Debate today is about increasing the interest rate on student loans. If you listen to the news morons, you will believe this is about people being able to get a college education. This is the rhetorical equivalent to suggesting that if the credit system collapses, we will all starve to death because nobody will be able to swipe his VISA card at Safeway. Arghhh.
When did college education become a constitutional right? Was it before or after student loans became a constitutional right? And was that before or after we were told that anyone who does not get a degree will be left to feed the rats for medical researchers at $1 an hour?
Here’s a totally out-of-the-box concept: if you want to go to college, get a job first, save your money, get started and then work your way through school. Before you say it’s not possible, I have kids who have done just that. How about the idea of buying something you actually have the money for? I know, Stone Age, right? Not at all modern like these 20-somethings who are racking up $100k in debt to get an education that trains them for a $30k job, which there are only two of in the entire country. And why are they doing this? Not because they are stupid–well, not all of them– but because they have been mal-educated by their parents and teachers, and by the marketplace.
Ever since the advent of anonymous consumer credit, we have been told to buy now and pay later. They never actually said, “Borrow a lot of money for crap you don’t like well enough to save your money to buy, and pay more in interest on the debt than you paid for the original crap. Repeat until dead.” But that’s what they meant. Same goes for student loans. Except that student loans are like debtor’s prison. They cannot be escaped, except through death. Some day soon there will literally be Americans who are having student loans garnished from their monthly Social Security payments.
Okay, enough gripe. Here’s an answer: Go from high school to WORK. Just because all your friends are drinking from Alices’ bottle so they can get small enough to get into the party, does NOT mean this is a good idea. Young people, here’s some advice. Humbly beg your parents to let you stay a while longer while you work to earn college money. Take your meager paycheck, give Dad a fourth, use a fourth to pay your cellphone bill and car insurance, and save the other half. When you have some actual money to buy some actual education, then go for it.
Parents, stop encouraging your kids to go into debt. You are throwing the boomerang yourself. In 2016, when little Maggie gets her degree and her first $600 student loan payment notice, she is going to do the math and find out her entry level job can’t pay the government AND the landlord. So, she’s coming home to you! (“Hi, Mom! Here’s my laundry! I’ll be in my room!”) You better just hope she doesn’t bring her equally underemployed boyfriend and his kid. So, instead of waiting five years to look at one another and say, “What are we going to do?” , look at one another now and say to your darling daughter, “It’s time to pay for what you want before you get it.”
She will have a light stroke, having never heard this concept before, but she has good odds of surviving the shock, and if she takes it to heart, a darn sight better odds making it in the real world after college.