Congressman Real World Pretty Sure Student Loan Crisis Caused By Kids Too Dumb For Harvard
The House held hearings yesterday on the student loan crisis that will likely result in a generation dying in debt. You could tell Congress doesn't take the issue that seriously because they let some random MTV reality star participate. We don't mean comedian Hasan Minhaj, who once appeared on MTV's "Disaster Date." His testimony was actually informative. No, "Real World: Boston" alum Sean Duffy, who is still somehow a congressman despite promising us all he was quitting, shared some meritocracy-based nonsense that was stunningly ignorant of reality and current events.
DUFFY: Would you agree that the smarter the kid, the better school they get into? Maybe the less smart the child, the not-so-great school they get into.
An unfrozen caveman congressman could assemble a better sentence. We have no idea what this has to do with the $1.5 trillion in debt that's breaking the backs of students who were reckless enough to get hooked on "education." Our girl Ayanna Pressley literally said, "WOW!" with an eye roll set to kill. She looked at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as if to say, "You believe this asshole?"
Panelists Ashley Harrington and Persis Yu politely pointed out that everything Duffy just said was bullshit. Harrington is Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. Yu is an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and the director of its Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. They're only subject matter experts, which is why Duffy dropped a firm "here's the deal" on the ladies. That's what men say when they want their uninformed opinion to trump girly facts and data.
DUFFY: Here's the deal, if you got a 20 on your ACT, you're probably not going to Harvard.
Test scores and GPA are not an objective arbiter of "smartness" or "merit." They are arguably by design racially and economically biased. Harrington had just finished saying this in her nicest "are you fucking kidding me?" black lady voice. Duffy couldn't be bothered to even listen, let alone actually process information that shattered his world view. And it still had nothing to do with who can afford their student loans or can't.
Minhaj, the former MTV star with a brain, dinged Duffy with a clever reference to the recent college admissions scandal. Rich people pay absurd sums to prepare their kids for the SAT and help boost their GPA. That's actually perfectly legal. The "scandal" was that when all the money in the world couldn't legitimately get their kids into the college of their choice, they had no qualms about outright cheating. Their clueless children would probably go on to think they were somehow "smarter" than the common poor person.
This is all a distraction from the fact that students who follow the rules still wind up shackled with debt. Studies show how astronomical their debt is compared to previous generations. That's why you should send grandparents to Shady Pines if they lecture you about how they "worked their way through college," graduated without debt, and bought a house (on one income) before they were 30.
09/10/2019 - A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding... (EventID=109897) youtu.be
Minhaj described student debt as a "paywall" to the middle class. Republicans like walls, so they aren't big on addressing the issue. Georgia Republican Barry Loudermilk dismissed the liberal talking point that students have to take out loans to attend college. The congressman claimed three of his kids graduated from four-year colleges with "zero debt" and "no scholarships." We can't confirm if this is true or not, but we'll give Loudermilk the benefit of the doubt and assume his kids worked their way through school as 18th Century pirates.
Ocasio-Cortez, who we hear used to work as a bartender, stated during her own remarks that she'd just made a payment on her own significant student loans.
AOC: I literally made a student loan payment while I was sitting here at this chair, and I looked at my balance, and it was $20,237.16. I just made a payment that took me down to $19,000 so I feel really accomplished right now.
When the class of 2018 graduated, 69 percent of students left college with an average debt of $28,900. Loudermilk seemed to think it was somehow encouraging that a whopping 30 percent of students graduated with no debt, but Harrington had to remind him what an "overwhelming majority" means. The debt crisis impacts the ability for young people to build wealth and eat regularly. Students aren't burdened with debt because they make bad choices, and the lucky 30 percent didn't earn the advantage they have over their peers.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.