Monday, July 26, 2021

Reparations, Reparations

A friend posted a link to (moderate? maybe) right-wing media coverage of some of what underlies BLM and other current attempts at fixing the race problem in the USA. In it, I found this article talking about the reparations bill and (implied ironic) support it gets from the billionaire community: 

My problem with this is that I grew up in a town where we actually had a moderate level of success in required desegregation. 

 (Forced would be a bit too strong of a term. Most of the community was okay with it. And, on the other hand, there were a minority who resisted, many of them real-estate agents and others who tried hard to keep some neighborhoods exclusive -- I assume so they could charge higher prices for land that really wasn't that significantly different.)

I was in a middle class neighborhood, with various cultures (and races) represented on our street and most streets in the neighborhood. Even the exclusive community on the north edge of town had something of a mix. (I'm not sure how the exclusivists made it work. You had to have a certain income to even get properties there shown to you as a potential buyer, among other things, and I think that the non-white members of the community had a certain agreement with the majority white members that they wouldn't try rocking the boat too much. Token non-whites? But the word "token" itself comes from the contexts in which such exclusive communities are assumed to be justified, so be careful how you use it.)

I did not realize it, but it was a very progressive community for the time.

Apparently, that kind of community was not common. And it really didn't work on an ongoing basis, even though the cultural mix is still there.

Particularly, there were a lot of, especially black, football players who rode into college with the expectation that a football scholarship was all they needed to be set for life. And discovered the hard way the difference between the small pond and the big pond relative to how good they were.

If we (royal we) had really wanted them to succeed, we had to teach them the work ethic that was necessary in the larger community. We had to teach both them and their parents that the football scholarship, for all that they were working their hearts out for it, was not going to be enough to keep them out of the ghetto unless they used it to get other education, other degrees. Athletic scholarship students working in parallel on non-sports degrees needed to become the rule, not the exception.

But that work ethic conflicted with the culture they were raised in. Not with the black culture, but with the white ghetto culture.

In a very real sense, Odessa was/is the ghetto to Midland's middle/upper-class.

The whole concept of paying one-time reparations is part of that white ghetto culture. When you give people money like that, most of them use it to solve their immediate problems instead of setting even part of it aside to provide a path out. USD 300,000? For half of those who receive it, it'll be gone in a year, most of it spent on stuff that adds to the profits of the worlds richest people, adding to inflation and adding to the income gap. For another thirty percent, it'll be gone in another three years.

Less than ten percent will attempt to use it for education or investment and such, and the resulting inflation will eat away at that, too.

That people want to do something is, I suppose, commendable. 

That they don't want to figure out what needs to be done is being lazy -- Throw money at the big problem instead of giving time and attention to all the little problems that are the social calculus that produces the big problem.

What we need is middle- and upper-class folks deliberately cutting their workweeks down to twenty hours so they can go out to the ghettos to mentor people who need mentors more than money.

But before they go, they need to learn the difference between do-gooding (trying to teach lower-class people their own false ideals) and actual helping -- reaching out to actually help people get what they need to solve their real -- not ideal -- short-term problems first, then staying with them for the middle and long term, and refraining from pushing solutions on them. 

Forced solutions are non-solutions. 

It's kind of like the difference between doing the math for a student and helping the student learn the math, except the solutions that keep people out of the ghettos require helping them to invent their own math and their own tests. Teaching them your math will only help the ones who can make the logically jump from what you teach them to what they need.

(And, in keeping with that thought, I'll do as I usually do and refrain from trying to draw a lot of conclusions for you. You figure out what conclusions make sense for you.)

Saturday, June 5, 2021

About the Texas Heartbeat Act

Well, as usual, I found myself embarrassed that I have believed news reports without doing my own research. 

Here is a link to the actual bill, so you can also read it yourself:

Having read this law, here's my analysis:

This law does not criminalize abortion in any sense. Most news sources I read at least got this much right. At least one did not.

It specifically prevents using its provisions from becoming basis for suing a woman who receives or considers an abortion. It also specifically prevents use of the provisions by a rapist or abusive boyfriend/spouse, etc. Many news sources I read failed to see this at all. 

I even assumed it wouldn't have properly disallowed this kind of misuse of the law, so I guessed it wrong, too.

It specifically provides for exceptions in case of medical emergency. Multiple news sources missed this.

