Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Crushing Opportunity; Our View; Massive Student Loan Debt Is Weighing Heavily on Working Poor; OPINION

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Crushing Opportunity; Our View; Massive Student Loan Debt Is Weighing Heavily on Working Poor; OPINION

Article excerpt

If you are in college, or you recently graduated, or one of your children is in either of those categories, then last week's news from the Pew Research Center won't surprise you.

The center reported on Wednesday that a record one in five U.S. households owed student debt in 2010. That's more than double the share from just 20 years ago. The number is likely to rise when the last couple of years' numbers are known.

Unfortunately, the one-in-five statistic isn't the worst figure in the study. It's this: The amount of student load debt, as a percentage of household income, is hitting the poor the hardest.

Unless you're Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and you write off half of the country as lazy and entitled, this is truly devastating for the future growth of the country's economy.

It's a double whammy of bad economic news. First, it's a sign that fewer people can afford the best path to climb from one economic class to another. Second, it sends a signal to businesses that fewer Americans will have disposable income to spend, limiting demand for goods and services.

According to Pew, families in the lowest of five U.S. income brackets who are paying for college for themselves or their children now owe 24 cents for every $1 of income on student loan debt. These are people who make less than $21,044 a year. The graduates who are fortunate enough to get a job owe nearly a quarter of their income to debt before they can buy food, clothing and transportation.

And the parents who are trying to make sure their children have better opportunities than they did?

They're stuck. They're the housing bubble waiting to repeat itself, with the nation's poor and middle class unable to invest, leaving businesses less likely to grow.

The same Pew study shows that the nation's wealthy see their children as having the same opportunities they did. They, too, are increasing their student loan debt, doubling it as a percentage of their overall income. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.