If you’re a college student, you may want to pay attention. With the nationalization of student loans under Obama, you’re going to be slaves to the system if you use their loans. It’s the ultimate racket. You pay interest to the government at a higher rate than you would have in the previous system where private banks made loans, and the government guaranteed them, and of course, the government has the IRS to strip your future earnings from you. I listened to a caller named “Jonathan” on Mark Levin’s show Friday evening, and I was astonished at his sniveling over the interest rates. He insisted that it is “for the greater good” that he took out a total of $220,000 in student loans. He’s not upset, he says, about the principal amount, but at an interest rate of more than seven percent, he’s having trouble making ends meet.
Let me save all of you aspiring college students some time and trouble: Most universities don’t teach you much anyway. You’ll learn more on your own if you want to do so than any college will ever teach you, and it will be more valuable. I know, I know… The field into which you’re going requires a college education, maybe an advanced degree, perhaps medicine, or the law. That’s fine. Go to a cheap school. Seriously. All they’re giving you is a piece of paper. The rest, you get on your own, and it’s the height of foolishness to go into debt to the tune of more than two-hundred-thousand dollars in order to fatten the higher education establishment. It’s absurd, and our kids should be steered away from this nonsense.
I went to college. I was thirty-one years old when I enrolled. I was thirty-five when I graduated. My ‘student loan officer’ was a nice gentleman with a crew-cut I met in the recruiting office of the United States Army when I was seventeen. I loaned the government my backside for seven years, and in exchange, they matched my own contributions to a college fund. Along the way, they taught me to be a hard-charging ass-kicker, and also some practical skills that I would one day convert to civilian use for the purposes of feeding my family. It was likely the best deal I ever made. The truth of the matter is that I learned a good deal more in those seven years than any college could teach you in twenty. Nevertheless, once I was out of the Army, I used the aforementioned skills to make a living, and before long, only six years later, I was on my way to college.
Now I can almost hear caller Jonathan’s retort to such a proposition: “But, but, but,” he might stammer, “I wanted to go to a top twenty-five law-school. It’s the only way to get work at some places.” That sound you may be hearing in the background is the sound of the world’s smallest violin, playing just for Jonathan. My answer: “Then shut up, and pay the interest you promised to pay when you took out the loan!” You see, the problem is that Jonathan is finding it hard to make ends meet while paying his obligations, and he’s finding that paying for his debt is causing him to delay some gratification as a young attorney. Boy-o, that’s what happens when you aren’t “born with a silver spoon in your mouth.” Get over it.
Honest to goodness, $220,000 is a fantastic sum of money to me even now. When I was that age, if somebody had lent me that kind of money, I’d either be a billionaire, or be locked away in debtor’s prison by now. Or not. The point is that to take out loans totaling $220K and then complain about having to pay the interest is a farce. Sure, it will probably take poor Jonathan a decade or more to pay off those loans, but what of it? Was he making an investment in his future or not? No, you see, that’s not enough for young Jonathan: “For the greater good,” we should all be investors in his future. Sorry, but I’m not interested in that sort of ‘investment.’
Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure young Jonathan is a fine man, and he’ll probably make a great slip-and-fall lawyer one day, but in the mean time, he’d better pay up with a big fat smile on his face. You see, I actually had this very conversation with a young person recently, who was looking at the costs of attending the school from which he hopes one day to receive a degree, and I offered the other options open to him, and even offered my story about my own ‘loan officer.’ He replied in a matter-of-fact tone that “Well, you made your choices, and you took the path you did.” His intent had been to dismiss my story, and yet as I the grin widened on my face, he looked confused at first, and then it hit him: “Okay, yes, I guess I see your point.”
It was somewhat amusing to hear his laments about how he’s now “over a barrel.” He can either continue his education, accruing more debt along the way, or he can quit, and begin repaying the loans immediately. As I explained to him, “life has us all over a barrel.” Of course, I understand how the government is going to financially wreck so many of these youngsters. Now that the government is the sole source for guaranteed student loans, the government is going to wreck as many youngsters as they can hook into this system. Naturally, the education establishment is only too happy to continue to increase tuition, because I can guarantee you that the faculty lounge won’t suffer. This is the inevitable result of letting government intrude where the private sector should exist. They created the government-guaranteed student loan program in order to entice lenders into loaning money to students for college, since they had been such an historically awful risk. Once the government guaranteed the loans, it was inevitable that some Marxist would nationalize the program.
I am fairly certain that was the intention from the beginning. After all, you can’t walk away from federally guaranteed(and now issued) student loans through bankruptcy, much like income tax debt, and everybody beyond the age of thirty understands that socialists love captive markets. If we did that with healthcare, we wouldn’t have the insurance problems we do, but that also wouldn’t enable government to grow larger and reach into another market, ultimately nationalizing it, as they intend with seemingly everything. At some point, this country is going to be faced with a choice about whether we wish to fix all of these things permanently, or simply implode and become a full-bore communist state. I’ve seen the latter up close, and I’m afraid that’s where we’ve been heading, but young Jonathan doesn’t know that, and his professors aren’t likely to have told him. Instead, they’ve probably filled his head with notions of how “the greater good” is the sole consideration, but what they’ve never told him is who will be determining what constitutes the greater good, or the public interest. He believes he will have some say in the matter.
At every level now, the Federal government reaches into everything, but the simple truth of the matter is that this can generally happen only because people invite it in. Too many people suffer under the delusion that the government is able to fix anything and everything, and that since there’s no immediate and obvious cost to them, they are quite happy to have the “help.” All of this ignores the tendency of government to resemble a mob loan-shark, or a gang of mobsters in general. Once you accept the help, there’s no ridding yourselves of them. More, it’s a bit like the drug pusher, who gets people hooked on “free samples” but once addicted, the new junkie would kill his family to obtain another fix. In other words, it’s about us. Just as the pusher can gain no ground so long as you tell him “no,” so too is it the case that if we begin to tell the government “no,” it will lose its power. That means doing something most people are tested to do: Say no to themselves. Young attorney and Levin caller Jonathan could have told himself “no.” That would have been difficult, with a degree from a “top 25 law-school” dangled before his ambitious eyes. Now that it turns out his eyes may have been a little larger than his belly, he’s not happy about it, but I’m sure there was no dissuading him at the time. Somebody needs to tell him “no.” Waive the interest? No. Delay payments? No. Forgive the debt? Hell no!
“No” is the most effective word on Earth against socialism, but it’s the word too many in this country are now afraid to utter, to their children, their neighbors, fellow citizens, but most particularly, themselves. Until we learn to say it and mean it, poor kids like Jonathan will never understand its power. Government bureaucrats will never understand their limits. Politicians will never cease in their abuses. We will never be happy. Learn to say “No” and stand by it. Refusing your consent is the one thing that cannot be taken from you. Jonathan could have said “No” to the interest he’ll now pay, simply by refusing the loans. Having taken them, he has found that he now has no right to refuse. Do I feel sorry for Jonathan? Do you?