What this law requires is

1) that medical abortion providers or assistance groups (in other words, clinics, Planned Parenthood, etc.) be qualified and properly inform people of their qualifications;

2) that medical abortion providers perform proper medical examinations and explain the dangers and negative health effects specific to that person in getting an abortion;

3) and that medical abortion providers and assistant groups also inform those seeking abortions of the options to abortion, including the availability of financial support through government and other sources and the father's legal duty of support.

The sixth week is a minimum -- even the above three requirements are not required until the sixth week.

This bill is mostly about establishing minimum best practice. 

[JMR202106070407 -- edit]

Which, as a friend points out, does leave the problem of who certifies the certifiers, which is a variation of the who watches the watchers conundrum, and the conundrum can be exploited by bad-faith actors.

Exploiting law is a separate problem, and the conundrum is not unique. It essentially applies to all of law. Various philosophers, lawyers, and mathematicians have worked it out, and there is no solution other than for all members of the community to watch the watchers. I guess I need to explain that conundrum in a blog post some day.

Note to myself -- I think I noticed some possible ex-post-facto issues in the bill, which would be a particular vulnerability to exploit.

[JMR202106070407 -- end-edit]

As near as I can tell, that's all.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Trump Was Chosen by God

(Read all the way through before allow yourself a knee-jerk reaction.)

If you don't believe in God, I'll put it this way: 

Electing Trump was a natural consequence of the current conditions in the USof(N)A.

When I say Trump was chosen by God -- or by natural selection, if you prefer -- it is not in praise of Trump. 

It is not in praise of Trump -- 

although he did do a passable job, given his personality and the mess he had to work with.

It is in condemnation --

It is not so much in condemnation of the ordinary citizens of the USof(N)A, although we do, in general, need to become more actively involved in the community processes, and less willing to be just led along by any party that puts on a good show.

It is in great condemnation of the career politicians of all parties who have necessitated electing a man like Trump.

And it is in condemnation of the vocal majority (they aren't a real majority, they're just the noisiest group) of Americans who put their own personal wants and ideals ahead of the needs of individuals and of the country. 

Ideals are always separate from reality. Ideals are necessary for discussion, but the ideals that imperfect humans espouse always contain the seeds of their own contradiction. 

Ideals that do not admit a certain degree of compromise can never meet the needs of any individual. 

(That is, they can never meet the needs of any individual not willing to twist the meaning of the ideal to their own ends.)

A country is a calculus -- a summation of individuals. Without the individuals, there is no country. Ideals that do not admit a certain degree of compromise will, without fail, destroy a country.

It's time to get off your high horses and work for real change before more drastic measures have to be taken. 

And it's time for everyone who has been in office more than eighteen years to go find a better way to make a living – a better place to serve. 

You think Trump was bad, next time you might get someone like me.

I can't be elected president, on technical grounds, even if I could somehow break through the popularity barriers. I've been out of the country too long to meet the residence requirement. 

But there are more than a few obstinate language/system geeks like me who do meet the requirements, who would be quite willing to apply very careful standards on every act of Congress requiring the president's signature, and quite willing to return every rejected bill with quite detailed objections, including technical objections, even though line-item veto, per-se, is not allowed. 

And more than a few such individuals would be quite happy to help Congress to dismantle the behemoth that federal government has become, and find a way to push all the real power back where it Constitutionally belongs -- back to the States and to the citizens.

And to be quite vocal, and quite obstinate in his or her efforts.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Biden's Record on Busing (and Detours on Sensibility and Reporting with Shade)

 A cousin of mine passed along a cherry-picked list of places where Biden has failed to toe his party's line, or the party line of a certain faction among the Democrats, criticizing his record.

Or, perhaps, expressing dissatisfaction. It can be hard to tell between criticism and expressing dissatisfaction.

Well, I read that list last night and shrugged. (I'd seen it before.)

This morning, I thought maybe I should check the list. The easiest item for me to remember was busing, so I plugged something like

Did Biden vote against busing?

into the Web search engine, and found a lot of evidence that he has -- sometimes.

You have to check. 

(Kind of like, yesterday, when I plugged the name of a certain person arrested for committing voting fraud in Texas, along with the words "voting fraud". And I found reports that she had, indeed, been arrested. Then I shared one of those reports from a news source that would be local there on my BassHook feed. 

And then I found a report that the woman claimed she was trying to work a "sting" on the people who were working a sting on her. I noted that in my BassHook feed and moved on.

It makes a sort-of defense -- not a smart one, however.

If you are thinking of trying a counter-sting sting, be sure you let a few people you trust know what you are doing, to improve your ability to assert that is what you were doing. Preferably, one of those would be a lawyer, and, preferably, the lawyer would discourage you from doing so -- except perhaps in extreme circumstances. 

