This letter is in reference to the recommendation by President Reagan for $2.4 billion in cuts in student aid for fiscal 1986. My reaction is one of outrage, which was compounded by seeing a $3.7-billion estimate for research on a space-based missile "defense" system on the same page! The insanity inherent in these figures is evident to me.
I am now paying 12.75% interest on a student loan in the thousands of dollars. After exhausting all avenues of possibility for a grant I learned that my family income exceeded the minimum by about $30 a month. No mention or inquiry was made by the committee regarding the fact that I received no financial assistance whatever from my family.
When I think of others in my own and much more desperate situations trying to meet educational costs, I question the human cost in terms of wasted potential and an increase in unskilled workers. I am appalled at the idea that our President can place a higher value on this futile arms buildup than he can on the people of this country.
If the rationale is an increase in national security, I wonder why I feel less secure every day. Let's not fool ourselves into believing that the result of this race can be anything other than mutual destruction.
President Reagan certainly has my vote of confidence, his new proposed budget asking Congress to deny federally guaranteed loans to all college students with family income above $32,500--a move that would disqualify hundreds of thousands of students from the loan program.
With the deficit out of control, Reagan's move to deny these middle-class families with college-bound kids government loans is the best thing to come out of his second term.
These middle-class people, the small business owners, the farmers who are losing their land, the military pension for the top brass, also many elderly people, did they think they would be left out of Reagan's budget cut just because they voted for him? They certainly must have realized that when our President said he was going to whip the federal spenders into line, he also meant the majority of his followers would get the ax.
President Reagan may not have done much the last four years, outside of his gigantic deficit, the largest in more than 200 years, but he is coming on strong in his second term.
Yes sir, Mr. President, you have my backing--cut food stamps, welfare, unemployment, disability, and anything else you can think of, you know everyone is behind you 100%. Hey, didn't they give you a mandate at the polls last November?
LAURENCE W. GAHLBECK
The great furor over the federal budget prompts me to paraphrase that old poem about Lizzie Borden:
Ronnie Reagan took an ax
And gave the farmers forty whacks,
When he saw what he had done
He gave the students forty-one BENJAMIN MURANE
As a serious college student, I feel highly insulted by Education Secretary William P. Bennett's remark that with cuts in students loans we student should have to divest ourselves of our cars, stereos and time on the beach.
This generalization made by the secretary places me in a category that is distasteful to the point of being odious to me. At the age of 22 I own no stereo. My parents own a beat-up, broken down 1973 VW Bug that I drive, nevertheless, a car that has successfully transported me to work (teacher's aide at a local high school), to school (I have a BA in English, emphasis in writing, and I am currently studying to obtain a teacher credential in said subject area), and to home (my parents live in Riverside; I live in an old apartment complex here in San Diego). Throughout the year we San Diegans enjoy many sunny days that might inspire one to spend "time at the beach." I have hardly done so in the four to five years I have spent studying here.
Beside the gross generalization that the secretary made, what is worse is the proposed cut itself. Indeed, I would like to state her that there is something seditious in the move to cut any and all aid to education.
The secretary stated the effort to improve education "is principally the American people's work, not the federal government's." Quite obviously, the majority of our population is doing nothing about the improvement: not in the homes, not in the schools. Their only struggle seems to be to produce great football heroes rather than great scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and others who use their minds.
And who will benefit our society more? Who will find cures for diseases? Who will add beauty and art to a culture severely lacking in both? The scholars, or the jocks who provide mini-wars on Sunday sports television?
The seditiousness is this: By ignoring the students of our nation, we are destroying the very foundation of our democracy. Why did George Orwell's Proles so easily fall for "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength"? Because they were uneducated.
The Proles' ignorance was the government's strength.
When the government cuts student aid at any level, the democratic framework of our society is weakened. An uneducated populace cannot constitute a democracy: They will be unable to distinguish between war and peace, freedom and slavery, ignorance and strength. They will be unable to understand what "rights" are.
They will not understand what "democracy" is.
With neither financial nor moral support of education, we will have a nation of people who truly believe, as O'Brien in "1984" coerced Winston Smith into believing, that "two plus two equals five."
ROBERT FRANCIS DRISCOLL
I'm writing to raise the question that should be pursued but that I have not seen addressed.
In light of Secretary Bennett's assertion that "divestiture" of such luxuries as stereos will help students pay for college educations, I would like to know:
1--How many people in the current Administration received college or other training under the GI Bill of Rights or federal loans or other similar programs?
2--How many in decision-making capacities in the Administration earn the $32,500 a year they say is the level that is just above the income that is too much to qualify for loans or other assistance?
3--If $32,500 a year is just right on the brink of "too much", how come White House aide Michael Deaver had to leave a job paying more than twice that much because he was losing money . . . or why did Ed Meese have to go into hock for the same reason?
Incidentally, I wonder if Bennett realizes that purchase of a stereo is most often a one-time investment, but the tuition and other expenses linger on.
JOSEPH J. HONICK