For the first time, credit card debt has been outpaced by student loan debt. If you were looking for the last nail in the coffin of the middle class, this may be it.
There are striking parallels between student loan debt and the ongoing housing collapse. Home ownership, like a college education is part of the American dream. As with the home loans that resulted in so many foreclosures, student loans are easy money. They dished out loosely to young people who often have no idea how much they are borrowing or the consequences. Students receive thousands of dollars without any plan to pay back. Loans are made in amounts having no relationship whatsoever with an ability to pay derived from the education the money purchases. People whose credit rating wouldn’t qualify them for a loan to buy a 1969 Corvair are freely sent checks for thousands of dollars with no co-signer or hope of repayment.
Pell grants are being cut significantly even as college tuitions are increasing relentlessly and unconscionably. Americans who are holding Tea Parties should start tending their own children and quit being used by the wealthy as a front in the battles over health care, abortion, gun control, tax reform and the budget. The education of their own children is at risk.
Example…middle class dupes are crying out for repeal of the “death tax” even though the tax will never impact on them. But by calling it the “death tax” wealthy folks who don’t want to pay their fair share of the costs of America, enlist the middle class so they don’t have to admit they don’t want to contribute from their plunder. As a result, the federal treasury is denied billions in tax revenue as the gluttonously wealthy are permitted to keep ill-gotten gains “in the family.” Without that revenue, the deficit reduction efforts will have to target, among others, programs helping the middle class youngsters get an education.
Meanwhile, the wealthy send their children to exclusive schools, paying whatever the market bears at Harvard, Yale or Wellesley. Middle class kids who want an education at a community college are forced to borrow from institutions owned by the rich to pay tuition, incurring debts they can never repay. By the way, lobbyists for the wealthy got Congress to pass a law prohibiting these college loans from even being discharged in bankruptcy court.
The bottom line, as “they” call it, is the gap between the rich and those in the middle will grow, the middle class will slowly diminish as their children can no longer compete in a world where education costs are beyond the reach of those who don’t have the money to pay the tuition.
A shout out to those middle class parents on the Tea Party picket line…your kids are now indentured servants. And you are accomplices in the crime.
John Steinbeck wrote, “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
You have to hand it to them. People with a lot of money understand what is at stake in America and that is more than I can say for most of the “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” of the middle class. Wealthy folks know how to protect their interests. They use the middle class.
I don’t even know what passes for socialism these days but I’d sure like to see us demand that the capitalism we proclaim have a conscience.