My old business partner and friend has a great saying: “unfucking is much harder than fucking.” For the past 30+ years, Repulicans fuck up, and Democrats unfuck. Clinton unfucked the “Reagan Revolution”, Obama unfucked the terrible Bush years, and Biden will be unfucking the giant mess left by Trump.
I think we’ll all agree that we haven’t gotten the credit we deserve for our unfucks. Part of that is just because it’s hard to frame and message unfucks. Part of it is because some of those unfucks will create small inequties as part of solving bigger ones. And a big part of it is that we’re never in office long enough to well and truly unfuck situations.
A case in point is the absolute god damned mess that unfettered access to student loans has created in this country. Whether it’s $10K, $50K or some other amount of loan that’s forgiven, somebody’s going to be getting money that someone else thinks is undeserved. Yet far too little attention will be paid to the forty or so years during which our higher ed system gradually fucked the poor and middle class.
I worked in a small rural state college financial aid office in the late 80’s/early 90’s, so I was there just when loans were getting out of control. Here are some of the things that we could see happening that just have gotten much, much worse:
- The Pell Grant program, which was supposed to let poor kids go to school for basically free, was starting to be outstripped by inflation and tuition that rose faster than inflation. So, kids who had no idea about the kind of commitment they were making were getting thousands of dollars of debt as part of their financial aid package. Yet, from the point of view of the school, it didn’t matter because loan money and grant money paid tuition.
- The Perkins Loan program, which was essentially a federal loan fund administered by the school, was grossly underfunded after the Guaranteed Student Loan (Stafford Loan) program, administered by banks and passed by Congress after heavy bank lobbying. But the Perkins Loan program was so much more healthy for the school, because if the school had good collections, they could loan more money. With Perkins loans, the school had an positive incentive to make good loans. GSLs (and their follow-ons) had no such positive incentive – the school just had to keep its default rate down.
- Single moms from rural towns would use financial aid as an adjunct to all the other programs they were receiving, making barely OK progress towards some kind of degree, but incurring (for them) staggering debt as they did.
- Kids from little towns would come down for a semester or a year, unprepared for college, flunk out, and go home a few thousand dollars poorer. The debt wasn’t crippling, as it is now, but it sure didn’t help them start out in life.
- Programs of questionable academic merit with fairly large bureaucracies were started routinely, with the goal of snagging enrollment. We had more-or-less open admission, and the incremental cost of adding students to the university as a whole was fairly low, the institution worked to get more marginal students in the door, and many of them were attracted by these new, marginal academic programs.
- The Community College feeder system, while in general a good thing, was always trying to create four year degree granting programs, again because students with financial aid packages brought in money to the community. These programs were tiny, and I don’t think the graduates were of as high quality as the graduates from a comparable program at our college.
- We were starting to see a few transfers from private for-profit schools and it was clear those kids were absolutely worked over by those schools.
The government has an obvious interest in a higher ed system that is somewhat efficient, that allows students to fail without ruining them, and where four-year and community colleges stay in their lanes. The rocket fuel of financial aid, from what I saw, fucks with each of those goals. Colleges had “free money” that made them less efficient. Student failure led to burden, and there was duplication of effort between two-year and four-year schools. Private for-profit schools probably shouldn’t be allowed access to federal financial aid — it’s just too much of an incentive for them to screw kids.
So, this whole fucking mess needs to be unfucked. The first step is to try to address the inequity of giving kids massive loans. It is fundamentally unjust to allow kids who can’t even drink legally to commit themselves to a lifetime of debt. Free community college is a good next step. But the real answer is affordable public higher education, just like the least-great generation, the boomers, had. Unfortunately, around the mid-90s, we just decided that couldn’t happen. Now, Democrats are stuck with yet another unfuck that will make a lot of people unhappy.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
The good news is as Texas is showing, the Republicans compulsion to fuck things over simply for the sake of being a fuck up is now so strong now that the public will have plenty of distraction from the cleanup work.
I’m juuuust old enough that the loan programs in which I participated weren’t yet fucked. My total loans for undergrad were less than $5k, despite having gone to a small, private, liberal arts college (in Ohio . . . where I WAS, in fact, the head of the student council for a year . . .). Grad school loans were way way more. And then a technical school program, through the city colleges, cost a pile as well. Each time, the loans have been more difficult to get at a reasonable interest rate, and more loan money was needed. And I am still one of the lucky ones.
I guess I don’t understand that mindset. After college, and the late 80s recession, I owed about 21k. Took a while to pay it off (2004!). Won’t blink an eye if the loan fairy waves a wand and erases it all.
Hillary’s plan would accomplish this, and more – like unfucking the interest rates kids pay on their loans and making schools rein in their administration burden. People should read it.
Excellent summary. I personally think the best solution is to bend the tuition costs back down at all public universities. We don’t necessarily need to have 100% free tuition, just bend it back down to where it was in the 60s and 70s, which would be a couple thousand a year max. College is still going to be expensive in many high cost of living areas simply because of room and board. But those are costs that everyone faces whether or not you are attending college.
Private schools are the tougher nut. I’d be supportive of some new sorts of public/private partnerships. So, for example, if a private university in a city has a good nursing school or computer science program and those are high-demand programs in that area, let that private school tap into public subsidies so that students can attend there at subsidized public tuition levels. But that would also mean the private school meeting all the equity and non-discrimination rules that public schools follow. Would be a lot cheaper than say building a new duplicate public school of nursing. And only the sort of thing you would want to do when it makes sense from a public policy perspective. In other words, instead of giving big loans to kids to attend private schools, we bend the cost down within private schools (at least for degree programs that have a public purpose) so that kids don’t need the big loans in the first place.
Fungelical schools with religious discrimination need not apply.
I don’t have time right now to even begin to address this. I have some bona fides on this as the financial aid administrator at my campus of a major public research university since 1998 and, before that, working at the local community college for nine years providing support, including help getting aid, to our disabled students and teaching GED prep. I’ve been immersed in financial aid my entire career in higher education. Some points you make are good. But some of it is so not right that I really want to take the time to pull it all apart, but I am too busy actually coordinating aid for our current and future students this time of year that I can’t really address it all right now.
Suffice it to say that there is a lot wrong here. Or, at the very least, outdated or specific to your state.
As to financing college, a lot of Boomers (Boomer here) just don’t get the problem because they never experienced it themselves and very many of them don’t have kids who have. And as you say, until we re-create the Cal model for the country, it’s going to remain a serious impediment to people seeking a college education.
(As an aside, that’s perfectly ok with a lot of status-conscious Republicans, who of course deserve a college education themselves and for their kids, but who become righteously angry whenever some uppity Other suggests they might deserve at least a shot at an affordable one.)
And as to unfucking, it’s made even harder by a Republican party and its media-sphere that remain intent on continuing the fucking. (And it’s not helped when Dems don’t toot their own horn as loudly as they should.) It’s pretty tough when you’re the only one bailing and the other guys are working just as hard to dump water back into the boat.
This is excellent.
My mom wanted to be a nurse her whole life and started nursing school right out of high school. Got married, didn’t finish. Restarted school at least 3 more times and eventually finished in her 60s. She picked up a lot of debt each time. :-(
Another anecdote – I know of more than a few people who used 5% student loans to buy 14% CDs or other non-educational things. It’s hard to make financial benefit programs that cannot be abused by some player in the system.
My father went to Emory and the U of Chicago for college and GaTech for his MS at night (via his work at Lockheed). He didn’t have loans to worry about.
Most of the funding for education needs to come from the states, the federal government, and businesses. Businesses need educated and trained workers and shouldn’t expect their employees to bear those costs when they didn’t in my father’s generation.
Having students pay huge costs is wrong. I don’t know the best way to fix it now, but the politics must be considered because, after all, we can’t fix all the other stuff if we’re voted out of office…
The larger problem driving the whole thing: States have cut taxes and appropriations for higher education, passing the bill along to the schools (which also saw increasing costs from unfunded mandates), leading to increases to tuition. It’s not just “free money.” Rather, it’s more a matter of trying to do the same thing (and new things) with less money, and then having to make up the difference in tuitions and new fee structures, all while legislators continue to attack “rising costs” (and cutting taxes or refusing to raise taxes).
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@geg6: I’ve been out of financial aid since the early 90’s, so I may have misremembered some details. Also, some if it is very specific to that peculiar rural state. When you have some time, drop me a note ([email protected]) and we can arrange a guest post so you can share your take.
I think Tennessee has been trying to lower the cost of attending state schools. I don’t know how well it’s working.
I’ve been through much of this since the late 60’s. GED, GI Bill, BEOG. Vocational Rehab, Guaranteed loans and more. I’m 71, managed a decent 20 year career in higher ed and now have a decent retirement and have $4000 left to pay off.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
are essential points. I’d feel a lot better about the politics of this if it were tied to some kind of broader debt relief plan/s. And as much as I am usually a fan of SPW, I wish she would stop with the “Biden can do this with the stroke of a pen!” stuff, and she and others would quit downplaying the 10K
When federal loans were like 3% I know some of my ex-wife’s fellow students were using it to buy cars in addition to books and tuition. I mean yeah it is a good deal – but it’s always irritating when complaints by people about a program that they themselves are abusing – eg a conservative student would abuse the shit out of a loan, while also complaining about abuse and that’s why govt shouldn’t fund it.
I think these assholes do it just so that nobody else can take advantage of a program they are currently exploiting.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@RevDocEDJ: Agreed that state legislatures take a big part of the blame. Unfortunately, the easy availability of student loans let students go to school and rack up debt instead of putting pressure on legislatures to better fund higher ed.
