I’ll be SOOOO pissed if student loans are forgiven

October 20, 2011 · 99 comments

I was really hoping to avoid talking about Occupy Wall Street again. I gave insights in to my stance on the movement last week and didn’t feel as though more needed to be said. That was until yesterday when I read this story on the Huffington Post…

While the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow and spread, there is no common call to action. I propose that the first call to action to help ease the economic stress of Americans is to forgive student loan debt. What do you say?

I say, “You sir are an idiot.”

I need not remind you (readers) that I graduated college with $28,000 in student loan debt in 2007. According to Huff Post that’s $4,000 more than the national average in 2009. So before you start accusing me of being part of the 1% let’s get a few things straight. 1) I’m not. 2) My parents aren’t either. Glad we got that settled.

Let’s talk about my story. I knew full well when I signed up to go to a private school that it was about three times more expensive than a local university would have been. I also knew that I would have to take out student loans to be able to go to said private school. I didn’t really think about the repercussions of taking on debt and gladly signed my life away. These are the facts as I see them.

To be perfectly honest, I was shocked to see the total balance of my student loans upon graduation. Twenty eight thousand dollars is a big scary number, especially when you have no employment lined up. I did what most grads do, I consolidated my loans and deferred them for six months.

What I didn’t do was complain that the college tricked me in to signing up for the debt. And I didn’t expect my Alma Mater to find me gainful employment upon graduation. I knew I got myself in the mess, and I was the only person that could get myself out. I accepted responsibility for my ignorant actions.

So guess what I did? I got a job and started making my minimum payments. I then got a second job, and a third job, so I could make accelerated payments. After 2.5 years, I was debt free. I didn’t expect the government, big business, my college, Sallie Mae, my parents, or you, to pay off the loan I voluntarily signed up for. I accepted my situation, and worked my a$$ off to improve it. Sending off that last payment was incredible.

Do you know how frustrating it is to work so hard (as I chronicled in many blog posts) to accomplish a goal, only to have it marginalized by a group of people who want the same thing, but aren’t willing to go to the lengths I did to achieve it. I was EXACTLY where you are now, a few years ago. The difference was I didn’t go Occupy Wall Street, I occupied multiple jobs.

If Joe starts eating healthy/exercising more and loses 50 pounds as a result, do I suddenly have a right to demand the local plastic surgeon give me free liposuction so I can have the same results as Joe? Even if I have a genetic makeup that makes it much more difficult for me to lose weight? Fat chance (pun absolutely intended).

I can only think of one situation in which I would entertain the idea of allowing student loans to be bankrupt-able/forgiven: If and only if the individual would relinquish all credits and degrees earned. The worse thing we could do is forgive the debt and let them keep their degrees. Hell, I’d take a few dings on my credit score if it meant I got a “free” degree out of the gig.

Lastly, if you really are pissed off about the whole student loan/cost of college issue, you should probably go protest your college, not Wall Street.

I’ve already paid off my student loans. Don’t force me to pay yours off too. Unleash the hounds.

p.s. Just to make a few things clear. I am not saying the lending practices associated with student loans are great. And I’m not saying the exponentially increasing cost of college is acceptable. I’m all for reforming tuition rates and lending practices. Student loan forgiveness is not reform, it’s a lame solution that doesn’t solve the much more complex problem.

{ 97 comments }

1 StackingCash

Interesting. I would like to take it to another level. Bankruptcy should be illegal. :)

2 Ninja

I’m 85% in agreement with that.

3 Larry

You’re both aware, I hope, that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. So any association between the two is irrelevant. In any case, many bankruptcies result from crushing medical debt. I would not support any attempt to prevent people from seeking relief for that reason.

That said, the OWS movement (some of whose aims I absolutely agree with) is doing itself no favors by proposing student loan forgiveness. The notion that only the most expensive private schools provide a worthwhile college education is ludicrous; faculties at the less expensive state schools are often just as capable, and graduates from these schools have just as much chance to be hired. There’s no good reason why an entering college student shouldn’t “shop around” for an education they or their family can best afford, and if the student needs to take on debt, he or she is absolutely liable for discharging it.

4 slug | sunkcostsareirrelevant.com

Preach on!

5 Larry

?

6 Ninja

Fully aware.

My experiences, which by nature of my work is pretty deep, have seen far too many people game the bankruptcy court. I totally believe there should be a bankruptcy option, but there needs to be greater oversight in to exactly how one qualifies and what is expected of them afterwards.

7 Derek

What happened to imprisoning people who failed to pay legal obligations? It would certainly provide a counterpoint when contemplating the use of credit. “Should I go with the used tercel or the new Camry and 4 weeks in population? MMmmmmm, pudding.”

I graduated with 20k in student loans. It wasn’t as severe as some of my classmates and I thought I had it easy. At the time, I failed to recognize the magnitude of 20k in repayment on an entry level salary.

Had I known that my “measly” 20k would take me 5 years to pay off, and require a sacrifice of my quality of life in the process, I think I would have borrowed less. For myself, I wish I had a counseling session Before. Preventative financial education would go a long way. I don’t know that stiffer bankruptcy requirements After the fact will help anyone nearly as much.

8 Ryan

Your 1st paragraph is exactly what I wanted to say. Not to mention that bankruptcy is harder to declare now after a new law was passed a few years ago, that the banks (Citi, Chase, etc.) spent hundreds of millions on.

I’m a fan of personal responsibility, but I’m not sure that a 22 year old who racked up $200,000 in student loans should have to live with that burden for their entire lives. People deserve 2nd chances. Maybe not clear the entire amount, but at least an adjustment.

9 nichole

100% agreed. Asking for hand-outs while you protest the hand-outs given to Wall Street is absurd.

10 YFS @ YourfinancesSimplified

Well said! I believe the problem is that like purchasing a home in 2006 anyone can get a student loan for any ridiculous amount.

11 CommonCents

Only if they put a personal lending cap in place. AKA the average person can only acquire 5,000 of CC debt in there life time. Only 20% of there income can be leveraged for a car. ect…. But let’s face it the leaders don’t want that. So now I don’t think bankruptcy should be illegal. FYI during the Victorian era if you had debts and couldn’t pay them your debtor could and would send you to jail until you paid off your debt.

12 SP

Exactly. Do we want to go back to that?

It isn’t like people just wake up in the morning, decide they don’t want to pay their bills, and call the court and say “hey, I’m bankrupt! FYI!” There is a judge involved, it is a process, and it is not an easy choice.

Also, some high number of bankruptcies are due to medical bills.

13 slug | sunkcostsareirrelevant.com

Forgive my student debt. Please. My AGI is approaching such a high level that I can no longer write any of the interest off my taxes. If you did that I’m sure I could move from the top 10% of wage earners to the top 9%.

