Background info (Edit or write your own statement when you sign):
In most other industrialized nations education is a right. The governments pay or heavily subsidize college tuition for citizens, and they do the same for health care. In America we now see a growing upper upper class made up of 1% of the population who control more wealth than the lower 95% of the population. We see health care reform that has a first priority of making sure a criminal for-profit health insurance industry continues to get funded by mandated premiums on all Americans.
The higher education system is mainly public, which means that the tuition fees are almost fully funded by the state and students have to pay only a small fee.
Higher education is free for all, tuition fees are not allowed, and university funding is met by the goverment. There is a system of student grants which meet roughly a third of living costs and then loans for the remainder of costs. Both loans and grants are subject to an income test of the student but not of their parents.
Introduced in 1989, the higher education contribution scheme (HECS) is a system where students contribute to the costs of their education with interest free deferred payment arrangements. You can repay in various ways, either upfront with a 25% discount, or paying part and deferring the rest, or deferring it all. You must start repaying when your income reaches the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment, which in 2001-02 was $23,242 (£8,576). Youth allowance provides income support based on a student's personal and/or family circumstances.
Countries like France, England, Germany, Spain, and Italy keep a strong check on their governments through healthy protests in the streets. Even with their successful socialized medicine and education programs they continue to protest to make things even better. The fight against greed, corruption and corporate crime is never ending. This is the true war we all must fight. It's a fight for the freedoms and rights all Americans were promised in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How can you live without basic health care? How can you have liberty and happiness when you can't afford to go to college to get even an entry level job in this country?
Bob Samuels, president UCAFT, describes the investment banking aspect of how the UC schools are run on a profit motive and not for education or recruitment of teachers, which they consider a monetary liability. Thus they hike tuition, layoff teachers and even entire departments, while, at the same time, increase huge bonuses and salaries to administrators who come from the corporate and banking sectors. They even lend money to the state because it returns them interest. What are our colleges, banks or institutions of higher learning? See video
FDR proposed that our Bill of Rights be amended with new rights as he stated in 1944 and as seen in Michael Moore's film, Capitalism: A Love Story.
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.
The people in the U.S. have the power if they have the kahunas to use it. It's time we pressure our elected officials to make changes in our country before it's too late. Without universal health care and without education for those who can't afford the outrageous tuition rates, we are already well on our way to becoming a third world nation, where only the very few and very rich have a quality of life while everyone else languishes in a struggle just to stay alive.
Sign this petition and demand that your elected officials write and pass legislation to fund our colleges without burdening students at the most vulnerable time in their lives. Tax the rich. Other countries have higher taxes to pay for these social goods. If that's what must happen then it must be done. The United States of America is no more a leader among nations in anything except war, crime, and imprisonment. Stand up now and be counted. Take back America.
From my friend WhiteNoise:
Higher education has been cut in twenty-eight states in the 2009-10 school year and further, even more drastic cuts, are likely in the years ahead. California State University (CSU) system is planning to reduce enrollments by 40,000 students in the fall of 2010. The CSU Trustees have imposed steep tuition hikes and forced faculty and staff to take non-paid furlough days equal to 10% of salaries.
According to the California Budget Project, tax cuts enacted in California, since 1993, cost the state $11.3 billion dollars annually. Had the state continued taxing corporations and the wealthy at rates equal to those fifteen years ago there would not be a budget crisis in California. Even though a budget deficit was evident last year, California income tax laws were changed in February of 2009 to provide corporations with even greater tax savings—equal to over $2 billion per year. California is similar to the rest of the country where the wealthy and corporate elites enjoy economic protection through increased costs to working people.
The students who are protesting tuition increases know they are being ripped off. They know that we are bailing out the rich with hundreds of billions dollars for Wall Street and massive budget cuts for the rest of us. The corporate media doesn’t explain to over-taxed working families how they are paying more while the rich sock it away.
The current economic crisis is a shock and awe process designed to undermine low-cost higher education, force labor concessions from working people and protect the wealthy. We need higher taxes on the corporations and the top 1%, combined with free public college education and tax breaks for working families. And, we must have a media that tells us the truth about inequality and wealth. A true economic stimulus increases spending from the bottom up not the top down.
(Write or edit your own statement when you sign.)