WARNING: THIS IS A RANT ON THE PART YOUR GRANDPA. WHILE HE USED ONLY ONE SWEAR WORD IN THE POST, IT IS NOT FILLED WITH HIS USUAL CIVIL AND CONCILIATORY LANGUAGE. ALSO, GRANDPA HAS NOT HAD A CHANCE TO READ AND CONSIDER PRESIDENT BIDEN’S PLAN. IN ALL HONESTY, GRANDPA’S TEMPER WAS JUST “SET OFF” BY THE IDEA THAT WE WILL BE SPENDING $200 BILLION DOLLARS TO BAIL OUT STUPID PEOPLE. READER DISCRESSION IS ADVISED!
President Biden announced today that he was going to forgive almost everybody’s student loans. Grandpa is having a hard time finding just the right word to express his feelings about this, so I’ve decided to use three.
What the hell?!
When I went to college (oh boy, here he goes), I had no scholarship and my parents could not afford to “send” me, so I attended the local state university and paid for it myself. A Pell Grant covered most of my tuition, but all other expenses were up to me.
By the time they handed me a diploma and kicked me out (eight years, a wife and two and a half kids later), the only debt I had was one small student loan. Within a year after graduation that loan was paid off.
How did I do it? The same way millions of other Baby Boomers did it. We worked out butts off, lived in poverty, denied ourselves luxuries and got the job done.
I pretty much had a full-time job the entire time I was in college. My wonderful wife has done so much for me, but she did not put me through college. She took care of the home front (in wonderful fashion) and I paid the bills and went to school.
Our standard of living was depression-like. We lived in cheap apartments and a mobile home; turned the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter; cooked all our meals and ate the leftovers until they were gone; and furnished our home with stuff other people no longer wanted. I bought a 1973 Plymouth Valiant and kept it running. We wore the same clothes for four years.
I didn’t spend any more than I needed on school. Texts were very well used. Parking was off campus. Whiteout and copy machines repaired my crappy self-typing jobs. If our home phone rang twice and quit, Debra called me back on a designated payphone in the student union.
There were no luxuries. No vacations. No fancy nights out. Even our TV was a basic black and white, 13-inch with rabbit ears.
We were about the business of getting a good education and we got the job done while living life. You may be tempted to tell me that we were special in some way – smarter, more determined, privileged. You might be tempted to tell me that it’s different today because college (and life) is so much more expensive.
Wrong! Millions of us did it then and millions are still doing it today.
My daughter graduated from BYU-Idaho in 2005. When she graduated, she had no (zippo, zilch, zero, nada) debt. In fact, she had well over $5000 in the bank.
How did she do it?
She followed the same pattern – worked hard, lived frugally, delayed gratification and got the job done. Summers were spent living at home and working her job at the Aplets and Cotlets candy factor in Cashmere, Washington. Every school year she was working hard at getting good grades and living frugally in Rexburg, Idaho.
You may ask, why are you angry? Why can’t you just be happy for these people?
I am angry at schools that knowingly allow or even encourage students get into this kind of debt, knowing they will never be able to pay it back.
I am angry at the government which, in typical nanny-state fashion, handed out large sums of college cash without regard for the basic economic principle of supply and demand; thereby driving up the cost of schooling for everyone. (See graph below to see what the influx of government money has done to secondary educational costs.)
I am angry because there were not sufficient counseling, limits or safeguards in place to prevent kids (adults in age only) from borrowing beyond their actual needs and future earning capacity.
I am angry that this cure is worse that the disease. Could we not have come up with a way that allowed these debtors to get out from under this crushing debt in a way that teaches them valuable live lessons and render esteem building service to their country and fellow men?
(In its defense, President Biden’s plan claims to improve the rules for those who want to have their debt forgiven through community service. However, Grandpa has not seen the “improvement” details and believes that requiring this type of service as a prerequisite for loan forgiveness should be the major plank of the plan.)
How big of a deal is this loan forgivness? Probably not much, standing on its own. But as part of an Orwellian pattern, I see Big Brother pandering to the masses, stealing their dignity and making political and emotional slaves of them.