If the above true anecdote does not demonstrate the absurdity of the notion of student debt forgiveness, perhaps the idea of personal responsibility will.

Argh…

14 Bex

Think about when you graduated vs. now – what if in your town there were no jobs to be found, let alone a second or third? I am in no way advocating for student loan forgiveness – far from it. Personally, I refused to go into debt for my education. My parents certainly couldn’t pay for it, so I worked my ass off to earn and maintain substantial scholarships and worked several jobs. I earned my Bachelors and my Masters without taking out a single student loan – but I’m also aware that most people aren’t that fortunate. People who graduated in 2009 most likely started college in 2005 – well before most of this mess. Taking on debt didn’t seem as big of an issue because there were supposed to be jobs available at the end. The local coffee shop isn’t going to pay enough to cover food, rent, and bills – and many people can’t move home because Mom and Dad lost their jobs. My fiance works for a regional restaurant chain and told me that they’re receiving 70 applications for every 1 dish-washing job, and 100 applications for every 1 waitressing job. It’s not as cut and dried as picking up another job anymore.

15 tom

People need, now more than ever, to be looking at what types of jobs have the best long term prospects. Clearly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees are some of the top choices. You can’t assume anymore that you can go into business school, graduate, and have a job. You have to be very methodical in choosing your degree, then be a top notch student.

When you graduate, you also have to be ready to move. No more of this grow up, go to college and find a job in your home state or town. You must now go where the jobs are.

16 JP

This exactly. You need to be ready to move to where you can find a job.

Like North Dakota, maybe. Supposedly there are plenty of jobs there…

17 SP

1 – not everyone has the math skills to get a STEM job (this problem needs to be addressed in grade school), but I agree in general

2 – jobs in north dakota are not really geared at college grads. They need oil workers (to do FRACKING – look it up, it’s bad stuff), truck drivers, builders, etc. There are some jobs for the educated, but not a significant proportion. BUT you can (I hear) make $15/hr working at mcdonalds. Also, good luck trying find a reasonably affordable place to live there, due to the boom, there is a huge housing shortage there!

18 tom

1 – I agree, but those who do not have the skills to get into those types of programs need to look elsewhere. STEM was just an example.

2 – I saw those articles! It makes me want to go to ND and become a female stripper… $2,000 a night?! But that goes to my point, you can make good money if you move. Granted housing is still an issue, there are hundreds if not thousands of jobs being created every month, you just have to be willing to move.

19 YFS @ YourfinancesSimplified

“Taking on debt didn’t seem as big of an issue because there were supposed to be jobs available at the end.” So because they thought life after college was going to perfect and it’s not they should be allowed to forgive their debt? If that’s the case then, if you graduate and get a job you should have to pay 50% more on your student loans. Is that acceptable?

20 Stephanie

On the whole OWS front, I think the basic idea that the wall street bankers and other financial people behaved recklessly and then they got bailed out by OUR money (there’s the real redistribution of wealth! Up to them!).

As for the student loan forgiveness, I’m mostly on your side. I graduated from college with over $70k in student loans (yeah, go MIT!) and in the past 5 years have paid off half of that. Had I known somehow that student loans would be forgiven, I’d have put my money into savings or investments rather than pay A LOT extra on my loans to get them down as far as I’ve gotten them. So, it’s more of a, “not fair!” issue on my part. I’d have a lot more money saved up right now if I didn’t have to pay off my loans!

Also, I don’t know if I understand how student debt would be forgiven. Would it be a law by the government? Would it only impact federal student loans? Or would bankruptcy laws be modified to allow student loans? Sure, maybe that would make most people declare bankruptcy as soon as they graduated (or maybe right after they find a job and a place to stay), and then there’d be tons of 20-somethings running around with dismal credit scores…how would that help them get a job/place to stay, etc.? You’d be stunting your career the same as this recession is!

21 Melissa

I totally hear what you’re saying, because I’d be pissed, too, if I worked hard to put myself through school (and I did), and then someone else got a free ride. But I think the issue is a lot more complex than you realize. It’s not about allowing someone to not have to work hard to take care of their own problems, it’s more about creating an environment in which that person CAN work hard and contribute to society. If someone goes to school and picks up $50,000 or $100,000 worth of loans, but can’t get a high-paying government job right after graduation (ahem!), and they have to move back in with their parents, working a low-paying job, and stay there for a decade or more until their loans are more manageable and they can actually start their life as an adult….well, that’s not doing the economy any favours. At ALL.

And also, don’t forget that university tuition prices in the States are much higher than in just about any other country I can think of, degrees much more unattainable, and you’ve got the whole “two-tier” university system, which is absolutely criminal in my opinion. AND the States has been hit harder by the recession than most anywhere else. I’m not saying I agree with OWS, because I think there are more effective ways to get a point across, but it is time for AMERICA to take responsibility for the mess it’s in, and work hard to fix it, just like you did with your student loans.

22 Djembe

I don’t believe that someone’s education has to cost them $50,000 to $100,000 in loans. If you get yourself into that spot, that is your own issue to take care of. I’m going to a school for $1500 a semester. Was it my first choice of school–HELL NO!!! It was my last choice, actually–but realistically it’s the school that is in my budget.

And I can’t fathom any reason on earth why someone with a college education would “have to” move in with their parents. I’m tired of that attitude in my generation. I lost my mom when I was 17 and my dad was never in my life. Guess what I did? I worked shit jobs and 100% took care of myself. Dirty, messy minimum wage jobs that nobody wanted to do and I lived in apartments with multiple roommates and took public transportation and went without and crawled my way up into better positions.

I can not take one more whiny person saying it’s impossible. No, everyone is just lazy and entitled. This generation has created it’s own impossible levels of competition because everyone leeches off their parents. Everyone is overeducated with multiple useless graduate degrees and no actual work experience, and instead of working lower level jobs they get more degrees and work more unpaid internships.

23 Drew | EpicFinances.com

I could not agree more.

I have several friends who constantly write on facebook how student loans should be completely forgiven. How would that possibly be fair? I had assistance from my parents in paying for my college — think how insulting it would be to them to realize that they literally threw that money away if I could have just gotten it for free by getting debt. It’s not lost on me how much my parents helped me.

Not to mention, while you are in college — want an iPhone?, sure get more debt. Want a bigger apartment — get more debt. Many people use college loans to pay for personal living expenses throughout college.

Even just thinking about it pushes me over the edge.

24 Kim

Well said. When we raise responsible children, they become responsible, productive citizens. When we raise whiny, spoiled brats, well, they become whiny, entitled adults who don’t understand or care about understanding the first thing about responsibility and economics.

So we transfer billions in student loan debt to….the people who have been responsible with their money. I’m sorry. How does this move America forward?