If Kay were here, she would say that one simple fix is to make it easier to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy. Currently, there is a higher burden that is almost impossible to meet.
Bard the Grim
Do you really mean “Private” in the 2nd sentence, or “private for-profit”?
@cain: I used to get a short-term loan, buy an LB and sell 12 lids and, keep a 1/4 pay the loan back. It was like magic!
The student loans I am still paying are from grad school (which I started after turning 40). My school decided, halfway through my degree, to ‘redirect’ the monies from the scholarship program covering my tuition. They argued that their finances were so troubled they had no choice to use the money for other budget items. They found some minor provision in the endowment fund documentation to allow them to do this – which always felt so baldly false, but no one could figure out how to prove it.
So, I had the choice of either paying for everything out of pocket, taking out loans, or shelving the whole thing. Did I mention they jacked up tuition prior to letting us know the scholarships were cancelled?
So, in order to finish, I added 15k of student loan debt. That was awesome.
Still – if the Biden administration decided to forgive student loan debt for my kids instead of me, that would be my preference. I’d rather they don’t start their careers with any student loan debt. My kids have done excellent work to boost their scholarships, so they should be ok no matter what, but even dumping the small loan debt would be awesome (because even with great scholarships, it never seems to be enough to cover the monstrous tuition rates).
Okay, one thing you got absolutely right:
This is the absolute truth. The current annual maximum of $6345 should be doubled. No doubt about that. This one thing, in itself, would decrease student debt by a ridiculous amount. Most students who would qualify for the maximum would be able to pay a full year or most of a full year of tuition at a state university for that amount. All they would have to find further financing for would be room and board (if living away from home), books and other incidentals. Many of these students will also qualify for other federal, state or institutional grants and/or scholarships, so much of those costs will also be covered.
Not just the kids under onerous debt, lot’s of folks went to school late in life that may never see their way clear – and the government will not hesitate to garnish your social security.
From a purely business perspective, it was a bad investment. I’ll never pay off just the interest, and it was one of those things that had me holding my breath as I filled in the Biden/Harris dot.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@Bard the Grim: “Private for-profit” is what I meant. Fixed, thanks.
What I remember is what RevDocEDJ @9 says: states cut radically cut back their support for higher ed.
In my hometown of NYC, the city’s brush with bankruptcy had the city turning its university system over to the state, and the days of free tuition were over.
I may have told this story before: my older cousin who went to CUNY and majored in English claims her only expense was subway fare. She lived at home — no room or board to pay — and her major meant no books to buy — “We read novels and I could take them out of the public library.”
Now obviously she exaggerates for effect, and state funding cutbacks were not the only factor in the nationwide increase in college costs. But it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@geg6: Since this post was overly long, I didn’t even mention Federal Work Study, an excellent program that allowed the financial aid office to be well-stocked with smart, hard-working students (not really joking, we did get the pick of the crop). Kids who were from little towns and sometimes not the best high schools not only worked for us, we looked out for them, helped them with classes, etc. At that time, only the highest need students got it, which was a shame, as far as I was concerned. They did far better working for us than having a shitty, exploitative job in our little college town.
@Baud: As a bankruptcy practitioner, I wholeheartedly agree. There are some courts trying to find innovative solutions to the student loan crisis within the bankruptcy system (basically loan modification programs) but they require a certain amount of buy in from the lenders and unlike the mortgage industry, the low amount of actual risk these lenders are exposed to seems to be a barrier.
This, however, I must dispute as a dirty misrepresentation:
I can only base my objection on my own experience, but schools where I worked made sure students knew what their aid packages included and what type of aid it was. And neither school I worked for ever packaged loans in excess of the annual federal limits based on educational level for federal student loans. I know that some schools package Parent PLUS or private educational loans and I do not feel that is ethical, but no institution I ever worked for did or does. We are completely transparent as to what students may need to finance outside of federal, state and University aid and we go into great depth on our award notifications and orientation programs to discuss these issues. At my campus, a student cannot move in until he/she meets with me and discusses their aid, their current billing balance and what options are available. I have met with students and parents on move-in day and, after the explanation, take their kid home because they now understood the financial ramifications. I am not punished when that happens. In fact, it is something we are encouraged to do in order to make sure students and their families are not financially overburdened.
@geg6: If you do a guest post, I’d love to hear more about why we should increase Pell grants. In particular, I suspect that schools budget against net debt from students, so within 5 years, wouldn’t tuition have increased by, well, exactly the increase in the Pell grant? In other words, is this anything but a straight pass through to the schools?
I share the goal of students coming out less indebted, but I’m not sure I see how this accomplishes that.
I don’t know enough history or economics to back this supposition but I always put the end of free municipal college and the cutback of state funding/increase in individual responsibility to pay for college under the heading, “The beginning of the backlash to the Great Society/the Rise of Neoliberalism.”
Now, after decades of being squeezed by this economic approach, maybe we have reached a tipping point?
I limboed under the bar in the late 80s via Pell Grants and fed work-study programs and graduated with almost zero debt — completely supporting myself all four years with almost no help from my parents via minimum wage jobs. There’s no way on earth my kid could do that.
As someone who went to a for profit fraud of a school and got stuck with 54k in absolutely useless debt while the fraudsters skated with ELEVEN BILLION DOLLARS, I’m pretty furious at the whole system. Frankly, I think we should stop making college the high school you have to pay for, and make it once again something to pursue for a reason.
I never wanted to go to college, and had there been literally any option for me to work in even a minor way in my chosen field then I would have been working from the age of 14 instead.
I despise it, and I’m angry that I despise it, because I still love learning, but other people with less drive to autodidact will just resent education in general.
I hope you take up Mistermix’s offer to do a guest post when you have the time. It sounds as though you have the experience and expertise to drill down on this subject, and we would all benefit from your contribution.
Nicely summed up! If I had known then, I would have kept trying to power through college in the late 70s. Then again, maybe I wasn’t cut out for an academic career. Computers were just starting and there were no degrees, and I fell into that.
@Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix:
I LOOOOOOOOVE Federal Work Study! The financial requirements for eligibility are flexible enough that schools can expand it to students who don’t qualify for the big federal grant programs. Meaning middle class kids can get those awards, too. And it really seems to have an effect on educational outcomes, especially for students who may be somewhat academically marginal. Mentoring from their campus employers is a big factor.
Most of the problems I see come from the states not funding state tuition like they used to. Oh, I have worked in Financial Aid for 27 years at a state University. States vary wildly from each other in how much they fund and how jacked up their tuition rates are. Costs of living vary too which would also mean they have to pay their teachers and other workers higher if they are in a high cost area. I have seen tuition rates and overall costs hugely different even in side by side states. this impacts the debt. I don’t know that the Feds can lead the states back into supporting their own kids, but it would maybe help if more of the public knew about this side of the issue.
I wish we still had Perkins loans but they were ended completely.
A few years ago subsidized loans for Grad students were ended, meaning all their debt is accruing interest while they are in school. I think that is insane. Personally I would like all student debt to be subsidized while in school.
Florida, oddly enough considering how bad we are on many issues, is actually one of the states that has done relatively well at controlling costs. Not well enough, but when I look at other states…well. I think some of it was in the 70’s our state did a bunch of smart things for our state higher ed that ended up lasting. We were I was told imitating California and North Carolina.
Back then, I was told, the state paid 2/3’s of the instate tuition of all state students, so the students just had to cover 1/3 the cost. It made it pretty affordable. Minimum wage was closer to a living wage too.
Any minimum wage hike needs to have automatic inflation increases so it doesn’t erode all over again.
There goes some bank that definitely does NOT know their customer.
@cain: When I got my student loans in 1976 to 1980 the money went right to the college NOT to me. THAT is how is should be done.
There are really two separate problems here. That each require separate solutions.
First, how do we unfuck the system for current and future students? That is mostly going to involve reducing costs and increasing state/Federal subsidies for higher eduction.
Second, how do we unfuck the system for graduates burdened with debt? That’s mostly going to involve loan forgiveness programs of some sort. Whether they are universal, work-related, or bankruptcy related, or a combination of all three.
I can’t speak for other schools, but all campuses other than the main campus at my University has not increased in-state tuition in five years. And at the main campus, the increases have been 1% or less over that time. So it would not be a danger for us.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@geg6: Yes, absolutely true that the award letter clearly spelled out the kinds of aid, and students were told they were incurring a debt. And the types of loans (back then it was GSL, SLS and PLUS) were watched carefully — you had to be a special case to get more than a GSL as an undergrad.
First, as I remember packages back then, for a total year they might have been $5-8K and maybe $1-3K would be loans, so it wasn’t staggering debt at that time. I think most kids left the school with less than $10K in debt. Today’s environment is much worse.
Second, no matter the quality of the counseling, it just isn’t fair to expect an 18 year-old who sees a bunch of adults telling her or him that this is the way to pay for college, to make a good decision for them. This is the first real financial transaction of their lives, in many cases. They have no real idea what it means to take on that kind of debt. Loans should be a much smaller part of the package.
That’s because of the focus on less and less taxes – the states don’t have the kind of revenue they used to get and thus things like university tuition becomes a luxury. You can especially thank Republicans for this. The whole MAGA thing is such a laugh because I don’t know what period of time they are talking about – but if it was the 50s and 60s the effective tax rate was pretty damn high. But we did a lot of great stuff infrastructure like highways, space travel and all of that – lot of govt innovation that lead to private sector products.
We’ve become a small minded set of people.. I blame the GOP.
The problem is that both Dems and Republicans start asking “how are we going to pay for it” b.s. Like we didn’t spend 4 trillion dollars on a war that got us nothing in return. If we can fund Iraq War and any other foreign policy boondoggles we can do this.
