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Voices | March 11-18

Reactions, rants and other random musings from you, our readers.

potholes
Image: Marc-Olivier Jodoin

The Shout out:

Tis the season for potholes.

Your turn:

Does your street have a pothole or 12 that needs to be filled? How do you think the city is doing in terms of repairing potholes this year?

Send your thoughts to voices@philadelphiaweekly.com.

Allan Domb a realistic mayoral pick

Re: Seven Philadelphians who would make a better mayor

Sam Katz would be my first choice from Ms DeHuff’s list of potential 2023 candidates. However, I don’t believe he’s ever going to run again because most of the people who supported him in 1999 and 2003 have probably left the city by now. 

I think a more realistic option would be Allan Domb. He has been very successful in the business world and is one of the few City Council members who is scandal-free. Plus, because he would be funding his own campaign, he won’t be beholden to any corporations or unions. 

Donovan Farr | Tacony

Image: Alexander Mils

How to spend that $1,400 check from the feds

I would set aside some of that $1,400 check to pay law school debt, but would also spend some at local businesses. They’ve suffered so much this last year between the pandemic, last summer’s riots, and on-and-off lockdowns. Small businesses make Philly vibrant, so as cases decline and stores reopen, it’s important to show them we have their back.

Andrew Figueiredo, West Philadelphia

PA Green on the ever-looming student debt crisis

In recent weeks, there has been much talk in Washington about cancelling $50,000 in student debt, including both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. However, President Joe Biden has decided that he is not interested in helping millions of students, who hold a total of nearly $1.7 trillion in student debt. In a recent press conference, a reporter asked President Biden about cancelling $50,000 per person in student debt, and he quickly shot it down. It appears as if he is more concerned with appeasing the far right through bipartisanship than helping the U.S. people.

Young people are often told by their family, friends and strangers that they should go to the university and receive a higher education. In this way, we will be guaranteed a fantastic career and a prosperous life. Unfortunately, most of us are unaware that we are going to be shafted with terrible student debt with little to no potential of receiving a job with reasonable starting wages and benefits. The reality of being a recent graduate is quite stressful. We start our career search by receiving, on average, just a six-month grace period on the student loans. If we don’t find a job as soon as possible, we will begin to immediately use up our forbearance. Many young people often take whatever job that they can find, regardless of salary. Recent graduates then quickly find themselves buried in credit card debt because with student loans and pathetic wages, it does not allow us very much time to build up a decent nest egg or simply purchase the basics.

As a recent graduate with over $100,000 in student debt, I feel totally trapped and incapable of paying my bills. This is not only a result of the student loans but also the peasant-like wages that companies somehow declare as reasonable. I do not mean to boast, but I am proud to say that I have received a fantastic education. I’ve had the brilliant opportunity to live and study in four foreign countries: Canada, Germany, England, and Kuwait. In my time abroad, I quickly learned that most other first-world nations do not let their students walk away from school with horrid student debt. Yes, university admission can be more competitive abroad, particularly in countries like Germany, but you will never walk away with potentially hundreds of thousands in student debt.

One reason I have become a Green Party activist is the Green Party Platform supports equal access to high-quality education, and a sharp increase in financial aid for college students with the possibility of free tuition and forgiveness of student debt. Increasing the accessibility of higher education will benefit all members of the working class and will help us to educate future generations to build a just, sustainable human and democratic future. This will also enable our children to become active citizens and constructive members of our future society. Most importantly, a proper education, at an affordable rate, will help us to strengthen cultural awareness and acceptance and will help to eradicate systematic racism. The Green Party Platform also says that it is quintessential to provide support not only to higher education but also to our young people with room and board, and all the necessary tools, including books.

Yet, cancelling student debt will not be a permanent solution. We must figure out how we can alleviate the financial strain on young people, who are simply seeking to build themselves a brighter future.The biggest question that comes to mind for most is how we can lower tuition without decreasing the quality of education? Once we have established a way to lower the price of tuition, we also need to establish a form of “universal education” to help future generations to pay for higher education, potentially through restructuring our tax code and closing all loopholes in the tax code, including the yacht tax deduction (a maximum deduction of $500,000).

If we, as a society, continue to allow this horrible financial crisis to persist, the country will continue to suffer economically, and it will further aggravate racial, economic, and social status divides. If we do not invest in our current and future generations, the U.S. will continue to fall behind, even faster than we already are, particularly in the realm of education and innovation. Cancelling student debt and higher education reform should not remain a never-ending discussion, it is a financial disaster for all age groups, and it will only get worse. We must act now.

Noah William Alter is a member of the Green Party of PA, active with the Green Party of Westmoreland County.  

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