The idiocy of this movement is mind-boggling.

25 Hiphopannoymous

I worked night shift while going to school to pay it off, think of all that time I could have had actually SLEEPING or socializing for that matter…

26 AMD @ amomsdime

My favourite line of your post: The difference was I didn’t go Occupy Wall Street, I occupied multiple jobs.
That’s it in a nutshell!

27 spork

Another issue with forgiving student loand debt is that it will encourage people in the future to take on larger loans since there is the possibility that it could be forgiven. That will mean universities will have no incentive to keep tuition increases reasonable since people are willing to pay (with the hope of it being free money). You destroy supply and demand and end up in an endless feedback loop where you have to keep forgiving debt.

I started my grad school degree in 07 right before everything went south. I took a huge risk, used the money I spent years saving, took on over 20k in student loans, and lived like a poor grad student going to a decent public school program. If I had known that student loans could have been forgiven, I would have taken on 200k and gone to a really ritzy program. Instead, I took on the least amount of risk (which before the economy crashed was much less risk than after it crashed) that would get me to reach my goals. I graduated at the bottom of a recession and worked hard in school and out of it to get that job.

If we’re going to throw money at one of our problems, let’s throw it at people to buy health insurance/fix the current medical system/pay medical bills since that’s what drives a large portion of bankruptcies.

28 Heather Kaplan

This posts comes at a funny time.. on the day that I’m making my final student loan payment. I worked sooo hard for the seven years following my graduation to get my debt paid off. I paid much more than the minimum amount of my loan, sometimes making monthly payments that were higher than my rent, just to get them taken care of. Also, while in school, I worked full time so that I wouldn’t take out more than I had to. And it wasn’t easy- when I graduated, I was making $30k per year and living in NYC, but I made it happen. Now, I’m hearing a lot of my friends say that they shouldn’t be responsible for their debt. I get so frustrated- maybe they should have majored in Business or Technology instead of Art History. Or maybe they shouldn’t have gone to such expensive schools. Or maybe they should have worked while in college. Either way, you have to live with and deal with the choices that you make.

29 Stephanie

Congratulations! That must be an awesome feeling!

30 My money, my life

Education, especially an expensive education, is a luxury and not a necessity. If anything, health care is a more pertinent issue to throw money at. I do think that the tuition for many schools are expensive, but I don’t think loan forgiveness is the solution. If anything, it would encourage over-borrowing. Personally I feel that it’s unfair for people like myself who have worked hard all the way through school, taken on “demeaning” minimum wage jobs despite having advanced degrees, and lived way below my means to pay off my student debt. I agree with what Stephanie said, if this loan forgiveness came in the form of being able to write off your student debt in bankruptcy, people are just screwing themselves further.

31 DeWayne Lehman

“Education, especially an expensive education, is a luxury and not a necessity.”

Yeah, if you live in Zimbabwe or you shovel pig manure for a living.

This whole “Why should I help if nobody helped me?” argument is full of it. It’s the same as the GOP, “If you are not a millionaire, you only have yourself to blame,” argument. The premise being that we can all be millionaires if we just try hard enough.

The problem with student loans is this: it doesn’t feed the economy. Those paying student loans are the core group of young, college graduates entering the middle class. They are at the heart of the economy. They have new buying power and are the best age to purchase more. It’s time to get a house, time to buy furniture, electronics, a car, etc, etc, etc. Yeah, let’s put student loans and crush that completely… /sarcasm

Placing a heavy burden on this group is like shackling your fastest runner in a race.

I’m not saying forgiveness, but the student loans structure is completely wrong. You all have it easy. My ex has about $60k, after 6 years and that’s at community college and with grants.

I support a reverse savings account. Everyone pays in, and what you don’t use for education is refunded back at retirement. You can then go to college, not incur any loan payments, and the money is deducted evenly, not when you are the most needed by the economy. Also, those who use their money wisely get a nice tax free bonus upon retirement.

32 My money, my life

I have plenty of friends who are making it just fine with an inexpensive college education or no university or college education at all. And no, they don’t live in a third-world country or work as pig farmers. I myself only received a reasonably-priced education and voila, I’m alive and doing well!!!! I’m not saying that only certain people are entitled to an education or a good education, or that education doesn’t further people’s careers and earning potentials. But I don’t believe that an expensive it’s a necessity or as necessary as, say, health care.

But I guess it’s all relative. If you truly believe that an expensive education, or education at all, is as NECESSARY as health care, and that everybody who says otherwise is a selfish and entitled a**hole, then there’s no use in reasoning with you. I should probably go thank my good fortunes that I fared well this long without an expensive education, and prepare for my eventual fate of having to either move to an impoverished third-world country, or staring working in the animal waste industry :)

33 Mat

Your ex had 60k in debt after 6 years? and that’s till with grant money? Did it take her 6 years to get a degree? Every person is different but there are alot of people that had nothing growing up and turned it into something great, if your lazy and sit around and don’t want to do anything, then nothing will happen, but if you truly try to work hard and want something better then you will achieve this. Everyone’s “happy place” is different. Some people want 500k a year salary and some people just want 50k, both are happy in there own right. College is not required, it is a choice. Many people don’t go to college that have a trade that do very well.

34 nichole

I’m 26 and make 50K/year with no college education.

And I don’t live in Zimbabwe or shovel pig shit. I just didn’t buy into the “go into huge amounts of debt” line. You don’t make that much more money with a college degree, there’s been studies that show this. I make more than my boyfriend, for anecdotal example. And he has a bachelor’s degree…

35 Stephanie

I would love it if my loans were wiped out…I mean, more $$ in my pocket! BUT! That’s incredibly selfish of me and not logical.

I signed for those loans, therefore I’m responsible for them. It’s not like the government randomly handed me a chunk of cash and 8 years later said “oh! BTW, we need that money back…plus, umm, this much interest!” I knew what I was getting into. It’s my responsibility to pay them back. And (it’s probably not entirely true) I figure that I’m paying back the money so someone else will be able to use it later.

Do I like paying bills? No. Am I a financially responsible person (at least in the sense of making sure I don’t spend money I should be using for bills)? ::Sigh:: I guess.

36 Larry

Another, legitimate perspective:

“The fact is that the Republican Party has been at war with college students for quite a number of years. It was at their insistence that the college loan business was privatized, and over the years, the interest rates they are allowed to charge had been steadily increased until the present time, even though the loans were made with NO risk to the banks, because they were guaranteed by the federal government. It was a corporate welfare plan for the banking industry, for which the middle class was forced to pay. Now, the total amount of student debt exceeds the amount of money owed by all consumers to credit card companies. And, then, recently, they deformed the bankruptcy laws so that student loan debt can no longer be made to go away in a bankruptcy proceeding. You’re stuck with it until you pay it, and in an economy like this, that can well mean forever.”

