Healing music

I can’t stop watching and listening to this video of Tame Impala replaying his/their inaugural recording Innersystems, ten years later at an Australian beach house. The first track especially, It’s Not Meant to Be. That repetitive 30-second guitar riff just burns into my brain. I can hear it all day. I know Tame Impala isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea, but damn, it sure is mine. My favorite music these days:

  • Tame Impala
  • Khraungbin
  • Billie Eilish
  • Jackson Browne (still and always)
  • David Gilmour
  • Rush (in small doses, almost exclusively concert videos)
  • Diana Krall

With the extra time I have on my hands these days, I’m listening a bit more than usual. Good for the soul.

Loan forgiveness

Another 24 hours, another turn of the wheel. Another three IV sessions, another day spent lazing around (at least that part isn’t tough). Just under two weeks left of imposed discipline.

So there’s time for opinions on the SCOTUS school loan case. In this case SCOTUS ruled that the Biden administration did not have the authority to grant forgiveness to student loan borrowers, leaving Biden scrambling for another lever to provide relief to a constituency he made a campaign promise to. Here are my thoughts on this.

  • I should start out by saying that these loans are a legal contract and the borrowers should hold up their end. That’s the simple answer, and that should be the end of the story, but nope.
  • The student loan program is tragically flawed; always has been. The government outsourced the loans to predatory lenders, making any delay in paying them back very, very punitive. The loans are the only debt I know of that are exceptions to bankruptcy law. The interest and penalties charged are usurious. It’s common for a $50K loan to become a $75K debt after years of simply paying the monthly fee. You can’t dig your way out of that hole without a very big shovel (cash).
  • How many of us are really equipped to make a good, informed decision at age 18, 19, or 20? A decision that will affect them for years, maybe decades. Young people often only see the upside – wow, I get to go to college! They make bad decisions.
  • Having said that, I can detect no sense of responsibility on the parts of borrowers/protesters. They have a big financial problem and they want someone else to fix it – at least that’s what comes across in news stories. They’re playing the victim card, which reduces my sympathy quite a bit.
  • The millions (?) of young people who have now paid off their loans, including my daughter, will feel cheated if another large group of borrowers has the debt erased. That feeling would be justified, and I see no easy way out of that dilemma.
  • I think Biden was handed a political win by SCOTUS. Now the loan forgiveness is out of his hands, and the youngsters wanting relief know who to blame.

So lots of conflicting thoughts on this, but I think there *are* better actions available. The government could tell borrowers that they will in fact forgive all or part of a loan if the borrower would agree to put their education to use in an area where they are most needed. Poor communities, rural communities, minority communities – anywhere the population is underserved by teachers, doctors, dentists, etc. Or serve in a military branch. That could be a win-win. Serve a year of your life in an area needing your expertise, get 20-25% of your debt erased.

Did SCOTUS get it right? Maybe. Their job is not to come up with a better, perhaps creative outcome. That’s Congress’ job. And every story that end with “…that’s Congress’ job” has the same result. No action. Congress is too busy fighting stupid culture wars to actually do anything to help the people they “represent”. Useless fuckers.