Tracker Pixel for Entry

Bowls and Superyachts

Gadfly | March 21st, 2024

By Ed Raymond

farfgogadfly@gmail.com

Two Super Bowl Seats at a 60 Minute Game would Pay a Year’s College Tuition

The final seat price is in. The average seat price for the 2024 Super Bowl is $9,850, figuring in scalpers, grifters, and the like. The super rich paid as much as $66,000 for an executive skybox seat. Meanwhile, back on earth, we have 45 million American adults from 18 to 95 who owe $1.7 trillion in college student debt. The average annual tuition for public universities in 2023 was about $20,000. In other words, a couple watching a 60-minute football game in Las Vegas could have paid one year’s tuition for one full-time college daughter.

There is an old man I would trust now, and in the future, to guide this country to a stronger democracy, and it’s not Joe Biden. Senator Bernie Sanders is the same age as Biden but the synapses in his young brain are snapping and popping back and forth like the newest winner of “Jeopardy.” Bernie wrote an op-ed published on February 15 that sounded like Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” Here are a few sentences: “Our nation, and indeed our planet, are at a critical juncture, and it is imperative that we recognize what we are up against and what we must do to move our politics toward justice and human decency. If this country is going to survive, if democracy is going to prevail, step by step the Democratic Party must regain the trust of young people in this country. And we can start by acknowledging that young people in America in particular have been through a lot and that their confidence in politics, democracy, and government has been shaken. And now, while the richest people in America become much richer, the younger generation faces the reality that they may well have a standard of living lower than their parents.”

Now, Let Me Talk Turkey about What I see in the Divided States of America

The Democratic National Committee and the White House keep throwing bullsh*t at the moldy walls of American homes while saying we have a “great economy.” That sh*t doesn’t stick on walls when more than 60% of Americans are living paycheck-to- paycheck. In a country-wide survey, a majority said the economy “is all about greed and profit.” The upper middle-class, millionaires and billionaires, and the Top Ten Percent are buying bigger mansions, million-dollar Lamborghinis, and bigger superyachts while, as just one example, 45 million Americans, or 20% of our adults, are having extreme difficulty paying off student debt. If they marry at all, men are 30 and women are 28. Many student debtors are living in their parents’ basements because they can’t afford to buy cars, rent apartments, or purchase homes.

Biden in campaigning keeps visiting and speechifying at bridges, interstates, railroad tracks, businesses, and local and state government programs his administration has funded. Meanwhile, seventy million young people eligible to vote in the 2020 election did not vote. Joe, you need Bernie’s young crowds to beat Mr. Bankrupt Coward. Young voters don’t give a crap about roads, bridges, airports, and dock facilities. They are concerned about making a good life out of a workload in which they can enjoy and be proud. You have to convince them you are going to pay off their student loans, lessen college costs, decrease economic inequality by taxing the “smashing and grabbing'' rich , lower housing costs, support the LBGTQIA+ community, ban restrictive transgender “health” laws, support abortion rights, improve retirement programs, support the movement to universal health care, push parental leave and sick leave through Congress, ban assault weapons, military ammo, conceal and carry, and improve an obsolete background check system, pass red flag laws, and any other laws that will end the worst pandemic this country has ever suffered. Vaccines don’t work against 435 million firearms scattered among 336 million people. We average over one mass shooting while 400 babies to centenarians are killed or wounded by firearms each day. Wake up, gun cult.

Bernie sums it up for you in his article: “In the richest country in the world it is a national disgrace that we lead the world in the amount of student debt owed by our people and, at the same time, are falling behind many other countries in the percentage of our people who pursue higher education.” (Records indicate college enrollment is down 7% in 2023.) More than 75% of the new jobs require a BA degree but only 40% of available applicants have a degree. Workers with experience, skills, and diverse perspectives are held back by a silent barrier, the absence of a degree. Consequently, they have been underemployed and underpaid, and don’t have enough money and retirement funds to retire. Minnesota, by the way, loses 8,000 young people ages 18 to 24 to other states with other attractions each year. Minnesota lost 156,000 young adults to other states between 2006 and 2021.