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=38589

37 Ninja

All for reform remember. Just not forgiveness. Thanks for sharing.

38 SP

I think it is not a well thought out proposal at all, and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s almost as ridiculous as me saying “Give me $20k! That’ll fix my problems!”. But rather than just bashing it, we can think about what could be done. Nothing? These people just need to “take responsibility”?

For one, I think that student loan lending practices must be regulated & reformed. This has been talked about forever, and I don’t know what the progress on it is. This won’t save anyone “occupying” today, but it at least fixes the future.

For these people, I’m not sure what the solution is, but I think there should at least be some thought going into it. I think I’ve heard of countries have deals where if you work X years and pay Y percentage of your salary towards your loans (in a social service type job?), eventually the balance loan is forgiven. For the unemployed, what about given them (even very small) forgiveness credits in exchange for volunteer work? And really, WHY NOT allow judges to decide about bankruptcy and loan restructuring plans and all that, just like businesses are forced to do when they have more debt than they can possibly pay back? Like I said, it isn’t like monopoly where you just declare bankruptcy and it is done.

I’m not actually proposing these ideas, I’m just saying some ideas should be evaluated.

39 Jake

“I think I’ve heard of countries have deals where if you work X years and pay Y percentage of your salary towards your loans (in a social service type job?), eventually the balance loan is forgiven.”

One of those countries is the good ole US of A.

http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml

40 Becka

It seems like you worked hard but got lucky Ninja! I read the linked posts and the second job just kind of fell into your lap AND paid significantly more than you were expecting! If I had an extra $500 a week, I would put it ALL towards my student loans.

I graduated in four years (with two degrees) in 2009 – right when everyone was basically jumping off the buildings in despair. I went to school in Buffalo (cheap city), paid $250-300/mo for rent every year in a dangerous neighborhood, didn’t have a car, and graduated with about 17k in loans and no credit card debt. I moved to NYC because my boyfriend was going to law school there and let me live with him until I was able to get a job and an apartment on my own. At first I took a job selling certificates business to business – basically a pyramid scheme – but I needed money and NO ONE was hiring. I managed to get a decent apartment in a good area with a friend for $700/mo for myself and was barely surviving so I deferred my loans for a year. I eventually managed to get another job in a financial call center that paid $14/hr with no benefits and was ECSTATIC. Even living frugally, I was still barely keeping my head above water and would throw a little money into savings but nothing toward my loans.

Then I was laid off from that job and while I was able to get unemployment, it barely covered my bills and so I quickly ran through my savings. I was able to get another job at a horrible company where I worked 50-60 hour weeks at 30k per year + benefits. It was absolutely brutal especially since my boss continually reminded us that we could easily be replaced by the hoards of people without jobs. I eventually called direct loans and set up a payment plan where I could pay $140/mo, which would barely dent my now 20k balance. I was later (thankfully) laid off from that job and ran through my savings once again.

I finally have a decent job that I love that pays more along what I thought I would be making when I took out loans in 2005. I’m still struggling to pay my loans because now I’m supporting my boyfriend who is struggling to get an attorney job (but will soon hopefully!) in our 280 sq ft studio that costs $1200 a month in Queens (but is an awesome location).

I don’t expect or even want the Government to forgive my debt entirely. That would be ridiculous! But if I could get my debt forgiven back down to where it was when I graduated, that would be incredibly helpful and I don’t think unreasonable. I mean, I haven’t seen a dime of interest from the money that I loaned the banks and yet they’re getting all sorts of interest from me.

41 Ninja

My seconds job was tutoring. There was nothing lucky about getting kids to pick me as their tutor.. It had to do with marketing myself well and being good at what I did. The tutoring gig also lead to other income streams like house sitting. I hate when people call me lucky for working hard. That’s like saying I’m lucky this blog makes me money. NO! I work my butt off to make this site entertaining and in exchange am compensated for it.

42 Becka

Fair enough, I didn’t say I think you got lucky on the blog – I definitely think you work really hard on this blog. Your posts are well-researched and you post all the time. I didn’t realize that tutoring was your second job and thought you were saying that house-sitting gig you got was your second job.

43 Ninja

Can see how the second job link could be confusing. My bad. Thanks for commenting :)

44 Becka

Thanks for inspiring me to quit whining and get a second job :D

45 notpollyanna

You worked hard and it paid off. For a lot of people (me! and others), that looks like it requires a great deal of luck. I work hard and it hasn’t paid off (and not only financially speaking). When your hard work pays off, it is easy to say that you got what you got because you worked hard and deserved it. When your hard work doesn’t pay off, it is easy to call other people lucky and for those people to deride you for acting entitled. Perhaps there are a lot more hardworking and deserving people than there are good jobs.

(It is like predicting the outcome of a football game. I choose Team A and you choose Team B. If Team A wins you are likely to say “you knew it” and if Team B wins it is easy to say I got lucky. The truth of the matter is that neither of us really knew what the future held and whoever was right did get lucky.)

46 Djembe

I don’t mean to be rude—but I don’t see how that situation was not of your own creation. You moved to NYC–the city with the absolute highest cost of living in the U.S. I don’t think you should get any forgiveness for taking an incredible risk. Kudos to you for being where you want to be!! But, that was your choice and now you have to pay the price.

I choose to live in the downtown area of a large city and I definitely have to make sacrifices financially. That is why not everyone can handle living in a metro area.

47 changeonabudget

Man I just wrote an awesome comment and then deleted it because it’s Friday and I’m tired.

Essentially this: I’ve been saving for 2 years and delaying going back to school so I wont take on loans. So while I get that you would be like ‘woah no fair’ if this ever happened (which it wont) bc I would feel like that too, its not a sustainable way of doing things. Crippling youth with huge debts prevents them from then owning homes, buying things that spur economic growth, having children etc etc etc. It’s a snowball effect that if it keeps up, will mess the country up so bad there will be no way to recover. Sweden has free post-secondary and their youth, middle class and economy are actually a heck of a lot better than us her in North America.

Just because we don’t like the solutions the Occupy movement is suggesting, doesn’t mean we should ignore the very real problems that they are bringing attention to.

48 WinrWinrChknDinr

And you understand what the tax rate is in Sweden, right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Sweden

49 changeonabudget

I won’t get super into this but yes I am fully aware of Sweden’s tax rate (my first degree was in Political Economics). Thanks for the link though :)

Weird but true fact I read at work yesterday – I’m at home today so can’t source it properly – but “research carried out by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School shows that 92 percent of Americans would choose to live in a society based off of Sweden’s economic and political system over that of the US during blind testing. This applies to people of all income levels and all political leanings: both the poor and the rich, Democrats and Republicans all choose the Swedish model in comparatively equal numbers”

(I copied that gem out for a future blog post haha)

50 WinrWinrChknDinr

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Sweden or it’s tax rate. If people want to live there, they can knock their socks off. But 48.3% in income taxes?!? OUCH!