Each of those boondoggles were started by Republicans and failed to reap any kind of profit tot he nation. These assholes love to spend fed money up to billions so some singular company can make a big profit. So much waste.
Great column, and on point.
I tweeted about my experience with massive student loan debt here.
@Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix: We saw that here in Florida in spades when the lottery came in. The sales pitch to the marks was the lottery money would go to fund extra programs that the overall budget couldn’t fund. Now they make a big deal over how much money the lottery has contributed to education, but they forget to put the * in that shows how much the lottery has been offset by budget cuts due to the “extra money”
@geg6: Most of the directors of Financial Aid as well as many others who work here were former work study students. We do look after the students, and often are better than off campus regular jobs because many on campus jobs can use student workers between classes. I used to have classes with hours of no classes in between. No sense in going home, I just worked an hour or 2 then returned to class, and had evenings to study. A regular job didn’t care what your grades were and bosses were always forgetting your schedule and putting you on work when you had classes……
When Covid shut us down, we were allowed to pay work study as a grant that spring term. It was a little complicated and based on the assumption the student would continue to earn about the same amount weekly they already had but it sure helped.
I began my life in higher education in 1961 as a freshman at a small liberal arts college. I got my Ph.D. from an Ivy League school. I retired in 2007 as a professor of history at an urban Catholic university. Thus I watched with bemusement the changes in the cost and price structure of higher education. An interesting exercise is to plug what I remember as the costs at the beginning of my experience into an inflation calculator.
Tuition, room and board at my college in 1961: $1300 per year. That would be $19,000 in 2021. Actual costs today, over $60,000. Graduate tuition in 1965-68: $2400. That would be $20,000. Actual costs today, around $40,000. Tuition, room and board at my university in the 1970s: $4000. That would be $26,000. Actual costs, around $50,000 or more. I’ve lost track.
Just as a matter of comparison, my starting salary in 1971 would be about $60,000, which is possibly more than a starting assistant professor would make today. Also, more of the courses in 2021 are taught by underpaid adjuncts so the added costs are not going to instruction.
So when we talk about student debt, we also have to take into account the cost/price structure. While my figures reflect private higher education, I am sure the same comparison with public higher education could be made. In fact, the differences may be greater in that sector.
I don’t know if the above calculations add anything to the discussion of the student debt issue, but I have to think that they are significant.
Um, nope. This happened long before the 90s.
I’m (technically) a boomer. I was born in the last two weeks of the Eisenhower admin. I was able to pay for all but my senior year of undergrad, specifically because REAGAN changed the rules, losing the “you’re the oldest kid with 3 kids behind; you get an SEOG in addition to BEOG and Pell and work-study”. And then had to take loans out for grad school as well.
So this goes back to 1982 and the Reaganite hatred of edumacated folks, especially us uppity women.
I’m a very tail end boomer, and my first BS and MS left me with no debt thanks to scholarships and being a graduate teaching assistant. The bottom fell out of that career in the early ’90’s recession and I decided I wanted to become a physical therapist. I lived in a town where the Uni had that program, my house payment was less than rent (a tiny house before it was cool), but when I saw that tuition for the program was more than I could get via student loans, I changed plans.
My career path changed and time and marriage let me get an education as a dental hygienist without debt; the program was expensive and you had to immediately throw down $2,000 for your instruments and another $600 for the custom magnifying glasses, on top of tuition. The two that flunked out had to eat those nonreturnable materials costs. It was a good career for the 12 years I practiced (Covid made me decide to retire), but the physical demands of the job take a heavy toll and 3 of the people I graduated with have had to quit practicing due to repetitive strain injuries, neck damage, etc. and it’s not like the skills transfer to something else (some go into dental sales but now that requires a business degree and excellent looks certainly helps). So, expensive degree, high risk of work related physical damage but cheaper than a PT or RN degree, sort of.
How does this country expect to thrive and innovate when higher education costs preclude some people from starting or completing a degree, and burdens so many with so much debt that they can’t get on the first rung to home ownership or starting a family? The people who are so opposed to for giving student debt relief only remember that a semester of tuition was $250 when they were in college.
I went back to finish my undergrad when my kids were in high school. I received the Pell, but had to take out the max in loans to help my husband cover rent, food etc. Then he went for his Phd. He had a full ride (that covered tuition + a very little), but with the kids, he still had to take out the max in Alaska student loans. I worked 2 jobs and worked on paying back my loans. The kids all got part-time jobs for clothes and spending money. We were still pretty marginal. When he finished the PhD, he got a post-doc in the UK. Off we went. I got a job as a part-time bar maid. We paid on the student loans. I took a MSc while we there- cause why not it’s only $20,000. Moved to Canada after the UK, but jobs for highly overqualified immigrants with post-gradual degrees are very hard to come by. So we postponed/took forbearance on paying the student loans when we had to. It took eight years of 90 day contracts before I was hired on permanent full-time with the gov’t. My husband does contract teaching at a local uni. I make good money (for Canada), but we still live like grad students – small/cheap apartment; no vacations, meals out, live music (when it was allowed); 21 year old car; little savings. I owe more now than when the loans were brand spanking new. We will continue to pay and we will both croak before they are paid off. Good! Even if anything came about to help under the Biden administration, it probably won’t help us as our undergraduate degrees have long been paid for.
Lucky duck from the 70’s whose father wanted his kids to go to college as he never did and had the wherewithal and desire to pay for it, having worked his way to upper middle classdom. I was able to self fund graduate school with TA jobs and fellowships. I just cringe at this subject and how we as a nation let this happen…starting with Reagan defunding state schools in California to for profit fake schools ripping off kids blind. Like healthcare, the majority of wealthy and even not so wealthy countries have figured out that you shouldn’t start your productive years with prodigious debt. It saps the wealth of nations.
It’s a real problem and a lot of deserving kids are kept out because they or their families don’t have the knowledge or resources to navigate the system, although the school district here goes to great lengths to assist college search, FAFSA applications, etc., even during the COVID year. The class of 2021 is similarly borked; hopefully, 2022 will have a more normal transition.
ATM it’s possible to attend the first two California CC years free, after which transfer into CS and UC systems is supposedly guaranteed (don’t know exactly how that works). With our college freshman we’re still dishing out five figures/year after her academic and athletic scholarships are accounted for, but she’ll head to grad/medical school with no debt. Then, the bills really rack up but one boat anchor is better than two.
@gvg: We did the same for our work study students last spring. However, it turns our that, since then, we’ve been able to get them all back to work, either remotely or on campus (depending on the job).We also pay better than federal minimum wage, so it’s a good job for a college student in every possible way. We have also made a big commitment to student workers, regardless of whether they get Federal Work Study. Our Chancellor sets aside a portion of her budget specifically to hire students in on campus jobs. It’s a great and generous use of those funds.
Hmmm…when we get done here, can we get a thread to talk about what an enormous, Putin-paid tool Ron Johnson is? He just called the trumpov rioters “festive”, accused the police of inciting them, and cited some BS account about ‘fake trump supporters’ being mixed in with the crowd.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
As a bankruptcy dabbler, I heartily endorse this. Pick a time period – five to seven years – for dischargability. Retool the program to one where the institution bears the risk of a defaulted student loan, which will give them the buy-in on providing educational experiences that lead to value.
@Damien: A key part is to make not going to college an economically viable life alternative.
Is there anything more deliciously Rudy than comically trying to dodge a process server? I think not.
“Yakity Sax” musical accompaniment seems apt.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@trollhattan: wouldn’t you just roll them up and stick them in a bottle of fancy single malt? or bribe a waiter to wrap them around his second bloody mary in whatever hotel bar he’s drinking his breakfast in?
@Damien: I signed a parent PLUS loan for my son at one of those for profit fraudulent Corinthian schools, mainly because at the time I had a good job and could afford it; and because it was the first time since he was five I had seen my 20 year old son excited and engaged at the thought of going to school. He figured out pretty quickly it was a scam, but finished the program and graduated anyway.
After paying a great deal of the loan off, I got laid off. Long story short, with deferrals, forebearance, and now with them garnishing my SS, I still owe $8k more than the original loan, and that’s after paying almost half of it off initially. I’ll die with that loan.
My sense is that forgiving college loans addresses the wrong end of the financial crisis. Sort of like using federal disaster assistance to pay the exorbitant electricity charges accrued in Texas last week.
I’m somewhat familiar with the University of California system (UCB, UCD, UCI, UCSC, UCSD & UCSF between spouse, kids & me). Back in the early Holocene when I attended, I could pay ‘tuition’, books & living expenses by working in a campus cafeteria. No loans. But over the years since then, the burden of tuition & fees has shifted from state taxes to the students. I can’t find the exact numbers, but I *think* California currently only covers about a third of costs—students (~$17K per year including health insurance) & various grants make up the rest. I’d like to see my state move back to an understanding that higher education benefits everyone. Not the European model of free college per se, but something close…
I would have to disagree with you there, we are still very much living in Ronnie’s World.
Just because David Brooks is the progressive on the News Hour today does not mean we’ve un-anything.
@DropDminus: The low risk to the lender reminds me uncomfortably of the 2007 credit default swaps, where the mortgage lenders suddenly faced no risk at all since they could sell the mortgage. That freed them to write lots of bad loans since defaults didn’t affect their books.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Poe Larity: I’m so old I remember “The era. Of big government. Is OVER”
@geg6: mistermix already touched on this, but.
