To the Editor:
Many of us will remember friends and relatives who, after WWII, went to college or bought a home with their GI Bill benefits. And I am guessing many of us know young people who joined the military as their only realistic path to higher education. Now the Trump administration is slapping down vets with a triple threat.
Along with other students, many veterans have been exploited by for-profit universities and predatory lenders. These schools swindle millions of tax dollars in veterans’ benefits. When tax dollars don’t satisfy their greed, these profiteers snare vets into predatory loans. Many of our veterans get stuck with a worthless degree and a lifetime of debt. The Obama administration sought to relieve the burden through a program of debt mitigation and to stop further harm through regulations on for-profit schools and predatory lending.
In his frenzy to obliterate President Obama’s legacy, President Trump is making a scorched earth assault on necessary and beneficial regulations. Trump has rushed to deprive students of debt mitigation. His Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has rolled back regulations on for-profit schools. And now, without consulting the Pentagon, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s man at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has gone further — by rolling back guidelines in the Military Lending Act of 2006.
This act was passed with bipartisan support. Among other things, it protects active duty military and their families from exorbitant interest rates, financial fraud, predatory loans and credit gouging. You would think this was a good thing, but not to Trump and his wrecking crew.
I understand where Trump is coming from. Trump University was a scam that swindled students out of millions of dollars. During the Republican primary, Mitt Romney said Trump’s “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.” After winning the presidency, Trump paid out $25 million to settle some cases. So we know where his interest lies here. And it is not in education.
Like many of us, I find no end to the world of harm Trump and his GOP are doing in everything they put their hands to. The list is too long. The wreckage is spread out across the globe and extends to our planet itself. But there is something particularly repulsive about pulling the rug out from under active duty military and their families.
We are lucky here on MDI to have community banks we can trust. We can just go into town and do our banking with people who are our neighbors. And we know even then problems can arise which need our attention and can weigh on our minds. But think of our military overseas and on the battlefront having to deal with predatory lenders threatening their families at home.
So next time President Donald Trump and his supporters tell you they want to throw a parade to show how much they love the military, why not think about what you can do to throw these scoundrels out. ASAP. Like this November. And then we can get back to the work of good government — like protecting the people who put their lives on the line to protect us.
Yeah, this one really got to me.