Thursday, June 20, 2019

A self-centered, narcissistic, "I'm entitled!" whiner


Kim du Toit refers to some things as "RCOB moments", meaning "Red Curtain of Blood".  Something is so egregiously wrong, or stupid, or ridiculous, that one experiences a red curtain of blood over one's vision as one instantly loses one's temper.  Comprehensively.

I had such a moment - several of them, in fact - while reading this article.

I have $235,000 of student debt. The first $120,000 came with a bachelor’s degree from my state school. Another $70,000 or so came with my master’s degree. The remainder is accrued interest.

. . .

I would have to begin devoting half of my income to debt payment if I cared to pay it off by 2042. I can’t do that because I make just under $4,000 per month. And that income is a fairly new development in my life. Why would I choose to pay down my debt if it meant I wouldn’t be able to afford basic living expenses?

Short of winning the lottery, there’s no way I could ever afford to pay off my debt.

. . .

I’m privileged to have made it through the first few years of repayment. With a financial hardship agreement with Sallie Mae, my parents – cosigners on my private loans – pay $600 per month to keep default at bay from our family and allow me to live a decent life. And through an income driven repayment plan (IDR) with Navient, I’ve been paying less than $50 per month on my public loans, though that could change as my income changes.

My parents cosigned my loans because we’re first-generation immigrants. Moving to the U.S. was about giving me a chance to live my best life. College was a critical component and we couldn’t afford it any other way. The only reason they can afford those $600 monthly payments now is because they paid off their 30-year mortgage just a few years ago.

My parents are in their 60s and 70s and will live the rest of their lives with my student debt. Likely so will I.

. . .

Some economists say that forgiving student debt would boost GDP by $100 billion per year for ten years and add several million jobs to the economy. It would unlock the capacity of 44 million Americans to buy homes, launch small businesses, and retire with dignity.

Congress could pay for it by repealing the $1.5 trillion tax cut it passed in 2017. Primarily benefiting the wealthy and corporations, even Goldman Sachs says that whatever economic boost the tax cut brought with it has passed.

And to keep future generations from suffering under the burden of student debt, Congress could make public colleges, universities, and trade schools in the United States free.

. . .

I’m focused on keeping the cost of servicing my debt low while I do other things a 29-year-old should be doing, like saving for an emergency fund or a down payment on a house.

I’m spending my money in a way that invests in my future. Can the country do the same?

There's more at the link. (Yes, there really is more of this whiny, self-indulgent crap.)

There's so much wrong with this article (or, rather, with its author) that one hardly knows where to begin.  Still, I'll give it a try.
  • "I have $235,000 of student debt".  And whose fault is that?  Yours.  If you were dumb enough to sign for that debt, it's on your head.  Man up and accept responsibility.
  • "The first $120,000 came with a bachelor’s degree from my state school".  If you were idiot enough to pay that much, to a state school, for a four-year bachelor's degree, without taking advantage of any student aid, or lowered tuition rates for in-state students, or any other of the many means offered to make an entry-level degree affordable, you deserve that debt load.  I know people with doctorates whose total student debt, across three degrees, is far less than that figure.
  • "Short of winning the lottery, there’s no way I could ever afford to pay off my debt".  Then why did you take it on?  Isn't it a basic tenet of honesty and ethical conduct that one doesn't mislead lenders, by promising to repay a sum that one knows one can't afford to repay?
  • "my parents – cosigners on my private loans – pay $600 per month to keep default at bay from our family and allow me to live a decent life."  And shame on you for putting them into that position!  Does your conscience not bother you that you dragged them into co-signing a loan or loans that you admit will never be paid off?  They're going to go to their graves carrying your debt load, or a substantial part of it, while you laugh it off;  and their estate will be crippled by the debt residue.  Shame on you!
  • "forgiving student debt would boost GDP, etc."  Why don't you say what you really mean?  "Forgiving student debt would allow spendthrift wasters like me to get off the hook and avoid personal responsibility for having to meet the commitments we made."  That's more like it!
  • "Congress could pay for it by repealing the $1.5 trillion tax cut".  So the rest of us have to accept a bigger financial burden, just so that spendthrift wasters like you can duck out of your responsibilities?  Am I supposed to feel grateful for this "opportunity"?
  • "I’m spending my money in a way that invests in my future."  No, you're not.  You're spending money that is rightfully owed to others, and imposing a crippling financial burden on your parents, all because you don't want to accept responsibilities for which you signed on the dotted line.  You're being fundamentally dishonest, with your creditors, your parents, your readers, and your country.  How does it feel to be a thief? - because that's what your conduct amounts to, in so many words.

It's a good thing I'm not a dictator in charge of this country.  I know exactly what I'd do to this writer . . . and it wouldn't be compassionate, or touchy-feely, or politically correct.  He'd get a dose of reality, good and hard.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable in feeling that way.  I hold four university qualifications, two undergraduate (Bachelor's degrees) and two post-graduate (a graduate certificate program and a Master's degree).  All were earned part-time, while working to support myself.  In the early years, for my first degree, my father helped with some of the costs;  but I had to contribute my share, right from the start.  I graduated from each degree free of student debt, and never carried any debt forward.  I'm far from alone in doing that.  There are some degrees (e.g. medicine, engineering, etc.) where one probably can't get away with minimizing expenses like that;  but those degrees usually carry with them salaries (after graduation) that are sufficient to pay off the student loans they involve.  If anyone takes on that level of debt without being certain that their income after graduation will be sufficient to pay it off, that stupidity is on them - not the rest of us!

Didn't some older cultures and nations condemn defaulting debtors to be galley slaves until their debt was paid?  Given the number of those defaulting on their student loans, with attitudes similar to that displayed above, I think we might have an old-is-new-again, "green" marine propulsion system just waiting in the wings here!  (Ever heard of "floating a company"?  Well, there you are, then!  Economics in action!)




Peter

22 comments:

McChuck said...

Yes, that debt load and attitude is despicable. BUT - When you went to college, it didn't cost over $1,000 per credit hour. https://academiccatalog.umd.edu/undergraduate/fees-expenses-financial-aid/tuition-fees/

Education expenses have been rising faster than medical bills, for decades. This is what you get when the government hands out loans to anybody who checks a box on a form. And that box doesn't say anything about loans, or repayment, or terms. It just says 'I am a full time student.'

Go read what Professor Doom has to say about this sort of thing. https://professorconfess.blogspot.com/

Dave said...

Supposedly, some folks tracked this guy down through his Linkedin after the article was published. The guy majored and then got a master's in -- wait for it -- journalism. He attended Rutgers and then CUNY.

#learntocode

Keyser Soze said...

Here is the little crap weasel in the flesh:

http://money.com/money/5647242/student-debt-money-makeover/

The answers he gives are comical...and further rage inducing.

More Bio:

https://www.rjionline.org/account/profile/4197

Russian immigrant, Journalism school grad, socialist justice bleeding heart type who doesn't want to "feed the system".

The Lab Manager said...

I was wondering about his degree. However, I can't say STEM degrees are really worth that much either. A lot of the four year public/private institutions need to be shutdown.

sdharms said...

the only reason college costs went up dramatically is because the government started being the sole agent to loan money for college. When I went to school there were private loans and competition. Obama closed that avenue and took it over.
Costs are not explained to students. They are financially illiterate (by design) and do not understand the terms and what the interest will do to them.
My loan proceeds never entered my hand, went straight to fees. I think current students realize cash in hand.
I ate a $1 bean burrito every nite for supper for years. Do they?

Aesop said...

The level of self-serving rationalization here would be happily cured by calling the loan due now, and a charge of willful fraud, followed by several years' confinement at hard labor, in lieu of loan "forgiveness".

And ultimately, when an entire generation defaults, and blows up this bubble, having a few thousand liberal re-education diploma mills shuttered for good will be a net positive for the culture and the country, not least of which by getting the government out of the college loan business.

They've done the same thing to education costs what Medicare did for health costs.

Both those boated disasterpiece Hindenburgs need to explode in a glorious flaming wreck, never to be resurrected in any form again.

urbane legend said...

