Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Don't you love this headline?!? - "Are college loans the new mortgages?"

Uh, yeah, college loans are the new mortgages. What's the difference? Oh, gee, just a couple of things, like . . . You can't get rid of them in bankruptcy! You can't live in them or in your diploma (last time I checked)! The degree they pay for has no "market value." Need I say more?

Soooooooo, please explain to me how college loans are the NEW f%$*!!ing mortgages?!? The newsman said that student loans "have become a defacto mortgage that could take decades to pay off." Uh, decades, dude?!? Do your research, honeypie. Hundreds of thousands of us will never pay off our debt. That's a good thing for the housing market and the economy in general, right?!? But who cares? We're not elites, and as David Sirota recently wrote those are apparently the only people who matter in the U.S., at least when it comes to the powerful in D.C. 

This particular clip features a young woman who went to Drexel and graduated from a 3-year program in fashion design. Her debt is close to 6-figures, and she had to take out private loans. Gee, sound familiar? Gee, sound fair? Isn't it grand that we've cleverly created a system that turns educated people into indebted citizens?!? F*%&!!!-ing brilliant, ain't it? At least Prince of Darkness and Ruler of Sallie Mae Albert Lord gets to live in a fabulous house in Anne Arundel County! So glad he's living it up on our backs! In a 2009 Mother Jones article called, "Fiscal Therapy,"   David Cay Johnson wrote, "the Sallie Mae's chief executive, has become so rich from student lending that he built his own private golf course just outside the nation's capital." That seems well-deserved, don't it?!?

On another note, and a more positive one, it's nice to see Mark Kantrowitz  speaking about the things AEM has been discussing for 2 years. At least I think that was him being interviewed as an expert. Regardless of who it was, that's encouraging to see. I applaud him for his frank tone. We need more people in the field saying that this debt is affecting people's life decisions. As you all know, we've been  collectively documenting this fact for 2 years. Thanks to your testimonials, we know as a group that many of us are not starting families, not buying homes, not purchasing cars, etc. Even worse, many of you are like me and living at home or are homeless! Again, that's all really great for the economy, right?!? Educated folks who are living at home or are living on the streets - what a grand reality.

Someone recently suggested to me that we boycott consumer goods to make a point. The idea was more complex than that, and I appreciated the suggestion. (This contact is an amazing and smart and politically engaged person; he's also a professor). However, he's wrong about it making a difference. Why? Well, when I talked to my husband about it later, he laughed and said, "uh, we don't buy stuff, so how would that work?" Because you and I both know that there are hundreds of thousands of educated folks who aren't buying crap.

Thankfully I am returning to DC in late October, and will continue to push for bold legislation for the indentured educated class, because now is the time to invest in current borrowers. The future of this country is at stake, and this problem - the student lending crisis - contributes to that fact. Stop feeding us platitudinous garbage about future generations and the need to educate prospective students. They won't have anything if you don't figure out things for us now!


John in Boston said...

Hey, focus on the positive here! News media attention to the scale of the problem and the implication that, like mortgages, we have the makings of the next consumer-sector financial crisis. That, I believe, is the point of the headline. Don't fight what works for us!

Cryn Johannsen said...

Ha. Fair enough, John in Boston. I do think it's important to point out the false comparison - I am into accuracy. :)

warwick555 said...

You can walk away from a mortgage. You can't walk away from student debt. It's that simple.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@warwick - EXACTLY.

Anonymous said...

I would suspect that a non-dischargable student loan could have an even more ruinous effect on a marriage or other relationship than a foreclosure. At least, when couples or families realize they can no longer afford the house they're living in, they usually make some sort of mutual decision to go through the foreclosure, bankruptcy and whatever else follows. On the other hand, in most couples, one member has the debt, or the majority of it. The other member of the couple starts to resent the sacrifices he or she has to make on account of the other's debt, which can lead to a split.