I don't have any idea if that was really what she was doing. Anyway, don't try to run a sting alone. It leaves you with no real defense.)

Back to Biden: 

Not surprisingly, one of the sources I found was a mixed news/opinion piece from 2019 on Vox, critical of both his and Harris's stances on busing:

Also not surprisingly, Vox is now supportive of Biden, since he has been able to get Trump out. People do change their stance for expediency.

I debated the expediency of giving Vox more clicks, but half of my purpose in this rant is to express the need for more information. 

If we want to talk meaningfully about something, we should have the topic of our conversation in front of us.

Otherwise, we generate more heat than meaning -- witness the excessive activism since midsummer.

So, reading the article (and other sources), I find that Biden has opposed bills that mandated busing based solely on numbers.

Uhm, can I say, bravo for him? 

That wasn't his only reason for introducing bills and amendments to bills that limited or would have limited the reach of court decisions and legislation on busing. He seemed to take a somewhat reasoned approach, and he was also sensitive to the opinions of his constituencies.

Maybe -- if we have to have a Democrat in the Whitehouse for the next four years, for balance -- maybe a Democrat who can understand that arbitrary, overly simplistic rules can cause problems might be one of the better options? and that he has to listen to all the people he is supposed to be representing, not just the ones who voted for him?

Just maybe?

Many of Biden's arguments against forced busing tend to focus on the allocation of resources. I'll go with that. 

I'll also note that forcing people to do the right thing generally causes resentment, and that resentment tends to boil over. I think a good argument could be made that busing is no small part of the cause of the violence of the past several months.

Busing has had some good results, as well. It's been a mixed bag.

That's not surprising, either. Politics is always a mixed bag.

Excessive adherence to ideologies is not helpful.

And lack of information causes more problems than too much.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Poor Choice of Words -- Trial by Combat

I'm looking at one of the places where the rally for Trump last week took a turn for the worse.

Giuliani was talking about getting access to the ballot boxes that were mentioned in some of the complaints the courts refused to consider. The words "trial by combat" appears to me to be expressing his intent to have experts other than the ballot box companies' experts and the state election commissions' experts examine them.

It only makes sense to find experts who would not have a conflict of interest. If you think there might be something to be found, you should not want the experts hiding it. And if you think there is nothing to be found, you should not want to leave Trump room to continue complaining.


In what scenario would you want to hide flaws in the system?

In what scenario would you want Trump to continue complaining about nothing? 

Whichever side you're on, under what scenario(s) would you not want an independent expert to do the examination?

Back to the really unfortunate choice of words. I can only assume that Giuliani would not have considered the effect such words would have an a crowd that included rough-and-ready types who were not experienced with some of the metaphors lawyers use.

Why should I assume that?

Giuliani is a lawyer. He is smart, even if he misses a few things. If he were intending to incite a riot, he would not use words like that with the C-SPAN cameras rolling.

It's clear why politicians tend to want speech writers to prepare their words for them. Too many of those who spoke at the rally spoke off-the-cuff. Too many poor choices of words were used.

Was Trump's failure to more vigorously point out that the metaphors were metaphors was because he thought foolishly that a small mob could somehow take sufficient control of the Senate proceedings to force a declaration that would not have been immediately canceled once the insignificant threat was gone?

Or was it because he was not aware that there would be a few there eager for a riot, just enough to drag a few of the more impressionable participants along in storming the Congressional chambers?

Well, you make up your own mind.

The question I have is still, why did all the courts to which the evidence was submitted, in all the states where it was submitted, fail to even give the evidence Trump's team gathered the dignity of a "Here's why this is not a valid complaint." 

It was all blanket rejected with no explanation other than "It wouldn't effect the outcome."

Sure, giving each of the complaints time for examination would have made it hard to keep the schedule for the Electoral College's vote. Is that enough reason to refuse to even properly examine the evidence?

Sure, Trump says and does things that appear foolish at too many times. Does a bad habit of shooting off at the mouth earn even a foolish president so much scorn as to refuse to take his legal team's work seriously?

Did they expect Trump to turn tail like a dog used to being beaten and slink off? What were they expecting?

The only way to resolve the question in a way even remotely compatible with the traditional interpretations of the Constitution was to deal with it when it was presented.

So we are left with the questions unresolved. Biden and Kamala are left to fight a severe deficit in public perception, perhaps as severe as the deficit Trump faced. So is the Congress that will now be nominally of the same party as the president.

