A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy. – Benjamin Disraeli
By all the shrieking, howling, and rending of garments you’d think Sean Hannity had just announced his engagement to Tucker Carlson. Apparently Republicans approve of bailouts only when they go to folks who don’t really need them. To wit, Social Media is rife with hypocritical conservatives slamming Uncle Joe for providing mild relief to graduates up to their necks in college loan debt. But despite the reductionist simplicity of their self-righteous “Goddamn deadbeat” proclamations, the student loan issue isn’t nearly that cut and dried.
The complexity starts with the reality that the government-backed Student Loan program is nothing more than a usurious Ponzi scheme that, if run by the mob, would’ve been prosecuted into extinction under the current RICO statutes. The prime rate has been hovering around 4 percent for the last decade, but those fixed-rate student loan interest rates sit squarely between 5 and 7.5 percent, which is patently absurd when they’re fully backed by the government. The truth is those no-risk loan rates should run along the lines of the 3.3 percent one-year Tbills pay.
And because they’re backed by good old Uncle Sam, any Tom, Dick, or Harriet can get any number of ‘em, easily thrusting themselves into the unsustainable debt category for the privilege of earning a gender or women studies major, which confers all the earning power of regularly repeating the sentence “Do you want fries with that?” Put more simply, the blatant economic untenability of so many majors should automatically prohibit any loan possibility.
But the worst part of this pyramid scheme is this seemingly “free” money floods the upper education market and artificially inflates college tuitions to irrational heights. Here’s what a year at these schools will run you:
- USC – $80,151
- Northwestern – $81,283
- University of Pennsylvania – $81,110.00
- University of Chicago – $81,531
- SMU – $79,050
- Tulane – 78,680
- Oberlin – $78,296
Yes! That’s just one year!
To be fair, these institutions offer generous financial aid packages, but it’s not nearly enough to offset what may well turn out to be $320,000 in total tuition expenses. And that figure doesn’t begin to cover dorms/meals, fee’s, and textbooks, which goes a long way towards explaining whey the average U.S. college student graduates with $25,000 in loan debt.
The vast irony, of course, is if the government eliminated or greatly curtailed the Student Loan program, that would precipitate plummeting tuition to the point where most applicants wouldn’t need to go into that ridiculous level of debt.
I’m no paragon of virtue, but I never would’ve darkened those hallowed Loyola University of Chicago hallways without significant help from my mother. I thought six grand a year in 1981 was outrageous, but now it’ll run you $46,000 a year to roam that lakeshore campus. Talk about inflation!
But what really frosts my cookies is, the Republicans who so furiously bitch about Biden’s $224 billion plan conveniently forget about the corporate subsidies, tax cuts for billionaires, and industry bailouts they’ve so unerringly supported. Of course, the most recent was Trump’s $2 trillion COVID “recovery” program where the bulk of the cash went to the richest companies, colleges, and hospitals and not to the small businesses and community colleges that really needed it.
Not to mention that $100 billion was lost to outright fraud and then Trump forgave most of those loans.
Let’s not forget George W. Bush’s massive $475 billion TARP bailouts of banks and the auto industry which make Biden’s plan look like a drop in the bucket. I’m thinking college students need to start contributing to Republican Congressional causes if they really want to get off the loan hook.
“But Jeff!” Those “bailouts” were “investments” in companies that were “too big to fail.” Well, so is this forgiveness program. When a college graduate is saddled with that much debt, they can’t contribute nearly as much to the economy, nor will they be able to adequately support Social Security and other retirement programs straining under the weight of aging Baby Boomers.
So, it would behoove most of my Republican friends to heed the sage words of the greatest GOP president who so presciently declared that it’s, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” And there’s been a whole lotta doubt removal going on lately.
All that said, I’m beyond stunned by the inconceivably massive social media entitlement mentality put on display by those Generation X, Y, Z, L, B, G, T, Q, or whatever they call twenty-something crybabies these days. My God! As Judge Marilyn Milian would say, “What? You don’t think you have to repay that debt because you’re so cute?”
I realize teenagers fall somewhere between slugs and mosquitoes on the interspecies intelligence spectrum, but anyone with a quarter-of-a-brain knows that taking on 60 grand in student loan debt to secure an art history or English lit degree is a bad decision of epic proportion. That kind of stupidity should automatically disqualify anyone from going to college in the first place
Actually, it should be grounds for summary execution, but for some strange reason this country tends to frown on that kind of thing.
So, all those kids who apprenticed, went to trade school, or God forbid, actually paid off their flippin’ loans, should save your sorry ass from your inability to see two seconds into the future? Your parents must be so proud. Though considering they’re the ones who created these it’s-always-all-about-me monsters, they probably are.
Having put Biden’s initiative into perspective, I’m generally OK with the forgiveness principle involved. In fact, it’s kind of nice to see regular folks be the recipient of some government largesse. But what terrifies me is that we may be creating the Greatest Entitled Generation that will proceed to inflict the kind of deleterious consequences this country has ever seen. And Generation X, Y, Z, L, B, G, T, Q was already doing a bang-up job in the me-me-me regard without any help from the rest of us.
And you thought participation trophies were bad!
I’ll say it again, particularly with a college degree becoming less of a future income indicator, the only real solution is to tear down the Student Loan program and radically reform the uncontrollable monster it’s become. I also fervently believe that, per the plethora of First World countries who believe in investing in their future, junior college should be free to anyone who wants to attend. The U.S. already has more than its quota of stupid people.
But as far as government bailouts go, Biden’s pales in comparison to what the GOP manages to come up with every time they manage to win the White House. Republicans! You may re-insert your right foot into your overly big mouths now.