Unites States National Debt - How Much And What For

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
I understand what you’re saying, but I also think that parents should be willing to listen to their children and not compel them to follow degrees or career paths that may not be right for them. That goes just as much for parents who want their children to earn liberal arts degrees (yes, there are such parents!) as it does for parents who push for engineering, computer science, etc.
I don’t think anybody, especially a child’s parent, wants a kid (well...adult now) to enter a career they will be unhappy in. I think parents are well within the boundaries of “good parenting” to inform their children of the pros and cons of various career paths and help guide their child towards a fulfilling career.

With regard to “compel,” that one is trickier. Do I think it’s fine for a parent to pay for one degree but not another? There’s so many complex cases that I can’t give a definitive answer. Fundamentally, it’s their money. They can do what they want with it, but is it the right thing to do? It depends.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
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I think parents are well within the boundaries of “good parenting” to inform their children of the pros and cons of various career paths and help guide their child towards a fulfilling career.
Absolutely. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. Not only is it within the boundaries of good parenting, but parents should offer such counsel and guidance.

As for the rest, I don’t think I have anything to add to what I’ve already stated, and you can probably guess my answer to your closing question.
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
I understand what you’re saying, but I also think that parents should be willing to listen to their children and not compel them to follow degrees or career paths that may not be right for them. That goes just as much for parents who want their children to earn liberal arts degrees (yes, there are such parents!) as it does for parents who push for engineering, computer science, etc.
This is absolutely true. As I've repeated, if your degree or major can allow you to earn a good living, why are graduates clamoring for the government to forgive their student loans? If parents and students both want a student to pursue a certain major - and they are aware of the cost and will take on the personal responsibility of paying for it - there is nothing wrong with letting someone decide which path to take. It's the expectation that because you have taken on too much debt, and are having difficulty paying for it now that you have your degree in hand, that the government (taxpayers) should now step in and relieve you of your burden that is the problem.

As many have stated, the problem is the extreme rise in the cost of college education , along with hospital costs, which far exceed the rise in cost of other goods and services.

Both are areas where the government has become more involved in payment the past 20 years. I'm not sure why the cost of textbooks had to rise with the cost of tuition - except they are something that the students are compelled to purchase. And the manufacturers are taking advantage while they can before they are all digital.

But adding college expenses to the National Debt - which is the topic - will not do anything to solve the problem of increasing education costs.
 
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ImperfectPixie

Well-Known Member
This is absolutely true. As I've repeated, if your degree or major doesn't can allow you to earn a good living, why are graduates clamoring for the government to forgive their student loans? If parents and students both want a student to pursue a certain major - and they are aware of the cost and will take on the personal responsibility of paying for it - there is nothing wrong with letting someone decide which path to take. It's the expectation that because you have taken on too much debt, and are having difficulty paying for it now that you have your degree in hand, that the government (taxpayers) should now step in and relieve you of your burden that is the problem.

As many have stated, the problem is the extreme rise in the cost of college education , along with hospital costs, which far exceed the rise in cost of other goods and services.

Both are areas where the government has become more involved in payment the past 20 years. I'm not sure why the cost of textbooks had to rise with the cost of tuition - except they are something that the students are compelled to purchase. And the manufacturers are taking advantage while they can before they are all digital.

But adding college expenses to the National Debt - which is the topic - will not do anything to solve the problem of increasing education costs.
The textbooks are virtually a scam...they update many of them annually so you have to buy a new one and some universities have their own editions.
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
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The above graph is the amount of money in the US economy. The far right shows what happened with initial Covid stimulus. Now there are calls for free this and free that. The trajectory of the line is the most telling thing. If all the financial promises/demands of the incoming administration are fulfilled, the line will continue on a vertical basis. The vertical nature along with static/declining goods and services will result in hyperinflation. If hyperinflation hits, the education argument is moot.
 
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eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
This is absolutely true. As I've repeated, if your degree or major can allow you to earn a good living, why are graduates clamoring for the government to forgive their student loans? If parents and students both want a student to pursue a certain major - and they are aware of the cost and will take on the personal responsibility of paying for it - there is nothing wrong with letting someone decide which path to take. It's the expectation that because you have taken on too much debt, and are having difficulty paying for it now that you have your degree in hand, that the government (taxpayers) should now step in and relieve you of your burden that is the problem.

As many have stated, the problem is the extreme rise in the cost of college education , along with hospital costs, which far exceed the rise in cost of other goods and services.

Both are areas where the government has become more involved in payment the past 20 years. I'm not sure why the cost of textbooks had to rise with the cost of tuition - except they are something that the students are compelled to purchase. And the manufacturers are taking advantage while they can before they are all digital.

But adding college expenses to the National Debt - which is the topic - will not do anything to solve the problem of increasing education costs.

