As President Obama and his GOP presidential rivals continue to pound the campaign trail, the grave issue of student loan debt has come under the spotlight. In what critics are calling the next "debt bomb," total student loan debt is slated to top a record $1 trillion, an amount larger than total U.S. credit-card debt and only second to the nation’s overall mortgage debt.
The student loan debt debacle is only worsening, as college tuition costs rise exponentially and unemployment for recent college graduates remains persistently stale. Bachelor-degree graduates are barely paying their bills, as they are stuck working lower-wage jobs while watching their loan debt mount higher and higher.
Borrowers in their thirties are averaging $28,500 in debt, and the burden has continued to boost as economic growth remains sluggish. Moreover, most student loan debt is not forgiven or discharged in bankruptcy, partly because the federal government — rather, the taxpayers — has guaranteed about 80 percent of all outstanding student loan debt.
The question, of course, is what to do about the purported crisis. Naturally, many young, heavily indebted graduates are campaigning for debt forgiveness. Late last year, for example, young people in the Occupy Wall Street crowd called for a movement-wide boycott on student loan debt repayment, which professors and even some members of Congress supported.
"Since the first days of the Occupy movement, the agony of student debt has been a constant refrain," New York University professor Andrew Ross announced to a crowd of OWS protesters at a rally last year. "We’ve heard the harrowing personal testimony about the suffering and humiliation of people who believe their debts will be unpayable in their lifetime."
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