The August 2016 decision of the Federal Court to award $3.3 million under the Native Title Act to traditional owners who were dispossessed of their land has once again made indigenous affairs a hot topic.
But land justice is a deeper concept than offering indigenous people piecemeal monetary compensation. We need a permanent solution that immediately improves outcomes for indigenous Australians across a variety of indicators such as life expectancy, employment, and incarceration rates. Aboriginal people have a life expectancy about 10 years less than non-indigenous Australians, are more likelyto be unemployed and are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned.
The current native title system tends to approach the problem by prescribing “traditional owners” who are often senior elders within a group of Aboriginals. Moreover, native title can only exist to the extent that there is no superior title to the land (for example, by mining companies or farmers). In practice, its scope is limited.
The effect of the present system has been to hamper the entrepreneurial talent of indigenous people living in remote communities. By now, we could have seen many Aboriginal millionaires who could have helped their communities in a far more effective manner than inefficient government programs ever could.
Instead, remote communities today are bastions of poverty.
Continue reading at Spectator Australia.
If Pennsylvania residents think taxes are high now, wait until they catch wind of the bill they’ll be footing under a new Obama administration regulation that could allow thousands of students to default on their loans.
The “borrower defense to repayment” regulation, created during the Clinton administration, was originally established to protect students from being exploited by universities.
If a university were to break state laws, students could petition to challenge their loan repayments.
However, new amendments to these regulations, which are currently in review before final publication, creates murky waters for students to evade repaying their loans, forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Continue reading at PennLive.
The Obama administration’s Department of Education recently proposed new rules to enable more students to sue universities that defrauded them. While the government should punish blatantly deceptive institutions, these proposed rules promise to penalize many high-quality colleges.
The rules will enable students of a university to sue and recoup their tuition if the university offered a “substantial misrepresentation” of elements like the employability of its graduates or the nature of its educational programs. This is a lower standard than mens rea, the legal principle in fraud cases that a crime requires intent. Troublingly, students can successfully sue whether or not the college intended to lie, meaning that universities will be subject to lawsuits over clerical errors.
This could be crippling. My alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder, brings in almost one-third of its revenue from tuition. If just one class of 5,000+ students were reimbursed for their tuition, the university with a substantial shortfall. This could mean cuts to valuable services. Because the University of Colorado is a public institution, taxpayers could also be called upon to make up the difference.
Continue reading at The Daily Caller.