My parents cosigned my loans because we’re first-generation immigrants.
No, you are first generation idiots.

McChuck said...

What Aesop said.
Nuke the whole system from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Tsgt Joe said...

When I started community College in the early 70’s the fee was $6 or $9 a credit hour. I really don't remember what upper division classes cost as I was using the tuition assistance program of my employer ( US Air Force). Grad school was paid for by the G.I. Bill. Most of my employers ( GM, military, Henry Ford Health Care, and the State of Michigan) have had tuition assistance programs. There are ways of getting an education wthout crippling yourself with debt.

Tsgt Joe said...

I just checked the tuition cost of 2 neighboring universities. Central Michigan University is $471 per undergraduate credit hour and Saginaw Valley State U. Is $329 to $451 per hour. Doing the math in my head an in state commuter will pay about$ 15,000 a year. The local community college (Delta) is about $4,000 a year. Going by CPI the cost of tuition should have gone up about 4 fold from ‘78 to 2018. Looks to me it’s gone up 10 to 15 times. Those prices are for a stay at home commuter, room and board add at least several thousand to the bill.

John Ray said...

$190,000 excluding interest to get a masters in journalism? How damn dumb can a journalist be? Oh, never mind, journalist -- dumb, got it.

Let's see, I have a degree in mathematics, physics and a law degree. Took me 8 years to finish (didn't have money or time to do it in 7). All at a private university. During those days, I was a toy salesman, hot-check collector, repo man, pizza slinger, waiter, bartender, gas jockey, tutor, teacher, photographer, security alarm installer, anything that made a dollar (sometimes, 2 jobs simultaneously). I owned six rust buckets (jalopies) each of which cost $200-$300, one after another, and each of which had a name of endearment. Finished with minimum student loan debt (less than $20K, paid off in single-digit years-time). "Those were the days, my friend".

Poodlehorde said...

Making $4000 per mont and can't afford to pay off his loans? Two person househol here, living quite comfortably on a little more than $2000 per month. That includes paying off a mortgage. Of course we don't buy new cars (our pickkup is bought used and fully paid for) and almost never go out to eat; but we have high speed internet and can afford several hobbies. In short, you cut your coat to fit your cloth, and this guy has no idea what he is talking about

Sam L. said...

" It's a good thing I'm not a dictator in charge of this country. I know exactly what I'd do to this writer . . . and it wouldn't be compassionate, or touchy-feely, or politically correct. He'd get a dose of reality, good and hard." You'd be
touchy-feely, all right, but the touchy would be heavy and the feely would be painful.

Yes, the college costs have gone way up, but how else could they hire diversity (and other) administrators?

Dave said...

Government subsidized student loans are a big reason for ballooning college costs: https://fee.org/articles/how-government-guaranteed-student-loans-killed-the-american-dream-for-millions/

Based on where he went to school (Rutgers, CUNY) I'm guessing that he probably lives in the NY/NJ area, which is a big reason his $4k a month doesn't stretch very far. But CHOOSING to live in a high cost area is a luxury good, in an of itself.

As for taking a long time to pay off that much debt: no kidding. That's roughly $50k more than I owe on my house,and almost twice as much as the mortgage on my first house, and there's no collateral on the loan, so I'm sure the interest rate is higher than my VA loan home mortgage.

I do have to wonder at his parents - if I was cosigned (which I will never be), and helping my kid make payments, I would insist, as a condition of my continued support, that he move back home and put him on a strict budget until he got the payments to something manageable. And he'd be paying extra against principle, not just making minimum payments.

Sentenza said...


That guy spent twice what I owe on my current house on a couple of worthless credentials. Why do I need to support him?

I didn't feel much sympathy for him before. After reading Peter's article, I feel even less.

Unknown said...

I've got a degree myself, Snowflake, & it didn't cost me $235k of other people's money that I promised to repay & now am trying to welsh out of. It only cost me 4 years of my life; 4 years that I was going to spend in the military anyway. That's a thing Southern men do.
And repaying one's debts is what any actual men--for that matter, honorable people of either sex--do.
--Tennessee Budd

BladeRunner1066 said...

