Poll

Should the federal government do something drastic about private student loans?

Yes, forgive them all
3 (25%)
Yes, forgive some of them
1 (8.3%)
Yes, apply the 10% rule to private student lenders
2 (16.7%)
Yes, other (elaborate)
1 (8.3%)
No, actions have consequences
5 (41.7%)

Total Members Voted: 12

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Author Topic: Student loan debt: What's the deal with that?  (Read 13886 times)

Kimimaru

  • Max Stats
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2012, 03:13:21 AM »
I agree with most, if not all, of CrossEyed's points. Unfortunately, I may be in an even worse shape than he is after graduating because I decided to go to an out-of-state school (which charges out-of-state students even more money to attend. Why they wouldn't want more students from other states coming to their school is a mystery to me) and do not have a job. My parents can't possibly pay for all of my education with their current income, so I was forced to take out a bunch of loans.

All of the above don't even account for my biggest problem. I'm majoring in game design and sadly my job options are limited in that field because it's still relatively new compared to almost any other field you can think of. I've applied for internships at various companies and even several on-campus jobs and the result was either no response or "we're sorry, but we decided not to choose you for this job." I'm especially annoyed at the job system: how can I prove how good I am to you in a resume? Game design and other related fields are extremely complex, and just listing my experience in making games (which is actually fairly impressive) and interests can't possibly show any employer my true talent of level/map design. Interviews don't cut it either because they usually ask the same boring, generic questions.

The system is obviously flawed, and with the tuition prices growing tremendously I don't see how anyone but the rich will be able to afford an education in the future without either going bankrupt or having a 50 year debt.
The Mario series is the best! It has every genre in video games but RTS'! It also has a plumber who does different roles, a princess, and a lot of odd creatures who don't seem to poop!

« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2012, 07:27:20 PM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFQIciWsF4" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFQIciWsF4</a>.

« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2012, 07:46:55 PM »
The system is obviously flawed, and with the tuition prices growing tremendously I don't see how anyone but the rich will be able to afford an education in the future without either going bankrupt or having a 50 year debt.

Congrats, you cracked the code.

I remember in my first year, I was able to pay off tuition and my rent just by settling for federal and state grants. This was back in 2008 just as the economic meltdown was coming into fruition. Now I'm pretty much living off loans because the state is practically bankrupt. I've considered transferring to my hometown's college but the money I would save on renting housing is cancelled out by the campus charging even more than my current school in tuition. So either way, I'm just stuck in college paying way too much for classes I could've cleared in 2 years at community college and an artificially extended program because my Cal State loves to mess with its students.

My brother graduates from high school next year, and I shall do all I can to keep him from falling into my situation.
As a game that requires six friends, an HDTV, and skill, I can see why the majority of TMK is going to hate on it hard.

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2012, 03:05:20 AM »
I rebut comments on PopVox when I should be sleeping:

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They should have understood the contract that they entered into no different than any other contract.
If it was like any other contract, wouldn't the fact that most of us were under 18 when we signed it make it invalid?

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ARE YOU KIDDING!? They TOOK the loan out, let them repay it. I DID!
When you went to college, student loans were not what they are today. Back then, after your on-campus job and scholarships, you might be short by a few hundred dollars and need to take out a loan for that semester. Based on your amount of capitalization, I'm willing to bet you graduated with less than $5,000 of debt.

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The government is not in the business of bailing out or supporting everything in this country. If a person borrows money, he should repay it...regardless. It is an obligation and people shouldn't expect to be "bailed out" by "big brother." This is exactly what has gotten out nation into debt.

Also, there shouldn't be any loans or grants to anyone by the federal government.

We need to quit thinking with a SOCIALIST mind.
you've never actually read 1984 have you

Quote
I feel for people who have gotten themselves deep in debt, but as someone who has worked hard to keep myself out of debt, including my college education, I oppose any "free passes." Something like this is unfair to those of us who were able to stay out of debt on our own. Giving a free pass doesn't teach a lesson in economics. It teaches that you can do whatever you want without worry and someone else will handle the consequences.
"I know it sucks to be stuck at the bottom of a well, but as someone who grew octopus suckers on my palms and climbed out, I oppose any efforts to lower a rope into that well. Also I was probably only a quarter of the way down the well anyway, but still."

