Bunch of troublemakers

You guys are not gonna believe this, but there's some seriously bad fuckery at the Department of Education that was not started by Betsy DeVos! (But it's also quite possible she's helped make the problem worse, which we'll get to.) NPR reported yesterday that a private contractor that administers an Education Department program designed to give grants to help fund teachers' college educations has been converting as many of one third of those grants into loans that the teachers have to pay back, with interest, even though the teachers have met the requirements of the program. How very odd!

The TEACH grants -- that's for "Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education," which really would be "TEACHE," but let's not get too hung up over a perfectly cromulent cutesy acronym -- have been around for about a decade, and offer students grants of up to $4,000 toward an undergraduate or master's degrees in education. If the recipient spends four years teaching in a school that serves low-income students, in a subject where teachers are in short supply like math or science, then that's a nice little boost to teachers who are doing much-needed work. Anyone who fails to meet those requirements within eight years -- say they drop out and found a software company or decide to teach art history at a prep school -- would have to pay the money back as a loan.

And that's where the catch comes in. You see, a whole lot of those grants are being converted to loans, even though the people who received them are dutifully teaching math or science or some other under-served topic in a low-income school. NPR obtained a copy of an Education Department report on the problem (later posted online by the department), and it appears the company that services the loans, FedLoan, has been playing fast and loose with the rules governing when grant recipients are considered not in compliance. Here's the audio version of the story for you public radio nerds.

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.

In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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