But I think the problem, at least in my eyes is that we are not really addressing the problem. Instead we are saying every kid had better pick a good major. the problem isn't the major. the problem is a college prices are insane.

No way, no how could any of my kids survived in a stem field, computer science or engineering. so for many kids there is no choice. if they had picked one of those majors basically the end results would have been the same, 2 years tuition, they drop out nothing to s how for it.

I live in a big city so of course the cost of living is a bit higher. but what we are seeing is even kids that have "good" majors are going to work for either city, state or feds? why? Union benefits. they pay living wages, they get a pension. I have a good friend who is an attorney. left law practice to go work for the city for those reasons.

I'm thinking that they want to add it to the national debt because many of them got low cost loans through sallie mae? not sure.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
But I think the problem, at least in my eyes is that we are not really addressing the problem. Instead we are saying every kid had better pick a good major. the problem isn't the major. the problem is a college prices are insane.
College prices are the macro problem. Deciding a major is the micro problem.

Students and families can't control the cost. They can only control things on their end. Like deciding if they need a certain level of income to pay off any outstanding loans when school is over. And how much will be needed.
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
But I think the problem, at least in my eyes is that we are not really addressing the problem. Instead we are saying every kid had better pick a good major. the problem isn't the major. the problem is a college prices are insane.

No way, no how could any of my kids survived in a stem field, computer science or engineering. so for many kids there is no choice. if they had picked one of those majors basically the end results would have been the same, 2 years tuition, they drop out nothing to s how for it.

I live in a big city so of course the cost of living is a bit higher. but what we are seeing is even kids that have "good" majors are going to work for either city, state or feds? why? Union benefits. they pay living wages, they get a pension. I have a good friend who is an attorney. left law practice to go work for the city for those reasons.

I'm thinking that they want to add it to the national debt because many of them got low cost loans through sallie mae? not sure.
This is why a degree in those fields is still more valuable - fewer graduates have them while the demand is still there. There are just too many college graduates, partly due to the "You have to have a college degree to get ahead in life, so do whatever you have to do to get one. If you take on debt, you'll be able to pay it off because you'll be able to earn more with a degree."

Also, a lot of students realize that what they thought would be their major changes along the line, so don't necessarily drop out after wasting a couple of years. There are majors that are not specifically STEM that also can be both fulfilling while earning a good living.

Which was true a generation ago, but not as true today. I'm not sure that even my daughter could build upon her Art History degree to create a successful career if she were starting out in 2020 instead of 2006. My non-Stem oriented son was able to get a business degree that gave him a good paying job right out of college. And although due to the pandemic he has had on and off furloughs (back in the warehouse full time for the past 3 months) he was never laid off.

But you may be correct that the government is responsible for all of the loans they've backed. The question becomes, what happens if they allow current borrowers to default? It will certainly anger those who struggled to finally pay theirs off. It may also anger the next generation if they get out of the loan business and stop doing something that helped create this crisis, which will mean that many will not be able to attend college - unless colleges start making tuition more affordable.

And it will certainly anger the millions of taxpayers who do not have a college degree.

But I agree with your, and other's, point that the actual problem is the cost of college. Just as the actual healthcare problem is the cost - we've just been focusing on who pays for it, which is not really solving the problem in the long run.

And these are two areas where the government has gotten heavily involved in payment rather than cost. It's a chicken and the egg question - which came first? It's difficult to answer without going back to the beginning, which we would also have to determine.

Many people are objecting to adding another expensive program to the National Debt in order to solve a problem- one that is only going to keep growing in cost because we only treating the symptoms, and not the disease.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
This is absolutely true. As I've repeated, if your degree or major can allow you to earn a good living, why are graduates clamoring for the government to forgive their student loans? If parents and students both want a student to pursue a certain major - and they are aware of the cost and will take on the personal responsibility of paying for it - there is nothing wrong with letting someone decide which path to take. It's the expectation that because you have taken on too much debt, and are having difficulty paying for it now that you have your degree in hand, that the government (taxpayers) should now step in and relieve you of your burden that is the problem.

As many have stated, the problem is the extreme rise in the cost of college education , along with hospital costs, which far exceed the rise in cost of other goods and services.

Both are areas where the government has become more involved in payment the past 20 years. I'm not sure why the cost of textbooks had to rise with the cost of tuition - except they are something that the students are compelled to purchase. And the manufacturers are taking advantage while they can before they are all digital.