It’s not that the school doesn’t explain what the loans are and what the commitment is. The problem is that they’re explaining it to 17-19-year-olds who, for the most part, do not have the financial wisdom, life experience or biological capacity to fully understand what taking on that kind of debt is going to mean for them 5, 8, 15 years in the future. You may be just starting to get kids now whose own parents had to deal with crippling educational debt, but even that’s a fairly recent development due to when it all blew up.
I was in California as the evil Governor Reagan systematically destroyed the higher ed system. It was a culture war thing, a horse the GOP rode for the next fifty years. Not a bug, but a feature. The resentful and poorly educated love it, it destroys the middle class from within, and it destroys hope for the young, which I really think is the only thing the GOP truly believes in.
This is all by design, and Reagan pioneered the model. Charge for what used to be free (community colleges), and charge private-college tuition levels for the formerly low-cost State colleges. Destroy hope, and kick the young every time.
As for the fucking/unfucking bit, it seems to me that Ds unfuck things back to just about where they are livable and then Rs sweep in and fuck things back up. This point of view may be why my politics are getting steadily more radical as I age.
Regarding higher ed costs, I made it through a small, expensive, private liberal college with a combination of NDEA loans and scholarships that covered about half of tuition, room and board while my parents made up the other half. I did have to sell a piece of land I inherited that is on Antietam Creek in Maryland to cover my senior year, though. Pocket money came from work in the geology department (my major) and senior year as an R.A.. The loans I paid off in a couple of years once I began my working life after grad school. In grad school, I had a tuition waiver and a teaching assistantship that allowed me to live at a subsistence level plus beer money. Mind you, I graduated college in 1972 so a lot of this is moot.
If I have a point to make, I guess it is that people need to see that an increased tax base, on any level, can be very effective if spent on things like infrastructure, research and development, education and health. People are just plain way too selfish. I am not very hopeful as long as Rs continue to distract voters with cultural issues while ignoring the real problems this country has.
I graduated from the University of Oregon Debt free in 1980. The state picked up a much larger share of the university’s budget then, Pell grants, good summer jobs and I worked the after lunch clean up shift at my dorm. Too sleepy to study or attend lectures after lunch;-). The good summer jobs seem to be harder to find. The vegetable cannery I worked at several summers is gone. The last two summers I had a great job as a laborer building logging roads. Not much need for anymore logging roads and less need for unskilled labor for the work that remains.
@geg6: Ah, got it. At my (public) alma mater, tuition has roughly tripled in 20 years. And the state is continuing a 30 year trend of reducing funding, both gross and per student. So I strongly suspect the state would reduce funding by nearly the equivalent amount if they saw free federal cash coming at them…
College students don’t do this on their own. Typically, it’s the parents who have to go through the maze of financial aid forms and applications.
And college is voluntary. The extra benefit of a college degree is rapidly declining. And to people who don’t go to college, the emphasis on bailing out college students sounds like insistence on a new middle class entitlement, not necessary social policy.
And when so many public schools are so shitty, college is an unattainable fantasy for too many people.
But the middle class is more vocal and has more access to forums to make their wishes known.
That said, there were times when I struggled to pay off my own student debt, and there is no universe in which I will ever say “well, if I had to struggle then the current generation of college students should have to struggle, too.”
I also see that some well-heeled colleges with strong endowments have been promising full financial aid to incoming students.
Solutions about student debt need to be part of a larger package of education reform and school funding.
Ass many have no doubt noted, community college, of high school plus, used to be free. I am not sure what happened with local and state budgets that have made this a problem.
And here in California, we had community colleges, the Cal State college system, and the UC system which allowed affordable levels of access. But increasing tuition and fees make this increasingly out of reach for too many students.
There are over 46 million folks tramp in a dark hole of $1.6 TRILLIONS debt. About 80% of this debt is held by the federal government, the remainder is held by the private sector. The individual tramp under these circumstances is being financially and emotionally crushed, can’t buy a home, can’t move out of their parent’s house, can’t launch their financial lives in any meaningful way. If there is a more potent way for federal dollars to ease the economic and financial inequality for a greater number of people of all racial lines I don’t know it. All the noise by the neocons is just that, and Biden should completely ignore it, take the initiative and wipe out all student debt so that the deficit becomes so massive that when and if the GQP regains power and wishes to reward the 1% with more tax cuts they will, in essence, be arguing against themselves: “We need more tax cuts for our rich donors but wait, the deficit is exploding.” This is the trick they play on the Democrats and the Democrats will be wise to return the favor.
I did my undergrad at a private selective “nonprofit” with a huge endowment. It was the turn of the millennium; now these types of schools offer more aid for Pell-grant/work-study qualified kids like I was. Instead I ended up with a ton of private parent loans to make up the difference between high cost of attendance and stingy aid. It wasn’t clear to 17-year-old me the difference between these and the Perkins and Stafford loans. And then it turned out that the financial aid counselors at my university and several others were actually taking kickbacks to steer students like me into these private loans… A couple people pleaded guilty, but no one got their loans forgiven.
@catclub: It was a short term loan from the University and they had special earmarked funds for veterans. It was called “getting over”.
Echoing several comments above re: lottery $$$ going to education- ha!
Obviously each state is its own universe, but how much higher ed costs outrunning CPI is due to states cutting support compared to other issues internal to ‘big edu’? Thinking in terms of how medical costs have outrun inflation for reasons x, y, z, as an example.
Private schools will be forced to compete with cheap public schools. Public school tuition serves as a reality check on what private schools can charge. When we stopped subsidizing public schools as much and tuition went way up, it gave private schools license to raise their tuition even more. If we go back to having public schools be affordable to ordinary people, private schools will have to offer something really compelling to justify what they’re charging today. In practice, they’ll probably wind up offering a lot more need-based financial aid, which they can afford to do because of their massive endowments, rather than lowering the top line tuition, but the effect will be to make them more affordable to ordinary people.
This is OT, but is anyone watching the testimony of the former capitol police leaders? Is it interesting or a shitshow?
This is actually not true. The benefit is increasing and going in the other direction. The economic outcomes of college educated and non-college educated cohorts are actually rapidly diverging in our current economy. In terms of wages, unemployment rates, health, and pretty much every metric.
For example, during the pandemic the current unemployment rates (from last fall) are as follows:
There is your benefit from college education right there.
A lot of conservatism is about protecting the status of the people currently at the top by blocking means of social mobility. It doesn’t matter to conservatives that they used the programs they’re now killing; what matters is protecting where they are now.
Economists disagree on this issue.
Some of this is due to the fact that the children of upper income people have an overall advantage that continues all through life.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@MisterForkbeard: I can’t watch these hearings anymore because the Republicans make me so angry. As Jeffro pointed out above, Ron Johnson put on quite a little show. (video)
@Roger Moore: Most private colleges don’t have massive endowments. Probably less than 5% actually do. So a lot of mid-range private schools are going to be in for a world of hurt unless they can tap into some sort of public subsidies.
@Angie: But I am not explaining it just to the kids. Whomever has brought that child to campus is sitting right there. 99% of the time, it is a parent or grandparent. Most adults have experience with financial decisions, for better or worse. It’s not like trying to make them understand Latin. This is why we get some of those people who change their minds.
ETA: And we don’t wait for move in day to talk to parents. Our summer orientation for freshmen requires a parent or guardian and we have specific parent only sessions at orientation to dig into the meat of financing.
@Brachiator: I have a 17 year old HS senior getting ready to go to college. What non-college careers would you recommend to a 17 year old today? That will be a superior choice than attending college and pursuing some sort of in-demand specialty?
@Xavier: agreed, for some reason we’ve discounted or skewed our perception of the trades, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, etc…
These are all jobs that need doing and that should pay well and I’m not sure that we need a college degree to perform them. Everything from window installation to laying flooring. What used to be called “honest work” that requires it’s own intelligence, experience, expertise to get good workmanship and quality.
@Kent: aircraft mechanics, electrician
@MisterForkbeard: I am not watching, but I confidently predict “this part is a shitshow” will be strongly correlated with the letter “(R)” after a name.
I went to college forever ago but now I’m in the military and the current GI Bill is fabulous. I’ll go back to school when I retire just to use it. Tuition paid for AND you get E-5 BAH. It’s crazy good.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
These fools live in their own reality. They are hopeless.
@Ken: Can’t disagree with that.
The real question is whether the former LEOs are going along with it or not.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
He should get a visit from the FBI/NSA – I think when you’re again promoting and supporting insurrectionists that you are promoting the chance to do it again.
Tangental but many schools (private, at least)offer non revenue generating sports, lacrosse, hockey, golf, skiing, equestrian, fencing… because they attract student-athletes whose folks can afford the tuition without much assistance, if any, and because they attract alumni support.
Soon, it may not matter. And it’s not limited to Wisconsin.
I graduated in 1996 with no debt. I was able to pay my tuition with just my minimum wage jobs and some help from my parents. My dad is a professor so I got my tuition half off which helped enormously.
In 2008, I got my masters and work paid for it so most of my education has been pretty much debt free and I can’t imagine what a jail it must be for others who are in $50k in debt. My exwife just only recently paid her student loan and she was lucky it was only a 2% interest one before everything went to shit. It took her nearly 14 years after graduating to pay it off and that too aggressively.
Good luck getting a job in one of those construction trades in a lot of parts of the country if you aren’t immigrant labor. My experience in Texas was that all the subcontractors doing things like flooring, sheetrock, stone work, etc. were all largely Hispanic shops. You can walk through a lot of construction sites in Texas and not find anyone who speaks English other than the foremen.
Unfucking III: The Unfuckery
One thing that chaps my cheeks is that all these idiots talking about free market magical pony and not realizing that you need an educated workforce to compete with the rest of the world – labor intensive jobs are slowly moving towards AI + robotics at least from a factory perspective. I think labor is going to have some challenges going forward.