I'm not sure this is a bad thing. It may motivate more Americans to stand up and demand good behavior of the people they elect to represent them -- and demand better behavior of the members of the media, but that's for another post. 

I hope it so motivates everyone who reads this, of whatever political persuasion you are.


I also hope that it motivates people to demand that the various state election commissions return to verifiable voting, enough people that those commissions will have a sudden attack of common sense and return to verifiable voting.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Fighting Corruption

A number of members of Congress and other "High Officials" have gone on record against attempts to overturn the results in the Electoral College. But they seem to me to be only telling half the story.

I need to clarify a few things before I dig into this:

For those who read the New Testament, in 2nd Peter 2: 10, Peter declares among the sins of certain wicked people, the sin of "speaking evil of dignities". Some read that to mean "of dignitaries". If he meant dignitaries, he would have said dignitaries. Some note the mention of "despising government" in the previous sentence and assume that dignities means the acts of governing bodies. But the whole phrase is about "walking in the lust of uncleanness, despising government", clearly meaning that they despise the need for being governed by God. 

The right to criticize the unjust acts of governing bodies is actually one of the dignities which the wicked speak evil of. The right to speak out in support of the just acts of governing bodies is another. So is the personal responsibility to figure out which is which. These are some of the dignities Peter speaks of.

The Constitution doesn't specify any means to overturn an invalid election. It doesn't even specify a means of declaring an election invalid. If we do not want to risk further implicit erosion of the Constitution by redefinition, we should return to the assumption that a power not given to Congress by the Constitution is not given by Congress. 

Each state is tasked with determining the validity of that state's election processes in the Constitution, and that is as it should be. (Except now states are getting too big.)

Declaring the election invalid at this point should not be considered an option.

There are a couple of theoretical ways to let Trump do a second term now. 

  1. Biden and Kamala might both have a change of heart and submit a document to Congress declaring themselves unable to discharge their duties, and then Congress might decide to choose Trump to fill the vacancy since he did get so close to half the vote.
  2. Biden and Kamala might take office and choose a cabinet, and then the cabinet might declare them unfit. And then Congress might choose Trump to fill the vacancy.
  3. Impeach both Biden and Kamala. And, then, the choice of a new president to finish out the term devolves to Congress, and Congress might (low probability) choose Trump to fill in the rest of the term.

Other than that, it appears that the democrats get a turn for four years.

However, I have watched governing bodies go ballistic, refusing to respond to their constituents' rightful complaints, and I have watched that happen this whole past election process. The problems with the election process were known from well before election day, and they were not addressed then, and they have not yet been addressed.

I've blogged about a few of the problems here and in my main blog (and, I think, in my computing blogs and freedom blog and elsewhere -- lots of technical issues).

Various state governments have behaved very irresponsibly in the election processes.

Perhaps we should consider an amendment to make the election process less vulnerable before the next election.

The Constitution does not give us a way to declare the election invalid. The only direct recourse it gives us is the right to seek judgements of treason against the perpetrators. That's a lot of work, so we need to think of some less direct means.

(If we want it to be possible to legally and Constitutionally overturn an invalid election, we must propose and pass an amendment adding the means to do so before the election occurs, not after. But we must be careful, when we do so, not to make the processes even more vulnerable.)

That's a full stop.

How do we fight corruption?

As I say, I have watched governing bodies railroad the "desired results" through on many occasions in the past, perverting the democratic processes as they do so -- because waiting for the democratic processes to work properly means waiting too long for whatever reason they think of, and I watched it happening in the election processes this past year or so.

A million or so demonstrators is a million or so demonstrators. Something is wrong when a million people get out in the streets about something. That was true last fall, and it is true now. Even if those millions were mostly all extreme leftists or extreme rightists, it would still be true. 

A million people is one in four hundred. That's people close to you. They are not even mostly extremists, just people willing to speak out when their conscience moves them to do so.

Did we think it had ended when the left went quiet after the elections in fall?

This is not going to end until either (1) God comes in the sky -- in other words, the natural consequences of bad acts catch up to us -- or (2) each individual in the US learns by him/herself how to listen to his/her own conscience and do what God tells him/her to do through it. 

We don't want to wait for the natural consequences to catch up to us. That's a very violent end. 

So you and I need to listen to our consciences and do what they tell us to do. And we need to advise our friends, enemies, and acquaintances to do likewise.

