Sold: Our Souls On Credit To Get These Degrees


Looking beyond dramatics about my personal situation, I started to think about the ramifications that this doctrine and policy has on the big picture. I know for a fact that I am not the only person in this predicament. After having a conversation with a co-worker of mine, she informed me that she is in the exact same boat. Her husband is in medical school and when he gets out they’ll be facing the same exact circumstances we are. You see there’s this myth that doctors and lawyers make lots of money, and that teachers and social workers have cushy jobs with amazing benefits that require little and pay well. The fact of the matter is that as young professionals you are still making your bones, teachers straight out of school don’t have thirty years worth of  pay grade increases, or thirty plus credits to put them in the 100K salary range. Social Workers are generally abused and are often underpaid for playing an essential role that is as multifaceted as it is difficult to execute. Lawyers and Doctors don’t make even half the money television would have you believe, and especially not when you are only starting out…too young to have your own practice or firm and still building a name and an acumen for your field. But teachers, social workers, lawyers, and doctors are the core of the service-based American Economy. What happens when millions of these people start defaulting on untenable loans and disappear from the workforce?


It isn’t hyperbolic. What happens when millions upon millions of service providers suddenly disappear from the work force? We can’t replace them, not immediately and even if we could they’d just bleed out in a few years as the previous wave did, creating an intellectual and educated underclass of indebted, unemployed, professionals who are no longer professional. It will be the factory worker unemployment epidemic all over again—except this time it will be totally self-inflicted by the United States Government via the Department of Education.


Of course, the nice gentleman at the Department of Education did have another option for me. One which averts the particular economic disaster outlined above in lieu of an even more cataclysmic one twenty years hence. There is another repayment option which he called “pay as you earn”, which essentially is a good faith based payment plan that lasts twenty years. Over that course of time I’d pay in small bills that hardly dent the principal and never touch the interest. After twenty years when interest has ballooned my loan to something in the neighborhood of half a million dollars the Department of Education will forgive my loan (provided I’ve made all payments consecutively, on time, and of course in good faith). However, the IRS will count this forgiveness as a gift and will tax me something to the tune of the fifty or sixty thousand dollars which accounts for the initial loan I took out. This sum, however, will be owed all at once—because that’s how the IRS rolls. So…when millions of people find themselves owing this money, along with the billions or trillions of dollars the Federal Government will suddenly be forgiving the entire country will collapse under a sudden pitfall of entirely imaginary money, conjured up and added to in interest and then discorporated as whimsically as it was summoned. So one way or the other, we’re screwed over these “easily manageable” debts.


It seems ludicrous that corporations, the mega wealthy, and social puppeteering banks can get tax breaks, microscopic interest rates, and ever increasing salaries to create a bottleneck of wealth distribution that would have been questionable in feudal Europe while the people that were offered educations to revive and rally the middle class are cast down low as the straw that broke America’s first world status. When the banks were crashing and were deemed “too big to fail” it was the American people who bore the burden in tax dollars of making sure that millionaire CEOs kept their golden parachutes and distributed golden showers on their benefactors. The American Middle Class is dying and with it, the economic mobility and spirit of capitalism that the haves always tell the have-nots as wonderful bedtime stories to lull them into complacency. We the debted own some of the responsibility for taking out the loans in the first place, after all we sold our souls on credit to get these degrees. It must be stated that we were presented with fantastic lies and promises of affluence and respect, white collars and ties, two car garages and two cars to go in them. What it seems we are getting is shackles made of swipe cards and chains made of the “networking” we did on college campuses. The snake eats its own tail and while the banks were too big fail, it seems that the would-be middle class is too small to help…and by the time the powerful feel the effects it will be too late to stop Rome from burning as Nero plays the Devil’s golden fiddle. 


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