Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

"Betsy DeVos might not like it," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), "but her job is to serve students [and] if she won't do it, we will force her to do so." (Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)

To Protect Students from For-Profit School Predators, 19 States Sue Betsy DeVos

'Since day one, Secretary DeVos has sided with for-profit school executives against students and families drowning in unaffordable student loans,' charges Massachusetts attorney general

Jon Queally

Led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a coalition of 19 states on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her department over their efforts to prevent the implementation of new federal rules designed to protect students from the predatory practices of for-profit colleges and their allies in the student loan industry.

The rules in question, known as "borrower defense," would make it easier for student to receive debt forgiveness when defrauded by higher education institutions. After years of consideration by the Obama administration the new rules were set to go into effect on July 1, but were put on hold by DeVos.

"Since day one, Secretary DeVos has sided with for-profit school executives against students and families drowning in unaffordable student loans," Healey said in a statement. "Her decision to cancel vital protections for students and taxpayers is a betrayal of her office’s responsibility and a violation of federal law."

In the wake of the announcement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) issued her support of the states' legal challenge, tweeting, "Betsy DeVos might not like it, but her job is to serve students [and] if she won't do it, we will force her to do so." The purpose of the effort, explained Warren is to challenge the "illegal attempt" of Devos "to protect fly-by-night schools that cheat students and bury them in mountains of debt."

While for-profit colleges make up a relatively small fraction of annual student enrollment nationwide, those who attend such schools stand a much a larger chance of racking up burdensome levels of outstanding debt.

As Healy tweeted:

In her home state on Wednesday, Healing announced that she had secured funding to give refunds to Massachusetts students who had graduated from Devry University, a for-profit institution accused of defrauding students by misleading them about its job placement rates.

In addition to the suit filed by the AGs, a pair of individual students backed by consumer rights groups filed a separate suit in the same federal court on Thursday. According to the New York Times:

The students both attended the New England Institute of Art in Brookline, Mass., a for-profit school that stopped enrolling new students in 2015. Its parent company, Education Management Corporation, agreed that year to pay $95 million to settle a government lawsuit charging the company with making illegal payments to recruiters. [...]

The two student borrowers who sued the Education Department, Meaghan Bauer and Stephano Del Rose, focused in their lawsuit on that arbitration clause. They plan to sue the New England Institute of Art, which they said misled them about its graduates’ job prospects and earnings, but they expect that lawsuit to be thwarted by the contract they signed with the school, which included a clause requiring that disputes be addressed through arbitration.

The new rules would have blocked many schools from enforcing those clauses. Ms. Bauer and Mr. Del Rose said they were waiting for those rules to take effect before filing their lawsuit.

"Secretary Betsy DeVos has effectively revoked students' rights under the rule while giving a pass to predatory schools that wield influence with this administration," said Julie Murray, a Public Citizen attorney representing the student plaintiffs. "We are asking the court to order this administration to implement the rule now, as the law requires."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

In Face of Planetary Emergency, US Climate-Related Financial Risk Report Denounced as 'Pitiful' Failure

"Finding consensus between those who see or don't see our climate reality," said one critic, "is not democracy in action: it's homicidal."

Jon Queally ·


Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo