Graduates: Do something worthwhile (and deal with that debt).

Students fresh out of college, six-figures deep in debt, face decades of debt slavery….Government meddling enabled this mess, and the best cure …is to shut off all student aid programs, offer more online programs at low cost, fire needless administrators, and get rid of bloated pension plans for teachers….

[But the] president wants to throw still more money at the problem. This will do nothing but increase the profits at questionable schools, jack up the pay of administrators, and make more student debt zombies.

Mish Shedlock’s latest coverage of the student debt crisis is disturbing at best, and the government-promoted indebtedness of college students and graduates seems to show no sign of stopping.  Shedlock points out the irony that Obama’s plans to expand incentives for students to take out loans will only further damage the finances of the generation which played a key role in getting him into the White House.

That’s a good topic for fall activism on campus (Ahem! YAL chapters), but raising awareness about — and even changing — the policies which promote these foolish borrowing and lending habits won’t do much for those already $50,000 in the hole.

That’s where a Thomas Sowell article, featured on the main page of today, comes in.  Sowell writes:

Commencement speakers express great reverence for “public service,” as distinguished from narrow private “greed.” …What I would like to see is someone with the guts to tell those students: Do you want to be of some use and service to your fellow human beings? Then let your fellow human beings tell you what they want — not with words, but by putting their money where their mouth is….

Would you like to see more things become more affordable to more people? Then figure out more efficient ways of producing things or more efficient ways of getting those things from the producers to the consumers at a lower cost.

In other words, “[i]f you really want to be of service to others, then let them decide what is a service by whether they choose to spend their hard-earned money for it.”  And as it happens, though you’re not guaranteed an endless supply of tax dollars in the form of a government pension*, if you supply something which the market demands, you’ll probably be able to pay off those loans.

*About those pensions:  The federal government spent $747 billion on pensions alone in 2006 — 5.7% of the GDP.  That’s more than it spent on health care, education, defense, welfare, and interest on the national debt.   Something seriously needs to be done about a system where we pay billions of tax dollars for people not to work.

Cross-posted at my own blog here.

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