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as a society we are telling our young adults that if you can muster enough sympathy in Congress, your choices that mismanaged your finances can be legally forgiven. And who will pick up the pieces? Once again the tax paying businesses and citizens who are the financial backbone of the tax system.

This is another bailout program disguised as compassion. I do not see compassion as a feature of our Constitution. Compassion comes from within an individual, not by the creation of a law and by force. If you really understood compassion, you would see that failure and pain are a part of the nature of compassion.

My daughter has college debt. Lots of it. She will not learn this lesson if Congress with a stroke of the pen makes it easier for her. If her pain is lessen, it will be from family and those who love her, not from the mandate of the State.
So when can I expect a $100,000 check from you?
Combining the "don't burden taxpayers" argument with the "compassion comes from the heart" argument can lead to an interesting conflict: If we don't spread out the cost of compassion, those who do choose to give charitably are burdened far more. Which, if it were proposed by the other side, could be argued to be a way of targeting and punishing Christians.

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I am tired of Government bailouts! Whatever happened to personnel responsibility?
What happened to Sallie Mae's responsibility for making bad investments?

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Where does congress propose getting the money to pay for the outstanding student loans?
So Congress can't afford it, but a kid working a part-time minimum-wage job can?

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It's enough that tax-payers are subsidizing loans and interest waivers for qualified loans. They don't need to be left holding a bag when a student, who has obtained the benefit of his or her bargain, decides that paying their debt obligations is inconsistent with their preferred lifestyle.
Giving 100% of my income to Sallie Mae is inconsistent with my "preferred lifestyle" choice of... actually bleeping living.
(Come to think of it, someone more eloquent at BS than me could make an argument that Sallie Mae is violating my First Amendment rights -- with them forcibly taking over 90% of my income, I'm unable to practice my religion through tithing.)

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This is simply unfair to the students who did work hard to pay off their loans. I worked straight through high school to save for college, worked several jobs in college, was offered scholarships, and still maintained a 3.7 GPA, while my classmates spent money on spring break and booze. This bill is nothing but a handout and a slap against personal responsibility. A loan is a loan, and it must be paid back. What is going to happen to all the debt that you will forgive? I certainly hope that it does not fall onto the tax payer's responsibility, such as myself.
3.34 GPA, never had a drink or drug in my life, $117,000 of debt. Turns out we're not a meritocracy. Bad things don't just happen to bad people.

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I did not get a chance to go to college .We where poor.If you wanted to go to college you worked for it .There was no loans .
Too bad. You could've taken some English classes.

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I didn't force any one to sign up for a loan; if you got a loan for a degree that won't make you enough money to pay it back, you're an IDIOT. No one should repay my car note or mortgage, because I signed those knowing what I got in return for my promise to repay. Loan Forgiveness is THEFT.
Right, because a bachelor's degree, just like a car, has inherent functional value, and does not lose any of its functional value when the economy enters a depression and businesses stop hiring.
I will never understand the way Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot this year with stuff like this, like Herman Cain saying "If you don't have a job, blame yourself." You're running against an incumbent Democratic president in the midst of an economic recession with unemployment around 9% (and much higher if you include the underemployed and those who've given up looking), and your response to young voters who don't have a good job is "Get up off your lazy [badonkadonk]; there's plenty of great jobs out there if you'd just look for 'em!"? Does your hatred of my generation really so greatly outweigh your hatred of Obama that you'd rather blame us than him?

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This bill is a big middle finger to everyone who took the responsible path and sacrificed during college - saving throughout high school so they could graduate without debt!
Paper routes don't pay $30,000 a year, bub.

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Yes, by all means let's throw these responsible kids under the bus to subsidize the kids who partied their way through school and took 6 years to earn a Bachelor's Degree because they kept showing up to class drunk!

This bill is nothing but an insult, and would only serve to encourage today's responsible high school students to conclude that responsibility is irrelevant - why save and pay for school out of pocket when you could just borrow and buy extra beer?
I earnestly try not to stereotype the old people opposed to student loan reform, but it's harder to feel guilty about it when they're all saying [dukar] like this about me.

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If the government is going to wipe out your debt, what incentive do you have not to take on as much debt as possible?
If unemployed and underemployed students and their parents are forced to pay back all your loans (or else lose their house), what incentive do you have to not foist as many loans upon students as possible?

