The Student-Debt Crisis Is Real—the Result of Short-Term Ideological Choices and an Impediment to Solving Long-Term National Issues

The Progressive news site Nation of Change has today run an article titled “Four Charts with What Everyone Should Know about the Student Debt Crisis.” The full article is available at: http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/04/04/four-charts-with-what-everyone-should-know-about-the-student-debt-crisis/

I think that the most telling of the charts may be this one, which shows the incredible increase in government-backed student debt:

Student Debt Chart 1

The chart does not even include private loans, which have also increased dramatically over the past two decades.

The Far Right cannot have it both ways. Either their economic policies or their ideological aversion to domestic government spending is to blame for this dramatic shift in the cost of higher education to our students.

If the economy is to blame, then their economic policies caused the Great Recession, and the Far Right’s strident opposition to more effective regulation of the big banks and Wall Street is completely bogus.

If the economy is not to blame, then the blame lies in the ideological choice to fund any number of other things rather than higher education and other public institutions that serve the public good.

Those other Far-Right funding priorities have included:

unprecedented tax cuts for corporations and the most affluent, many of whom do not now pay any taxes whatsoever or pay taxes at a lower rate than what the average worker pays;

multiple wars and a military-industrial complex that is producing such a surplus of weaponry that it is now being given away to police forces large and small, in effect militarizing our entire society;

subsidies to already extremely profitable energy and agricultural conglomerates, which because of deregulation are causing unprecedented degradation of water supplies and soil quality;

and contracts to corporations that are privatizing all sorts of public services, from the operation of our prisons to the collection of traffic fines and other civil penalties to charter schools—all with no appreciable improvement in public services or significant decrease in the cost of those services being borne by the taxpayer.

The long-term costs of all of these policies are going to have to be borne by generations personally saddled with ever–escalating, long-term personal debt.

One wonders if they are simply going to try to blame Obama for all of it–even into the second half of this century and the next century.

 

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