Pope Center slaps new coat of paint on crumbling structure

Different name, same tired old rhetoric:

Martin will be joined by Jenna Robinson, president of the former Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a conservative think tank that has been newly renamed for Martin. The change took effect Jan. 1, when the center officially became the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

On the center’s website, Robinson wrote that confusion between the Pope Center and the Pope Foundation prompted the name change. Both organizations were named for John William Pope but had different missions, she wrote: “The new name will allow us to create our own identity – focused on our mission of academic renewal.”

Yeah, I mean, no. There hasn't been any confusion. They may have (slightly) different missions, but the guiding principles are still the same. And they won't change with a new name, or a new logo, or a new Mission Statement, or whatever other facile tweaks to its appearance you try to make. A thorn by any other name. And just to give you an idea where Jenna Robinson stands on government helping families cope with higher education costs, check this out:

The American Opportunity Tax Credit allows taxpayers to reduce their tax liability by as much as $2,500 — as long as their income doesn’t exceed $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers). Forty percent of the AOTC is “refundable,” meaning the Treasury will send you a check if you have little or no tax liability.

The Lifetime Learning Credit allows students or parents to reduce their taxes by up to $2,000 annually for an unlimited number of years. Qualified students must be enrolled in at least one college course, but don’t have to be pursuing a degree. Individuals earning less than $60,000 — or families earning less than $120,000 — are eligible for the credit.

In addition to the tax credits, which provide beneficiaries with dollar-for-dollar reductions in their income tax bills, the government also offers a higher education tax deduction to students and families not claiming a tax credit.

While the higher-ed tax credits and deductions might make middle-income families less inclined to grumble during tax season, their cost is huge.

Bolding mine, because that is the only nod she gives to families struggling to give their children a better future. She (and others like her) would take away these programs, because they have a *theory* that more affordable college is behind rising costs. This is becoming a major issue with all the right-wing think-tanks, and I fear we will soon see some actions coming out of Congress along these lines. More expensive student loans, fewer Federal programs designed to help the middle class, and (of course) the continued push for private, for-profit colleges to lead the higher education establishment.

From all I've read about former Governor Martin, I find it hard to believe he could get on board with such policy changes. But I guess we'll find out soon enough if he has the principles with which he's been credited.



It is sad

But apparently he's been on the Board of the Pope Center since 2009, so he should know exactly how screwed up they are. No excuses.