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At some point in time these students and graduates need to learn that a contract is binding, that there are no free rides and the taxpayers are not the nanny states cash cow!
Actually they are. What other income source does the government have? Unless you're advocating complete anarchy.

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I worked full-time to put myself through college and earn my business degree. I took classes at night and on Saturdays. It was hard, very hard. I made numerous sacrifices to get my degree. To think that millions of people want their sturdent loans forgiven is insulting to those of us who paid our way already. Why should my taxes pay for someone else for what may amount to a free education?
"College was tough for me; it would be unfair if it was easy for other people decades later. Everyone should be as miserable as me. Also, doctors shouldn't use anesthesia, because it wasn't invented back when I was having surgeries, so no one should get it now. And btw, vote for the FairTax, because rich people pay lots more taxes than poor people and that's not fair."
"Hey, look at these numbers on income inequality; isn't that unfair?"
"Shut up, you [darn] whiny hippies! Fairness doesn't matter!"
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 01:29:53 AM by BP »
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2012, 01:57:42 PM »


And Republicans don't even try to capitalize on this.

Quote from: Herman Cain
Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Luigison

  • Old Person™
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2012, 04:40:29 PM »
This has Obama at the top and then list all negative things that the reader would assume are Obama's fault.  If you read the sources they describe positive and negative things for Bush and Obama.  Neither president is to blame for all the stuff listed in the infographic. 

According to the Op-ed associated with this infographic, "A good place for Romney to start is by explaining what Obama has gotten right during the past four years — and then pointing out precisely where the president got things wrong."  The infographic focuses entirely on the later. 

I actually blame myself, my generation, and my profession for much of this.  We have for a long time pushed the notion that everyone should go to college.  This lead to many people going and dropping out or getting a useless (to them) degree. 

I also blame student loans and grants.  It's hard to argue against helping people further their education, but the money has lead to the educational institutions being able to raise prices.  The loans and grants create more demand for education while the number of schools remains fairly constant.  In response to this demand prices go up. 

In most cases school also prepare students for jobs that no longer exist while we should be preparing them for jobs that don't yet exist. 

I further blame NCLB.  The problem here is that instead of bringing everyone up, it has lead to teaching to the minimal competency of the test and spending valuable resources in what will eventually be a no gain endeavor.  Schools have even done away with art, music, and recess to focus everyone on testing. 
“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know."

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2012, 08:15:38 PM »
Yeah, it's definitely not entirely Obama's fault. It's just that with youth unemployment so high, you'd think the party running against the incumbent would make the slightest effort to get my generation (which is actually larger than the Baby Boomers) to vote for them, instead of going out of their way to alienate us.

And NCLB is horrible.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Trainman

  • Bob-Omg
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2013, 06:05:06 PM »
I'm trying to take a no-debt approach to college. Call me crazy, but it's been working well, so far.

People always try to tell me that loans, debt, and credit cards are just an American necessity: "EVERYONE HAS DEBT AND PAYS PAYMENTS; THAT'S HOW LIFE WORKS." I disagree. I don't find that you need a loan for virtually anything except a mortgage for a house (unless you are able to save up for one while in a smaller home/apartment, which is entirely possible). I have a vehicle that I paid cash for.... aaaand that's all I really need. I don't see anything else that I'd need a loan for. I have a small fund for emergencies set off to the side that I saved up for during high school, as well. I have a monthly budget which describes my expenses for the month, my emergency money is off to the side just in case, and I have a small budget for entertainment (which I don't dip into often). I feel like managing your money is really about just watching it closely and being able to resist impulse buying.

I looked at some old paystubs for 2011 and thought, "Wow, where the hell did my money go?" I'd made thousands and realized I had jack [dukar] to show for it. Now that I've been budgeting every month for a long time and telling myself "no," it feels like I have a ton of money even though I make the same amount. Back then, I'd see something or go get fast food and be like, "Ehhhhhhhh I know I have enough on my debit card," then I'd turn around when I got my statement and realize how much freaking money I spent on completely unnecessary stuff.