Yes, that's very difficult, because it requires each one of us to learn to weed through, not just our own personal baser instincts, but also all the overlays of false rules about what is right, wrong, and gray that the traditions we have inherited from our culture have imposed on us, which now make it hard to listen to our own consciences.And we have to learn to set peer pressure aside. 

It requires both brave and wise enough to do what's right and brave and wise enough to be sure we understand what's right.

For those who believe in God, conscience is the connection we have to the God which created us. For those who do not believe in a God which created us, the conscience is the innate patterns of what works and what doesn't which evolution has imparted to the human mind. 

I don't care which you prefer, as long as you aren't so seriously confused as to deny the existence of conscience.

That much of a definition is sufficient, without me having to explain that when I say God, I invoke the grand unifying principle that many physicists and other scientists seek -- the parameters that existed at the instance the dynamic universe came into being, and underlay the path of evolution as the universe was formed, or the fundamental principles by which the static universe functions and continues to function.

When I speak of God coming down in the sky, I speak of the course nature follows, including natural consequences of our acts, as society and as individuals.

If we could simply agree on that much of a shared definition, we should be able to quit fighting about religion, or about the relationship of explicit religion with atheism and agnosticism. 

Conscience, and freedom to follow one's own conscience. A lot of people think that is what the current political argument in the US is all about, and they are not exactly wrong. But the argument is not directly about that.

We have three major factions (and numerous minor factions) of people who don't want to allow others to live by their conscience. 

(This is not some crazy conspiracy theory. Factions and their jockeying for power and resorting to extra-regular means have been part of history forever, and they didn't suddenly disappear just because explicitly democratic processes became the accepted norm in recent history.)

I can suppose that the reasons for members of these factions may be that they themselves are too lazy or scared to get acquainted with their own consciences, but that is not mine to suppose. They simply aren't willing to behave as if they trust others to be free to follow their consciences.

They have agendas, things they think they must force to happen, to "save society". I can presume that is because they don't trust the individuals of whom society is composed to be interested in saving themselves, but, again, I presume too much. 

These factions are trying to destroy the  Constitution of the United States of America, so that they can destroy this lousy, messy, in-the-way-of-their-ambitions free country.

One of the major factions is overtly redefining anything in the Constitution that gets in the way of their agenda.

One is behind the scenes restructuring the legal infrastructure so that the original Constitution cannot function.

One waits in the wings for the other two to do their dirty work, ready to step in and "save the day" when all appears ready to crumble and fall.

All of these factions cross nominal party boundaries.

All three think they are using President Trump as a pawn.

God has other plans. Or nature, if you prefer.

God is still, ultimately in control. Nature will prevail.

That does not mean everything will be all right. Everything will not be all right.

Nor does it mean anyone should now be quiet. If your conscience tells you to speak up and speak out, you should do so. Just remember to keep listening to your conscience as you do so.

Hang on. It's going to be a rough ride. 

There are certain things you believe in, which form the core of your understanding of what's right and wrong. Examine, them, yes. Refine your understanding, yes. But don't give up your belief that there is right and wrong, and that you have a right to know them.

If you are Christian, part of your core beliefs may be that Jesus' name means that God is ultimately our friend, that He ultimately wants to give us all the happiness and joy we are willing to receive.

If you are not, and you believe in God, you must still believe something similar. 

If you prefer not to believe in God, I strongly urge you to believe that it is in our nature to seek happiness and joy, and that, even though nature provides us an apparent chaos from which to win happiness and joy, nature does not oppose itself. The universe is not, ultimately, against you, me, and everyone else.

Believing this does require us to sacrifice a lot of false ideals, but that's a lot easier than the alternatives.

The universe is not out to destroy us all. It is all right for us to struggle to gain happiness. 

God Is Our Help, if we just believe in Him, He will help us to be happy.

Fighting corruption starts with you and me listening to and following our own consciences.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Forgive the Student Debt!!! (Or Not?)

There are loud and numerous calls for forgiving the student debt. We've duped the poor (former) students into buying a worthless higher education on time, and dumped them into an economy where it is really hard to pay that debt back.

(Pardon me? I did not sell that snake oil. On either end.)

Well, there would be valid reasons for helping them get out from under that burden.


"We" can't exactly forgive that debt. We don't own it. That is, we don't own the burden of guaranteeing it. At least, not at this time.

Who owns the guarantees on that debt?

Well, it's difficult to untangle. The government that demands business be transparent has serious difficulties making its own operations transparent. 

