Like many people my age I financed my college education with loans. At the time I gave little thought to graduating college with what amounted to a mortgage. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to get an education but soon after graduating I began to realize the position I was in. Instead of viewing the world as an open book I started to see that many of the pages had already been written. Put simply student loan debt limited my choices. It prevented me from doing many of the things that I dreamed of in college.
A few years ago I happened to be hanging out on a buddy’s couch and caught a documentary on the national debt, growing deficits and the challenges President Obama faced in reining them in. The two of us began to think about what this meant for our generation, who was going to pay the bill and most importantly who was speaking for us.
The debt is a complicated problem and because politicians have chosen to blame rather than explain most of us only understand the problem in terms of partisan talking points. For me though the debt quickly resonated because the country seemed to be headed toward the same problem I already faced – A situation where past choices limit future ones.
That’s ultimately what the debt means for our generation, limited choices. Do we invest in education or programs that protect the disadvantaged; do we raise taxes or cut entitlement programs? By not acting and delaying decisions the leaders of today leave the leaders of tomorrow and all of us with few options. But it’s not just the future that suffers, the government has failed to pass a budget over the past three years and continues to set tax rates in a last minute, cramming for an exam type fashion. They are creating a tremendous cloud of uncertainty for us and the world. As a result it’s hard for many businesses to plan and hire. That means fewer jobs for all of us.
No doubt that both parties will continue to drag out this fight in the media. They’ll tell you this is about Social Security, Medicare and taxes. Which is correct, but what they won’t tell you is that it’s not about taxes and entitlements today, it’s about what they look like tomorrow and that’s why I’m involved. Every decision we delay is a cut to programs and an increased tax on our future. Our voice is underrepresented in Washington and we need to come together to make sure we are heard.
Debt is actually an enabler. It just happens to be a double edge sword. Could we have gone to college without taking on some debt? It limits you if you do not understand what debt is when you take it on. The general case of friends coming out of college with debt issues I see is a failure on two sides: colleges could care less what happens to their students. They get the money up front. They take no steps to explain what the commitment of these loans mean. And then, students do not think about the loans either: rates, types, how they will pay them off, or if their major is worth the price tag (yeah that’s right some majors are NOT worth the cost at some schools if you have to pay for it on loans). All majors cost the same but a social work major gets you 25k while a CS major started me at 75k. Taking a major that pays you little after you get out of college is a LUXURY NOT a right.
When you go to war; you raise taxes. Period. Not doing so was foolish of everyone at every level of government. Everyone from those 8 years should be fired for ignoring this simple fact or not doing enough to fix it. No Whining, just leave, you failed our country. Everyone above the poverty line, and I mean EVERYONE should be paying more taxes than in the Clinton years, WHY?! We are at war…..please don’t tell me you need this explained further.
Fortune 500 Companies have never made better margins, they are using the “bad” economic times as an excuse to get more hours out of employees while firing others. Margins have never been higher compared to the work force on hand at these companies, while keeping wages stagnant (ccn article I’m sure you can fact check this just fine). Companies are not hiring, because they have found away to make more money with fewer resources. why should they hire?
SS/Healthcare needs to be reformed in painful/sad ways that sucks for seniors. To bad. Life is full of hardships, by now in your old life I would think they would have noticed that life never gets easier or more fair. I am sorry you didn’t instill the values of Old America in your children. When children took care of their parents. An interesting lesson for my generation to think about as they raise their kids.
Fun side fact: In a round about way it’s the Nazis fault Healthcare is so high. Didn’t see that coming did you? (google it) ..I did say round about, during world war two wages were capped in the US so companies started offering benefits to the extent we see them today. If you care to look up the correlation of raising healthcare cost and when employees stopped having to directly deal with insures you notice something interesting….as the price gets pushed into the background the price gets higher ….and higher….and no one really cares because they don’t have to deal with it first hand….and so no one pushes back…and the prices get higher. Granted lots of other facts, but I am saying checks and balances went out the window (funny how close to student loans this sounds like).
Thanks for helping me flush out my own thoughts,