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NLH,

You've ommitted one of the most important categories: taxes to the US gov't. Corporate taxes, income taxes, property taxes, employer contributions to Medicare and Social Security, although the latter two of these could be tossed into the "labor" category...
Well, as long as you're making list of the reasons why we don't need to tax "rich corporations" anymore than they are already being taxed, don't forget the number cost to employers, employee medical benefits.
 

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Who is going to pay for their re-education. Them? I'm going to guess toll taking wasn't their life's aspiration, yet somehow they ended up there. So I would guess that they can't afford to re-educate themselves and go get that white collar job.
What happened to the independent spirit in this country? When did we all become so helpless? Yes them. If people want to better their lives with a college degree there several options available to them – grants, scholarships, and low interest education loans – especially if they are low income. Of course, they have to expend a little effort to secure the funds, no one is going to bust down their door and hand them the money. Well, at least not yet. Today, you still have to want to get a degree, and be willing to invest in yourself. Which begs an interesting question, if you're not willing to invest in yourself, why should you expect anyone else to be?
 

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nlh 90210,

I didn’t really mean this to get into a homeless debate, as every case is unique. Nor did I mean to imply that we should be uncompassionate and not help out where and when we can.

My comment was directed at getting a college degree, and my point was simply if someone doesn’t want one, there’s not much you can do. If there is a will, there is usually a way. We are not helpless; we live in an extremely compassionate society. You sound like you’re living proof. I bet you had a lot of help and encouragement along the way, and you obviously asked for and got college student loans. It also didn’t hurt that you had the will and desire to see it through.

So although it wasn’t easy, I’d imagine that you are quite proud of your accomplishment, and deservedly so. But above it all, you had to want to get that engineering degree and being willing to work hard and sacrifice in the short term to benefit in the long term.
 
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