Kids today still screwed – Student Loan Debt – Salon.com
Just in case anyone decided to “scam” themselves some free higher education by going to college and then declaring bankruptcy, Congress decided in 1998 to make sure that student loan debt had no statute of limitations and could not be discharged except in the event of extreme (and effectively unprovable) hardship. Then tuition began skyrocketing, players like Goldman Sachs got into the student lending business, and middle-class job opportunities for people without college degrees disappeared. The result, naturally, has been extremely profitable for certain people (Lally Weymouth) and basically awful for everyone else in America. Now, Eric Pianin is in Lally Weymouth’s Washington Post saying that student loan debt might be “the next debt bomb.”
Student Loan Debt a Lifetime Burden
My poor students are getting battered by an economy where there are few jobs in a nation where last year’s college graduates owed an average of $24,000 in student loans.
Other nations do not place the burden of higher education on the students. It is a matter of public expenditure. The United States has long been the leader in college graduates worldwide and no we are fourth. I see no prospect of that getting better but only worse. Education is not a commodity. It is a public good necessary for a successful society. For almost all students, the debts accumulated in college will last their entire lifetimes, making it difficult to buy homes, cars, etc. One of the great tragedies will be the necessity of working at a job that enables regular payments. The broad opportunities offered to previous generations are now limited to those that pay enough, and if you don’t get one of those, no matter how hard you work, you will never get even.
We can do better than this. We are a better people than this.