By Other Words
By Jim Hightower*
Question: What do you get when you combine ignorance, imperiousness, and incompetence?
Answer: Betsy DeVos. She’s Donald Trump’s multi-billionaire education secretary, who hates public education and loves the plutocratic idea of corporate rule over democracy.
DeVos is so bad that she’s winning the contest for worst member of Trump’s cabinet — a little like winning the title of ugliest toad in the swamp. She’s been a shameless shill for one of the ugliest parts of the financial services industry: the Wall Street-backed network of for-profit colleges, rip-off lenders, and ruthless collection agencies.
Some 5 million students — largely single moms, veterans, and other low-income people — have been forced to default on their student loan debt. They’ve had their credit ratings and job improvement prospects destroyed by this profiteering private education system that DeVos carelessly promotes.
Her latest favor for the industry was to assert unilaterally that her agency can pre-empt any state laws designed to stop the blatant lies and abuses of this predatory network of corporate education. Her bureaucratic claim is that state efforts to protect student borrowers undermine the “uniform administration” of student loans.
In her shriveled world of laissez-fairyland values, you see, the uniform gouging of students trumps such basic human values as economic fairness and social justice.
Heavens to Betsy, what’s wrong with this lady?
Our nation’s student loan debt has ballooned to $1.4 trillion, threatening to blow another big hole in our economy, yet she’s conspiring in her department’s back rooms to enrich Wall Street’s fast-buck educational exploiters at the expense of students, taxpayers, and the public interest.
DeVos is the one who needs an education — both in economics and ethics.
*OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed by OtherWords.org.