Your comment was…”Sweden has free post-secondary and their youth, middle class and economy are actually a heck of a lot better than us her in North America.”

My reply was simply to show that nothing costs nothing. Someone, somewhere is paying for that “FREE” post-secondary education.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Sweden
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_education

I don’t know if I would go as far as to call a study from the Harvard Business School a “true fact”.

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – M. Twain

51 E

I have nearly 60k in student loan debt between undergrad and grad school – it’s daunting, to say the least. However, it was my choice to take the loans out. The government did not hold a gun to my head and say, “Hey, you! Take out lots of loans and rack up lots of debt, or else!” I made the choice. Was it a smart one? Probably not. However, I wouldn’t trade my undergrad experience for anything and I needed an MS to work in my field.

I thought jobs would be more readily available, but the recession has hit my profession hard and I currently work on a part time/substitute basis in my field now. I’ve looked for full time work in other states, as I’m willing to go anywhere, but they just aren’t available. I’m lucky enough to have a full time job in addition to the part time job. I’m down to the last three payments on my car loan and am working to aggressively pay down my credit cards. Once that’s done, I’ll start paying the student loans down as fast as I can.

While I’m not a fan of the OWS movement, it does bother me that banks and big business get bailed out with my tax $$ (also, I live in California and they tax the crap out of you here.) I’m not really sure what the solution is, but I do know that I need to take responsibility for my own actions that led me to the place I’m in now. It really, really bothers me when people blame everyone but themselves for their actions.

52 graduate.living

I apologize if this territory has already been covered, because I didn’t read the previous comments (so many!) But I think there’s a huge difference between someone like Ninja (or me) with $30,000ish in student loans and a law school student with +$150,000 in student loans (I have a particular vendetta against law school recruiting practices and costs… mostly because it’s all ridiculous).

There’s a difference between being able to buckle your belt, take on extra jobs, and pay off your loans (which is what Ninja did, what I’m attempting, and probably what many people at Occupy Wall Street COULD potentially do) and having loan payments so high that you’re left with no money for rent/groceries afterwards.

But again, I think that’s what OWS is all about – drawing attention to unethical financial practices. I was lucky to not have to take out loans for undergrad, but I’m not sure that at 18 I could’ve fully understood the impact student loans would have had on me – and my experience with loans in graduate school did not make the process seem transparent at all – I had to do a lot of digging to fully understand the terms of my loans, how interest was accrued, when I could start paying off, etc. I am all for individual responsibility and taking the consequences for one’s actions, but that does not mean we should give financial companies a free pass to conduct business however they want.

53 Emily

I just want you to know this is exactly how I felt when they started doing loan modifications for people underwater in their mortgages.

54 Justin Bassett

Besides, the inherent “unfairness” of forgiving student loan debt, it just doesn’t make sense as a stimulus. I’m an economist, and here’s how that idea stacks up to me:

A Keynesian stimulus is concerned with short-term spending increases – the usual cutoff is about 24 months. So the question that must be asked of anything that is claimed as a stimulus is: “how much marginal (i.e. extra) money will be in the national pockets if it’s implemented?”

Let’s say that Joe Occupier has $60,000 in student loan debt and has payments of $500 a month. If the government forgives his loan, it costs them $60,000. Assuming Joe spends *all* of the money he saves (which is a crazy ambitious assumption), he’ll put an extra ($500*24)=$12,000 in to to economy. So the federal government is paying $60k for $12k in stimulus.

You’ll never find an economist to back this plan up.

55 Honey

The key will be to not just forgive the student loan debt, but to reform the loan system to prevent people from being able to accrue that debt going forward. If I were unilaterally instituting reforms, the individual cap on the lifetime limits (regardless of the source of the loans) should be significantly lowered – $10K for undergrad, $20K for MA’s or trade certifications, $40K for doctorates, and $60K for law/business/medical degrees, for example. Obviously I’d have to do some research before settling on real numbers, these are just hypothetical – the amount would probably be determined by a monthly loan repayment that was 8% of the expected income for that degree level, though this would be just a starting point as there are lots of other variables. The loan forgiveness implemented would forgive loan amounts over and above these caps, so people would have to take responsibility for a repayment amount that a) the market will reasonably provide, and b) will still cause a “feel the pinch” in the person paying back the loan.

The problem is, the ready availability of student loans means that market forces have NO BEARING in university’s decision-making processes for setting tuition. They have basically been given carte blanche to raise tuition as much as they want, because they can always say to a student, “you can take out loans to cover the difference.” If the lifetime individual borrowing cap were lowered to what the market can support (in terms of students being able to anticipate a particular salary after receiving their degree), and beyond that limit NO LOANS were available to students, then we’d probably see a) a lot more people trying to get the most out of their dollar in terms of lower-cost options like community colleges and state universities and choice of major, b) more people applying for the phenomenal amount of unclaimed scholarships out there, and c) a RADICAL readjustment in the tuition of almost every university out there. Additionally, before being able to take out loans, students should be forced to attend, IN PERSON, personal finance courses that help them understand how the decisions they are making are going to affect their lives after graduation.

Just like the housing bubble was fueled by the easy availability of mortgages rather than the inherent value of the homes in question, the student loan bubble is being fueled by the easy availability of student loans rather than the anticipated starting salary of the degrees in question. Similarly, just as people believed that it was somehow “their right” to own as expensive a home as they desired regardless of their ability to afford it (which I do not believe), people believe it is “their right” to go to as expensive a college as they want and major in something with no real hope of employment opportunities just because it’s easy or interesting.

Personally, I think that education should be free to those with the aptitude and drive to attain it, but since that’s not happening anytime soon, this seems like the best alternative. My husband and I have $100K in student loans each – from graduate degrees obtained at state universities. I got a PhD in composition/the teaching of English, which seems like it should work out great, since practically every university in the US requires a minimum two-course sequence in composition. Only to find out that the majority of composition courses are taught by adjuncts. I work at a university now, but on the administrative side because to work in my field I’d have to put in twice the hours for less pay and not have any benefits and be hired on contingency every single semester (with no opportunity for work in summers). I only make $40K/year, but the fact that my job is guaranteed and I have great benefits turned out to be the best alternative. My husband had a job at a law firm (rare enough in these days) that he left because the stress was causing significant enough health and psychological problems – now he’s self-employed and much happier, but probably took a 40% pay cut and we eloped so he could have medical coverage. The average student loan debt for a law student is $75,000 and only 65% of graduates are employed in positions requiring a legal degree. There is a class-action law suit about how law schools present inflated/inaccurate employment data during the recruitment process. Similarly, I was repeatedly told that my PhD program had a 100% tenure-track job placement rate, which was also very untrue. If accurate information isn’t reasonably available to people prior to beginning their degree programs, what is the solution?

