I *do* feel bad for people with horribly crushing student loan debt.

But that’s because I don’t like to blame people for falling for a lie:

…while some people say these 18-year-old kids don’t know what they’re getting themselves into, let’s not pretend we don’t know better. I distinctly remember asking my friend how he would pay off the roughly $70,000 debt he would incur to obtain a major in Ancient Greek and Latin at a liberal arts college in the Midwest. His answer? A simple shrug and flippant “It’s not something I have to worry about right now — hopefully they’ll be forgiven by the government.” Now that he’s still waiting tables four years after graduation, I’d say it’s well past time to start worrying.

Bolding mine: contra the article (which is otherwise fine, if a touch schadenfreude-y) there’s a reason why college students perennially think that their insane student loan debts are going to be forgiven.  It’s because the Democrats campaign on the subject.  Note: ‘campaign.’  They don’t ever actually do anything about it, because any meaningful way of doing so* would tick off the universities, which are frankly more reliable long-term allies of the Democrats and thus highly valuable to that party.  Your average 18 year old college freshman, on the other hand?  Well, there’s an excellent chance that within ten years he or she will be voting Republican; the ROI on helping out that class of person is thus downright awful. But Democrats can’t just come out and say that, because in the short term the Democrats need the votes.  So… the dance goes on.

And, honestly, ‘these 18-year-old kids don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.’ Hence my (student-loan free**) rough sympathies.  Mind you, the answer to this would be: start voting Republican.  And start telling your new legislators that you’d really like to see them put the screws to the university and the student loan industries…

Via Instapundit.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Short version: make student loans dischargeable via bankruptcy and put the schools at least partially on the hook for any bad loans that they helped facilitate.  That won’t fix the entire problem, but it’d really really really help.

**I ended up with mild – in retrospect; at the time it felt crushing – student loan debt because of grad school. But we paid that off a decade ago. Of course, it helped that my wife got a PhD without actually incurring any debt at all***.

***Darned straight I married up.

7 thoughts on “I *do* feel bad for people with horribly crushing student loan debt.”

  1. “Darned straight I married up.”
    You have brought up many fine qualities that your wife possesses. Congrats on doing so well.

  2. I had pretty serious student loan debt purely due to undergrad. That’s what happens when you spend 4.5 years at a private college 2/3 on borrowed money and 1/3 on grants. But I also ended up with a computer science degree from a pretty good school, and eleven years after graduating those loans were paid off. I can’t imagine borrowing a lot of money to pursue a degree that wouldn’t be useful in getting a high-paying job, though.

  3. I dropped out with 3 semesters left to go, after it became clear that there was a glut of Geologists in the labor market, and that changing land-use regulations were going to make that situation a heck of a lot worse before they got better.
    It took me three years to get out from under the debt.
    Then I got married.
    I married up in many, many ways. But “financially” was not one of them. (Long story, most of which is not mine to share. There are a lot of things for which I’m unlikely to ever forgive her parents.)
    Nearly 15 years in, and the millstone of student loan debt isn’t going away any time soon.

  4. “make student loans dischargeable via bankruptcy”

    They once were and that’s what started all this mess, so you’re just completing the circle. The problem is greedy doctors would declare bankruptcy right out of med school and discharge all their loans without even trying to pay them off.

    Starting in January older loans can be capped based on 10% of income, with a write off after 20 years. My loan payments are far in excess of 10%, however I still live quite comfortably. Will I cap my payments and leave you all to pick up the rest in January.

    Yes. I don’t agree with it, but I’m not stupid. If the rest of you are going to shove money in my face, I will go ahead and take it.

    1. AFAIK, actual occurrences of that were far less common than the people who got student loans made non-dischargeable in bankruptcy would have you believe. And it’s not hard to require a good-faith effort at repayment before a loan can be discharged in bankruptcy, either.

  5. “How do you plan to earn a living?” and “How do you plan to pay back any loans?” are questions that advisers should be asking any college-bound person. If they can’t answer it, they should be discouraged from applying.

    1. The answer 80% of the time to either question is “Don’t know and don’t care”

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