It is an undeniable reality: we have reached a new low point in America. Contrary to popular concerns about inflation, interest rates or the federal deficit, our nation is grappling with a significant issue – millions of Americans who, for three and a half years, neglected to make a single payment toward their student debt.
Their current strategy involves a literal "boycott" of repayments, a concerted effort to compel the federal government to annul federal student loan debt, specifically requesting a cancellation of $10,000 per individual.
This act of protest marks a disheartening descent to a new level where personal responsibility seems to be waning in our country. We get softer by the moment.
In the 1930s, during a time of considerable hardship for individuals and families, the layaway plan emerged as a solution. This plan was ingeniously crafted to accommodate families with limited disposable income, offering them a pathway to acquire new merchandise.
Remarkably familiar, isn't it? The layaway plan operated on a simple formula:
- Initiate the process by placing a modest deposit to "lay away" the desired goods for future pickup.
- Commence making monthly payments to gradually settle the outstanding amount over a period of months.
- Accessibility to layaways extended to those with less-than-ideal credit.
- Upon completion of payments, individuals could retrieve their brand-new?fully paid-off merchandise.
How did America’s narrative shift?
When did we transform into the epitome of instant gratification?
At what point did the ethos of "buy now, pay later" supplant the notion of diligent work and saving for desired items through a layaway plan?
Should the federal government yield to the pressure and absolve individuals of billions in student loan debt, one must ponder the potential ripple effects.
Will we witness a widespread boycott of credit card payments?
Shall individuals inform auto loan lenders of their refusal to pay when almost 10% of Americans are delinquent on their auto loans?
And while we're at it, why not abstain from mortgage and business loan payments and just see how it shakes out? Remember, it was only 15 years ago when people literally handed the keys back on homes they couldn’t afford and never really took responsibility for those mortgages.
For those Americans who diligently saved and paid for their children's college education outright (as I did), it becomes imperative to elucidate the fundamentals of loans:
- Acquire a loan.
- Anticipate an associated interest rate.
- Assume responsibility for repaying the loan.
- Face personal repercussions if repayment is neglected.
Despite the apparent simplicity of this concept, millions are currently boycotting repayments, attributing their failure to fulfill financial obligations to external factors.
Perhaps it is time to introduce a novel approach – the college layaway plan. Families could be informed that student loans are obsolete, and to gain access to higher education, they must first save through a layaway plan before enrolling. This shift could potentially avert future student debt predicaments.
It is not only borrowers who need to be vigilant; colleges must also heed a new paradigm known as the "New-Collar Workforce."
Employers are increasingly valuing workers without traditional college degrees, emphasizing a skills-first approach to hiring and people management. This shift may see a resurgence of shop and vocational training in high schools, focusing on real-life and entrepreneurial skills.
It is crucial for high school students today to recognize that a college preparatory track is not the sole path to success. Many blue-collar jobs and new-collar jobs pay six figures.
So, for all those people who borrowed thousands of dollars, didn’t make a payment for three and half years, and are now whining about wanting their debt canceled, there is no returning the merchandise of your college degree. Now pay for it.