Simanaitis Says

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SEEKING AN example of unmitigated treachery, I offer Trump and DeVos’ recent proposal for educational aspects in the fiscal 2019 federal budget.

Betsy DeVos is Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education. Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivals/AP from The Denver Post, February 13, 2018.

According to, “The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet.”

According to an official statement from the U.S. Department of Education, the Secretary of Education is charged with ensuring “equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation.”

Yet, as described in The Denver Post, February 12, 2018, Trump and Devos proposed slashing “nearly $4 billion in annual funding for student aid programs, but the two-year budget deal signed into law last week complicates that proposal.”

Among the changes noted by The Denver Post are “plans to ax loan forgiveness for public servants, alter the terms of income-driven student loan repayment and stop paying the interest on low-income students’ loans while they are in school. These three changes alone could increase the cost of higher education for borrowers by more than $200 billion over the next decade.”

Merriam-Webster defines “treachery” as “1. violation of allegiance or of faith and confidence. Treason. 2. an act of perfidy or treason.”

Let’s examine more of the proposed changes. Quoting The Denver Post, “Trump wants to consolidate five income-driven plans into one that shortens the payment period to 15 years for undergraduates but raises the monthly bill to 12.5 percent of income for both undergraduates and graduate students.”

“What’s more, future borrowers would no longer have the option of working as teachers or social workers to receive debt forgiveness after 10 years of loan payments.”

Senator Patty Murray of Washington said, “At a time when millions of student are struggling under the crushing burden of student debt, it speaks volumes that President Trump and Secretary DeVos are proposing $200 billion in cuts in financial aid. This is a complete 180 from the agreement Republicans and Democrats made last week.”

“A violation… of faith,” as defined by Merriam-Webster. And “treason.”

It isn’t that treachery is all that novel a concept. M-W cites its origin from the 13th century Middle English trecherie, from Anglo-French, tricher, “to deceive”.

Traced back into Latin, treachery is related to the word “trick,” though it implies an act rather more sinister.

The OED cites William Caxton in 1474 writing that someone or other was “dysposyd to trechury and othyr ill tecchis.” Not to say, to the vagaries of Middle English spelling.

William Claxton, c. 1422–c. 1491, English merchant, diplomat, writer, printer. He was the first English retailer of books, and said to have introduced the printing press there in 1476.

I conclude today with a personal comment: My undergraduate education at Worcester Polytech had a partial scholarship funded by U.S. Steel Corporation, where my dad was a blue-collar employee. My graduate school in mathematics at Case Western Reserve was partially funded by an NASA grant. I worked part-time during both, and student loans were crucial as well.

My degrees helped earn me a job teaching at the College of the Virgin Islands, a land-grant college. Employment there qualified for partial forgiveness of my student loans.

I was fortunate indeed. And I am sad and angry to see such opportunities taken away from today’s students. Knowingly attacking our promising young people is indeed treachery. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018


  1. jlalbrecht64
    February 27, 2018

    This is not treason. That crime is very well described in the constitution. It is, however, a treachery of the basest sort. It is eating our seed corn. It is dooming our children to a lower standard of living than we had and have.

    I was able to graduate debt free from an in-state university. My grades and test scores would have taken me to Princeton. My finances, not so much. Today I don’t know what I would do.

    We need college graduates. Not just for the future of our economy, but college graduates earn more, meaning we pay more taxes. Who is going to pay for our retirement if most of the workers of tomorrow are all working for starvation wages at Walmart?

    For Trump to do this to our youth after giving a huge tax break to the wealthy? Treachery indeed!

  2. Industry Videos
    March 10, 2018

    After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any approach you may take away me from that service? Thanks!

    • simanaitissays
      March 10, 2018

      I’ll check with WordPress about this. (I’ve never used this WP feature.)

    • simanaitissays
      March 10, 2018

      Below is my query to Word Press and their (almost instant) response. I hope it solves the problem. d.

      Hi there,

      From a reader of my WordPress website: ‘After I originally
      commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now
      every time a remark is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there
      any approach you may take away me from that service? Thanks!’
      Thanks for your help.

      At the bottom of the emails the follower receives, there is a link to the subscription Options that they can click to go to a page where they can unsubscribe from the post’s comments. Please ask your reader to find that link in the email footer and click that to update their subscription settings.

      Feel free to let us know if there’s anything else you need and we’ll be happy to help.

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