Why Men Are More Likely to Drop Out:As student debt levels continue to rise, more college students are facing a critical decision: Borrow more or drop out? Men and women appear to be reaching different conclusions.That gender should affect student borrowing decisions might seem surprising, but the authors suggest there is a fairly simple explanation: Men without college degrees face better job prospects than equivalently educated women, at least in the short term. That makes the consequences of dropping out appear smaller for men.READ THE FULL STORY HERE>
“I’m a numbers guy, a statistics guy – and what I’ve learned has shocked me. Almost 100 people a day die from a gun, 33 are murdered. We’ve got 20 times the murder rate of similar countries,” writes Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, for CNN Opinion. See his take on universal background checks and tell us where you stand.
(CNN)2/22/13 — I served in the armed forces for 25 years, but until January 8, 2011, I didn’t think about guns or gun violence that much. I had other things to think about — my children, traveling between Houston and Tucson and Washington to see my wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and of course, flying the space shuttle. Like lots of people, every time there was a mass shooting, with lots of news coverage, I watched, but I wasn’t aware of the statistics and of how gun violence permeates our country.
Then Gabby was shot and six of her constituents were murdered during a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson, Arizona. During her long and ongoing recovery, I started paying a lot more attention. I’m a numbers guy, a statistics guy — and what I’ve learned has shocked me. Almost 100 people a day die from a gun, 33 are murdered. We’ve got 20 times the murder rate of similar countries.
I’ve watched the globe spin past below me from the window of the space shuttle. And so my perspective has changed. I see this epidemic of gun violence as a crisis, because I know that every statistic is a citizen — someone like my wife, or Hadiya Pendleton’s mom, Cleopatra, who says simply about her daughter, murdered senselessly in Chicago, “a piece of my heart is gone.” And, excuse the reference, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that while this issue is complicated, there are things we can do — now, together — that will reduce violence.
Like background checks. Right now, we have two systems. Some people, like me, when we buy a gun, we go through a background check. It takes about five minutes — trust me, I’m not known to be a patient guy, and it didn’t take more than a few minutes when I bought a rifle this past November.
Ninety-one percent of background checks are completed instantaneously, and they don’t lead to a government database. And they work. I passed my background check and got my gun, and since 1994, more than 2 million folks — among them, criminals and dangerously mentally ill people — failed their background checks. But we don’t know which of those millions just got in their car and drove to a gun show, or home to their computer to go on the Internet — both places where anyone can buy a gun without a background check.
That doesn’t make sense. It’s like saying, hey, criminals, to board the plane, either go through a metal detector and be checked against the terrorist watch list, or, if you prefer, walk right down that red carpet and take a seat, no search necessary. Which would you choose?
That’s why Gabby and I are so determined to get a universal background check in place. It’s simple, it’s not a Republican or a Democratic issue, and it closes a clear loophole that puts our kids and our communities at risk, and it does it in a way that respects the Second Amendment rights of people like me. We aren’t naive in thinking that expanded background checks will solve all our problems overnight, but they are a great first step that even gun owners support.
In eight days, harmful automatic cuts are slated to take effect, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cutting vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.
Only Congress can avoid this self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families, and the only thing standing in the way of a solution today is Congressional Republicans’ refusal to even consider closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy Americans and well-connected corporations. The President and Congressional Democrats have put forward solutions to avoid these cuts and allow time for both sides to work on a long-term, balanced solution to our deficit challenges.
The President is serious about cutting spending, reforming entitlements and the tax code to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. The question is, will Congressional Republicans come to the table to get something done?
Let’s take a moment to look what we’ve done so far: The President has already reduced the deficit by over $2.5 trillion, cutting spending by over $1.4 trillion, bringing domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower era [see below]. As a result of these savings, together with a strengthening economy, the deficit is coming down at the fastest pace of anytime in American history other than the demobilization from World War I
This week, the President visited his old neighborhood in Chicago, conferred one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, met with the president of Italy, and continued to urge Republicans to close tax loopholes for the wealthy to prevent dangerous across-the-board budget cuts that are slated to take effect on March 1st.
These cuts will not only damage the economy, they’ll hurt individual families and communities across the country. We could stop harmful cuts to children and families with disabilities if we just stopped letting the wealthiest Americans get tax breaks for the vacation homes and yachts.
Instead of asking the wealthiest Americans and special interests like Big Oil and Wall Street to pay their fair share, Republicans are insisting that families, including the most vulnerable among us, shoulder the burden of reducing our deficit and debt.
BOTTOM LINE: There’s still a week left to avert the damaging and painful sequester cuts. All Republicans have to do is agree to a balanced approach that replaces the indiscriminate cuts with both new revenues and smarter, targeted spending cuts.