A possible $1 trillion bailout is coming–and soon.
America’s now-nationalized student loan industry just reached a value of $1 trillion, according to Citigroup, growing at a 20 percent-per-year pace. Since President Obama nationalized the industry (a tacked-on provision of the Obamacare bill), tuition has gone up 25 percent and the three-year default rate is at a record 13.4 percent.
Ron discussed this problem last night with Larry Kudlow:
With many young people unable to pay their loans (average graduating debt is about $29,000), Citigroup and others are speculating that this industry might be ripe for a bailout.
To pay off all the current defaults, Citigroup says it would cost taxpayers $74 billion. However, this number doesn’t include those who will default in the coming years, and, when the government rewards the defaulters, it will encourage more borrowers not to pay their debts.
And liberals in Congress have proposed forgiving all student loans via “The Student Loan Forgiveness Act 2012,” costing taxpayers $1 trillion.
Adding another $1 trillion dollars to the national debt isn’t exactly “forgiveness” for young people–it’s prolonging the payoff. In fact, student loan bailouts are a catch-22 for young people because they’re going to be held accountable for paying off the national debt and interest payments.
A student loan bailout will also be rewarding higher education bureaucrats for a diminished product. A college degree used to mean that a person would add on average $1 million to their income over their lifetime. Today a college degree only guarantees an average $300,000 in added income over a lifetime.
The answer isn’t a bailout. The student loan industry must to be returned to the private sector. Would a private lender ever invest $100,000 of their money in a student that had no plan? No.
It’s not about limiting access to college; it’s about making sure students have a well-thought out plan for their future before investors put a $100,000 stake in their education. College should be about specializing in a trade rather than defaulting to general studies that won’t lead to a job.
A civics education is important, but why would an employer hire someone with no applicable work skills, especially in a slow economy?
If we wish to end the incentives for bailouts, we need to hit higher education in the purse. Endless government money and bailouts won’t get our students jobs, and it won’t fix the problem.
Ron Meyer is the press secretary and a spokesman for American Majority Action. Celia Bigelow is the Campus Director for the same organization. Learn more at AmericanMajorityAction.org.