Hey, at least he is working and trying useful things.

The government and .edu are at least as much to blame for this mess, probably more so. Talk about predatory lending. What is the NPV of a journalism degree? That would put a rational baseline on the amount that could be borrowed.

SmockMan said...

The $600 shakedown from the parents is a tax on their awful parenting.

Jester said...

None of you guys are seeing the elephant in the room. This was all done by design. Let me break out the scenario I think was at work here.
First step you of course soak up all the student loan market. Everyone gets a loan, even for those social justice warrior degrees that everyone with more than two brain cells knows will never have a chance of paying the loan back or at least with in say a decade. Everyone is following this step so far.
Step two, .gov or political animals know this too but there is this thing about buying votes now that all these idiots realize they can't afford to repay their loans. So we have useful idiots that don't bother with the Military, getting scholarships (Gee I wonder why they can't do either when they willingly go in to debt for worthless degrees and schools themselves..) who now can't repay the money that was given to the colleges and the professors so on and so forth that the tax payers all fronted.

@aesop I agree it would be wonderful to see these worthless schools or at least the worthless degree programs crash and burn but you want to know why that won't happen?

.gov has to step in to save the day! Just like every other damn bail out the dozens or even hundreds of schools that would be impacted and possibly have to shutter their doors And oh noes! So many stranded students admist their journalism programs that would not be able to continue if the school closes!!! And here is the kicker. They are in debt with the same .gov loans that are even more worthless and "wasted unable to repay" so here comes the money spigot to save all of their worthless hides.

Call me out if anyone thinks that I'm wrong here.

Dad29 said...

their estate will be crippled by the debt residue

Actually, no. Once you die the debt is forgiven in total.

As to STEM degrees not being as worthwhile as they used to be: of course not. The US Government allows STEM employers to import slave-labor from India, calling them "H1-B" employees. There is a boatload of material on the topic at https://normsaysno.wordpress.com/ which is written by a Lefty college prof in California.

He's NOT a fan of the H1-B racket. Every US citizen should be mad as Hell about it, too.

DP said...

http://www.simongalperin.com/

Bibliotheca Servare said...

Respectfully, Mr. Grant, I must disagree. Obviously the guy in the original post is a complete waste of air, but his case is not a reflection of the vast majority of people with student loan debt.

And the vast majority of people with crippling student loans did not accrue that debt via gender studies degrees, journalism degrees, etc. Additionally, student loans used to be treated like all other debt, they could be voided (at least six years after the debt had come due, so at least six years of effort to repay them) by bankruptcy. Your credit would take a massive hit, and you'd face the consequences of that, but the debt would be discharged.

Today, thanks to (what amounts to) a conspiracy between Congress/Bill Clinton, the banks, and the universities, you have that debt until the day you die. No matter your financial situation, you cannot seek any legal relief from that burden. No other form of debt works this way.

Just the type of debt we allow people whom we deem to be literally incapable of consuming alcohol responsibly...to sign up for.

It's illegal for an 18 year old to purchase or consume alcohol, but it's perfectly legal (indeed, it's encouraged!) for them to sign up for a loan that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, that carries insane interest rates, and will follow them wherever they go, no matter how poor or destitute they may be.

For God's sake, even *marriage* isn't that inescapable, though perhaps it ought to be.

For what it's worth I used to feel like you, and I still struggle with a little resentment sometimes (I have no student loan debt, partially because I have never been to college, so any credit jubilee wouldn't benefit me at all), but I cannot deny that my stance was wrong, and based on emotions, and ignorance, rather than a rational examination of the facts of the situation.

Here's a link to a post on Men of the West about the subject, and it has a link to the rest of their material on the subject.

I know you're very busy, but if you get the time, I think you might at least see that the alternative to your position is not necessarily simply a result of entitlement and selfishness, but cold, hard analysis, and careful consideration of the facts.

Their articles, combined with some of the things Vox has said on the subject over at Vox Popoli, were a big part of what changed my mind.

God bless you and keep you, and yours, healthy, happy, and safe!

https://www.menofthewest.net/student-loan-debt-redux/