On a morning in July 2018, I woke up to what felt like good news.
Someone had untied Betsy Devos’ $40 million yacht, causing it to float adrift, and incur $5,000 – $10,000 in damages from scrapes.
Then, I felt sad. I felt depressed. And, now here I am in anger.
Who needs a $40 million yacht?
Is a million dollar yacht not enough? I originally felt good to see such a practice of civil disobedience. Then I realized just how crazy it is that someone even has a $40 million yacht.
For now, let’s ignore the fact that this $40 million dollar water vessel was docked in the land locked state of Ohio. Instead, let’s just wrap our head around the value of this recreation vehicle.
How Much Damage Was Done to Devos’s Yacht?
The damage to Devos’ yacht was estimated to be $5,000 – $10,000. Those damages are practically nothing in comparison to the price of the boat. At the maximum, $10,000 damage, those damages equate to .025% of the value of the yacht. That’s like losing 2.5 cents out of $100. Would you notice?
Since no one actually has a yacht or transportation vessel of such grand proportions, it’s hard to visualize such an expense. So, let’s compare it to something more familiar to normal people. Let’s say you have have a $30,000 car. The equivalent .025% damages to your car would be $7.50. That’s how rich Betsy Devos’ is. Her spending $10,000 to fix her yacht is the equivalent of you spending $7.50 to fix your car.
Betsy Devos is the Secretary of Education
As part of this role, she has the ability to address the student debt incurred throughout our country by college students. Yet, she has showed little concern for the issue, even moving to curtail student loan forgiveness for public servants. Devos’ has massive power over student loan policy, yet she’s never had a student loan nor have her children. But, she does have financial ties to debt collections agencies, which have likely contributed to her massive wealth.
The average student owes $37,000 when they graduate from college. That’s .0925% the cost of Devos’ $40 million yacht. One $40 million dollar yacht could pay off approximately 1,081 student loans, at the average loan amount. That’s how wealthy she is. She has a boat that’s equivalent to 1,081 people’s student loan debt.
To take it a step further, let’s look at medical school debt. It’s been estimated that the US could face a shortage of 120,000 physicians by 2030. As our society ages, we need doctors. Yet, medical school debt exponentially increases each year. In 2016, the average medical school debt was $190,000. The value of Devos’ boat is 210 times that of the average medical school students’ loan debt. For a boat!
There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Wealthy
The purpose of this post is not to demonize wealth. But, the point is to show the great disparity between the average US citizen, and those who are apparently appointed to serve them.
Personally, I have a hard time believing someone like Betsy Devos’ can even comprehend the the challenges and needs of today’s debt-ridden students graduating from college. And, these students are not irresponsible people, frivolously running up college debt. Many of them, such as future doctors, are needed for the health and wellness of each person in our society.
So, is Devos qualified to represent the american people? Is she qualified to represent the american student? Let me just try to relate…
I Have a $700 Water Vessel
I have a $700 paddleboard that I had to save up to buy several years ago. That’s my boat. I could buy 57,142 more of those paddleboards if I had the $40 million boat money Betsy Devos has.
But, if I had that money, I wouldn’t buy a boat. And, I wouldn’t buy 57,142 people paddleboards.
I’d pay off mine and my wife’s student loan debt. Then I’d proceed to open up a scholarship endowment to help other students pay for their education. That’s because I believe education is important, and I believe it should empower students to empower society.
It’s not wrong for Betsy Devos to own a boat worth $40 million, and store it in Ohio. It’s strange, yes. But if that’s what she wants to do with her money, so be it.
I’m more concerned with what she is doing on her day job, as the Secretary of Education. Rather than riddling students with debt, the education system should be structured to empower students, and provide a steady stream of qualified professionals to serve our society. Currently, we have a system that is built to saddle young Americans with debt. Meanwhile, the rule makers buy boats that make the average student’s debt appear as pennies.