I’ve basically been keeping my mouth shut about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Since their goals were never clear, I really didn’t want to get into any major discussions, only to find out later that what I thought they said wasn’t really what they said. But, there’s one thing I’ve heard over and over since the movement began, that of forgiving all student loan debt.
Apparently (and I could be wrong about this) there are a number of the participants, who have college degrees, but are unable to find jobs. I’d really like to do a survey of those participants, to find out how many of them have a college degree and what field of study they received their degree in. But, as much as I’d like to know that, I’m not about to drive almost 2,000 miles just to find out. I guess I’ll just have to wonder.
I suspect, but I don’t know, that many of those who can’t get a job with their degree have a degree which is not highly marketable. Since two of my kids are in college and the third graduated just a few years ago, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to talk to college students in the last few years. It amazes me how many of them have elected to study to receive unmarketable degrees. What do I mean by that? I mean a degree in a major where there are few to no jobs. Apparently nobody ever talks to college students about whether there were any jobs out there for the degree they want to study; they just tell them how much people who work in that field can make.
Really, our educational system is doing a disservice to those students. I don’t know what percentage of our current college enrollment is studying to receive degrees which aren’t highly marketable, but I know that there are plenty of them. Yet, the universities continue to motivate students to study those fields, as if gaining the degree is enough, in and of itself.
If I understand correctly, the justification for asking for these student loans to be forgiven is that the degrees which they got with those loans aren’t worth anything. Since they can’t get a job, they feel that they shouldn’t have to pay. In fact, I’ve even seen petitions going around, which are asking for congress to pass a law forgiving all student loan dept.
While I can definitely sympathize with those who haven’t been able to get a job with their college degree, I can’t go as far as to say that their debts should be forgiven. Maybe I could if I knew that those student loans had just paid for their tuition, fees and books; but I know better. Those college students aren’t just paying their college expenses with the loans, but their living expenses as well. Even that wouldn’t sound so bad, except I know what college students think living expenses are.
I have a lot of problem with forgiving loans which students used to pay for their Mustang or Camaro, buy the latest computer of their choice, fill out their wardrobe and party over Spring Break. That’s what living expenses means to a college student. Why should those debts be forgiven? What makes their car purchase so special that they shouldn’t have to pay it back? Do the people who are signing those petitions have any idea of what they are signing?
C’mon now, let’s be reasonable here. Those things shouldn’t have been part of a student loan to start with. Borrowing that money to spend on those things was their decision, nobody else’s. There’s no reason to forgive those loans. So, sorry folks, I’m not signing your petition.