I am currently able to attend community college while working a near-minimum wage job while also paying bills. I set up a payment plan where I'm paying this semester's 1,500 dollar tuition off over four months. Not a loan, mind you. Next year I'll hopefully be attending the University of Texas in Austin. Tuition is around 4,800 dollars per semester. That's a big jump from the $1,500-$2,200 tuition at the community college I attend (three to four classes). I'm about to apply for Pell grants for the Fall 2013/Spring 2014 school year. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some help that way. I understand that Pell grants are a leg-up... "free" money from the government if you qualify, if you will, and I am willing to accept it right now even though my belief is that if you want something, you must earn it yourself. I have vowed that any grants or whatever I may receive over my college years will be paid back out of my pocket in the form of donations and other types of giving once I am in a better financial position to do so because I would like to balance out what amount taxpayers across the country have graciously, though probably unintentionally, provided for me.

In conclusion, I don't want credit cards, and I'm trying everything I can to not get a loan. The only thing that I would get a loan for (except a house) would be school. I doubt that'll happen, and I sure as hell don't want to graduate college only to turn around and owe people astronomical amounts of money. Life isn't about earning an income just to do an about-face and give it to a bank or whoever for crap that you don't really own until it's paid off. I also don't like the idea of interest, especially when I see broke friends around me that are struggling to pay off stupid payday loans because they can only cover the interest part of it and had no money to fix their vehicle when it broke down. I feel bad for people who have, say, 50,000 dollars in student loans, a 23,000 dollar car note, an enormous mortgage payment, and six maxed out credit cards.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 06:09:57 PM by Trainman »
Formerly quite reasonable.

Luigison

  • Old Person™
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2013, 12:53:04 PM »
If this board had a karma system I would give Trainman a +1.  I love it when a new pertinent and personal post is made to an old thread that makes me interested enough to go back and read the whole thread.  Unfortunately, my post adds little or nothing to the conversation and is basically stating the obvious which should be give a -1 karma. 

On a personal note, we only recently payed off the last of our college loans.  This wasn't because we had massive debt (see my above posts), but because the student loans were the lowest interest and could be extended for a very long time.  This is also why we have paid cash for cars or only had loans for a month.  It's generally much better to roll everything into a low interest deductible loans such as a mortgage, but you can see where that got the country... 

On a related note, all of our Xmas for several years now have been purchased from Amazon and paid for with points because we use the Amazon credit card for most of your bills and shopping, but pay off the balance by the end of the month.  It is also helpful that we are Prime members and don't pay shipping (even to my brother in Japan). 

On an even less related note, what part of the Mario Universe is most like Karma?  Experience?  I could see members awarding experience points for good posts.  Stickers?  I could also see specific accomplishments receiving Mario related stickers/icons for members.  Sorry for this off topic comment, but I have recently been researching the gamification of education, jobs, etc, and the current generations permissiveness towards privacy. 


“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know."

« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2013, 04:04:20 PM »
Just popping in to say my parents paid for my college tuition because they actually love me.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

Sapphira

  • Inquiring
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2013, 01:28:22 AM »
I can't presently bring myself to reread this topic again because it'll upset and enrage me. And I don't have anything profound or insightful to add at this point.

On an even less related note, what part of the Mario Universe is most like Karma?  Experience?  I could see members awarding experience points for good posts.  Stickers?  I could also see specific accomplishments receiving Mario related stickers/icons for members.
(Why the spoiler tags?) Probably 1-Up Mushrooms. Characters often reward Mario with them when he helps them, plus he gets more lives (sorta like reincarnation, in a way). I'm talking about the main concept of Karma, though, not the kind on forums. A Karma system here would be kind of cool, though. Icons could be, like, 1-Up Mushrooms and 3-Up Moons or something.

On topic, I went to community college, so I never had any outrageous loan debt. When I briefly attended a university, I had a bunch of grants and some student loans, but I paid everything back shortly after I quit. Generally, my parents pay for my schooling (they've agreed to pay up through a bachelor's degree, but anything beyond that is on me). The policy is, if I drop (or fail) a class (or more), though, I reimburse them and pay for the next semester myself. Upon successful completion of said semester, they'll reimburse me.