56 Ninja

You gave the solution yourself. You sue the school. What you don’t do is expect forgiveness from the government, which essentially requires tax payers to front the cost for your education.

57 Larry

The law school thing is an utter disgrace: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/business/law-school-economics-job-market-weakens-tuition-rises.html?pagewanted=all

I have my PhD in English (Rutgers, which is the State U. of NJ, 1979), but I taught two sections of comp for 5 years straight while doing my degree for about $1000 a course, and never needed more than $1500 ($5700 in today’s money) in student loans because I wanted my last year for the diss. But the freshman comp/adjunct racket was notorious even then. It took me 2 years after that to find a tenure-track job (I eventually lost a close tenure decision, and I had it with academia after then). I suppose the above is mostly digressive, but it does go to show that higher education was infinitely less expensive just 30-35 years ago.

58 Matt

I would think that the Congress would be all for forgiving student loans, since all the people who had loans forgiven would have to pick up the amount wiped out as cancellation of debt income and pay taxes in the year it was cancelled. Talk about a HUGE boost to revenue!

59 Ana

I’d be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO pissed too. Damn I’ve been working so hard for about 3 years now to pay off my student loan. They cannot forgive students loans unless they’re planning to return ALL the money that have paid all students who have received a loan.

60 Ana

If they forgive student loans then damn, forgive mortgages too, and car loans, and all the others loans we can get.

61 Jeffrey Trull

While I don’t think student loans should be repaid by the government, I think there is definitely an issue with the mentality related to student loan debt. I feel the system is set up to tell high school grads something like “Go ahead, take out all the loans you want. You can just pay them back once you get a high-paying job after college.” Aside from the fact that this is ridiculous, the economy has tanked in the last 4 years, leaving even less jobs for college grads.

I’m not saying that 18-year-olds that decide to take on college loans should be off the hook in terms of blame, but I don’t think they’re always capable of making big financial decisions like this when they clearly don’t understand the repercussions.

62 Mat

How can they not understand the repercussions when you sign up for the loans? I’m pretty sure you know what your % is and if you pay after you graduate or during college. You took out student loans to go to college which is a choice and not a requirement and now you don’t want to pay back the loans after college. Be a responsible adult and do what is right. You can’t go back after you get a car loan and say well i shouldn’t have to pay this back because its not fair. Everything is a choice and its your choice to take out student loans or not. No one is making you do this.

63 Ryan

I agree.

If it wasn’t for student loans, I wouldn’t be able to pay for school and neither could my parents without maxing out their credit cards or taking out a huge HELOC. No, no one forced me to sign the paperwork, but if I didn’t…I’d be working a minimum wage retail job until forever. (I wanted to go to college anyway, not just to get a high paying job.

It’s a loan that you’re signing up for hoping you can pay them back…because there’s no way to know what salary you’re start off at or even if you’ll find a job.

Off topic, but I love that I’m free to sign up for around $30,000 (I think that’s the current Stafford limit) in loans with just my signature, but drink a beer? Off to court.

64 Brandy

The bottom line is, I signed up for the student loans. I should pay back what I owe. Period. No one held a gun to my head and made me take out loans.

65 GREENI$BLACK

I graduated from my first college with $18,000 in debt (went to out of state public university, but got a 1/2 scholarship for athletics along with grants) five years ago. My parents and I have been making one payment each for almost two years and recently my parents doubled their payments (3x the minimum each month). My debt is now at just about $7,000.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to go back to school to earn a second bachelor’s in Nursing. I went to my public community college for the science prerequisites and paid everything up front, finishing 25 credits in 1.5 years with no additional debt.

I was only accepted to one nursing school – a private college. The total cost for the program is going to be about $50,000. I saved $10,000 towards my education and my parents matched my $10,000 savings. So I can pay about half of my tuition with cash and the other half is federal loans. This means I’ll have $25,000 in debt when I graduate in two years.

I feel comfortable with that amount and I know that if I accelerate my payments I’ll be able to pay it down in a year or two at the most. One thing I think student loans do for some students is allow them to go to a college they might not be able to afford otherwise. The “top” private colleges are also the most expensive in the country and if you don’t have very well-off parents, you’ll be shut out of those schools if you can’t pay for it upfront.

The bottom line is – know what you’re getting into and realize that you can pay off your debt and pay it off even faster simply by accelerating your payments! Some of my classmates were shocked at this concept when I told them what I did. For me it was the generosity of my parents (my dad is a retired firefighter and my mom is an insurance agent…so definitely not the 1%) and my commitment to my responsibilities. When I graduate, I’m not going to go crying to everyone about my debt….I’m simply going to pay for it! I think $25,000 after the fact is worth it for a degree that will open so many doors for me.

66 Elle

Did you pay off a majority of your student loans from inheritance from your grandparents? Just curious.

67 Ninja

Not one dime. Came from my pocket and my pocket only.

68 Djembe

My husband did! He had about $27,000 from his journalism degree and had made the first round of minimum payments when his grandpa died and paid it off in one fell swoop.

I don’t have any family and I have a small amount of loans from when I first started school at age 18 and didn’t know how to manage my money. Now I’m paying that off and scraping to pay for school out-of-pocket—working full-time and going to school full-time.

69 krantcents

Since I do not have student loans I would be against it. I think, the people who have student loans should do something for forgiveness.

70 Andy

Forgive nothing….I am not occupying anything but my job – which is how I intend to pay for the things I have purchased.

71 Lola

Yes, student loan and tuition reform is needed. But so is financial education. I remember all kinds of “mandatory counseling” regarding my student loans but all it amounted to was, “you know you can’t discharge these in bankruptcy.” It would have been really helpful to have some worksheets or something that would allow you to figure out your future payments. Better yet, a required financial literacy class in high school (or sooner) that covered student loans among other financial instruments. Yes, the information is out there if you go looking for it but young men and women just don’t think that way, necessarily. I know I didn’t.

I graduated with about $20,000 in debt but that was only for two years of college. The rest I paid as I went along because I took one or two night classes and worked all day. Actually that was my later attempt at college. I left the first college I went to because as much as I loved it, I couldn’t afford it, even with student loans. I did NOT find a great job after graduation. I was working for $7.10/hr at a job I hated when my deferrment was up. I had to take a ridiculously long repayment term so that I could attempt to afford the payments. My standard of living fell dramatically–I was living much better on student loans than on real wages. But I sucked it up, lived in a cheap studio, ate ramen, rode the bus, and started paying them off. I am still paying them 10 years later, actually. But I don’t expect them to be forgiven based on my naivete.

