Yes, in rare circumstances they do.

But here’s the difference, dear readers: Corporations pay for it themselves. They don’t go out in the community and confiscate random citizens’ hard earned dollars to cover their bad judgment. And if they’re public and do it too much, shareholders will holler. If they’re private they’re covering their screw-ups out of their own pockets. That may be dumb, but it’s their money to waste.

When it’s government creating jobs for people who failed in their last job, always remember – they’re doing it with money you worked for. And remember this the next time you can vote against those who did it.


Editorial: Driver cards about road safety

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oregonians are about to embark on a difficult yearlong debate on public safety: Would Oregon roads be safer if undocumented immigrants had driver’s licenses and vehicle insurance?…

It is no secret that many undocumented immigrants in Oregon overstayed their visas, or crossed into the country illegally, in search of a better life for their families and themselves. They are driving — to work, to medical appointments, to church and to other activities.

Instead of ignoring that reality, it is good government policy to have them drive legally — with knowledge of Oregon and U.S. driving laws and customs, which differ from those in some countries, and with liability insurance in case of accidents…

The Salem Statesman-Journal

October 20, 2013

Lane Solutions responds & your comments

Drivers’ cards for illegals may or may not be a great idea – that debate’s for another day. Our objection is to the Statesman-Journal’s argument.

A couple hundred years ago poet Samuel Coleridge coined the term “willing suspension of disbelief.” This is why you get tense when the bad guy’s going to ambush Agent 007 in a movie or laugh when Larry pops Moe in the noggin with a pipe wrench. You know that neither is real but you get a kick out of them anyway.

Coleridge would have loved the Statesman-Journal, which asks us to buy their line that people who a) are in the country illegally and b) stole a Social Security number if they got a job are c) going to immerse themselves in our driving laws and d) shell out a pile of money for liability insurance.

If the paper wants to argue for or against driver’s cards for illegals – fine. All we ask is that they don’t treat their readers like idiots who don’t know a moronic argument when they see one.


State should make investment in Malheur County

Monday, October 28, 2013

As the hard work of rezoning land in Malheur County to industrial use continues, another, perhaps larger, challenge looms on the horizon. City and county officials are going to have to figure out a way to get sewer, water, electricity and roads out to these properties to serve potentially large-scale industrial developments.

In a visit to the Argus Observer editorial board last week, state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ore., suggested that preliminary estimates for the cost of these infrastructure improvements in Malheur County are in the neighborhood of $50 million.

The big question in the coming months and years will be how to — and who should — pay that tab.

–        The Ontario Argus Observer

–        October 20, 2013

Lane Solutions  Responds & your comments

We’re not taking sides on who should pay for Malheur County’s infrastructure improvements.

Our beef is with the Observer’s use of the word “investment.” We believe “investment” implies some sort of ownership and reasonable expectation of a return of more money than you invested. And we think there’s a big difference between “investing” and “spending,” which implies giving up money for any other reason.

Calling what we all know is spending “investing” makes the act of relinquishing money to the government sound palatable. This is a pet tactic of liberal (darn – we did it again. But you know we meant “Progressive”) politicians who tell us they’re confiscating our money to “invest” in children, education and so on. Ever hear them say they want to “invest” in a new jet fighter? We didn’t think so.

So let’s call government outlays of our money what they are – “spending.” As for investing, if you want to do that we suggest that you send your money to our son in law the stock broker. He’ll do what you want with it,  send it back to you if you tell him to, and won’t send you to jail if you don’t send him more next year.


The Rising Wage Tide

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oregon helps lead the way on raising minimum

California’s recent decision to rocket its minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10 an hour in 2016 makes Oregon’s scheduled 15-cent increase in 2014 look microscopic by comparison…

Since indexing took effect in 2004, the hourly minimum has steadily climbed by $2.05.

The scheduled 15-cent increase will add about $300 to a full-time worker’s compensation…

The raises that these lowest-paid workers receive result in increased consumer demand. Fast-food businesses that complain about minimum wage increases often fail to mention that their own businesses are among those that reap the greatest benefits.

In Oregon, minimum wage increases have been a welcome boost for the state’s economy…

The Register Guard, September 23, 2013

 Gosh, These Guys Are Really Smart!

Did you know that here in Eugene we have geniuses who know exactly what people should be paid and what employers should do with their money?

Thinking that paying workers more money results in more money injected into the economy rests on the premise that this money came out of nowhere and that if it hadn’t been plucked out of thin air by employers it wouldn’t have existed.

No – that money is taken from the pockets of owners or shareholders and given to employees.

What do these RG economic giants think would have been done with the money had employers kept it? Burned it?

Anyone with an ounce of economic smarts knows that the money might have been spent on opening a new restaurant (and hiring more people). Or on a new grill (and hiring cooks to grill more burgers). Maybe it would have gone to hiring another reporter.

Here’s the real killer – and it’s at the core of Liberalism (Sorry. We meant “Progressivism”). The  editors think they’re so smart that they can decide for everyone the most efficient allocation of financial resources.

Note to RG: Thinking that experts can plan and direct the economy is the mentality that brought Eastern Europe and Cuba to economic ruin.