The Minnesota legislature has passed the North Star Scholarship Program which guarantees to pay the public university tuition of any student whose family makes less than $80,000.

A Few Critical Facts about the Student Loan Program that Bankrupts Many

More than half of our college students leave school with debt, and 12% of our entire population has student loans. At present, 45 million Americans are indebted to the federal government or private sources go the ugly tune of $1.74 trillion and the average borrower is $28,950 in debt. 55% of students from public four-year institutions had student loans in 2023 while 57% of students from private nonprofit institutions had student loans. About 92% of all student debt is owed to the federal government while 8% is owed to private banks and finance organizations. At the same time of the massive college loan debt, more than 100 million Americans also have many millions in health care debt and 500,000 file bankruptcy each year. But, while Americans can file bankruptcy over health debt, they cannot file bankruptcy under student debt laws.

The state with the largest average debt per borrower is actually not a state. It’s Washington, D,C, at $54,708.52. California has the lowest average debt per student at $21,125. At one time California had free college like most high-end industrialized countries do today—but then the great budget balancer Ronald Reagan was elected governor. Back when politicians had brains the idea was taxpayers would pay the costs of a college education, then those graduates would then pay for the next generation to go to college. That made so much sense it was discarded. State and higher education budgets were cut so much funding was placed on the backs of families through the student debt program.

You probably won’t believe the following critical facts — but just remember: “Stuff Happens!” Students aged 24 and younger owe $13,722.22, ages 25 to 34 owe $32,707.48, ages 35 to 49 owe $44,441.67, ages 50 to 61 owe $47,660, and ages 62 and older owe $49,375. About three million student debtors are in default at any one time. The champion borrower is a Black woman named Betty Ann who at 52 borrowed $29,000 to attend New York University Law School. Because “bad stuff” can happen to good people, at age 91 she owes $329,309.69 to the feds. In 1983 when she first attended class, White males would often walk down the aisles in class and knock her textbooks to the floor.

Believe it or not, Americans aged 62 or more are the fastest growing demographic of student borrowers!

How do we Pay off the $1.74 Debt? Send the Bill to our 724 billionaires!

If we add up the massive wealth of our top ten billionaires, it comes to more than $1.3 trillion. Nine of the top ten richest people in the world are Americans. We have the greatest economic inequality in the world, but only a few of our 724 billionaires think they are close to having enough. Wealthy people made out like bandits in the world during the first pandemic while 500 billion people have been made much poorer by death, disease, shortages, food insecurity, medical costs, inflation and deflation, business closures, and their “smashing and grabbing.”. A January report of Oxfam, an organization that tracks world economics, reports that the five richest men in the world increased their fortunes by 114% between 2020 and 2023. We have four of the top five: Musk, Bezos, Zuckerburg, and Ellison.

Musk is a very rich half-genius and half nutcase weirdo who wants to live on Mars before he dies. He flies an expensive private jet, loves expensive cars, hates unions, and lives in a $50,000 home he rents from his SpaceX company. He did own seven California mansions at one time, but he didn’t want to be “showy,” so he dumped all of them at one time for $128 million.

Bezos of Amazon fame owns one $500 million superyacht and one $200 million fleet yacht to hang close and service his big one. He certainly is in the running for owning the most bathrooms in the world. His mansion in Washington was remodeled to contain 27 and he has several mansions scattered around the world. He might have more bathrooms than King Charles III. And he also hates unions.

Zuckerberg has a 1,400-acre private compound in Hawaii with top security devices and an underground 5,000-sq.ft. survival apartment filled with food and water. Oh, and a jet plane on the runway to get out of Dodge in a hurry.

Ellison of Oracle owns 98% or 90,000 acres of the Hawaiian island of Lanai in Maui County. He has his major residence there, but he does not communicate with 3,000 other people who live on the island. Ellison loves basketball, so he has a basketball court on his 454 ft. superyacht. He keeps a powerboat in the water to chase balls that go in the ocean.

