Student debt relief is doable
My friend Gary left Michigan, went to Sweden years ago and got his doctorate. He is a teacher-researcher. He did not have to pay tuition fees as long as he continued to be eligible and therefore had no student debt. This is how it is in much of Europe, at least for public universities.
Gary was able to get married, have a child, buy a modest family home, and just support his family, even though there were years in Michigan when he and his wife earned relatively little early in their careers.
My former student Adam works as hard as anyone I’ve ever met. Her father, a Vietnam War veteran, left her just enough to finally pay off her student debt for her degrees at a public university in Oregon. His mother worked so hard and was underpaid, never managing to save much even though she did an excellent job as a member of the university office staff, serving both students and (much better paid) faculty. ).
Now, at nearly 50, Adam and his wife can finally start saving for a down payment on their own home.
Back then, I was able to do that in the 1970s when I was in my twenties, and I’ve owned my own house ever since. Student debt was pretty low then, paid off by most people pretty quickly, and my generation (baby boomers) became homeowners that way. Once you own, your equity can usually be used to get you into your next home, but if you’re renting while you drain your paycheck each month toward a student loan payment, that down payment usually remains a elusive goal.
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Meanwhile, Republicans and a few Democrats in the Senate have blocked all attempts for a significant portion of student debt forgiveness from various bills. Where, they ask, does the money come from? Student debt currently held is in the order of $1.75 trilliona huge amount.
I have a few suggestions.
- Get rid of useless and grotesquely expensive US Marine/Navy amphibious assault vehicles, which have proven deadlier for the US military than anyone else. Last week the Department of Defense has added some $87,999,656 to the inflated $1,910,796,347 contract, which is, of course, “cost plus” i.e. whenever the DoD feels like To add to it, he does, often persuaded by corporations profiting from war to do so.
- Remember the staggering number of brand new military aircraft that cost us American taxpayers (including many indebted students) such unfathomable sums every year. Earlier this month, the DoD awarded yet another huge Contract to Lockheed for more of them, some $7,630,940,571 in fresh money added to existing contracts.
These are just single contracts. Every day, many more contracts send billions of dollars to war profiteers while American students are treated much worse than all students in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. There’s a lot of money for student debt relief in the US – or there could be, if our priorities shifted a bit away from gunsmith enrichment and instead did a better job of taking care for our own young people.
It’s just about electing representatives and senators who will. We should be in dialogue with them, and they should know our feelings, whatever they are.