Does Obama's education policy satisfy the 10th plank of communism?

PLEASE DO NOT READ BETWEEN THE LINES!

This is an OBJECTIVE question hoping to find the difference between two ideals. There is an objective answer. No answer makes either Marx or Obama good or bad, and no answer makes Obama a communist.

Karl Marx's ten planks of communism outline a litmus test of a society to determine if that society is practicing communism. Can anyone explain how Obama's education policy is different from the 10th plank of communism quoted below?

"10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production." ~ Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto"

Obama's policy reduces college cost to only 10% of the student's "disposable income," and completely forgives their college debt after time. His policy below:

"The President signed a new law that makes it easier for students to pay back their federal college loans. Starting in 2014, new borrowers will pay no more than 10 percent of their disposable income, and the President recently proposed accelerating this benefit for current students. The law also allows any remaining debt to be forgiven after 20 years. Those engaged in public-service professions—such as teachers, nurses, or members of the armed forces—will have any remaining debt forgiven after 10 years if they make their payments on time." ~ Barack Hussein Obama campaign Web site

If you combine this new law with his earlier Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-315) of 2008, which offers "Loan forgiveness for service in the interest of national need," (§ 430), then Congress or the President can now make any specific trade school free just by declaring a national need. Can anyone argue that higher education has not been directly combined with national industry through a federal incentive program promoting school for national service?

It seems very much to me that only if you nit-pick the word "free" there becomes a difference, and even then "forgiveness" means "free" in my book. 

While free education is well and good, giving the State ultimate authority over industry through education is not. So today's American education system generates absolutely free trade workers for any industry that the government chooses. The people do not get a vote on this; it is already public law, and we do not get a vote on which industry becomes a national need. The President and Congress currently have complete authority to spend tax dollars to incentivize  any industry they desire (choose a preferred career path), through the education system.

Please argue that Obama's policies have or have not met the 10th plank of communism. Also, does the Obama policy exemplify a government serving the interests of its people, or a people obeying the will of its government?

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  • 8 years ago
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    Interesting question. Here goes:

    Public school isn't college. Marx was speaking of basic education for children, not advanced college-level education. The "Industrial education" was that of 1848. His target was the worker who provided highly supervised manual labor in exchange for wages. Men, children and women were merely instruments of production but education could raise the proletariat to accelerate change.

    College, on the other hand, prepares adults for professions -- a knowledge-based, high status, autonomous decision-making, non-working-class individual with far more flexibility and power than the manual laborer. (The planks aren't exactly what describes a communist society though, Marx said that the 10 planks were applicable to all advanced countries.)

    Your read of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-315) of 2008 section 430 isn't quite as broad as you think. The specific professions are spelled out in detail. (I have the categories below, each gets even more granular in the actual law), specific clients (note that an Occupational Therapist who works with non-veteran adults doesn't qualify), and a maximum of $10K total per borrower is imposed. The only industrial-ish category is #14 -- STEM employees, and those are considered professionals. Trade workers aren't included in the "areas of national need." This section ONLY deals with students, not institutions. So a scenario where a president decides to declare that ZT&T Trade School should produce 1000 free plumbers isn't possible using the section you cite. There were institutional grants is various re-authorizations of the bill, but restricted to educational fields and teachers from what I saw at a glance.

    In a representative democracy, the people NEVER get to vote on the details of laws. We elect representatives. The President and Congress already have the complete authority to spend tax dollars anyway they see fit -- we give that to them via elections. If Congress decides to make Clown School mandatory they can -- subject to the checks and balances of the President's veto and/or the judiciary's interpretation of the Constitution if the law is challenged.

    I'm not saying that Obama and the Congress haven't engaged in social engineering (they obviously have, starting with Johnson's Great Society), it's just a fallacy to equate the higher education acts with the Communist Manifesto on any meaningful level.

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    AREAS OF NATIONAL NEED.—For purposes of this section, an individual is employed in an area of national need if the individual meets the requirements of one of the following:

    (1) EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS.

    (2) NURSES.

    (3) FOREIGN LANGUAGE SPECIALISTS.

    (4) LIBRARIANS.

    (5) HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS SERVING STUDENTS WHO ARE LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT, LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES, AND UNDERREPRESENTED POPULATIONS

    (6) CHILD WELFARE WORKERS.

    (7) SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS AND AUDIOLOGISTS.

    (8) SCHOOL COUNSELORS.

    (9) PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES. (‘(A) public safety (including as a first responder, firefighter, police officer, or other law enforcement or public safety officer); ‘‘(B) emergency management (including as an emergency medical technician); ‘‘(C) public health (including full-time professionals

    engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics); or ‘‘(D) public interest legal services (including prosecution, public defense, or legal advocacy in low-income communities at a nonprofit organization).

    (10) NUTRITION PROFESSIONALS.

    (11) MEDICAL SPECIALISTS.

    (12) MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

    ‘(13) DENTISTS.

    ‘(14) STEM EMPLOYEES.—The individual is employed full-time in applied sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

    ‘(15) PHYSICAL THERAPISTS.

    ‘(16) SUPERINTENDENTS, PRINCIPALS, AND OTHER ADMINISTRATORS.

    ‘(17) OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS.

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