I don't believe in going into debt. I only buy what I can afford, but I rarely spend any money (beyond normal expenses), anyway. I don't even own a credit card; I just use debit. Unfortunately, I foresee things changing in the future. Since I'm no longer on my dad's insurance plan, and my job doesn't provide benefits, I had to get private insurance, and the rates are through the roof. Unfortunately, not having insurance isn't an option because I'm on (expensive) medication. (Insurance is a WHOLE 'nother issue to talk about...) Anyway, with my hours being severely cut at work (and not making much money as it is), between rent and insurance ALONE, I currently make negative money. That doesn't even include other expenses. Thankfully I have a bunch of money saved up, so I'm not in the hole yet, but if things continue the way they are, I'll be in debt soon enough. :(

This semester I'll be taking some classes to better qualify me in my field of work. If I don't get my hours back by the end of the spring semester, I'll probably get a new job. I really need a job with benefits, anyway, so I don't see my current workplace as a long-term thing.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 01:34:02 AM by Sapphira »
"The surest way to happiness is to lose yourself in a cause greater than yourself."

Trainman

  • Bob-Omg
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2013, 08:33:07 PM »
Thank you, Luigison! I'm glad my post kicked up enough wind for you to read the entire thread over.

Whatever you do, TMK staff, don't make a karma system like ebay's.... A++++++++++++++++++++++++
Formerly quite reasonable.

Trainman

  • Bob-Omg
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2013, 12:12:50 AM »
Yikes, double post, and a bit late on the initial post since it was from 2011, but hey I only actually read it about a month ago.

So, I went back and reread the thread. CrossedEye7: I am about to be a massive jerk to you here, but it's a slightly brotherly:

Would you be talking about this if you had, say, 5 grand in debt? No debt? When I initially saw your first post, I sort of skimmed it because it was major long, and I wasn't going to necessarily reply to it directly. However, I just saw the part where you say you're $117,000 in debt.......the hell?  Also, kids being "coerced" into feeling as if they MUST attend college? I have a hard time believing that. Sallie Mae's fault for taking the risk? The banks, the schools, the people, the government. Basically it's everyone ever's fault is what the consensus here seems to be. In our student loan crisis, I believe the problem begins with the family.

The part in a later post where you say a loan (school loans in this case) is "not entirely voluntary." That's ridiculous. A loan is 100% voluntary 100% of the time. A lot of this unfortunately falls on your parents, in a moral sense. Not the culture, not the bank, not the government. They sat there and watched you sign yourself up for six figure debt, and you signed it in the first place. All those quotes you were replying to in your later post: you can try and debate it all day long, but it's still on you. Sad thing about it is that they're almost all valid points. How can you argue with someone that says you know what you're getting into? I'm not sure how a bank loaned you that kind of money, but even then, what did you think was gonna happen? What degree were you seeking that required over 100 thousand dollars. You can't tell me the school you attended was the only school in the world that offered what you were wanting to take.

People are complaining about the bank doing this, the government doing that, whoever doing the other. In the end, whether a person knows it or not, they are signing up for something they can't get out of that is legally freaking binding. In your case, CE7, this 117,000 in debt didn't all come at once and didn't come at a young age. You couldn't have gotten a loan or entered an agreement until you were 18. When you took your first 10,000 dollars out or whatever, what possessed you to keep going and going and going rather than saying, "holy [dukar], I can't afford this. I need to stop school so I can find a job or do SOMETHING and pay these debts off and save for college." You didn't NEED loans, and you still don't NEED loans. The bank didn't force you to keep borrowing and borrowing. I am almost offended you'd try to ask why Sallie Mae is making bad investments or why our culture is apparently telling people to go to college immediately or be stupid.

Don't spread the blame around because it's weighing down on you now. You didn't have to participate in this cesspool. Even if student loans could be discharged through bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 or 13 would be on your report for 7-10 years. You wouldn't be able to do much with that sitting on it.

I've noticed that over your last two large posts, you've basically sat there arguing everyone's points and grievances down to the sentence. It's like you're making every excuse in the world. Your parents did it, the government did it, the culture did it, Sallie Mae took a risk on you, oh it was different for YOU when YOU took out loans, but it's different for me.

Dude: bottom line. This is YOUR deal. This is ultimately your responsibility. Not anyone else's. You didn't need loans to go to school, especially not that absolutely unthinkable amount, but you seem to think they were absolutely required; they weren't. You're going to have to work on this. You have been and it's great you've been able to pay your payments so far (as of your latest posting), but sitting around trying to debate every single person's points that go against what you think should happen based on your emotions will not get you anywhere. The government is not going to help you. You can't sit around waiting for the government to fix your problems, Republican or Democrat. You can't ***** people out that have paid their stuff off, or that wouldn't want to clean up your mess.

