Sunday, December 13, 2015

Follow-up Notes: Kevin Carey's "Student Debt in America: Lend With a Smile, Collect With a Fist'

On November 30th, I posted a short piece about Kevin Carey's "Student Debt in America" essay, one which originally appeared in the NYT Upshot section. His article highlighted another extreme example of someone with a high level of debt. While it is true that these situations are of importance, as Carey points out, these pieces also serve to diminish the seriousness of the millions of Americans who don't necessarily have excessive levels of student loan debt. These stories don't grab headlines, but they are worthy of consideration, as these debtors are oftentimes one paycheck away from calamity. In addition, the psychological burden they must endure, being cognizant of their precarious financial situation, is also worth further consideration and research. On another note, I was surprised to see Carey's article appear when it did. I mean, why now? What prompted the NYT to assign him this piece or publish it? I ask these questions because the article does little to contribute to the overall story regarding the student loan debt crisis.

Those are just a few additional thoughts I wanted to share about this publication.


Anonymous said...

Even though I have 197K in law school debt and getting worse because the law schools all pumped out massive amounts of attorneys into a grotesquely over saturated market, I have no sympathy for the woman portrayed for the piece. It would appear that she used her student loans as her personal ATM. It would also appear that she has adult onset ADD/ADHD, as she can not seem to focus. She failed to complete law school and hoped from one unnecessary graduate program to another. Her main focus should have been the best interests of her children. Left unsaid, is why she divorced and if bio dad is paying support. If she left him to "go find herself" or was on a spiritual quest, my sympathy wanes even further. Additionally, if you take a look at her kitchen, it appears to be upscale with granite countertops and stainless appliance. This is not a modest middle class home. My wife and I are scrimping and scraping to pay student loans. We have peeling countertops and drive a ten year old car and live in a wood framed house that is valued under 100K.

Anonymous said...


That is what is lost in these student loan debt stories.

I've seen people laugh about IBR and forgiveness, taking month long vacations and maxing out their retirement accounts while refusing to pay their debt. They brag that they're being intelligent and anybody that pays is just an idiot. And I'm supposed to support that?

I see the same thing with government employees, who make 78% more than the private sector, with great benefits, work hours and job stability. They get a 10 year forgiveness on top of that, a complete windfall. And I'm supposed to sit there and smile and praise them while struggling on the doc review circuit?

Everyone is always out for themselves. There's nothing I can do to stop those who are going to benefit over me in this world. But what I can do is at least not praise them and make things easier for them at my own expense.

The real sufferers of the student loan debt scam aren't the ones that have half a million dollars of debt from using student loans as an ATM or a great government job or other high paying job living an upper class lifestyle that they just refuse to compromise in the least on.

The real sufferers are those of us that can't get a good job in the first place and have to struggle day to day just eking out an existence. Nobody cares about us, nobody has any sympathy for us. While these former parties smirk and laugh from gaming the system, they're busy telling us we are losers for not being able to game it the way they're doing it, while demanding we pay for their loans with taxes taken out from our meager paychecks.

Total bullshit. But, eh, I've given up hope on anything changing. They'll get the loans fully forgiven while having great jobs and then great pensions living in their fancy houses in great neighborhoods, while I'll work until the day I die with barely anything to my name. This is just my fate in life.

Anonymous said...


You don't have to be a federal employee to qualify for the 10 year forgiveness plan. You can work for a 501 c 3 non-profit organization or you can work in public service (hospitals, emergency services, early childhood education). Hell, start your own non-profit.

I am very sorry for your misfortune. I have been dealing with my own for over a decade. This insurmountable debt has been crushing me emotionally for so long that I can't really imagine living any other way of life... but I don't hate people who have government jobs. I hope that one day, I will be just as lucky to get one. They are the last decent job in this country. Rather than hating people who have them, I hope that I will get one as well. I certainly don't want to see them go away. If they did, I'd pretty much lose all hope.

Good luck to you.