But adding college expenses to the National Debt - which is the topic - will not do anything to solve the problem of increasing education costs.
I suppose the question I’m still left with—and which has remained unanswered despite my having brought it up again and again—is: Where is the evidence that holders of liberal arts degrees in particular are the ones asking that their debts be forgiven? Expensive textbooks, for example, are more of an issue outside the liberal arts (or at least outside the humanities). In my field, we don’t require our students to use any textbooks, expensive or otherwise.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
This is absolutely true. As I've repeated, if your degree or major can allow you to earn a good living, why are graduates clamoring for the government to forgive their student loans? If parents and students both want a student to pursue a certain major - and they are aware of the cost and will take on the personal responsibility of paying for it - there is nothing wrong with letting someone decide which path to take. It's the expectation that because you have taken on too much debt, and are having difficulty paying for it now that you have your degree in hand, that the government (taxpayers) should now step in and relieve you of your burden that is the problem.

As many have stated, the problem is the extreme rise in the cost of college education , along with hospital costs, which far exceed the rise in cost of other goods and services.

Both are areas where the government has become more involved in payment the past 20 years. I'm not sure why the cost of textbooks had to rise with the cost of tuition - except they are something that the students are compelled to purchase. And the manufacturers are taking advantage while they can before they are all digital.

But adding college expenses to the National Debt - which is the topic - will not do anything to solve the problem of increasing education costs.

The textbooks are virtually a scam...they update many of them annually so you have to buy a new one and some universities have their own editions.
I think digital only textbooks will actually be quite rewarding for publishers. If you count breaking the law and downloading illegally then it’s obviously a boon for students, but when it’s digital the publishers have a lot of control.

One of my physics textbooks was digital. You can’t download the book (legally). It’s online-only and hosted on an absolutely terrible and clunky proprietary website.

With regard to new textbooks, yes it’s absolutely a scam. They typically just change the cover and claim, along with the professor, that you have to buy the new one. Thankfully, my professors have been mostly understanding when I ask if I can rent the prior year’s version from Amazon. I’ve only had trouble with a couple.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
With regard to student loan forgiveness, this would be a roughly $2 trillion charge to our nation’s credit card.

I’m against it because (1) it’s not fair to a number of parties and (2) I think we need less college, not more. Reforms should be made to obliterate credential inflation. It’s ridiculous.

More education, less schooling (as long as schooling is as expensive as it is today).
 

seascape

Well-Known Member
With regard to student loan forgiveness, this would be a roughly $2 trillion charge to our nation’s credit card.

I’m against it because (1) it’s not fair to a number of parties and (2) I think we need less college, not more. Reforms should be made to obliterate credential inflation. It’s ridiculous.

More education, less schooling (as long as schooling is as expensive as it is today).
The cost will actually be $3 trillion and yes, it will just go on the national credit card.

An interesting thing someone pointed out before was that a 300% of income is fine for individuals and using that amount should be affordable to the government. Now, lets look at GDP and the government's share. Use a 40% overall tax rate and 3 times that would be 120% of GDP. If we use a 50% overall tax rate and say because of low interest rates the Federal Government can actually afford 5 times that in debt. That would be 250% of GDP before total bankruptcy. We are currently at 128.19%. Add in the student load debt and that is another 15% and 12 to 15% more for a stimulus bill and we are at 155.2% of GDP. Then answer this question? How much more will be needed to pay for everything we still need to spend on Covid19 and what Biden wants to spend, there is only another $21 trillion left to borrow if we could actually afford a 250% of GDP debt and none of that includes the unfunded federal liabilities for Social Security and Medicare.
 

The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
I suppose the question I’m still left with—and which has remained unanswered despite my having brought it up again and again—is: Where is the evidence that holders of liberal arts degrees in particular are the ones asking that their debts be forgiven? Expensive textbooks, for example, are more of an issue outside the liberal arts (or at least outside the humanities). In my field, we don’t require our students to use any textbooks, expensive or otherwise.
Studies have shown that after 10 years there is no difference in income, and in many cases those with a BA will earn more than someone with a STEM major.. But, someone who has a broader degree also has to be able to figure out how they can use this broader knowledge base to get wherever they wish to go. Many have so many options that they can't figure out where to start.


The problem is that the loans have to paid right after graduation - they don't give you wriggle room that my generation had to create a career path. So they start a bit behind, and depending upon the size of the loan, it will take them longer to catch up. Not saying they won't catch up, and even surpass, those who were able to get better paying jobs from the get go, but it is hard to watch your contemporaries living comfortable lives while you are still struggling. Especially when you've been told that college is your ticket to prosperity, but not advised that it might take longer than you thought.

Obviously, there are exceptions because Liberal arts cover such a broad range. And not all those with a STEM degree get a secure job right after graduation, either.

It is OK to defer current financial reward knowing you will eventually catch up and surpass those who making more than you today. It is harder to do when your final goal is further delayed by current debt.

But my point continues to be that forgiving loans, and adding the cost of individual higher education for all is not going to bring down the cost of college. Rather , the money might be better spent on bringing the cost of the education itself down (perhaps by increasing state taxes to subsidize in state schools ) so students can afford to pay the tab.
 
