Overheard In The Wine Aisle

I recently overheard someone in the grocery store complaining that the student loan forgiveness bill had been deemed unconstitutional. As they loaded up their basket with wine and fancy cheese, they whined that they had charged $20,000 worth of goods and services to their credit card in anticipation of the receiving the funds. They “needed” that trip to Greece and the new Yves Saint Laurent handbag, after all, but now they can’t afford to pay off the debt.

Let me back up. They had at least $20,000 in student debt. Had the debt been wiped, they planned to reacquire debt in an equal amount, likely with a higher interest rate, for nonessential luxuries. Rather than waiting for the funds to land, they went ahead with the purchases preemptively. What?!

Instead of gaining some relief, they have dug themselves into a deeper hole. They spent $20,000 they did not have, and will never see. And I suspect this well-dressed stranger is not alone.

Some people aren’t so bright. I can’t blame them, as we often don’t know what we don’t know. But we can’t be enabling this behavior on a national level. To anyone who’s familiar with the the system of American government, the student loan forgiveness was clearly unconstitutional from the start. On top of that, everyone should know well enough not to spend money they don’t have. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, after all. And yet, common sense isn’t so common.

Several years ago, I discussed why I am against student loan forgiveness. It’s not because I wish to punish or torment, but because I understand that we can’t trust most people to be responsible with money. Instead, they want to pass the buck.

The thing is, forgiven student debt does not simply vanish. It gets transferred to the national debt and becomes a liability for taxpayers rather than borrowers. And I don’t feel comfortable paying taxes to cover someone else’s poor decision-making. I am not saying that everyone with student debt lacked good judgement, but rather that some number of those who would benefit from loan forgiveness did and, perhaps, still do. If an individual did not research how student loans work or make the effort to weigh the pros and cons, I cannot feel confident that the newfound riches in their monthly budget will be reallocated prudently.

In a perfect world, those forgiven of their student debts would use the extra several hundred dollars each month to pay off consumer credit cards, build up an emergency savings account, and gain the financial security that was previously out of reach. I worry that those same students that did not qualify for academic scholarship and that took out an extra $50,000 in students loans for a luxury apartment and booze will continue to live on the edge, waiting for the next government handout. I don’t believe those who are facing the consequences of their ignorance and poor decisions deserve to be saved.

Too harsh? Maybe. But I think it’s a fair take, based solely on the interaction I observed.

Just as predicted, the dangling carrot was a tempting tease for countless borrowers. People spent money they did not have. They put the cart before the horse and now they’re in an even worse position than they were before. And it irks me because it has been painfully obvious since the first promise of loan forgiveness that this would be the outcome.

Tuition is too expensive, many loan companies are predatory, and the market is saturated with useless degrees and ill-equipped graduates. I get it. I agree. The system is broken. But, while it may not be our fault, it is our responsibility to navigate within the broken system until it can be fixed.

I was bamboozled into obtaining a worthless degree. I lived off rice and beans for several years to aggressively pay off my student loans. I worked low-wage jobs and lived with roommates for many years post-graduation before hitting my stride. I struggled like so many others, and I came out the other side debt-free. Meanwhile, many peers traveled abroad, ate out daily, and rented luxury apartment with modern furniture.

Their perspective: YOLO! I have a prestigious college degree and deserve to live like a cultured adult.

My perspective: Oof! I have debt and had to live like a pauper until my debt obligations had been fulfilled.

Now those same individuals are upset that I’m not obligated to subsidize their lavish choices. And they are choices. Tropical vacations and designer handbags are not necessities. I’ve gone thirty-four years without either, and I’m just fine.

What’s my point? I’m not even sure. Do I have a solution? Nope. I am just sick of the whole student loan forgiveness debacle. I have always lived under the assumption that nobody is going to give me something for nothing and the government isn’t going to fix any of my problems. I wish others would do the same, and learn to take responsibility for their actions. It would make life better for all of us.