The Richest Country in the World ranks 32 out of the top 38 in GNP Tax Rate

In the last ranking of the “Happiest Countries,” the Divided States of America ended up in 16th place behind Slovenia. The five top spots were reserved for the Scandinavian countries led by Finland. Our never-enough rich live in outrageous luxury while 60% live near the cliff next to poverty while close to 30% live in poverty. A private jet service called K9 Jets makes lots of money flying dogs of the rich around the world. A flight from Dubai to London will cost you and your happy dog $9,000. In the OECD of 38 countries France has the highest tax rate at 46.5% of Gross National Product (GNP) while we are at 32nd with a rate of 27.7%. No wonder we have a 31 trillion debt.

More than 2,350 years ago a Greek philosopher named Aristotle described how a society or country could live in happiness and tranquility: “Citizens in a political community may achieve the common good of community safety by actively participating in politics, whether as a public servant active in the deliberation of laws and justice, or as a soldier defending the citizens. In this way the common good can be achieved. Only matters of the common good are right. Matters for the rulers’ good are wrong.”

RECENTLY IN

Gadfly

Tracker Pixel for Entry EmpireAUG2021 Tracker Pixel for Entry VisitStCloud Tracker Pixel for Entry VisitStCloud Tracker Pixel for Entry Blackbird Tracker Pixel for Entry Bismarck1 Tracker Pixel for Entry Nicholes

Recently in:

By Vanessa Jugarap Clarkvanessajugarapclark@gmail.com "I lived in Gaza, Palestine from 2003 to 2017 and 2020 to 2021. From water cuts, to the electricity schedule of 6-on/12-off (on a good day), every day was a reminder of the…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com As an elementary school kid in the early 2000s, Kristy Tran didn’t start her day the way most kids do. Instead of rolling out of bed to go straight to school, Tran and her parents went…

March 19-23Fargo Theatre314 Broadway N, FargoCheck out luncheon panel discussions, pre-parties, a 2-minute movie contest, local, international and award-winning films for your viewing pleasure. Producer Will Greenfield will be…

By John Strandjas@hpr1.com What’s that you just said? “Tell somebody who gives a shit”? Stop reading this now if you don’t care about anyone else. Don’t waste your time. You’ll only get mad. Vocal. Obstinate.…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comThe Catacombs under Paris Contain the Bones of Millions of FeudalistsSixty-five feet below the Paris streets are about 170 miles of tunnels that go through stone quarries, galleries, and ossuaries…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com Holiday wine shopping shouldn’t have to be complicated. But unfortunately it can cause unneeded anxiety due to an overabundance of choices. Don’t fret my friends, we once again have you covered…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com In this land of hotdish and ham, the knoephla soup of German-Russian heritage seems to reign supreme. In my opinion though, the French have the superior soup. With a cheesy top layer, toasted baguette…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.com It is not unheard of for bands to go on hiatus. However, as the old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That is why when a local group like STILL comes back to…

Now playing at the Fargo Theatre.By Greg Carlson gregcarlson1@gmail.comPalme d’Or recipient “Anatomy of a Fall” is now enjoying an award-season victory tour, recently picking up Golden Globe wins for both screenplay and…

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the pursuit of knowledge has directed humankind to new horizons – the ocean depths, the infinite reach of space, and the hidden secrets of cells and microbes…or to Artificial Intelligence, which…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comHigh Plains Reader had the opportunity to interview two mysterious new game show hosts named Milt and Bradley Barker about an upcoming event they will be putting on at Brewhalla. What…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com AUSTIN, Texas – As a Chinese-American, connecting to my culture through food is essential, and no dish brings me back to my mother’s kitchen quite like hotdish. Yes, you heard me right –…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comNew Jamestown Brewery Serves up Local FlavorThere’s something delicious brewing out here on the prairie and it just so happens to be the newest brewery west of the Red River and east of the…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

JANUARY 19, 1967– MARCH 8, 2023 Brittney Leigh Goodman, 56, of Fargo, N.D., passed away unexpectedly at her home on March 8, 2023. Brittney was born January 19, 1967, to Ruth Wilson Pollock and Donald Ray Goodman, in Hardinsburg,…

By William Cooperwcooper11@gmail.com When people look at political questions through a partisan lens, they apply their own personal gloss to the world. They reflexively interpret events in favor of their own tribe and against the…