I realize not everyone can find a job these days–not even for minimum wage. So maybe some extended deferrment is in order. But not until you find a “real” job, and not outright forgiveness.

72 Andrew

Hey Ninja, I read this blog daily but rarely contribute. I watched this debate on Intelligence Squared yesterday (http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/too-many-kids-go-to-college/). Aside from the main debate, there are a lot of thought provoking points; rising cost of education, lack of accountability, the idea that higher education is a bubble and about to burst. My main take away was the amount of reform and rethinking that needs to happen in the higher education field. If you get a chance, I highly recommend watching it.

Back to your post. While I understand the frustration at the thought of loans being forgiven (I’m not sure I agree that they should) I think it’s down right criminal that all other forms of debt can be cleared through a bankruptcy except student loan debt. Bankruptcy isn’t a get out-of-jail-free card it’s the opportunity for a financial second chance which I would hope you and the majority of your readers would appreciate. Full disclosure: I graduated in 2006 from a really good state school with a reasonable amount of debt (less than $16,000). Keep in mind this was when 1) interest rates were variable (mine are locked at 3%) 2) Fees were roughly 50-60% cheaper and 3) jobs were still available. I also work in high education now and have seen fees for some student increase three-fold from their freshman year to graduation. What exactly were they supposed to do, drop out?

Secondly, let’s not forget that this isn’t just someone else’s problem. If I owe you a $1000 dollars, I’ve got a problem. If I owe you a $1,000,000 you’ve got a problem.” There is now over a Trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt.That’s going to be a drag on the economy for decades to come, because every dollar that’s spent to repay a loan is a dollar that can’t be spent on food, clothing cars etc, which we’ll need to get this economy going again. If you think that this won’t ultimately affect you and you’re IRA/401k then you have another thing coming.

“The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.” -Joseph Stiglitz

73 Emily

Top schools aren’t necessarily the top price – Harvard waives tuition for undergrads whose parents aren’t wealthy. And I know Harvard isn’t the only school.
http://tech.mit.edu/V126/N15/15harvardwire.html
There are also some colleges which do not charge tuition period.
http://images.businessweek.com/ss/07/11/1114_tuitionfree/index_01.htm

74 M in DC

I agree, and I’m in a liberal arts job with almost $50k in loans. It sucks, but I chose to take them out.

75 Sandy

I agree with everything that you’ve said…but with two exceptions:

1) Medical school student loans should be forgiven for those who go into primary care or one of the lesser paying specialties of which there is a need for. Med school is TOUGH, followed by a low-paying residency. People cannot hold down part-time jobs while going through this. After med school, people opt for higher paying specialties to be able to pay down their loans and have comfortable lifestyle…resulting in a shrinking number of primary care docs.

2) In catastophic circumstances, such as serious illness which is insanely expensive.

Other than those two exceptions, I don’t see why someone’s student loans should be forgiven.

Great post!

76 Amy

No tax money to banksters, refinance of debts – credit card debt above 5% should be refinanced at 3% to punish usury.

Nationalize the Fed. Hire workers to rebuild the roads, bridges, schools. Build a secure highspeed internet.

77 YFS @ YourfinancesSimplified

What makes student loans special? Why not forgive all mortgage debt? I would have so much money to plow back into the economy if I didn’t have my mortgage. :-)

78 T

I had about 50,000 combined stdt loans for undergrad and law school (about $15 or 20 for in-state at UNC-Ch Hill and $30 for law school at Rutgers Newark). (figures not exact bc it was a long time ago).
The grand total jumped up to about $57,000 when I stupidly took a forbearance that was unsubsidized and all the payments, which were 100% interest, were capitalized. But that’s another story. Bottom line is total stdt loan debt was about $57,000.

OK – to the ‘student loan burdens prevent students from spending/stimulating the economy’ crowd.
OK – my loans did not prevent me from spending. After I finally got a good, stable, decent paying job, I bought a house. I always had a car -another major purchase. And I also always nought decent clothes to wear to work. I did not forego all these things in order to pay the stdt loan. I paid the minimum for years, in order to be able to have a car and house, and live like a normal person. For years and years my minimum payment has been @ $330.00. Granted, the payment imperceptibly went down, as in like never.

OK, I used my tax refunds to pay down the stdt loans, little as that did. Then, when I finally paid my house off I started applying the mortgage payment to the stdt loans. Now I began to see some movement. Plus my tax refunds, and my salary gradually went up over the years.

To date, I am about to pay the loan off. Oh yeah, I consolidated into 1 loan, which was subsidized, so no interest capitalized if Youndefer or forbear. But then they changed all those rules, so you have to be at poverty level to qualify for a defer/ forbear. But that’s another story. I never deferred/forbear while I had my good job anyway.

Anyway, point is, the economy never suffered any due to my having stdt loan obligations. I was still an active consumer. Retiring a stdt loan is like raising a kid, it takes years, first baby steps and then bigger steps, and then one day you can be done. No I don’t have any kids. Too much stdt loan debt, but that’s another story.

My sympathy goes out to those Just getting out of school and trying to get work in this messed up economy and trying to make it in this messed up world. I never thout I would ever, ever, ever pay off those stdt loans. Tought I would be still paying on them in my 60′s or beyond. Luckily, I will have paid them off before I hit 50, but not too much before. Anyway, hang in there, you have a lot of years ahead of you, and no one knows what the future holds in terms of the job market, the economy, etc. Things do go in cycles.

PS – anybody who has law school stdt loan debt of $150k – you must have gone to an Ivy league school. Should have stuck w/ a great State school.

Best wishes.

Thanks Ninja Man for a very entertaining and educationL blog site!

79 T

Uh, sorry for the bad spelling throughout my above post.
It’s my IPad’s fault; sometimes it makes spelling decisions w/o consulting me first.

T.

80 T

PS – I remember the days when all I had was a big fat stdt loan debt. I remember when I first got out of school the wanted like $750 or $800 a month, hence why I got a forbearance. $800 a month isn’t easy when you are only making about $20 k a year. I remember thinking food or stdt loan; rent or stdt loan; car payment or stdt loan? It was a big help when I renegotiated that thing down to around $300 a month.

I’s awful living like that. But it was good in the long run bc it caused me to hate debt, motivated me to pay down my debt, and also not to incur a lot of debt. I always lived well below my means in part bc of the stdt loan debt. I am so glad I did now. Bc now, instead of approaching 50 w/a $300,000 house and 20 more years of mortgage payments staring me in the face, my modest, but charming house is paid off, and my stdt loan debt is all but gone. At which point I will be totally debt free. Plus I have a good amunt of cash stashed away in my retirement plan from putting into that all these years.