If you feel like you can debate what I am saying, then I don't know what to tell you. It's almost like if you got a loan on a car, you'd make excuses for that: "Oh it was the dealer's fault for taking the risk on the loan for me, and the car manufacturer was at fault for pricing the car too high for my budget." In that case you wouldn't need to buy the freaking car if you knew you couldn't pay for it.

So, yes, whew, I am sorry for all that, but it built up.
Formerly quite reasonable.

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2013, 06:32:18 PM »
Would you be talking about this if you had, say, 5 grand in debt? No debt?
Yes. My best friend has about the same amount of debt, and doesn't even have a degree to show for it -- he was hospitalized in his last semester, and Sallie Mae refused to give him the money to go back for one more semester to finish. And now he's about to be sued by Sallie Mae, because his and his wife's salary combined isn't enough to pay off the sharks. So yeah, this would still be an important issue for me.

And even if it didn't personally affect me or people I like, I'd like to think I'm one of the people unselfish enough to still care. To have a sufficient measure of empathy, the ability to imagine people who aren't exactly like me; to recognize that not everyone has the privileges I have, or thinks or acts the same as me.


Sallie Mae's fault for taking the risk? The banks, the schools, the people, the government. Basically it's everyone ever's fault is what the consensus here seems to be.
Are you saying Sallie Mae shares no blame in this? That the adults running the banks have no responsibility whatsoever, and it should all fall on the backs of the kids that got the loans, not all of whom were even over 18 when they took out the loans?


How can you argue with someone that says you know what you're getting into? I'm not sure how a bank loaned you that kind of money, but even then, what did you think was gonna happen? What degree were you seeking that required over 100 thousand dollars. You can't tell me the school you attended was the only school in the world that offered what you were wanting to take.

People are complaining about the bank doing this, the government doing that, whoever doing the other. In the end, whether a person knows it or not, they are signing up for something they can't get out of that is legally freaking binding. In your case, CE7, this 117,000 in debt didn't all come at once and didn't come at a young age. You couldn't have gotten a loan or entered an agreement until you were 18.

- I was 16 when I started college; 15 when I decided to go and where to go. 14 when I said to my mom, "You know, I think I might take a year off instead of starting college right away" and she said I had to go right away or else I wouldn't be eligible to possibly win a couple-thousand-dollar scholarship from my dad's company. (spoiler -- I didn't win it anyway). Should I really have to pay the rest of my life for a mistake I made at 15? A mistake that I was led into by my parents and the entire culture at large? A mistake made with the intentions of bettering myself and society?



Also, sometimes I really ****ing hate the modern western invention of individualism, and the mentality of superhero-worship and poor-shaming that dovetails with it. I'm reminded of Gene Marks' "If I Were A Poor Black Kid". Marks argues that poor black kids should be availing themselves of opportunities for advancement (most of which require a computer and an internet connection, of course). There was a lot of backlash, and these responses make some very good points.

I want to look at this part in particular:

Quote from: Gene Marks
Is this easy?  No it’s not.  It’s hard.  It takes a special kind of kid to succeed.  And to succeed even with these tools is much harder for a black kid from West Philadelphia than a white kid from the suburbs.  But it’s not impossible.  The tools are there.  The technology is there.  And the opportunities there.

In Philadelphia, there are nationally recognized magnet schools like Central, Girls High and Masterman.  These schools are free.  But they are hard to get in to.  You need good grades and good test scores.  And there are also other good magnet and charter schools in the city.  You also need good grades to get into those.  In a school system that is so broken these are bright spots.

Even Marks recognizes that the system is broken; that the way things are now, poor kids have to be "special" to stop being poor. I believe this article was written in good faith; that he legitimately wanted to offer advice. And some of it is pretty decent advice. But the system is broken, and it needs to be fixed.

Now I'm reminded of a part from "Why I Stopped Telling", by Abby Norman:

Quote from: Abby Norman
I stopped telling the stories of my most resilient kids, because I realized that people were getting the impression that because some of the kids were rising above their circumstances, it was okay to blame the rest for not being able to do the same.

