Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Forgive New Farmers of Their Student Loans?

Apparently higher ups at Clif Bar think that Congress should forgive student loans for young farmers.

In a recent Marketwatch article, the reporter noted that, the producers of the organic health bars "are urging Congress to pass the Young Farmer Success Act, a bill introduced last year that would allow farmers to have their student loan debt wiped away after 10 years of payments. Clif Bar is one of the biggest companies signing on to a letter drafted by the American Sustainable Business Council, of which the company is a member, asking Congress to enact the bill."

These calls for forgiveness by executives at large, well-known companies such as Clif are noteworthy. In some ways it is similar to the way in which Fidelity now offers employees the perk of putting money towards paying of their student loan debt ($10,000 is the max for each employee).  The program is popular, too. 5,000 employees at Fidelity have already signed up for the loan program as a new benefit.

It seems more businesses are paying attention to the student loan crisis, and executives have to be aware that those who are employed by them, and heavily indebted, are not nearly as productive as they could be with this financial stress hanging over their heads.

While my book offers specific solutions that aren't related to the private sector, these responses to the crisis in that area are encouraging. Of course, it is not the solution, but it is a point in the right direction. And if you purchase my book, you will find that I offer a set of solutions, as the crisis is too complex to come up with just one to solve it.



X-RWU said...

Hi there, Cryn; my blog name is X-RWU, and I found your blog through the law school scamblog movement. I've been commenting at those blogs for a while now, and now I finally got the chance to get around to your blog.

I really like and appreciate everything which you've done for the cause. However, I have an opinion which I'd like to express...

I don't think we should have student debt forgiveness.

I think we should stop sending so many kids to college when it won't do them any good... I think we should get rid of the student loan lending system... I think we should bring the cost of college back down to more reasonable levels (like they were in the 1960s or 1970s before higher education got greedy and drunk on all the student loans)... I think we should go back to those days when college was saved for the genuine scholars and everyone else got appropriate training in their chosen fields... I think we should force the colleges and other higher education institutions to better themselves (and if they fancy themselves to be businesses, then that means either delivering a great product or going out of business)... I think we should help people who already have incurred student loans and help them find jobs to pay it off at a reasonable rate... I think we should stop using college degrees as a barrier for people getting jobs, especially when those jobs don't worry require college degrees or higher education... but I don't think we should have student loan forgiveness.

If you think about it, when it comes to the situation of so many young people today being unable to afford living as independent adults, the student loan crisis is only half of the problem; the other half is the lack of decent paying jobs. So even if the government waved some kind of magic wand and made all the student debt go away, there's still that to deal with.

(And on a side note, I don't think it wouldn't be very fair to the people who have already paid off their student loans.)

A little background info about myself: I graduated from undergrad in 2009, at the height of the recession, and I suffered greatly for it (I still do, to this very day). I was able to pay off my 10-year loan plan in only 5 years, but I only pulled that off by working myself like a dog and throwing whatever spare money I could at it. That included having to sacrifice an inheritance from an older relative, money which I would have dearly loved to spend on other, more worthy causes. I got the loans paid off in half the expected time, but the end result is I got nothing left over, certainly nothing for retirement. Can't even afford to take a vacation anywhere...
So believe me when I say that I sympathize with younger people, especially because I'm one of them. I'm one of those younger folks which society likes to blame for the messes which society itself caused (like the decline of quality of higher education and the rapid debasement of those once-valuable college degrees).

And if there was loan forgiveness, you can bet that the greedy "higher education" institutions would find some way to use it to jack up the cost even further.

As for Clif Bars and all these other companies who realize the shame and stress which student loans can cause on a person, good for them. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

Feel free to disagree with me, whoever reads this. I'm not looking for a fight, and I'm certainly not trying to pop anyone's bubble; I'm just expressing my honest opinion.

Keep up the great work, Cryn.


J.R. Adams said...

I am looking into starting my own farm. As a law school graduate and icon in the scamblog movement, I find this to be great information.

Thank you.

Oh, and no hard feelings on me calling you "Cringe" on YouTube, right?

What's pasado es pasado.

Keep chuggin'

-The Former Mr. Infinity

Anonymous said...

Yeah the problem is definitely cost/worth. Removing bankruptcy protection while guaranteeing loans without price discovery created the bubble, and enriched academics at the expense of normal Americans.

Note I state Americans, because in other countries school is cheap or has no expense at all. Other countries also when they do charge for education will tie repayment to employment and income. IBR is a soft version of that now, albeit not as good as say Australia's version.

Anyway, truthfully I do not think there will be reform. I might see forgiveness for a small class, and that already exists in PSLF, but I just can't imagine everyone will get normal forgiveness on a decent time line. The government only will do as much as it needs to keep a revolt from happening and to get itself votes. All you need is a sizeable minority on your side, not a true majority at all, just larger than all the other interests.

I think people expecting full forgiveness, uncapped, without having to pay anything at all and instantly are dreaming. The PSLF first starts next year I believe it is, and I'm pretty sure they'll cap it and only allow it for the first wave or so, similar to what happened with cash for clunkers and other programs that showed the true anemic state of the economy and just how badly hosed the majority of the population is.