Monday, June 13, 2016

The Broken Reimbursement System in America: Laureate International

I’m a firm supporter of Hillary Clinton. I believe most of the attacks against her are disingenuous, fabricated, misleading, or just outright lies. There will likely be critics of the Clintons bringing up President Clinton’s involvement in Laureate International as a counterpoint to the alleged fraud of Trump University. There are some facts that are of concern here, but there is no comparison to the alleged fraud Trump perpetrated on victims of his Trump U scam.

The fact is that for a period of years, President Clinton held an honorary and paid position with Laureate. Not only was President Clinton paid, he was paid very well for this honorary position to the tune of over $16 million. 

This culture of outrageous reimbursement for nebulous work leaves the public to wonder. This is the culture that we must break free from in the days and elections to come. I call it the millionaires shell game. Some of them don’t even realize they’re playing this game. 
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Predictably, Clinton critics are now connecting his honorary position and payment at Laureate International to State Department contracts Laureate received. That is where context is crucial.

Laureate claims they are helping or have helped over a million students around the globe. This global company involves a massive array of smaller institutions in 28 countries, hiring in excess of 64,000 employees. It’s likely Americans have heard of LI but in its non-profit vessel Sylvan Learning it purchased in 2003, when it refocused to post-secondary education. 

Considering the current debt burden of LI, it seems concerning they would be paying any honorary person millions a year. However, they do offer educations services around the world, which is why the company has a consistent relationship with the State Department. That is why the potential for the perception of a conflict of interest should have created pause for President Clinton to not take any paid position, honorary or otherwise. 
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There is a seeming tone deafness to these types of cavalier decisions that later come back to bite the Clintons. However, there is no wrongdoing, there is no scam, and there is no fraud here. The fact is that there’s no comparison between the alleged, systematic fraud perpetrated by Trump University and the paid but only honorary position President Clinton had with Laureate International. 

President Clinton appears to have done little to nothing at Laureate International except provide it more opportunities for press and additional coverage associated with his name. If I were the Clintons, I would donate the money earned from that honorary position to a non-profit education charity. 
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It is important to note that the Clintons have donated $15 million to charities over the last decade, and yes, half of that was donated to the Clinton Foundation, a foundation that has an A rating with charity watchdog groups. 

That being said, discussing the facts over hype is difficult in the current media and social media climate. We have to hold each other responsible for being factually correct and not becoming suckers for click bait internet news meant to further anger and outrage us.

There is a broken system of reimbursement in this country. We have to address and reform that broken system if we are ever to honestly tackle the economic woes that continue to strangle the middle class and keep so many of us from reaching our full potential.

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