21 thoughts on “Overheard In The Wine Aisle

  1. I see your point. I have no problem with your logic. I’m more or less neutral, not married to a perspective.

    A moral action (ha!) would be restitution or reparations towards some affected. Reason I say this in this highly untenable hypothetical, is this: like with the transfaggot agenda, the worthless degree agenda begins very early. I taught for a time in a middle school, and the children were already indoctrinated. Below a certain age there is no reasonable assumption of responsibility. For myself, I don’t begrudge my loan debt too much. So I pay. I also know any gubmint relief is a trick and a lie because said gubmint hates you and makes as much money on your being dead as alive.

    That being said. My own centrist opinion is that this is an issue because it is a distracting non-starter to trap people into having broadly unproductive debates about powers beyond their level, while said powers mangle your children and euthanize your parents.

    A similar rigour can be applied to any other form of subsistence, assistance or what have you. From Medicare to reverse mortgages and baby boomerisms de jour. Or however the Frenchies spell it.

    So I agree, I think, that the ideal solution is to repair the prongs before sticking the fork in the turkey. We have disconnected citizens because Americanism means nothing due to globalism. An extreme simplification. College indoctrination is a placæbo like drugs, escapist faire trading on the promise of a less miserable, pointless existence. It’s a gruesome lie in this cultural context, but would be a factual panacea in a sensible world where all these bright ideas would work. A homogenous world in which people COULD share values, rather than our shark tank full of former sheep made over into ineffectual competitive predators fighting over scraps left by callous elites.

    Anyways. I’m not trying to dump on your logic. Or even detract. Just offer a little slice of… something. Right. Going back to my bench press now. Good day, hopefully all’s well down there in the desert.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Seaxwulf, I always appreciate your thoughtful and thought-provoking perspectives. I enjoy having my ideas challenged or questioned–it’s important to continually be evaluating what we think and why.

      I don’t disagree that this is merely a talking point and distraction from the bigger issues. I took a class on globalism at age 20 and, while it was framed in a positive light, I felt repulsed that building a McDonald’s in Russia was viewed as this huge accomplishment of mankind. I’ve since gone deeper down that rabbit hole–everyone is bought and sold, nothing be trusted, all the world’s cultures are being diluted, and the middle class has become a slow sinkhole into poverty and dependence.

      I had never considered college as a placebo, but it makes sense. The late-teens and early-twenties are often an angsty and rebellious period, so the promise of success if one pays up and behaves helps keep young people in line until they reach the workforce assembly line. I don’t know where it’s coming from, but kids in college are delusional nowadays. The jobs they are striving after and the start salaries they think they will receive are absurd. I know two college students who believe that immediately upon graduation, they will be offered jobs as a sports team manager and a fabric sourcer for a particular clothing designer in NYC. Back in my day, I was only striving for a job related to my degree…and I don’t even get that. Ha!

      I actually wouldn’t be against student loan forgiveness ~if~ recipients were required to take a financial literacy course, create a budget, and check in with some entity on a regular basis to confirm that they are putting into practice what they learned. If it was a lesson in personal responsibility, I would be happy to subsidize that important life lesson. However, I don’t feasibly see that ever happening, not only because of the cost and effort, but because it would empower the people.

      Hope you have a great weekend! Oh, and I also love the GIFs, so I may need to drop those in more often.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like to think of myself as adding to, rather than challenging. Not that challenging is intrinsically negative, it isn’t, done in a contributive spirit.

        It’s funny. I thought of bringing up my similar idea of a kind of forgiveness oversight. Required budgeting and proof of beneficial engagement. I didn’t because it sounded like parole, but debt is a prison. In more than one way.

        And yeah. Because it would empower the people. It’s too convenient a string. Dangled over heads of disillusioned Millenials and unprepared Zoomers it is a means to stimulate political engagement, as a perceived insult to Boomers who want to mouth off into the rther it is a means to drive the generational wedge even deeper by encouraging them to condescend their way into increased isolation from every other age group, a facet which is further used to reinforce the problem of an almost unlimited supply of victim groups who can’t their reflection in the mirror. (Everyone is fighting over who gets to be THE victim, but the irony to me is that the ones who complain about debt forgiveness don’t seem to realise that the government already spent “their money” and is not even obliged to give it back, a problem which is tragick but also often ignored. ) Factitious antagonism increases and delineates the likelihood of an American people rising by bolstering false social barriers (financial, age, vocation, class) as means of supporting the equally false deconstruction of real ones (race, religion, ethnicity.)

