Submission requirements

[Swede Synopsis: Student loans bad thing. Should make better. Move ahead to comment section.]

handsThe biggest thing holding a country together is fearsome enemies. Since we don’t have any, we have to invent them. A great deal of effort is expended in this country to create those enemies and make sure that we know they are there and threaten us. Fake attacks have been staged, and television and movie drama highlights how our special men and women of the armed forces are keeping us safe. The FBI spends uncounted hours finding, arming, and then thwarting terrorist attacks, sometimes by pizza delivery boys. The idea that there are terrorists “cells” out there who are planning bad things comes right out of the 1950’s when we were told there were Communist cells planning to do bad things to us.

It’s a crazy fucking country, I’ll give you that. It’s even amusing to watch if one can keep a safe distance. What we do to people in other countries is unsettling – cities leveled, millions starved, terrorized and killed, all to keep the arms flowing and the war budget at the top of our list of priorities.

That is the single most dominant control mechanism at work in this country, but there are others too:

  • News. It’s not that they lie, omit, distort and distract. None of that would matter if people were not so trusting. It is the fact that we allow them to lie, omit, distort and distract that keeps us under their thumb.
  • Education, or chasing admissions by use of the testing regime. Smart, inquiring kids are hard to control, and often go where curiosity takes them. We thwart them in two ways (at least): One, we insist they get good grades in only the areas that we have defined as important; and two, when they are predictably bored and act up, we drug them.
  • Health care: It’s just a commodity, like water. But we’ve allowed the private sector to build a fence around it and charge admission. The cost of admission is a job. Amazingly, when one loses his job in this country, one also loses health care.
  • Student loan debt.

Oh yeah, that last one. It’s a big one, right up there with the fear specter. Education is a commodity, like water. But we’ve made it into a financial trap, like credit cards. Kids ought to go to college as their abilities dictate and be allowed to pursue their dreams. If they fuck up, well, too bad, they have to be expelled. If they want give it another shot after maturing, fine. Then self-financed college education might be appropriate. But that first shot should be on the house.

Student loan debt is just one more manacle on an un-free people. If we merely changed the name – instead of “student loan” say “education costs,” we could put them in the public sector where they belong, where they will end up anyway. Two or three generations of young people will be loosed to go their own creative ways. (Or not. There are the other factors listed above.)

The fact that Congress and the executive saw it important to make student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy is a huge “tell,” as they say in poker. It’s an indication of intent on the part of the masters of society. They want these kids in chains. There’s only two ways out: Pay up, or die. Just as with health care.

Some fallout:

  • Kids are not making good choices. Since lenders don’t have to worry about repayment, the students only have to show a working pulse to qualify. Poor grades are not a deterrent.
  • College costs are going through the roof. Easy money does that.
  • Scams abound – one whole school that has a football field but no team is nothing more than a student loan scam: The University of Phoenix.
  • While professions cannot be properly valued based on financial return, all are treated equally when it comes to student loans. Teachers and nurses, high-value and underpaid, stand aside MBA’s and doctors, engineers and CPA’s. They are expected to pony up the dough just as if they were paid their true worth.

It’s a crazy fucking country. I’ll give you that. But in terms of depravity, the way we treat our kids is only second in line behind the way we treat dark-skinned foreigners.

14 thoughts on “Submission requirements

  1. Actually we treat the “dark skinned foreigners” rather well wouldn’t ya think?

    I mean we feed them, educate their kids and make them citizens. We advertise in Mexico on how to apply to our social programs once they make the trek.

    I’ve often thought that if our borders were leaking doctors and engineers headed north a fence couldn’t be built fast enough or tall enough.


  2. As you say it is a very compelling instrument to force a large segment of society to toe the line. Once you’re in for an education you must work and continue to be productive in the sense that productivity equals paying installments. One concrete and incremental thing the govt could do to lessen the burden would to be require lenders to allow certain amounts of deferment on payments for economic hardship or anything really but not allow the lenders to capitalize the interest. The long term unemployed really get hosed by that. Not allowing discharge for all but the most extreme cases in bankruptcy is also something that should really be spelled out to all students going into school. The flip side is that private capitals willingness to fund education so freely likely really is based on the non-discharge ability of the loans which enhances access to education. If you’re accepted in a school you can almost always finance it due to this. Public financing and subsidies is clearly the real solution but for obvious reasons is never on the table.


    1. They used to be called “Federal Guaranteed Student Loans,” so it was risk-free for lenders to begin with. It’s craziness to use the debt mechanism to pay for a commodity that cannot readily be measured in financial terms – that is, the “market” does not do a good job in placing correct value on professions. Any athlete would tell you that if he could form a complete sentence.

      The Fed can pony up $14 trillion to rescue Wall Street from its own bad behavior. I think we can pony up a tril or so to educate our kids, and place rigor on it, no slouches.

      We spent dinner one evening with a kid from France who was paying off student debt. His situation was different: there they will pay your costs until you fuck up, and when that happens send you a bill. He was a ski instructor, and here’s another twist just so we understand that it’s a complicated world: He said that France has a problem with over-qualification in the marketplace.


    2. Sure but they aren’t all guaranteed, quite a bit still have to come after you in Court and obtain a judgment to collect so the discharge issue comes into play. Plus for the federal govt itself when it becomes the collector after the default and payoff. I agree that actual public financing is needed (and not “financing” in the sense that students must become wage slaves with compounded interest ).


      1. I think in a bankruptcy estate student loan debt is never even broached and stays outside. There is no issue or formality involved and the banks don’t have to challenge it or anything. It just stays on the books and will do so until it either gets paid or wiped out in a decedent estate.

        But as the saying goes, as Steve Keen was saying before the 2007 meltdown, debts that cannot be paid will not be paid.


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