Tag Archives: parents

Live Long and Prosper?

10 Nov


Each year the Legatum Institute, a division of a private investment firm, creates The Legatum Prosperity Index, which is an annual ranking of 142 countries, based on a variety of what are seen as human prosperity factors including wealth, economic growth, education, health, personal freedom, personal well-being, and quality of life.

This year Norway tops the list as the most prosperous country in which to live with the United States coming in a distant 11th, which isn’t too bad though when you consider that their are 131 other countries behind us. However, last year we ranked 10th (in 2008 we were 6th) while Norway was still number 1. This year Ireland jumped from 12th place to move ahead of us. Now how did that happen?

Anyway, those countries still ahead of us, in their respective order from number 2 are: Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Netherlands and Finland. Not bad company but what I find most curious is that if you look at the map above showing the world’s most recent population growth rates you’ll see that these are also the countries that mostly have the lowest growth rates and where their prosperous citizens are giving birth to the fewest children.

And if you’re wondering who’s at the bottom of the prosperity list well, all you have to do is look at the map and see where all of the children are being born and those are the very same places that are among the least happy to live in, including such happy places like Chad, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and most of Africa and the Middle East.

So Why do all of the happy and prosperous countries produce the fewest children while just about all of the sad places are veritable population bombs? Why do people who are poor and living in the worst of conditions want to have children while those humans who are most affluent and able to afford and care for offspring, do not?

In fact affluence is the only form of birth control among humans that actually seems to work long term. And It seems that the more one has, the more likely one is to want to live separated from others and in larger spaces and often with extra homes that they don’t even use. And affluent countries are also the most likely to want to build walls and fences to keep other, less fortunate folks out…and/or deport those who they see as poor baby making squatters who don’t belong to their citizenry and probably never will.

Money and happiness seem to work hand in hand to make people more reclusive and stingy. Which begs the question: Which came first? The children, or the eggs-istentialism? the happiness or the un? Does one just have to look at the map above to see who the future inheritors of the Earth shall be? Was all that hard work just for zero growth… or rather… nothing…so to speak?

Since When Is Doing Nothing a Job?

10 Jun

The student loan crisis in the USA continues to grow and this summer the interest rate on federal student loans will double  if Congress doesn’t take action. Only in the United States can Congress  NOT doing something actually get something done and that might be the most important if not the saddest lesson that our college students will learn…

Last year, Congress delayed the doubling of the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans from 3.4% to 6.8%. which is what the rate will jump to in July should Congress fail to act this time around…Isn’t it nice that Congress likes to set these deadlines in such frequent intervals virtually setting up a nonstop game of Russian Roulette with their constituents lives…not exactly what our founding fathers had envisioned to be the role of the leaders of the free world do you think?

If the student loan interest rates double on July first and increases from 3.4% to 6.8% this could result in the equivalent of adding $5,000 to new federal loans for college students and their families.

Since 1999, the average student loan debt has increased by over 500%  while the interest on loans that the big banks get from the Fed have steadily decreased… despite the fact that these banks worked hard to bring down our economy in 2008 and then held it hostage until they got what they wanted in massive bailouts from the very taxpayers whose children now face a future of massive debt owed to…these very same banks!

You couldn’t write a more insidious crime story if you tried!

And don’t forget that federal student loans with low interest rates, such as the subsidized Stafford loan, are designed to benefit students whose families make under $50,000 a year  and these are people who certainly cannot  afford to see their interest rate jump…unlike Congressmen and bankers who I am sure never have to worry about taking out loans for their children at all since they can no doubt use their “lobbying proceeds” to cover such bills.

However the one flashlight at the end of this dark tunnel of bank and government…congress…is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who has introduced legislation entitled the Bank on Students Loans Fairness Act that would provide a one-year fix  by setting the student loan interest rate at the same level the Federal Reserve offers to big banks which is, believe it or not, 0.75%. That’s 9 times less than students would pay if the Congress does nothing.

So, what will our Congress do? Stand up to the banks for the love of our children…or just lie there and do nothing and let the banks make love to them? Either way, let’s hope our children don’t get it in the end.


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