We hear China owns no small part of it. We can be fairly sure that most of the several thousand billionaires and millions of other high-net-worth-individuals all over the world also own no small part of it.

If we could get them all to forgive the student debt in all countries, I'm not sure that would be a bad thing. 

But what is being called for is something else entirely -- for the US government to buy that burden back from those who bought the bonds. 

So here's how it works. Get people to borrow money from you. Some time later, sell the burden of final guarantee for the burden to the government. That means, if the people who borrowed the money can't or don't repay it, the government has to pay you. Sometime later, get the government to "forgive the debt" by paying it off to you. And you get both the interest and the principle.

Here's what is not being told: "Forgiving the debt" ultimately means paying it off -- making those who are already rich all that much richer.

Those rich people were the ones who set the rules up to demand higher education, you see. "Our worker pool needs more training!" they said. (Who gave them permission to call us "their worker pool", anyway?)

So, as I said, if we could get them, not the government, to forgive the debt for student loans, that might not be such a bad thing. 

Except, there are reasons that's not such a good idea, either. Debt is never a simple thing. Those individuals of high-personal-worth actually serve to focus our economic activities on specific business. If they suddenly lose their wealth and somebody is not ready to step in with more money, businesses fail. Jobs disappear. Etc. Economic depression.

That was the excuse for bailing out the banks about ten years back, and it is real. Uhm, well, it isn't exactly entirely the stuff of the imagination of ambitious money-grubbers. It's real enough to cause ordinary people serious harm.

 Why? is a very good question.

If you don't understand why, it's time for you to learn what money means. 

None of the popular explanations you can find in books or on the web have it right. What does

Money is a proxy for value.

even mean? 

Okay, how about something that is often claimed,

Money is value.

Really? Bits of paper and metal, ink in a ledger, charge domains in some storage medium. But it took, for instance, Ms. Rowling a long time of working hard to convert the value in her first stories into enough money to continue writing without working a day job. 

At any rate,

Money is not raw value.

So, once again, how about 

Money is a proxy for value.

Money is not a very good proxy for value. The things that are of most value to you, you wouldn't want to trade for money. (Well, you shouldn't.) And usually, if someone wants to trade you money for them, it's less for the thing it is than for the control they hope to gain over you in the trade. So,

Money is power.

Yet it isn't power to do the most important things. If I mention the power to breathe, you may counter with the idea that money can buy doctors to fix your inability to breathe, but I already have the ability to breathe. Without money.

And a man who has ruined his ability to breath is often unable, even with billions of dollars, to hire enough medical expertise to fix his lungs before he dies. So, again, something money is not:

Money is not unlimited power.

Debt actually is more powerful than money, if you simply want to control people. Is it surprising that people buy and sell debt?

How about this one?

Money is freedom.

Rich people (and many wannebee rich people) write books detailing how they had to live according to very strict daily routines to get their wealth. You have to sacrifice for that freedom.

And, once they have it, they have to keep up the routine, because with the money came responsibility to manage a company or some such thing. 

Ask them if they are really free, and they say, they are free to hire a limousine to take them somewhere. But they are not free to walk there on their own. Free to buy expensive clothes, but not to wear comfortable clothes -- unless they have enough cachet to turn their comfortable clothes into a fashion statement. 

And money doesn't buy the cachet -- not on a long-term basis. Show your money and you get attention, but the minute you put your money away, the attention dries up. Real cachet takes more work.

Money is only temporary cachet.

In Hello Dolly, Horace says something like 

Money is like manure. It should be spread about making little green things grow. 

(US currency being printed with green ink added a certain overloaded semantic -- pun -- to that quote.)

My response when I first heard that was a bit pithy --

Money is like pus. It tends to gather where the wounds in society are.

Okay, I'll skip forward a bit. Money is a fairly good proxy for apparent value, much of the time. Thus, sales campaigns are battles to drive your own products' apparent value up in the market.

Money is an imperfect proxy, or exchange medium, for value. 

What happens when we forgive a debt -- assuming that the debt is truly forgiven and not just transferred to a new owner?

The money has already been plowed into the economy. And the former debt-owners lose the power that owning the debt gave them. But it does give the former debtor a bit more room to make more value to bring back into the economy.

I suppose I could wrap this rant up by offering one or more opinions, either on student debt or on something really abstract like the lack of dimensionality in current financial instruments, but I want to leave a certain question dangling:

The question is not why we shouldn't give the former students a little more breathing room. 

The real question is what do we keep doing wrong with money, so that it keeps ending up getting in the way when people want to do good things?