A middle class life I would say will be something like skilled labor like electrician, plumber etc and then things like technocratic type jobs. I think eventually even things like taxis are all going to be taken over by robots or automated cars. (which as a lot of troubling issues especially in countries that are not democratic)
But we absolutely need to put education front and center – not only because of jobs but also to give people the tools to counter social media spread propaganda. Of course, you can’t learn wisdom but at least being trained in asking questions is a good thing.
@raven: Don’t get high on your own supply…. til later on at night.
That 17 yo could pursue one of the trades, which pay quite well, even during the apprenticeship phase of their training. Most of the trade workers I know make gallons of money and they are in great demand.
Those aren’t that good of jobs. Median salary is about $25/hr. which is about what a substitute teacher makes around here. You aren’t going to buy a house and support a family on those wages anywhere near here: https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Aircraft_Mechanic_%2F_Service_Technician/Hourly_Rate
Don’t forget about the book allowance! The BAH for the Pittsburgh region (where my campus is) is good money.
It’s not just about lower state taxes. It’s also about the war on
Those Peoplecrime eating up more and more of state budgets. People love to point out that it’s far more expensive to keep someone in prison for a year than to send them to university for a year. We need to put fewer people in prison for less time and use the savings to pay for more education.
Professional video game player? YouTube influencer?
Of course, if you are seriously asking me about career choices for your own children, then there is a bigger problem here.
But of course, I never said or implied that people should not go to college.
Of course, one thing that is sad is when today’s in-demand specialty becomes largely irrelevant a few years after graduation.
@raven: A buddy and I did similar, though the loan was a front from the supplier. As long as we were willing to handle the ‘administrative overhead,’ everybody involved was satisfied.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Lots of money and opportunity in the skilled trades – electrician, plumber, HVAC.
The guys I went to high school with that went the trades route had their own businesses by their late 30s-early 40s, with plenty of money left over for boats, travel, RVs, motorcycles, golf, mistresses, etc.
Well, that’s Texas. Here in PA, only non-skilled labor job might be filled by immigrants. Carpenters, plumbers, welders, heavy equipment operators, electricians and such are all in a union and are paid fantastic wages.
This is true – easily 80-120k a year.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
I’d say that here, it’s higher for journeyman electricians – $30-35, not counting OT (and there’s a lot of OT). And that’s just for grunts – step it up for supervisory roles.
It also doesn’t include side work, and there’s a ton of that.
This is a great point – here in Oregon we have pretty much removed the war on drugs since now it is legal to possess any drug but still illegal to sell them. That means a lot less incarceration for non-violent offenses. So we should be trending less in terms how much we pay for prisons.
Of course conservatives love to pay for things that lock people up even though it is way more expensive than education programs or anything. I guess there is something cathartic about locking people up – must come from the Puritan mindset.
James E Powell
Agreed, but I’d call it White People’s Response to the 60s World.
A better point might be that they are pissing back into the boat. More reflective of the damage that has been done to the citizens.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
Another alternative is to have some standard system for discharging student loans even if they aren’t completely paid off. So, to make up some numbers, loan payments might be capped at 10% of income, and after 20 years of making those payments the remaining principal would be discharged no matter what. They key is to have some kind of predictability so people would have some confidence they wouldn’t be permanently screwed.
I think you will find that the glory days of working in the trades for middle class family wages are becoming as dated as the notion of working your way through college without debt. You are talking about people who entered the trades a generation or more ago, not young people trying to do it today.
The world is fast changing for everyone, not just college grads.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
My friend, who is an iron worker, just retired. But he is still working on constructions sites because there aren’t enough around and he can name his rate.
They like being cruel. It makes them feel powerful. And that’s about as complicated as it gets…
Education can and should be an end in and of itself. We should not just approach the topic from an economic point of view. English majors and (pace s_c) pure math majors have value, and people regardless of wealth should be able to pursue them.
SF fed did a study showing immigrant labor raises income of natives; english ability becomes a marketable skill & native speakers move to management tracks.
Count me in with those who would really appreciate your take on this issue.
There are currently federal loan repayment programs that do exactly that. People need to understand that there are about eight (don’t quote me; no time to look it up but it’s close to that) student loan repayment programs, several of which are tied to earnings and which forgive the loan after a certain number of payments.
My sister passed at 66, cancer, owing thousands, and was teaching a course in her specialty at a major private college.
I don’t think one should be still paying off college at the age one qualifies for Medicare. This is a serious problem that has to change, for the sake of all of us.
@Kent: What others said but look for programs like this in alt energy:
Iowa Lakes Wind Turbine
I met the program head of this and they were taking kids who wanted to get out of HS and they were getting offers of $60K on graduation. World travel if they wanted to learn languages. They do wind turbines, electrician, cell tower maintenance, diesel engines, etc.
Now Iowa Lakes is pretty redneck but there are programs elsewhere (Denver, Ridgecrest IA). He’ll be working with a lot of yahoos but perhaps they’ve evolved after being trashed by Trump and the Abbotts of the world.
There are people still doing sw/IT tech incubators, 12-20 weeks to learn webstuff… some scams but industry is still desperate in some places that it’s a place to start, get an entry job and then climb if you’re self motivated. Live 4 to an apartment in SF or somewhere for a few years and then move to an industry job and settle somewhere or do a startup.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Not according to the last HVAC guy I had out here. Their unskilled rate was $15 in the door, $20 after 6 months, and they’d also run you through journeyman training. After you get your ticket, pay starts at $30 ( that was about at 18 months). Also, they hire felons that have completed probation or parole. Said they’re always competing with electricians and plumbers for reliable souls.
I’ll email MM and try to get my thoughts in order. I certainly don’t think I’m the only expert and I’m right about everything, but financial aid really isn’t an easy topic to make sweeping statements about. You have to take into account federal programs and regs, state programs and regs, what kind of school the student is considering and what kind of endowments or institutional aid is available at each individual institution. It’s very complicated.
I do know that he has several bullet points in the OP that I want to take issue with. However, he is right about several things, too, for which he should get credit.
@RevDocEDJ: Amen! I work with older people, aka boomers, who complain about the costs of their kids instate school prices. They are shocked when I show them the amount of state money to universities, and the decline since the rise of the “FYIGM”. Last I looked, here in WI, the budget for prisons and law enforcement was larger than the education budgets
My loan story:
I borrowed a small amount of money in grad school using the brand-new ‘Tuition Postponement Option’. It sounded good; you borrowed a small amount of money. You then repaid a yearly amount, based on a complicated formula that no one understood involving your current income, the current interest rate, and the current debt of everyone else who borrowed money in your year.
Well… then came sky-high interest rates. So, the complicated formula did its thing, all the inputs to the complicated formula blew up, leaving everyone with unpayable debts. Turned out that going to a prestigious grad school had an unexpected benefit– the school was wealthy enough to forgive everyone’s debts, perhaps hoping that the alumni would feel grateful and contribute $$$ to the institution. Whatever.
@cain:Gov. Kate Brown moves to close 3 Oregon prisons – OPB
I would like Democrats to stop focusing so much on saying a college education is a necessity. It isn’t, and I don’t think it is for everyone. There are plenty of jobs out there that will help folks make ends meet without having to go to a school and pay $60k/year (or whatever tuition is these days for a standard-issue private college). Emphasizing things like vocational school and programs would be a big step in the right direction.
I have no doubt that student loans need to be cleaned up – it’s a big mess, and I am lucky I had a relatively small five-figure debt to pay off when I graduated – but it’s largely because of the message that if you don’t go to college, you won’t be able to succeed.
It was a Reagan vendetta against those “dirty hippies” and their protests at Berkeley. Similarly, he went after unions as president (e.g., Air Traffic Controllers) after “enduring” several state employee strikes as governor. Homeless mentally ill? Reagan closed state facilities.
And I haven’t had the gumption to begin reading my dusty copy of Reaganland yet. Lord knows what nuggets it will deliver.
“No Free Stuff for hippies!”
BP’s gonna sue over that besmirchment of oil.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Smartest dumb guy I ever knew was a union pipefitter. Made a ton of money with savant skill with a torch, bought a few dozen shitty houses to slumlord, hired me to clean up his messes after I beat him like a rented mule on a wrongful eviction. He was a funny little guy – liked $30 prostitutes and cheap whiskey (he was a raging alcoholic-towards the end of his life as he was sallow complected with a radically distended liver), always paid me up front without question or complaint.
Poor dumb SOB died drunk in his yard, frozen to death. Weirdly, I miss him – he had one of those personalities that lent my world some flavor.
@Geo Wilcox: No that is NOT how it should be. Cost of living is often more of a cost than tuition. Schools do pay themselves first in most cases, but student have to pay rent and groceries plus books are mostly not at the school bookstore anymore.
Relatedly: There was a story on one of the NPR talk shows a couple of mornings or so ago on gentrification in DC and all of the issues and problems.
I briefly considered calling in and telling a story about my MIL. She was from New Prague, MN and came to DC in mid-1941 for a job with a sister and another friend. They lived in a boarding house on P Street for several months, maybe longer, after they got jobs with the federal government. The building is still there, but it’s much, much fancier now (and condos or something).
Cities need cheap housing for workers and people starting out. And neighborhoods change or they die. Governments have to manage that change.
I do wonder, though, whether we’re slowly reverting to some historical norm and the last ~ 75 years in the US was some aberration when it comes to housing. Governments and planners need to be thinking about the implications of housing policy…
Another alternative is to have some standard system for discharging student loans even if they aren’t completely paid off. So, to make up some numbers, loan payments might be capped at 10% of income, and after 20 years of making those payments the remaining principal would be discharged no matter what.