I never had a lot of money To throw around, and didn’t live large like a lot of other people I know. But now I am in a much better, more solid position than a lot of my big spending friends who were living large. I don’t have

81 T

to worry about my future as I get old. Thanks stdt loans for teaching me the value of money and hard work and appreciating every dollar my little hands earned. It is good not to be buried under a pile of debt in a bad economy like this. The peace of mind is priceless.

Life teaches us lessons. Pay your stdt loans off, be careful not to take on anymore debt, and try to save, save, save.

82 dojo

Too many people take everything for granted. WHO MADE THEM TAKE THE LOANS? I hear? Ah, they thought it’s good to have a better education. Of course it is,, but you’re taking some risks. As you did. Getting out of college with 30 grand worth of debt.

I admire you for what you did and this is the WAY to deal with it. The loans were good, since they allowed you access to better education, which I assume gave some results after all this time. But you had to pay the bills and understand than nothing in this life is for free.

We have a lot of lazy-bums here in Romania too, who expect the State to give them and help them. While the idiots who still work and pay taxes are only given more stuff to pay for, so that the others can enjoy life without ‘stress’.

83 bd

I guess I’m in the minority on this site but I’m fine with them forgiving student loans. They worked out something for the banks who should have had more financial knowledge than the individuals they were lending too. They worked out something for homeowners who borrowed more than they could afford. It seems fair that they should offer something to these kids who were just trying to get an education too. It’s unlikely that those with significant student debt also were homeowners helped the first time around.

Sure no one made anyone go into debt, but the fact of the matter is that student loan debt is no longer the burdening just the individual. It’s weighing on the whole economy, and the differences in the way its treated in bankruptcy and guaranteed by the federal government further distorts the market in my mind.

84 Evan

Forgiving the debt and letting it be discharged in bankruptcy is TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!

One says my 85K it cost to go to law school is gone the other says if I am willing to file bankruptcy proceedings and completely F up my credit then it is gone. I don’t mind the latter situation but the first would be ridiculous.

85 Erica

If you forgive one type of debt, you kind of have to forgive all debt. Who’s to say that one debt is greater or more important thus needing forgiving then another. It’s just all so stupid. If in the end you can’t pay for something, don’t sign the paper work in the beginning stating you can.

86 Ashley

If they get loan forgiveness, I want to be able to go to school for free… and my son… and my grandchildren….

87 anonymous

So… back to the Iphone that was made by worker bees in China…. Did you keep it/are you using it? The answer to that question pretty much illustrates the rest of any of your like mentality. You’re either hypocritical or you’re not. Your response to the whole OWS movement seems based from a pretty “world is roses” and overall very ignorant stance. Somewhat parallel but not as dumb as the dirt poor Republicans who keep voting against themselves. You seem to not realise the point that you cannot truly “function” in society without some/most items made in deplorable conditions (even bums use discarded Starbucks cups and wear Nikes). Protesters include nurses, students, all types of professionals. Just because these are again – a function of modern day society – virtually inescapable in Modern Day America – doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with how they are made. In fact, it should outrage you more. The corporate greed that has gone into their making at the expense of the natural habitat and the 99% if you will for the benefit of the fattest is what people are making a statement against. If you are outraged about the working conditions in China for a product you buy in America, yet seem to think the protesters are silly and infantile you are just another dirt poor Republican voting against yourself (just on a different scale). You seemed more intelligent than that.

88 tom

LOL WUT

89 Philip

This may have been said in your 89! comments (geesh), but you can actually take your analogy a bit further. Not only are you asking for the lipo, you’re asking the guy who lost weight on his own to subsidize your lipo. The American taxpayer is who’s giving these students a break, not Obama. To be fair though, Bush and the Dem Congress did this in 2007 too. But at least Bush didn’t just declare it into law.

90 Larry

Disagree with this completely, even though the right-wingers love to make comments of this type. It’s a false analogy, just like this statement from Dave Ramsey:

“When someone takes my money and gives me no say in the matter, that’s called theft—whether they’re using a gun or the government.”

First of all, you do have a say, and it’s called your vote, as well your right to assemble and petition under the 1st Amendment. Don’t like the tax laws? then vote in those who favor the tax laws you prefer.

Second, theft is a crime. The government is committing no crime, but simply acting lawfully in accordance with its Constitutional powers under Article 1 Section 8 and Amendment 16. Don’t like the Constitution? Then try to get it amended. I wish you luck.

Finally, the notion that “Not only are you asking for the lipo, you’re asking the guy who lost weight on his own to subsidize your lipo” is utter nonsense. A theft implies both a specific thief and a specific victim of that theft. It’s a personal act. There’s nothing personal about the tax system; instead, it’s as impersonal as anything can be. Taxpayers have certain obligations and certain rights under the tax code based on their income and other factors as specified in the code. Taxpayer A may be getting some kinds of tax breaks, but taxpayer B may be getting an entirely different set of breaks, and there’s no direct correlation between the two. If I’m blind, for instance, I get an exemption not allowed to the sighted. Am I robbing someone who can see? I don’t think so.

91 Philip

Larry, please don’t put someone else’ words in my mouth. I said subsidize, which is what taxpayers are doing. I did not say theft.

92 Larry

Clearly I was responding more specifically to Ramsey’s comment.

93 Larry

OK, to yours too. I think they are similar in intent and don’t want to split hairs on the matter.

94 johndis

Thanks for your life story, this anecdote certainly proves an important point.

95 Fifi

Ha! Try $120,000! And I’m paying every penny. I am not a part of the top 1% either and neither r my parents. I have lived very cheaply for many years and continued to pay my $1000 or more payment per month since 2004. I got it down to $40,000 now and will hopefully have it paid off in 5 years. I just recently learned that student loans can be forgiven after 20 years. Wtf! If i’d known that, I would’ve just deferred loans by taking one class a semester then not paid it at all!

96 Sara

I think that two of the main things that should be changed are the interest rates on student loans and the amount of impact the parents income has on the students loan options. I am graduating this spring with a bachelors degree and have been trying to pay off interest and part of the loans as I go but it becomes impossible with the high interest rates to keep up. 8% interest on ~24,000 means about 150 a month (and trying to pay off original amount plus rent plus food equals nothing left). Also, as I get closer to graduation I are trying to save up some money for certification exams which range from 500 – 1000 dollars. Making 450 a month part time and school full time and an internship there is not always the ability to take on more jobs. I have paid off thousands while in school but it is doesn’t seem to make much of a dent. Any amount left adds to the total so paying interest on interest would be very frustrating. I think that the loans should not accrue interest while in school. I know people who mainly don’t have interest and it is because their parents are poor so they qualify for the “good” loans. Well, my parents gave me some money my first and second year but now I am on my own and some of the people with the “good” loans still have their parents giving them a lot of money.

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