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Peter Greene writes here about Erica Green’s excellent coverage of Betsy DeVos’s testimony to Congress about student debt.
He says you have to pay close attention to her words to understand that she is not greedy, she is not dumb; she knows exactly what she is doing.
“Here’s an absolutely DeVosian quote from the proceedings:
“I understand that some of you here just want to have blanket forgiveness for anyone who raises their hand and files a claim, but that simply is not right.
|Ah yes– the smirk.|
“This is DeVos– she knows what’s right, and she’s going to stand up for it. And’s what is right is that Those People shouldn’t be able to get away with not paying their debts. Those People should not be allowed to stiff their Betters. Because you know that Those People are probably lying about how badly they were hurt, anyway, because Those People are always trying to get things they don’t deserve. This “anyone who raises their hand and files a claim” characterization that DeVos has been using is such a flip way to dismiss the damage done by for-profit collges, an d here it matters what DeVos doesn’t say– she doesn’t say that there are people out there who played by the rules, tried to bootstrap themselves to a better life through education, and got fleeced, and we should provide those people some real relief. She has never seriously acknowledged that harm.
“But that takes us to the other DeVosian value that’s on display here.
“Ms. DeVos maintained that it was “probably the case” that Corinthian Colleges deceived students, but she also said she believed that the “prior administration basically forced schools like Corinthian out of business” with onerous financial restrictions. She rebuffed questions about an investigation by career staff, unveiled in January 2017 memos published by NPR on Wednesday, that concluded that Corinthian students deserved full loan forgiveness because they received no educational benefit.
“Businesses fleecing customers is not outrageous. What’s outrageous is government interfering with the operations and practices of businesses. There is an extra layer of irony here– the Obama administration actually was pretty damn slow to take any useful action against Corinthian, and even helped bail them out for a time, and any good Obama-bashing Trumpian might hammer that point home, but DeVos can’t see that because for her there is no greater sin than interfering with the operation of a business.
”She’s made variations of that point again and again, all the way back to the confirmation hearing when she couldn’t imagine any misbehavior that would prompt her, as a government official, to step in and say “Stop!” Businesses matter more than people.”