Only one quarter of Americans believe they are living the American Dream. The American Dream is the essence and tranquility of freedom to pursue one’s happiness. We are each endowed with the talent and ability to pursue this happiness and we are further blessed to live in a country that values the education of its citizens such that we fund each and every individual’s access to this primary asset. Until the end of twelfth grade.
For more than a half century, we have been sold the idea that education must come in the form of a box that is packaged and shipped. We only understand its essence and tranquility from the format of our forebears and thus we continue on a path towards degree after degree to ripen ourselves for the moment we will become truly capable of providing this earth a service worthy of our being. However, as the top 1 percent’s income has risen over 11 percent while the bottom 99 percent’s income has fallen .4 percent during this recession we continue to find undergraduate and graduate education ever more unattainable.
The younger folks of our society seem to be keen as to these facts and are pursuing routes less cumbersome on budgets. These days, a student might go to a community college for two years and transfer to graduate a full-fledged Gator, Long-Horn, or Sage-Hen. Trade schools are becoming more common endeavors as the younger generation realizes the debt, both in money and time, that undergraduate and graduate degrees entail. Organizations such as The Oregon Idea are promoting a forty percent graduation rate from community colleges by 2025. Student debt is born by a lifetime of indentured servitude and an inability to file for bankruptcy when the system these students have materially relied upon does not provide adequate compensation for repayment of their debt to society. Unpaid student debt is passed on to the next generation because these loans are backed by the government.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts issued her first piece of legislation that would allow students to take out student loans at the same rate that large banks pay to borrow from the federal government – roughly .75 percent. Senator Warren’s work towards the achievement of equality in this nation should be commended. At the least, her legislation points out an absurdity to prove crony capitalism is convincingly alive and, at most, her legislation will pave the way towards phasing out a policy that has encumbered our nation’s future.
Tuition is skyrocketing. Students are carving alternative educational paths. Yet degrees still hold society’s political clout. Phasing out the $40,000 per year undergraduate education has already begun as companies like Intel are treating free online educational degrees as substitute equivalency. Again, the winners have been the banks who need not worry about students failing to make payments as loans are backed by the federal government. Our government providing assistance for the $40,000 per year education system will only prolong the status quo. This is yet another incidence of our government bailing out banks at the expense of our future. The foremost was in 2008.
Our Senators and Congress men and women must act as conduits of power, not possessors of power. Relinquishing the promise of backing private banks on educational loans must occur. Such a backing is a Ponsi scheme that serves no purpose other than to defraud our future. For once let us give a gift to our future rather than perform a theft. We must pay for what we are able to in the present.