I stopped telling the stories of my church donating cases of paper to my school, because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that it is ever okay for a school in America to run out of paper in October. The church should absolutely meet the needs of the poor, but the church shouldn’t have to supply copy paper for an entire school because the system is broken.

I stopped telling the stories of my most brilliant teaching, my most inspired ideas, because I did not want someone to get the impression that if I was just brilliant and inspired all of the time, I could save my kids. I only had them for 55 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Building the perfect teacher is like building the perfect Band-Aid. It needs to be a unique fit for each environment, and while Band-Aids do a lot of good, there are far too many wounds that need much more than a Band-Aid. Too many of my kids had too many problems that were too far beyond my ability to help.

I stopped telling about the time my friend’s car got stolen and she came back the next day, or the time someone was threatened, nothing was done, and she came back to teach the next week because when I told those stories I was giving the impression that the solution to the education problem is teachers who were willing to sacrifice everything.

Should people in bad situations make the best of it, taking whatever opportunities they can? Should they work as hard as they can? Of course. But the answer cannot simply be heroes. The system is broken. I am not interested in an economic system where only the "special kind" of people are able to survive, and the rest just get trampled over.



Now, I don't want to give the impression that I think my problems are equal to inner-city kids with no food. I just think this whole mindset of "poor people are just too dumb to not be poor; it's their own fault for not picking themselves up by their bootstraps and being superheroes like me" is a larger problem endemic to our culture. Should I be doing everything I can? Of course. Should I be working harder than I am? Probably. But that doesn't change the fact that the system is broken and ought to be changed, and one of the things I will be doing is advocating for that change, for everyone.

And that's a good cue for me to signal boost Rolling Jubilee. The system is explained in detail on the site; basically, for every dollar donated, they are able to completely wipe out $20 of a random person's debt. (And in case you were wondering, they don't deal in student loans [yet], so it doesn't affect me at all.)



(All that being said, I genuinely do appreciate the pants-kicking.)
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Trainman

  • Bob-Omg
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2013, 12:17:54 PM »
I just think this whole mindset of "poor people are just too dumb to not be poor; it's their own fault for not picking themselves up by their bootstraps and being superheroes like me" is a larger problem endemic to our culture.

I agree with what you say. I made a post about getting motivated and stuff in the Being Broke vs. Being Poor thread that sort of deals with that same quote. My post in it, at first glance, would seem like I'm being exactly what you're saying is an endemic. I was a bit more specific with who I was talking about (lazy high school kids), though, as a response to WarpRattler's comment.

To defend that post, I will say that I do understand other people's situations to a far extent, especially considering I was (and in some ways still am) in that situation. I believe that to succeed, there must be an effort put forth. On the flipside, I know exactly how it feels to be unmotivated and feel like you're spinning your wheels. To tell poor people the solution to their problem is "stop being poor," as WarpRattler feebly framed my post, is stupid; of course it's a lot more complex than that. That's just like people who would tell me to "just stop being sad" when I was going through my enormous rut. As if it's that friggin' easy.

Of course, I know that not everyone is in the exact position to do what I am doing at the moment, and I don't expect anyone to be doing everything I'm doing in order to be "on my level." "Be on my level" and all that I think is bull[dukar], personally. I can't stand when older adults try to tell me that "I don't know what being stressed out is" because I don't have kids, a mortgage payment, a house payment on an upside down house, a light & water bill, a defaulted loan, and a million other problems. As if I have to experience those things in order to be stressed or anxious. People always seem to know who I am, telling me that, "you're a 23 year old kid. You don't have anything to stress over." So, even with the amount of stuff I'm doing, I get just as unmotivated or [dukar]ty feeling as the next person (usually worse), and I turn around and hear people say stupid [dukar] like what I said above every time they notice I'm not running around with an enormous smile on my face.

The point of that post was that if someone feels like they are in a rut and they want to change, they know that there is some way in the world to do it. I went from a morbidly depressed couch potato to a working student. That's not to say I got all extroverted and put on my A-personality and turned into an overly-motivated ******bag in order to do that. I just knew that in my inaction, I was getting the same result every single time and was going to get the same result for the rest of my life if I didn't even try to change something small. So I started making changes little by little and each change would give me a little taste of motivation and success. That's the way I started changing my life, not by saying, "Tomorrow, I am doing a complete 180."
Formerly quite reasonable.

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