End Student Debt
“When you trap people in a system of debt, they can’t afford the time to think." ~ Noam Chomsky
According to the Nation:
Since 1982 the cost of living has doubled and healthcare costs have tripled; college tuition and fees have exploded more than four times. All this comes amid revelations about the hundreds of billions in loans—at below-market rates—ladled out to the banks by the Federal Reserve and Treasury during the financial crisis.
The student loan crisis has had two effects. The United States, once the leader in the percentage of college graduates age 25 to 34, has dropped to sixteenth among thirty-six developed nations, with more and more students dropping out because they can’t afford the rising costs. The second effect is ruinous debt: the average indebted college graduate is $25,000 in hock. Total student debt exceeds $1 trillion—now greater than credit card debt. And student debt is inescapable. Bankruptcy rarely extinguishes it; even Social Security payments can be garnished in case of delinquency.
These debts weigh down the entire economy. Many students are forced to move back in with their parents after graduation, which depresses the housing market. Public interest work is less affordable; as Pam Brown of the Occupy Student Debt Campaign puts it, “The debt makes us very individual; we can’t afford to help someone else.” Now more than half of college graduates under 25 can’t find full-time work, and wages for recent graduates are lower than they were in 2000. Not surprisingly, delinquencies—and the fines and penalties that follow—are rising.
Through independent research, education, technology, art, collaboration and direct action we can together challenge this illegitimate, unfair and unjust system while imagining and creating a better world for everyone… perhaps where the only economies that exist are ones where our debts are to our friends, families, and communities — and not to greedy banks and corporations, or governments owned and controlled by them.
Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:
Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.
I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.