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The Mom

Moderator
Premium Member
With regard to student loan forgiveness, this would be a roughly $2 trillion charge to our nation’s credit card.

I’m against it because (1) it’s not fair to a number of parties and (2) I think we need less college, not more. Reforms should be made to obliterate credential inflation. It’s ridiculous.

More education, less schooling (as long as schooling is as expensive as it is today).
That is a good point. I was looking at an article listing some of the degrees that pay the least upon graduation, and thought, "What? You need a college degree for that now?"
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
That is a good point. I was looking at an article listing some of the degrees that pay the least upon graduation, and thought, "What? You need a college degree for that now?"
Yup. Look at Enterprise Rent-A-Car's policies on Bachelor's degrees, for instance. It's insanity.

Politicians always say: "the jobs of the future will require a college education." I'm thinking to myself: "No, they will require a college degree. Big difference."
 
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Willmark

Well-Known Member
I suppose the question I’m still left with—and which has remained unanswered despite my having brought it up again and again—is: Where is the evidence that holders of liberal arts degrees in particular are the ones asking that their debts be forgiven? Expensive textbooks, for example, are more of an issue outside the liberal arts (or at least outside the humanities). In my field, we don’t require our students to use any textbooks, expensive or otherwise.
I’ll leave your query to those who posed that. For the record my own comments were not directed at that.

Unrelated to your above:
Honest question: how much interaction have you had with HR and recruiters in a non-academic setting for what they are looking for in potential job candidates? (ETA: I’m trying to ask this as politely as I can.)
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Unrelated to your above:
Honest question: how much interaction have you had with HR and recruiters in a non-academic setting for what they are looking for in potential job candidates? (ETA: I’m trying to ask this as politely as I can.)
None. Why do you ask? And why do you think I might take your question to be impolite?
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Studies have shown that after 10 years there is no difference in income, and in many cases those with a BA will earn more than someone with a STEM major.. But, someone who has a broader degree also has to be able to figure out how they can use this broader knowledge base to get wherever they wish to go. Many have so many options that they can't figure out where to start.


The problem is that the loans have to paid right after graduation - they don't give you wriggle room that my generation had to create a career path. So they start a bit behind, and depending upon the size of the loan, it will take them longer to catch up. Not saying they won't catch up, and even surpass, those who were able to get better paying jobs from the get go, but it is hard to watch your contemporaries living comfortable lives while you are still struggling. Especially when you've been told that college is your ticket to prosperity, but not advised that it might take longer than you thought.

Obviously, there are exceptions because Liberal arts cover such a broad range. And not all those with a STEM degree get a secure job right after graduation, either.

It is OK to defer current financial reward knowing you will eventually catch up and surpass those who making more than you today. It is harder to do when your final goal is further delayed by current debt.

But my point continues to be that forgiving loans, and adding the cost of individual higher education for all is not going to bring down the cost of college. Rather , the money might be better spent on bringing the cost of the education itself down (perhaps by increasing state taxes to subsidize in state schools ) so students can afford to pay the tab.
Thank you for your response, which I hope assuages the concerns that some here have expressed about the value of "impractical" degrees.
 

Willmark

Well-Known Member
None. Why do you ask? And why do you think I might take your question to be impolite?
It’s difficult and scattered across two different threads so if this is not correct feel free to clarify.

There seems to be three discussions going on multiple points:
1. Almost everyone agrees that college costs to much.
2. Very much disagreement on loan forgiveness.
3. Value of humanities of liberal arts (not my own point)
4. Wether or not students should pursue Humanities and/or Liberal Arts as a degree. (Not my own point either).
5. Whether or not such degrees are sound financial investments.
6. Factoring in likelihood to abstain a job with such a degree relative to the cost.
7. A sub set that got caught up was someone complaining about how much the owe with loans they willingly took out in a degree with an apparent high cost relative to the return.

There’s probably more, but the under current I get from your statements seem to be questioning why wouldn’t a liberal arts degree be valid. I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. I asked the question I did because in the business world (granted I only have my own company for direct reference) hiring us not generally looking for those degrees. It’s usually very specific as to role, and from what I see not a lot of call for say Liberal Arts.

So in a way as respectfully as I can, I would say that given your experience is academia that you might not have a good grasp of what companies may be looking for when it comes to degrees, no?

Granted mine is anecdotal, but this is what I see from my peers as well. Also as someone noted in one of the threads, companies today aren’t looking for “a diamond in the rough they want the fully formed diamond” and I’ll add they wanted it yesterday.

I also want to be crystal clear: as I’ve stated numerous times my stances on this: people are free to go after whatever degree they want but better be prepared to pay the costs of it. And I’m 100% against loan forgiveness for in some cases peoples 200k, 4 year long party.
 

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