This is an interesting idea. I think that some 1970s and 1980s college financial aid plans included something like this. Could be totally wrong about this, though.
I would also consider major college debt forgiveness for 2 to 5 years of national service after college.
Well there’s a racket if you can get it.
@ColoradoGuy: What you said. Ronald Reagan fucked California so good n hard and the unfuckening hasn’t happened in any real sense that I can see or think of. Him and his kitchen cabinet can roast till the end of time.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
There’s a novel or screenplay in here somewhere.
The big conservative push to cut funding to state universities also started at a time when civil rights successes meant more of Those People were taking advantage of them (in addition to tax cut mania.) This is not a coincidence.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@trollhattan: Just send Borat. He knows how to find the guy.
Terrific. Another round of inevitable panic, millionaires genuinely concerned that they might accidentally help someone in the middle class. Shame on me most of all, for falling for their Lucy-with-the-football shit for the umpteenth time. When will I learn?
We are governed by people — in both parties — who literally would rather spend ten or twenty or a hundred dollars on various bureaucratic schemes and mechanisms to ensure that no one “undeserving” gets so much as a shiny thin dime. But boy howdy, when their Wall Street owners want a bailout or another break on the taxes they don’t pay in the first place, we just have to bend over and take it.
I give up on trying to find a politician or a party that has my back for a change, rather than the backs of Leon Cooperman and his goddamned Navient shareholders. I have no idea why I should continue to vote for people who couldn’t give less of a shit about people who actually work for a living, as opposed to people who merely own shit and pretend that they work.
Biden should seriously be ashamed of himself. He knows better. He chooses this. I beg to differ about the “unfucking” of the student-loan regime. The system is not broken, it is fixed. It works precisely as intended. It’s a racket, and a lucrative one at that.
So tired of every one of these goddamned people. All they have is excuses and bullshit.
@raven: When I was in grad school at U. of I. there was an “emergency loan” program in which a student could get up to $150 or so interest free for 30 days. I took advantage of that one a couple of times. I’m not a vet so maybe that was a different program.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
The assertion that $10k “relief” on student loans is enough, or adequate. This is a crisis that has been going on for years, and is not going to go away with such a — hell, not even half-hearted, more like quarter-hearted — measure.
@Heywood J.: Biden is not the enemy.
Biden isn’t going to veto a school debt bill. He can’t fix it all on his own. Congress needs to write a bill that can pass.
I was in my last year of grad school in Athens, Ohio the year the government started making the banks send loan money straight to the college. They did it so they could take tuition, room and board off the top and if you were lucky, you might have some money for other expenses left over. Even worse, the institutions were allowed to hang onto all the funds until the last drop/add date.
I’m proud to say that Ohio U told the feds and banks to F right the hell off and they would be issuing checks to the students for the full amount of their loans within a week of receiving them and work out the tuition payments with the students as they always had. They couldn’t keep it up but I was glad to see them put up the good fight.
my biggest beef was the ‘handling’ fees the banks were getting that we not only had to pay back but also paid interest on. The interest on these loans should be accrued on the amount the students get to use, not the payola the banks get out of it.
My first round of loans for 7 years of college (undergrad and grad) were about $15K and took 15 years to pay off. I went back to change careers in 2000 – two years certificate degree = $22K in loans. Going on 20 years and still paying those off. :P
this makes a lot more sense to me than a blanket debt reduction program. Do something that will help now and into the future. And this will target those students who need it the most. Would be nice if it was extended to second undergrad degrees and career changers too.
@Another Scott: More that folks need to get out of this mindset that executive action can fix everyone’s problems. They can’t. There’s a reason the legislative branch exists, and it’s not to sit on their asses and accomplish nothing, despite what Mitch McConnell thinks.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
thank you– that way lies the loss of both houses in ’22
I’m surprised to see Shumer going all in with Warren on this. I don’t know if he’s that scared of the rumored primary from AOC, or if he’s genuinely got the bee in his bonnet.
and thank you, too.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Schumer isn’t scared of a primary challenge. If AOC (or anyone else) ran against him, she would get pasted.
He is also not the friend.
That “early childhood education for disadvantaged groups” demurral is a classic example: Oh, we have a crisis afflicting millions of families right now, one that we could alleviate if we wanted to? Let’s take a fraction of that money and use it to do something we should already be doing instead!
Yeah, that’s exciting stuff. Totally going to help me retire before I’m seventy-five. Thanks Uncle Joe!
I sincerely hope Leon Cooperman and his fucking money are very happy together.
And another thing, from the CNBC article.
That is yet another example of numbers being meaningless without context. Is that range for different degrees at Harvard? For different time periods? For different categories of students? How many students are in the lower bucket and how many are in the higher? As it stands, the numbers are so precise but the range is so broad that it’s nonsensical without more information.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
His last few months were seriously interesting. He’d also been an unofficial, unlicensed pawnbroker for the neighborhood. He had made the mistake of writing a check as a loan on some shabby guns that were given to him as collateral – they’d been taken by somebody in a poorly hatched burglary the night before, and when the perps got found, they had the check on them.
The police really didn’t have a big beef with him, so when they questioned him at home, he took a gigantic slug from a 1.75 liter bottle of cheap whiskey. I felt like I had a good defense on intent to commit a crime, based on his lack knowledge of either the burglary or the value of the firearms due to his long term and apparent substance abuse. Day of trial he shows up drunker than anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. He looks like he’s been rolling around in a freight yard, has managed to both piss and shit himself and is wearing tire tread flip flops. He’s also managed to pass out in the courtroom in an audience bench. The bailiff is beyond enraged over having to steam clean the bench. Judge continues the case, but holds him in custody over my objection, passing it for 72 hours for rescheduling or a plea. Poor old guy had a rough few days, and would have sold his soul for a drink. He took a plea against my advice (I frankly stated that it would be impossible for him to survive probation without medically managed rehab, as he couldn’t imbibe while on probation). He never made it to the March sentencing date – I often wonder if he died the way he wanted to.
Maybe that’s the wrong question to ask. Maybe the right question is more like: Is this an issue that executive action — or at least public commitment to resolve — can affect?
Presented with the opportunity, he didn’t even try. Didn’t even suggest hey, maybe we can at least kick the tires on one of these proposals and see if there’s something we can do to help these families that invested in themselves, are perhaps not making what they were promised, and now have to spend the next few decades of their lives trying to get square with billionaire shareholders.
Like I say, people can tell when someone has your back or not. Message received.
@Heywood J.: Student loan forgiveness is the hill you want to die on?
@Omnes Omnibus: I don’t know that it’s the hill I want to die on, but I do know that people shouldn’t have to spend the rest of their lives paying interest on $200 textbooks. I do know that student loan forgiveness would be an immediate boost to local economies, which I have been led to believe may have been affected somewhat by the ravages of the #TrumpPlague.
I do know that it’s the right thing to do. I understood the issue as something that could be negotiated in reasonably good faith, rather than punted on first down. As I said earlier, I should have known better by now, so it really is my fault.
This will almost certainly vary by region and school, but I did a large study a few years ago and we found that our community college transfers were of equal or higher quality as students that started at our institution. (Needless to say, this was not well received). A few details:
1) CA has a very strong community college system (CCC), but the legislature has struggled to fund them in a way that helps them balance 2 year degrees and certificates with transfers to 4 year schools. In this period, CCC were investing more in terminal degree/certificates because the legislature was trying to to set up an incentive system based on their transfer students graduating with a 4 year degree, and they didn’t get that quite right.
2) The performance ceiling was higher with non-transfers (freshmen) than with transfers, but as a relatively selective institution that’s to be expected. But that gap benefitted a relatively small fraction of freshmen – basically those that arrived with achievement well beyond what we require, so they were arriving with a sizable fraction of what you would expect from transfer students.
3) The top 1-2 deciles notwithstanding, the remaining freshmen matched or underperformed the transfer population. Adjusting for achievement at the point of matriculation to the 2 year or 4 year institution, CCC students strongly outperformed students who completed their lower division coursework locally. Many of those higher performing transfer students wouldn’t have even been admissible as freshmen.
4) We attributed the better performance of the transfer students to 4 factors:
a) Greater ability to pace their studies at the CCC where the push to complete in 4 years wasn’t as great. We’re proud to have a very high 4 year completion rate but it does come at some cost to students.
b) Smaller class sizes. 20-30 size CCC classes even for very traditional preparatory courses – calculus, intro to discipline courses, compared to 70-400 at our institution. This leads to better critical thinking stemming from where questions can be asked, ideas pursued that can’t be done in larger class sizes. Our institution does not normally permit graduate students to be primary instructors.
c) Better engagement between students and instructors outside of the classroom. In our on-site work, it was common for students and instructors to have a relationship outside of the classroom – office hours, engaging with student organizations, etc. While this may not benefit all students, it does seem to benefit those that are motivated with a clear plan for transfer.
d) A noticeable shift in the nature of the introductory courses themselves. Our faculty tend to teach introductory economics as if the students were going to eventually walk away with a PhD in economics, bypassing the bits that would generally have utility to a broader range of students. We saw this in almost all disciplines. So if you were a first year student with that kind of focus, the course would seem pretty wonderful, but hardly any of the students were like that. As a result most students didn’t really engage with the content because it didn’t seem as though it was directed at their interests. This is a byproduct of both being a PhD granting institution but also of having such large class sizes as it undermined the ability to either have courses better tailored to the interests of the students in the class, or to be able to bring relevance to the students in the class through their feedback or other interactions.
There’s a whole host of things here that may not translate to other 4 year institutions or state community college systems, but it’s what we found for my institution in CA.
