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NowISeetheLight

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: California
Home country: USA
Current location: California
Member since: Sun Aug 22, 2021, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 496

Journal Archives

Student Loan Relief... An Alternative View & Idea

Apologies for the long post. I'm thinking a lot today.

It seems most polling shows there isn't huge support for student loan debt relief. I think the last poll I saw was close to 50/50.. I'm torn about it. I borrowed too much for school ($52k) and years later ended up with six figure loans ($136k). I took a while to finish school so years of deferments, then forbearances. I made all my payments on time, but had them discharged last year when I became 100% disabled with the VA and started on SSDI.

I took advantage of IBR when I had loans (income based repayment). My payment was around $370 a month instead of the $920 it would've been. It was based on it being 15% of my discretionary income. This is the difference between your AGI and 150% of the poverty level.

Sure even $370 was a lot of money, but years I made lower money I paid less, or almost nothing. There were things you could do to lower your AGI too. Needless to say I was making high 401K contributions those years.

What killed me was the interest rate. I was paying 8.75% and there was no way to refinance. Why not? So even when I made monthly IBR payments, the balance still climbed. I wasn't even covering the interest so I would never have paid them off. But after 20 years with IBR the balance would've been cancelled. Of course then I'd have a giant tax bill because that would've been considered income.

I knew a lot of people who worked their way thru school. I only worked about 15 hours a week. That was my fault. I was lured into the loan trap, easy money, a big check, and no education about how it would affect me after i got out of school. My parents were upper middle class, but they didn't cover my college. But a lot of parents do save to help their kids. They sacrificed vacations and luxuries for education.

I'm torn because this seems grossly unfair. Some people worked and made their payments and struggled. People with low income got Pell grants and work study to help pay for college. I got neither due to my parents income so I had to borrow. Yet at the same time I got my loans discharged. A 100% VA rating will get that for you. Part if me says yes because I sacrificed and ended up damaged for life. I struggled for a decade (poor, homeless a while, sleeping on couches or in my car), then another six years, before finally finding my footing. Sure I made a lot of money in the end, but how much could I have made were it not for my illness?

I like the idea of them helping those who were scammed by these for profit schools. I'm OK with that. I think for everyone else the real answer is IBR with 10% of discretionary pay, and a discharge after 20 years with no tax penalty. The big thing though is I'd also like to see a restriction on interest rates. They would be recalculated yearly so your IBR payment would cover all interest and that would be 75% of the payment. The remaining IBR payment would be principal. That way youd see SOME DROP in your balance. Making payments znd seeing it climb, that's ridiculous. Finally, mandatory financial education for those who take out a student loan on the reality and obligation. Not related to loans but I'd also like to see them be included in a bankruptcy if filed. I filed about 20 years ago and honestly that would've ended it for me.

Posted by NowISeetheLight | Thu Sep 29, 2022, 02:09 PM (22 replies)

Eye Opening Conversion

Becoming a Democrat over the last few years has been a real eye opener for me. Not so much in politics... but in the politicians in each party. Back when I was a "Reagan Republican" I didn't care much for the Democrat policies... but I always thought they were good people... just misguided. I didn't care for President Carter, but I never once thought he was a bad person.

It's different now. I can honestly say there are BAD PEOPLE in Republican politics. When I look what Trump has brought about, and the damage he's caused to America, and those who follow him. I have such disdain for Trump and others like MT Green, Goetz, Boebert, I mean they're just mean, spiteful, hateful, they're horrible as people.

I can disagree with someone on policy. I'm still a fairly "fiscal conservative" type. But the people who don't think like me about finance aren't bad people. But these Republicans today and people like McCarthy, Graham. DeSantis. They have no moral compass as human beings . They're just evil.
Posted by NowISeetheLight | Wed Sep 28, 2022, 01:51 PM (30 replies)

Can You Imagine If...

I just read an article on Politico about California’s homeless problem. Since moving here two years ago I’ve really become aware of it. I see them everywhere in Palm Springs and the surrounding cities. It’s very sad.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/california-authorities-uproot-homeless-people-00057868

Anyway, the article said that due to our mild climate HALF the nations homeless are here. Can you imagine what would happen if Gov Newsome used the DeSantis strategy? After all FL and TX both shipped migrants to blue states saying other states should “share the problem and expense”. He even sent some to the VPs house in DC! Can you just imagine what would happen if bus loads of homeless, each with a new tent, showed up in red states? After all, why should CA have to carry the nations homeless problem? (Sarcasm).

I would never advocate using human beings as a publicity stunt. But the thought of bus loads of homeless setting up a tent city next to the Florida Governors Mansion…. Well I’d pay good money to see that.
Posted by NowISeetheLight | Tue Sep 27, 2022, 09:10 AM (2 replies)

Healthcare Disaster in Atlanta

Before I had to quit working (health issues) I worked in hospital revenue cycle. I ran a division in rev cycle for a multi-hospital health system. It was a good job, good money, and exposed me to everything that is wrong with the US healthcare system. Despite what many think hospitals are not money-making ventures for the most part. Most years we were lucky to see 1-2% profit margin. Charity care was off the charts. But it was the vendors, pharmaceutical companies, etc, that were making all the money.

I still receive Becker's Hospital CFO Report in my daily email. Today I saw a story about Wellstar (a hospital system) closing a big hospital in Atlanta. That will leave only one hospital (Grady) to help the city as a Level One Trauma Center. I don't blame Wellstar though. Read the article, how they actually budgeted money to stay open despite sustained operating losses ($107m in the last 12 months). They spent over $350m in capital improvements and operating losses since 2016. They just couldn't make it. This is a healthcare disaster waiting to happen.

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/wellstar-to-close-2nd-hospital-in-6-months.html?origin=BHRE&utm_source=BHRE&utm_medium=email&utm_content=newsletter&oly_enc_id=8608A8413078J6M

Part of the problem is Georgia never expanded Medicaid. All those non-paying patients who flocked to the ER for basic care never generated revenue for the hospital. If Georgia had expanded Medicaid these people could have doctors and the hospitals could've had revenue to stay open. Hospitals don't run for "free". They cost money.

This just shows why universal healthcare is necessary. Sure they can say we'd have waiting lists like Canada for things like non-essential care. But you know what? In an emergency you will get care and you won't be bankrupted by it. Plus if our hospitals were paying drug companies and vendors what these other countries were paying for things they wouldn't be in such bad shape. Why does a Stryker artificial knee cost 4x in the US what it costs in India? Companies actually send their employees to India for surgery because it's cheaper for their insurance. How screwed up is that?

Enough ranting. I read that article about Wellstar today and just got pissed off.

Posted by NowISeetheLight | Thu Sep 1, 2022, 12:34 PM (22 replies)
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