Student Loans: It’s no wonder the public increasingly dislikes the Occupy crowd. Among their brilliant ideas is a campaign to encourage pampered students to default on college loans. Yeah, that’ll win over Middle America.
The left-wing Huffington Post quoted New York University professor Andrew Ross as telling the Occupy crowd in New York recently about the “harrowing personal testimony” and the “suffering and humiliation of people who believe their debts will be unpayable in their lifetime.”
So Ross and a variety of other Occupy miscreants have started up something called the Occupy Student Debt campaign, which hopes to get 1 million students to default on their college loans. “Student loan debt,” they say, “is poisoning the pursuit of higher education.”
Oh, and they also want all public colleges to be free, all existing debt forgiven, and interest-free education loans. Apparently, colleges have given up trying to impart wisdom, prudence or maturity on their students. These kids, and the brain-dead professors backing them, don’t know the first thing about student debt.
First, about a third of students don’t borrow any money for college. And the average debt per borrower is just $22,000 for those attending public four-year colleges and $28,000 for those going to private colleges, according to the College Board.
What’s more, these figures are up only 11%, after inflation, over the past decade. None of this suggests a student debt crisis.
It’s true that some graduates wind up with a mountain of debt — mostly kids who went to elite private schools. But are we really supposed to believe that these kids were smart enough to graduate from such colleges but too dumb to understand how much it would cost? In any case, no one put a gun to their heads and forced them to sign the loan documents.
The Occupiers also whine about the “unjust system” of “predatory loans,” overlooking the fact that just 5% of the loans last year were made by private companies. Almost all the rest came through federal loan programs.
They also complain about rising college costs, but blame the wrong villain. It’s not predatory lenders who are driving up college costs, it’s the massive effort on the part of government to shield students from the true cost of a college education — through the ever-increasing number of grants, tax breaks, subsidized loans and direct spending.
In just the past decade, college financial aid has climbed an astonishing 139%, and now accounts for more than half of all college costs, according to the College Board. As any Economics 101 student knows, government subsidies only serve to fuel inflation by increasing demand while giving suppliers the freedom to jack up prices.
So the solution to college costs isn’t to attack bankers, but call for cutbacks on the scale of all this financial aid.
And, finally, the Occupy crowd complains that too many students can’t find jobs to pay off their debt. With unemployment still topping 9% and more than 25 million Americans unable to find full-time jobs, they may have a point there.
But as we’ve long argued in this space, the solution to this particular problem is to fire President Obama, whose policies have produced the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.
In the end, what these students want is simply to foist still more college costs onto everyone else, while keeping all the benefits of a college degree to themselves. These people aren’t progressives. They’re just spoiled brats.