Education in America is big business, the students are losing, and lives are being ruined. Our nation is suffering because of it. It is regressive and exploitative. It is indecent and immoral. It is greed and it is theft. It is ridiculous and it has gone on long enough. The problem is getting too big to ignore. We must fight. We must act now.
The stunning ignorance of the American public on this subject is illustrated on a regular basis. Over and over they harp that people should have known better about taking out student loan debt and the consequences of it. They blame the students for the disaster and not the universities, politicians, and lenders for their greed and corruption.
While some bad decisions were made by borrowers, all were made with good intentions and were encouraged by our student loan system and social structure. Any irresponsibility on the part of students pales in comparison to that of the banks and corporations that have crippled this country and impacted the global economy in recent years. The latter of which was intentionally destructive on the part of banks.
Students in general have been misled as to the practical value of an education. They have been told repeatedly that education is the key to building a solid future and career, and is a wise investment. We have begun to see this is a myth because the burden of financing education is greater than ever, while jobs are disappearing, wages are stagnant, and cost of living issues are exploited by capitalism gone mad (deregulation). Meanwhile lenders and administrators (who buy our political leaders' influence) are getting obscenely wealthy- like never before!
Many of us believe the first order of business is restoring bankruptcy protections to ALL student loans (federal and private). Consumer debt and gambling debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. Donald Trump has filed for it, as well as many other wealthy Americans and corporations.
American Airlines just filed for bankruptcy. United Airlines and others have as well. Tax dollars went to bailouts after 9/11, executives got big bonuses, the employees took pay cuts, and got laid off, while fares went up- but very few seem too upset about this situation (except the smart, progressive people who are paying attention). Instead many people sit back and say Johny so-and-so should have known better before he got his degree in sociology at that expensive private school.
Student loan debt is the only debt that can not be discharged in bankruptcy now. It used to be dischargeable several years ago, but the law was changed. Why can other debts be discharged in bankruptcy and this not be? The reason is that corruption has allowed big banks to influence the US political system to their advantage. Student lenders pay the government through campaign contributions to support laws that favor their unethical behavior. In doing so tuition rates also continue to increase exponentially, because the schools are in on it too.
Restoring bankruptcy protections alone will not fix a higher education system that has been hijacked by the corrupt and greedy, but it will begin to change the situation. It will help those in the most severe debt (remember, it is not just the debt- compounded interest, the usurious interest rates, fees, penalties, etc. are also making the situation unmanageable.) It will also illustrate further just how toxic these debts are, and that the world is not quite the "oyster" college marketers make it out to be to prospective students.
When bankruptcy rights are restored we can then look at fixing the system to make education affordable, and helping other student debtors, who are struggling but are not quite in need of filing for bankruptcy yet.
There are politicians and groups trying to restore bankruptcy protections on student loans. Please support them by taking the following actions :
Call your congressperson and two senators to tell them to support HR 2028 and or S1102 (bills calling for the restoration of bankruptcy protection). Contact your representatives by clicking here.
If you are just tuning into the student debt crisis and the idea of bankruptcy protection, Student Loan Justice is the place to go to find out lots more about it.
Visit this this Facebook page dedicated to the restoration of bankruptcy protections for student loans, which also has great information and discussions. More information on HR2028 and S1102 and the politicians who support them can be found there as well.
A) more enraged that lenders, administrators, and politicians are making millions off of students (and through tax dollars!) by corrupting the system.