“Education is a bubble in a classic sense. To call something a bubble, it must be overpriced and there must be an intense belief in it. Housing was a classic bubble, as were tech stocks in the ’90s, because they were both very overvalued, but there was an incredibly widespread belief that almost could not be questioned – you had to own a house in 2005, and you had to be in an equity-market index fund in 1999.” ~ Peter Thiel on higher education for NRO.
Student debt in the United States has already surpassed the country’s auto loans and consumer credit card debt. A student loan bubble looms on America’s horizon, and promises dark times should it ever burst.
And earlier this month, the student loan problem worsened.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
But nowadays, you would have to be delusional to assume that an investment in higher education will definitely pay off.
Business has been good for the federal government when it comes to student loans.
And the strong to seem to get more
While the weak ones slave
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, and Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own.”
We can thank the late, great Billie Holiday for those lyrics. And we can thank our higher education system for giving “the child that don’t his own”a chance to get some.
Some debt, that is.
Students, many of them adults looking to gain new skills, are being systematically ripped off and enslaved by schools and lenders, blinding them with hope about what a higher education can do for them while bilking them for billions in the process.
It’s a dirty game, and a big one at that. You probably know, because you probably owe.
First, let me offer some insights on the market before I get to my indictments…
Why the Doom and Gloom?
So far, so good…as far as earnings season, that is. Three quarters of companies reporting, so far, have beaten Street expectations. And 81% have offered up better than expected revenue forecasts for the future.
So… why all the doom and gloom?
Don’t look now but there’s another giant bubble out there. It’s so big it rivals subprime.
I’m talking about the student loan bubble.
Recently, the outstanding volume of student loans passed $1 trillion. What’s more bothersome is that the average individual amount owed by new college graduates has passed $25,000.
With college costs zooming upwards faster than inflation, this is rapidly becoming another subprime mortgage-like sinkhole.
Just like subprime, the problem is that people of modest means are being suckered by high-pressure salesmen into taking on too much debt.
The difference is that since student loans are government guaranteed and can’t be released in bankruptcy, the burdens will be paid by the unfortunate ex-students and the U.S. taxpayer.
The standard justification for soaring higher education costs is a simple one.
The United States needs to maintain an educational lead in order for its wage levels to remain above those of its competitors.
I’m talking largely about emerging markets, which have been helped enormously by modern communications, making global sourcing much easier than it was.
There are two problems with this view.
Let’s pretend student loans aren’t just a stupendous and highly profitable scam being run on the youth of America. Of course pretending doesn’t make it so.
We have a “let’s pretend” economy: let’s pretend the unemployment rate actually reflec…
Student loans will keep a lid on how high housing prices will recover once the economy does settle down.
It is amazing to think that currently $1 trillion in student loans still need to be paid and the amount of student debt is only growing. Th…
Numbers don’t lie, but they can cheat. Experts say the average cost of tuition, room and board, and general fees is $16,140 for a public four-year university and $36,993 at a private school. Meanwhile, the average student debt graduates with $24…
The explosive growth of student loan debt is troubling for a variety of obvious and not so obvious reasons. More needed attention is being drawn to higher education and questions are being sharply directed at the way college education is financed. …