Thousands of students and ex-students have been overwhelmed with debts from which they will never emerge. Beset by never-ending collections and spiraling living standards, many have taken the final option available to them. Unfortunately they are not Banksters so they won’t be bailed out nor are they Congress-critters or Critter staff who have their loans “forgiven”.
The burden of student debt in America today, almost a trillion dollars’ worth, may be the single worst social ill, the one that is stifling and strangling the best and the brightest of the nation’s next generation, turning them into despondent, under-performing indentured servants, even slaves, to banks who crack the whips over them to demand on-time payments every month.
In a story posted online about student loan debt suicides by the Independent Economic Hardship Reporting Project, co-edited by Barbara Ehrenreich and Gary Rivlin and picked up by the Huffington Post, one of the some 200 comments was particularly eloquent for its poignancy:
“In all my creative writing fantasies, of all the bad guys and evil masterminds I’ve dreamt up, I will never be able to match the inventiveness and cruelty of the financial institutions in the U.S.,” the writer said.
He was referring to the case cited in the story of a law student who borrowed $69,000 to study law and, subsequently unable to find work, is hit with penalties upon penalties for late payments to the point that he estimates that when he “retires” he will end up owing $1.9 million.
“Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis,” wrote the authors of the Economic Hardship project report. One wrote that when she posted a blog about suicide among student debtors, she was “stunned by the responses.”
“In comment after comment, people confessed to feeling suicidal,” she wrote, citing one person who wrote, “Many of the folks who are incredibly deep in law school debt will end up killing themselves. I think in the next 1-3 years, we are going to see absolutely massive numbers of law school graduate suicides.” Many more spoke to the issue.
Combined with the record numbers of suicides and otherwise psychologically damaged young adults coming home from America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, being unable to find rewarding work, or work at all, we are witnessing a nation almost literally devouring its own young. The pale of despondency is defining an entire generation, and anti-depressant chemical solutions only further doom it to mediocrity.
This is the reality reflected in the data showing that in the last decade, incomes rose only among the top seven percent of the population, but stagnated or declined for all the rest of us.
It raises the question: When is there going to be a Citizens’ Bailout Bill?