Student Loans: The Road To Serfdom

I have read a few proposals for the forgiveness of student loans for American college and university students.  They all point out the burden that such debt has on the graduates and the non graduates from such educational institutions.  Of course one can question the efficacy that these loans have on those who use them to finance their educational expenses.  I even incurred about $18,000 worth obtaining a four year degree that, at the age of 53, did me absolutely no good.  I would have better spent the money on buying books and reading in those areas I wished to have some great knowledge.  The truth is, college or university is a crock, a waste of time and money.  When you take the courses you end up teaching yourself, the instructor or professor has little to add to your store of knowledge.  What you are paying for it that piece of paper that certifies that you attended enough classes, turned in enough course work, pass the required tests, and wrote the required papers to earn that grade and the diploma.  It is a certifying process that is suppose to lead to job offers, if you listen to the recruiters and the advisors.  When you don’t get the job offers, well, that’s not their problem.

Understand that education, from the beginning primary grades through to the end of your PhD thesis and defence is an industry.  You attend a factory.  The professors, the councilors, the admin people, the outreach people, the program managers are all assembly line workers in those factories.  The business model is really backwards since the products they turn out, the graduates, may be over produced or out of date.  These raw materials become finished goods but it is not the employment market that pays for them, it is the raw materials themselves.  Imagine if the corporation had to pay for your degree as the final product, sort of like buying a machine tool.  Instead, what happens is that the prospective students are sold a course of study, charged a considerable amount of money for it with no guarantee that the buyer will graduate and if they do that they will be hired.  You see the problem?  When you decide to pursue a college or university degree you are buying a pig in the poke.  You really don’t know what your are getting.

It is the educational institutions that benefit from the student loans.  Imagine if they had to provide the money themselves, up front.  What if one could declare bankruptcy on the student loans because one could not find a job and thus pay them back?  Imagine if the university had to eat those loans.  Do you think they would really have expanded in such ways that burn so much cash?  Would they have outreach workers and managers and all manner of non tenured professors doing everything but teach?  Student loans support that entire industry of trying to make sure that all high school graduates go to college and take out expensive student loans to pay for that privilege.  Student loans are no risk for the colleges and universities.  They take the money and give you a piece of paper of which such worth is questionable.  What if they had to guarantee their product, that particular degree?  Yes, this degree in fine arts will get you a job making $35,000 a year.  We guarantee it or your money back.  Yeah, right, like that will happen.  If you get a BA in Philosophy, who is going to hire you?  You go your degree in 18th century French Literature?   Wonderful, who is going to hire you?  Or you could be like me and get yourself a degree, a Masters in Telecommunication Network Design and Management.  I didn’t have a BA or BS at the time and they took my degree away.  Something about no sense of humor.  God Damn, I did a perfect 4.0 GPA too, so what was their problem?  Yeah, I have issues with the educational establishment.  I mean, they turned all my course work into General Education Units, having no transferability nor academic value.  Hey, I paid for those courses, god damn it.

My point is that student loans are a rip off.  May you will win the lottery in the limited market for college degreed applicants.  But what if you don’t?  What if you took that course work in computer science and programming only to find that those college graduates from India on H1B visas are taking jobs that you can do?  Wait a minute, these Indians are earning far less that any entry level American graduate with $20 to $60 thousand in student loans.  The Indian gets to go the some college or university practically free or very low cost and you the computer science degree holder had to pay through the nose for your education that your advisors assures you would be worth the cost.  So you took out the loans and now you can’t get rid of them.  You can’t fine bankruptcy and if you don’t pay the government will come after you through the use of collection agencies.  And finally, the IRS will withhold any refund, the social security administration will dock your benefits, and by god, you will pay for that worthless piece of paper.

So you and bunch of others decide that all this is not right.  Let us push for debt forgiveness when it comes to student loans.  Well good luck with that.  Who holds your student loan.  Actually the Federal Reserve bought about 2 percent of student loans, over $800 million worth, they pay a nice bit of interest, usually around five to ten percent.  Do you think the Fed is going to push for student loan forgiveness?  And then there are the investment banks, the hedge funds, the pension funds, most of whom are well underfunded, and other groups that depend on the high yields your loans give.  Did you really think these people will suffer a loss just to be nice to you?  Yeah, go ahead and dream.  It ain’t going to happen.  Nobody is going to give up their capital or their income stream for your convenience.  There are 1.3 trillion dollars worth of student loans.  It would be a safer bet that the student loan program stops giving out loans.  Or course the colleges and universities would cry bloody murder because that is a huge loss of income for not only the professors but the 75 percent of the people the universities and colleges employ, from cutting the grass at union rates to the admin people who lose your records, to the out reach people who con high school students into applying and taking out the student loans upon which this entire educational factory mess is built upon.  What will these people do, particularly those workers without college degrees?  Do you see what is happening?  You are now a debt serf for the good of the educational establishment.  Doesn’t that make your contribution feel valued?  Of course by now you have graduated and feel the need for that even more expensive graduate degree, that masters in whatever.  And what happens when you spend even more money you can’t afford to get an advanced degree that may or may not get you that next job and by the way, it will be low pay because you are an unproven employee with no track history.  The fact is, the number of the American population work force, those between the ages of 18 and 65 is decreasing and will continue to decrease.  Robots, H1B visa foreign national, and off-shoring will continue to decrease the number of jobs available to the American work force population.  You have a better chance of employment being a restaurant waiter or bar tender.    If you are ready for Hillary or some republican, good luck with that.  None of those people are going to do anything but spend your tax dollar, both current collection and future collection (our debt is way beyond our control you you, dear college graduate, will pay for it.  You will most likely never benefit from anything Hillary or Bush or Cruise or any other bozo does or proclaims.  Hey, you’re a college grad, so go figure it out for yourself?  Oh, that’s right, they didn’t teach anything really practical like basic reasoning when you got your degree..

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