CA has only recently allowed the CCC to create 4 year degrees, and only in disciplines that are not already served by the 36 CSUs and UCs. It’s a pretty small operational space for them.
1)I remember an article back in the early 2000s, when the scope of the problem began to be seen, which showed that state’s cuts to higher education funding were almost exactly matched by the rise in expenditures on prisons.
2)I agree with comment above that Democrats need to stop pushing the everybody should go to college if they want a good job. It causes resentment of the party from people who trusted that message and took out life-blighting loans to do so. It also increases the message that people doing non-college job work aren’t in “good” jobs, that this is their fault for not going to college, and that therefore they deserve to be treated like shit. Maybe you don’t know people with this attitude, but there are enough of them that we need to not be serving this sort of bullshit.
3)A huge part of the problem is corporate America and HR departments in particular. Jobs which only called for a high school degree a generation ago, now require a college degree. For many, it’s no longer a BA, but an MA or MS. In the 80s when I was starting out, a Master’s degree you paid for buy yourself was looked at with suspicion. If you were at all talented, it was expected that your company would pick up the tab. The expectation that people should pay for these on their own is more than fucked. Master’s degrees in hot at the moment fields should be required to have companies paying for the tuition of at least half of their students to maintain their loan eligibility for the rest. Companies requiring a degree in job advertisements need to offer help repaying loans.
4)Related to the above, there will need to be some sort of shaking out of the higher education system. Suck up the students shitty programs in glamorous career fields need to end.* To be federal loan eligible, there should be some sort of standards for even non profit programs. Namely, what is the size of the field involved, versus how many graduates a year are we spitting out. This will have to go for PhD programs too. I know that education for its own sake is a true and valuable thing, but that truth has been exploited by truly awful people for far too long and a reset is needed.
5)One of the things I noticed as I entered college at the shift of this in the early 80s is that the swank women’s college I attended had what used to be “scholarship dorms.” Students who were on scholarships lived in dorms that weren’t as fancy and had a back door so you could go to your job in town without having to go through the main campus. Not ideal, but I’ve repeatedly noticed that we’ve seriously upped the fanciness of everyone’s college life experience, but are expecting students to take out loans to pay for their (and their fellow student’s) swank dorms, gyms, and student centers. Whatever federal loan reimaginings are coming, control over (often corrupt) campus spending needs to be part of it.
6)Also, I know most schools don’t have fancy endowments, but those that do have largely been captured by Wall Street and the hedge funds, paying huge fees for risky investments, often not paying better than an index fund, but with massive payments to those managing the funds and the involved firms. Again, the fiscal standards for university endowments need to be tightened if the colleges are to still get loans.
@Heywood J.: One of the reforms that really needs to happen is for all required course materials to be included in the course tuition. Textbook publishers have been allowed to get away with murder in what they can charge students. Professors get to wash their hands of it. I know many try to design courses with cost to students in mind, but it’s extra work and often impossible.
I do recognize that universities will just try to make teachers teach without materials, but the feds need to have a “drop a dime” line involved, with heavy penalties for the university.
Those are all really good points. I would add this for consideration: part of the monetization of higher education involved treating students as prospective consumers purchasing a product. Well, beyond all the “expanding your horizons and cultivating an inner life” stuff, the fact is that many or most students are purchasing a product that they have been led to believe will enhance their employment opportunities and income.
So what recourse should be available to the grad student stuck waiting tables while her debt keeps piling up, while she tries to figure out how to move out of her parents’ house, maybe start a family someday? All those things previous generations used to take for granted as the routine Path Of Life. The product that she is on the hook for for the foreseeable future has not delivered on the promises made by the manufacturer, but the full price still has to be paid. There are no refunds. She can’t get out from under it with a Chapter 7.
Like with health insurance, it’s always interesting when the producers of a product tout the benefits of that product as an expression of its intrinsic worth. But when the consumers of that product who didn’t get the deal they paid for beg to differ, ho boy do they ever have an impossible truckload of excuses for why they should continue to be allowed to hoover money out of your wallet.
Absolutely. One thing people really need to think about, just in general, about problems: Whether it’s student-loan debt, health care costs, the power grid in Texas, or a pothole in the road that never gets fixed, they all exist because someone — or many someones — with power and money want it that way. They are not accidents nor circumstances. They are designed and engineered to be the way they are.
Especially with student-loan debt — your debt is someone else’s equity, by definition. And they have a vested interest in keeping you there for as long as possible. Navient doesn’t want me to pay down my debt in entirety, they just want me to make payments.
It takes a consistent, studied, deliberate indifference to refuse to comprehend or alleviate that situation, as Upton Sinclair pointed out generations ago. And so in the political arena, it becomes difficult to figure which is more offensive or frustrating — the politician that tells you upfront that he couldn’t possibly care less about you and your little peon life, or the one that makes a show of pretending to care, and then does absolutely nothing to change that problem. After a while, you finally realize it’s because they don’t view it as a problem. For the idle wealthy, mass debt and penury is a feature, not a bug.
@Another Scott: So, a few things about college debt:
The problem areas are:
a) Non-elite privates that can’t substantially discount tuition for low/medium income households.
b) Students that attend out-of-state publics where the state subsidies don’t apply. Further, these students are mined for revenue because where legislatures block the increase of in-state tuition, they are less likely to block out-of-state.
c) International students.
In these last 3 cases you have a host of moral hazards. Do you forgive debt for people like my kids, who carry no financial aid due to our household net worth? Do you really want to give me a tax credit like that (you shouldn’t) because high degrees of debt forgiveness will cause high income households to deliberately focus on loans, hope those loans get forgiven, and immediately pay off what isn’t forgiven. A 5% interest penalty is worth rolling the dice for a 50% forgiveness.
Should we subsidize students that leave their local state university systems for higher status schools out of state? Understand that public universities that don’t have a non-resident cap (CA has a non-resident cap) will farm the shit out of those out of state students at the expense of local students depending on how their subsidy system works. CAs doesn’t work like that – non-residents cannot take seats from residents, but they can in some places, and given such a federal subsidy, even states like CA may be willing to alter their cap because the value proposition for nonresident students with better federal subsidy may be higher than for local students. IOW, it might be better for all parties except the fed if CA students attend in Oregon and Oregon students attend in CA. The states save a ton of subsidy, the schools increase their revenue per student, and the student comes away with less in debt.
Personally, I’m not in favor of the kind of wholesale student debt forgiveness that some are advocating for because it kicks of a bad set of incentives. I’m fine with that as a one-time thing for past borrowers along with a forward moving policy that avoids the negative incentives.
The federal approach needs to strengthen, not weaken public universities. It needs to incentivize states to invest in them, and for students to want to attend locally. Forgiveness should not scale to costs. I would argue it should scale to some other independent metric – federal poverty, etc. It should not incentivize tuition raising.
So the problem in the debt statistics is that our in-state student debt is wildly different from our out of state and foreign student debt because we do have two very different tuition tiers, and because debt is related to financial aid and ability to pay. My kids received no financial aid and could have graduated with $120K in debt (tuition + dorms for 4 years) or $0K in debt, and the only thing differentiation those two was whether mom and dad were willing to pay. The financial aid officers rightly concluded that we had the means to pay, so it was just a question of will. So these households throw off the debt stats at both the high and low end. As do non-residents.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
Or he could not see alternatives. Again, he and the neighborhood sound very interesting.
And in a weird way, sounds like this guy was a kind of warped public servant.
@Feathers: The last Higher Education reform act required that all course related costs be disclosed at the time a student enrolls in the course.
The challenge with baking it into tuition is the high variability of costs between disciplines. It costs 4x as much to educate a chemical engineer as it does a history student. There’s only so much subsidization that an institution can do on that front (and they do a LOT).
You are correct, there are jobs that don’t require college but they generally pay crap, unlike 50 or more years ago. The work I do, machine work, didn’t require college, but today one has to know/understand some pretty sophisticated computer programs to get much of a job. A lot of decent paying jobs are like that now. Another issue may be the number of students, as most any decent paying job requires college, how difficult is it to get in, money aside? And much of modern business doesn’t help, so people have to work multiple part time jobs without set days/times just to make a minimum and with no way to get anything like ahead.
They don’t live in any kind of reality whatsoever, weird, strange or bizarre. They live in a counter world made up every damn day so there isn’t even any consistency in the level of insanity. I think that has a bit to do with shitforbrains, he’s the logical end result of their path of complete and utter insane bullshit.
I get that you’ve prefaced this as your personal observation on the subject, but the “incentives/moral hazards” argument has been going on in many quarters for some time, and it sure is interesting how easily and routinely it gets discarded whenever Wall Street wants to be bailed out, or there’s a tax cut to be had.
Maybe we should start with dispensing incentives and rejecting moral hazards on a somewhat more equitable basis. I understand that that’s never going to happen, regardless of who’s in the White House, but it wouldn’t hurt just to float the argument and kick the tires on it once in a great while.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
For most of my life now, some and now most conservatives bash higher education. While I don’t doubt your ‘those people’ theory has some merit, IMO, its mainly been due to the Evangelicals. Higher education isn’t compatible with their ideology.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Heywood J.: So, if you got $10000 in loan forgiveness as Biden is going to try to do, its Lucy with the football? It’s Democrats not having your back and not helping you? I don’t get it. That sounds like help to me.
Yes and no. Many of the bad effects are from not considering all the ramifications and doing anything about them (rather than evil genius machinations). One small example of knock-on effects:
Bell Labs and IBM Research and lots of other corporate research arms were powerhouses for generating new physics and employing lots of recent PhDs as post-doc researchers for a year or two. Experience gained there was great for moving into academia or maybe even getting hired on full time.
