You Can’t Have a Drink at Age 17 But a Bank Will Lend You $57,000

Perhaps because they don’t think about it very hard, a lot of people blame those who default on student loans for reneging on an obligation that they under took freely. But let’s not forget, high school seniors at the age of 17 are required to sign loan agreements for up to $57,000. We don’t trust them to rent cars. We don’t issue them credit cards. How can we hold them responsible for decisions that they are not mentally able to handle?

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  • alex_the_tired
    July 3, 2019 5:55 AM

    “a lot of people blame those who default on student loans for reneging on an obligation that they under took freely.”

    I think the problem is that those “lot of people” don’t WANT to look at the whole picture. In this case, the presumption they make is that the obligation was undertaken “freely.” But that’s not the case at all. For a long time, all the articles reported that going to college was the smart thing to do. The math backed it. Now that college is too expensive to justify on a return-on-investment basis, that argument has shifted to the social engineering section. Before, it was “You don’t want to work in a factory your whole life, do you?” Now, it’s also “Fomo. College has a lot of ‘soft skills’ you’ll need.” Teachers/parents are also there applying pressure. “You won’t find a job without a college degree. Even receptionist at a dentist’s office paying $28K a year requires a degree.”

    The people who don’t take in the whole picture are fairly common. People who eat steak but become squeamish when a video showing how that steak gets made crosses their news feed. Remember those ads from the 1970s showing starving children with flies buzzing around them? Highly effective. The stations pulled them because people were calling in upset over having “stuff like that” on the TV. And it isn’t just the oldsters. Colin Kaepernick got Nike to yank a variety of shoe because the Betsy Ross flag motif was offensive (or something like that). Oh, Colin. You’re so dreamy. But none of these football heroes ever talk about all the child slave labor making the shoes, the sports equipment, the iPhone components, etc. In “The Block Is Hot” episode of The Boondocks, Ed Wuncler says “That’s right, every morning I wake up and put one foot on the ground and the other up the ass of a 12-year-old Indonesian girl.” And that’s every corporation that runs its factories in places with no labor laws. And how long has it been going on? At least my entire life.

    I wait to see whether the student loans will be forgiven. I think that mathematically it’s inevitable. The Club of Rome comes to mind, as well. What does happen when debt becomes unserviceable while the causes of those debts become unavoidable? The collapse of the civilization. How long will it take the cities to starve? Maybe a couple months. It will be fatal to most of us.

  • But surely after borrowing that 57 large, Ted, one can find someone who’ll sell one a drink and a cigg, even if one is only 17 ? So it all evens out in the end ?…


    • Well, the beauty of the student loan system is that the student does not actually get to see any of the money. From the student’s perspective, one state agency pays an incomprehensible amount of money to a superficially private quasi state entity. The student merely sits in between and gets to carry all the risk.

      To turn student loans into actual money to pay for a tab, the bar would first have to get accredited as an educational facility and the student would have to enroll in a course of tequila.

      Now there is an idea! If it worked for TrumpU, what could go wrong with barU the pub uni?

      • I must confess, Andreas, that I’m not personally familiar with the student-loan system in the United States ; we do things differently in the socialist Hell in which Fate has forced me to live – and which, Trump & the insurers, etc, etc, will never, ever come to your blessed shores. So everything I think I know is mere lesefrüchte, like this passage from the relevant Wikipedia article :

        Student loan defaults are disproportionately concentrated in the for-profit college sector. The schools with the highest amount of student loan debt are University of Phoenix, Walden University, Nova Southeastern University, Capella University, and Strayer University.

        Given the quality of some of these institutions, barU would probably be a step up and an appropriate recipient of federal largess through the conduit that students constitute. After all :

        In vino veritas

        and I suppose the propostion holds equally true if its beer or whiskey on’e drinking…. 😉


  • Seventeen is close to the age where a young person’s judgement is so underdeveloped that the government will relieve one of the burden of having to develop your own judgement and allow you to surrender that task to the state.

    And after appropriating your judgement, it will put you in a uniform, give you a weapon, and direct you toward the latest reincarnation of Hitler.

    And after reducing your judgement to that of an infant, will install you as a component of the infantry in the war machine.

    • Good point, Glenn. Now that you mention it, I probably should have talked about the fact that in the more civilized states, the 17-year-old who commits a crime receives a much lighter sentence than an adult because they’re not deemed to be fully responsible.

  • When I was in college – and the light bulb was a new thing – you’d often walk into a classroom to find credit card applications sitting on all the desks. WTF were they doing there, and how’d they get there in the first place? Isn’t this an institute of higher learning? Maybe they were there to weed out the idiots?

    I did get student loans, and it took me years to pay them off, but at least my salary outstripped my debt load. That’s not necessarily true any more.

    • alex_the_tired
      July 4, 2019 10:50 AM

      1. You had lightbulbs?! When I was a lad, I had to invent the stick, then have the patent stolen by the Chinese so that I could get a second stick (lost million$$$) to rub against the first in order to get fire in order to read my books. And were they heavy–chiseled on stone.
      2. It is a truism that salaries have, for the past 20 or so years, managed somehow to always keep the earners in debt. Not enough dead to kill you financially and force you into receivership, but just far enough behind that you have to go to the credit card to cover the groceries or miss one goddamned electric bill payment and screw your credit rating for the next seven years.

      • > always keep the earners in debt. Not enough dead to kill you financially

        I’m pretty sure that’s a typo – but damn, is it ever a good one. :-{D}

        (Even better if it was intentional)

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