Then telephone systems were deregulated and MCI came along and Ma Bell was broken up. AT&T and the Baby Bells tried to keep things going at Bell Labs and Bellcore for a while, but it wasn’t sustainable without the monopoly profits and ability to look beyond the next quarterly.
So, all the senior researchers and administrators left and went to universities. So an important pathway for post-docs was gone, and paths for advancement in academia were suddenly blocked by these guys (and a few gals) with 50,000 citations and Nobel prizes and 50 years of experience who created the state of the art. And instead of getting internal funding, they’re fighting with everyone else to get funding from the NSF and DARPA and DOE and everyone else you can think of that might have research money, making it harder for those who were in academia all along to have stable funding.
tl;dr – Blame the MotUs and everyone who didn’t want to pay $5/min to make a long distance call.
Seriously, change is necessary and change is difficult. But there are always knock-on effects that can be difficult to address if people aren’t willing to pay.
J R in WV
Living the Dream, brother!! College with no debt~!!!~ Kidding, I saw you still owe some… I managed it on the GI Bill and a very little from my folks, they wanted to help, so I got them to kick in for books each semester.
J R in WV
Well, from some perspectives that sounds good, BUT how would Raven have been able to work his buy a LB, sell 12 lids, keep a 1/4 and pay off the loan financial strategy??? It just doesn’t work, see? ;~)
J R in WV
Electrical work, IBEW training for maintaining the power grid.
Plumbing, building and maintaining the waste treatment facilities, also union training opportunities.
Carpenters Union training, for learning how to build according to current specifications.
Etc, etc, etc. My nephews, one is a Lt in the USN working as a Nuke on fast attack subs. I wouldn’t touch that job with a long stick. The other is a security guard in TX, again, not with a long stick. I dunno why he isn’t working a good union job — well, because his parents are RWNJs.
J R in WV
Kent — Texas is only one of the lower 48 states!
If you can’t get training and a good UNION job in Texas, move to a state with good union training programs.
If you can’t stand the thought of your kid earning $80K a year OUTSIDE Texas, shame on you! There’s a whole big country that has lots of good union jobs, AND training to get those jobs. Wake up, folks!
There’s union training here in WV for crying out loud!!!
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Look at all the Covid cash that got thrown at Tom Brady and Joel Osteen and Kanye West and such like. We found a way to throw trillions at hecto-millionaires, people who didn’t even need really need it.
It’s not that $10k is nothing, but it ain’t $50k, and there’s a lot of families that could use that relief. And unlike the aforementioned rich-guy club, they’d actually spend it in their local economies, rather than hoard it.
Never mind. I’m ever so grateful for the crumbs that will probably never come in the first place. They’ll spend an extra couple billion means-testing this bullshit until no one qualifies for it.
There’s a student-loan crisis for the same reason there’s a health-care crisis — because the people who own and operate the system have profited massively from it, and there has never been any disincentive to doing what they do. The financialization of the system has far more to do with what’s going on than the breakup of Ma Bell.
This is by design, it is not a series of unfortunate occurrences. If we can bail out billionaires without even blinking, we can do this. Maybe one of these days we could stop asking how much is this going to cost, and instead ask how much does it cost not to do it?
But my real point here has actually been less financial or economic (though that’s certainly part of it), and more about political reality. I find it interesting that people who really need relief are implicitly told should just quietly accept the crumbs, never negotiate or rock the boat, and dutifully show up and vote next time for more and better bromides and empty platitudes. Really good way to motivate customer loyalty.
All so Navient shareholders don’t have to experience a dime less of my money than they’re entitled to. This is the real American way — to consistently screw over tens of millions of workers for their adult lives, so a few thousand owners don’t have to experience an imperceptible dent in their net worth.
Again, it’s fine — this administration has chosen to send a certain message, and that message has been received, loud and clear. Same as it ever was.
the pollyanna from hell
I used and perhaps even abused education loans to support my kids for the last years until they finished high school. My back was shot, I could no longer lump freight or hang sheetrock. I went back for a master’s in math to find out for myself why I flunked out of grad school in philosophy 45 years ago. I discovered this time around that I was never interested in foundations of knowledge, only foundations of thought.
Business algebra students hate my lectures; they can tell that I am a mystic philosopher, which they express in different words. I borrowed 40 grand, now I owe a hundred. I am an idiot savant; an extremely low clerical aptitude is a first clue about how that slows me down. I wasn’t thinking about my own situation when I voted against the Senator from MBNA in the primary, and even in context of this thread I think of my experience and choices as merely an extreme outlier that shows me how sad the rest of the graph really is.
@Heywood J.: You won’t see that from me.
But understand that I’m the guy involved in writing the policies to deal the consequences of this. You show me a ‘simple’ debt forgiveness plan, and in 5 years I’ll show you public universities with no poor latino kids in them because you’ve inadvertently created a financial disincentive for us to admit them. More policy blood gets spilled over the battle between who gets to be admitted and how the university makes money than over anything else.
Understand that in in most countries that heavily subsidize higher education, one of the things that is often lost is choice – choice of where to attend and choice of what to study. You want to make sure a system is built where those things are preserved. The best way to do that is to put the funding up front as part of the subsidy where you can tie the allocation of dollars to whether the institution is broadly serving the public, rather than afterward in the form of debt forgiveness. Otherwise you’ll find yourself financing systems of discrimination.
As I said, one time large scale forgiveness as part of this is fine, but universities are going to game the fuck out of this every bit as much as Wall Street does.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Covid crisis shakes out for universities over the next several years regardless. I doubt there’s a simple and clean way out for everyone on this. Probably some combination of the gov’t taking over a portion of the debt and paying creditors directly, getting the creditors to write down some portion of the interest in exchange for tax abatements, and allowing debtors to declare bankruptcy if they’re just too far behind the 8-ball and would rather reclaim their lives in seven years instead of twenty.
Some combination of that is probably the best route to go, and the “proper” ratio is likely going to vary greatly among schools. Maybe complete debt forgiveness across the board for every single student is just a mathematical impossibility. But real debt reduction can and should happen, and there are sound economic reasons why.
Again, we’ve all seen the negative incentives and moral hazards of throwing money at people who already have more than they could ever hope to spend. That never seems to prevent more money from being thrown at them whenever they demand it.
How much Covid relief money got handed out to cruise lines and hotels and televangelists last year? Something in the realm of $4-5 trillion? More than twice the entire student-loan burden. The “right” people always find ways to get their money. That’s why they pay for those $50k/plate rubber-chicken dinners.
Just like health care reform or climate change, inaction on this issue is not a result of political concern about disincentives or moral hazards. It is because our debt is their equity.
I once had an undergraduate student with $180,000 in student loans by the time they graduated. Unfucking the system that enables and condones this is no small task, but it is essential.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Heywood J.: And why did lots of money go to the folks who didn’t really need it? It went there because to get ANYTHING to ANYBODY Democrats had to negotiate with Republicans. Biden is not stupid. The more debt relief he pushes for through executive action, the more likely Republicans will try to check executive power. Were they successful, you would get exactly nothing. And $10K is a Hell of a lot more than nothing and hardly ‘crumbs’. It would completely wipe out the student debt of a lot of people. Yet, you aren’t saying, ‘Yay! That would be great! Let’s try to get Democrats elected so we can get more later.’ Instead, you and a lot of other have this attitude that no matter how HARD Democrats have to fight to get anything, it never counts. Its always like, ‘Well.. that’s nice, but you failed me.’
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Oh please. They bailed out Wall Street billionaires back in 2009 with a Dem supermajority in the senate. The people with wealth and power will always get a free ride, no matter who’s in office, or how many of which party.
One of the main points in my first post in this thread was that they really didn’t fight for $50k, not at all. If they had tried and just got shot down by Joe Manchin or whoever, well, it sucks, but at least you know who to blame. But they did not try. There was no fight. Biden in fact literally said he would not push for $50k. (Which, contrary to your argument that $10k would help “a lot of people” out, I would counter that there are plenty of people who would still be in a lot of debt even after $50k relief.) Feel free to post links showing otherwise.
And you know, I’d certainly like some relief from a decade so far of usurious nonsense, and no end in sight. I’ll be 54 in May, and I honestly have no idea how or if I’ll be able to retire. But I also see a lot lately about how usurious debt is a real factor in wealth inequality for Black families.
I mean, I’m a median white middle-aged married guy. It won’t be pretty or easy, but I’ll figure something out. (With my luck, I’ll probably get a nice fat brain embolism the day after I finish giving Leon Cooperman all of his precious, precious money. So it goes.)
But minorities really turned out for the Dems, and maybe there should at least be some effort to help them out, rather than this endless loop of keep showin’ up guys, we’re totally gonna make things better for ya! You know? It’s great that Dems aren’t treasonous insurrectionists, but that seems like a pretty low bar to get over.
I always find myself fascinated by politicians whose overriding message always seems to boil down to “gee, we can’t do anything,” but infinitely more fascinating are the voters who go to bat for them with that same argument. All these creative excuses, in order to be able to not see clearly that maybe they just don’t wanna fucking do it. Now why might that be?
If they can’t do anything, then what the hell are we paying them for? Seriously. Either do something to help make people’s lives just a little bit better, at every opportunity, or go back to your law practice.
I do not understand this passive acceptance of [ASCII shrug] Hey, we tried. No, they didn’t try. That’s the problem.
There are three simple facts that every American should internalize and apply at all times:
@Heywood J.: Definitely subscribing to your newsletter.
(bonus points for the “or go back to your law practice” LOL)