        A good weekend to you as well!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I like that, and I do feel you’re adding to the conversation. So, thank you for that!

        I think some type of financial parole could be effective, but that would not go over well with the populous. My student loans weren’t too excessive, but I was in hurry to pay them off because the feeling of indebtedness was quite uncomfortable for me… a prison is a great analogy.

        You nailed it in your final paragraph, so there’s not much I can add. Everything has become a politicized competition of who is the bigger victim and who is at fault when, in reality, we’re all pawns in some bigger game and we’re all being distracted to believe otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree 100%, i’m sorry but, I don’t think others should be on the hook for other’s higher education. The example you gave is a prime example why… 🤷🏻‍♀️ You take on debt, you deal with it. If you don’t think you’ll be able to deal with it, don’t take it on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Carla! I do think it comes down to lack of financial education, but if you weren’t taught at home or in school than it’s ultimately one’s own responsibility to figure it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m vibing with you, Erin. My years in higher ed put me in a position where I saw far too many scenarios like those you describe. A fundamental lack of financial awareness, coupled with aspirational, materialistic decision-making…intent on securing a swanky lifestyle – as soon as possible and at any cost — including sailing into debt-ridden lives — for the foreseeable future. I love that you mentioned predatory lending…yep, that’s true, along with a zillion other examples of how things are, as you said, ‘broken’, but your point about navigating within reality: …”while it may not be our fault, it is our responsibility to navigate within the broken system until it can be fixed.” Oh yes. Right there with you. Mortgaging futures? Makes me sad, mad and everything in between. ☹

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Vicki, I’m with you. There are so many root causes we can point the finger at, and with student loans there is a lot of unethical funny business going on. But, at the end of the day, if we sign a contract we need to follow through with our commitment… it’s our own responsibility if we didn’t understand what were were signing. I recently saw an article that around 70% of Gen Z (age ~14-28) use installment payments for small purchases, and that worries me so much. Like you said, they need that swanky lifestyle, even as a cost beyond their means. I suspect that’s where this post came from… it’s frustration not at the student loan forgiveness issue, but people’s fundamental lack of financial awareness and the harm that it’s causing them. Mmm, mortgaging futures is a great way to put it. It’s really heartbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You make some great points Erin. When you peak under the covers, it’s amazing to me to see how irresponsible some people are with money. I’m probably more in favor of loan forgiveness than you, but you make some great points. My biggest issue with the move is how it makes the pay-off, but does nothing to change or solve the problem of out of control tuition and loan companies. I saw the loans that my daughter had to take out, they were crazy and she was far from living the high life. Now she and I paying off those private loans … but I would have preferred seeing real solutions than what has come out so far. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate the calm, factual approach, something this topic desperately needs. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading, Brian! Yes, I’m also amazed at how irresponsible some people are with money, as well as frustrated that real solutions aren’t being proposed. I would actually be supportive of student loan forgiveness ~if~ it required recipients to take a financial literacy course, create a budget, and check in with entity on a regular basis to verify they’re putting into practice what they learn… I think that would be a decent use of tax dollars, but I don’t see it ever happening. I happy to hear you and you daughter are working to tackle those loans. I was fortunate to have my parents help me understand what I was signing, but my boyfriend had a predatory loan back in the early-2000s that accrued interest daily before he even graduated (so he owed quadruple what he borrowed before he could even begin paying it back). It’s unfortunate, but there is so much greed in the arena and it hard to implement a solution when those who are profiting don’t want to give that up.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. No debt simply vanishes, unless you’re that lucky person in Maine that just won the Powerball Lottery. The whiner was obviously not a finance major. My kids had to have some student loans in order to complete their education and they worked hard to pay them back with no government help at all. I’m not a fan of the way the government spends our money anyway, and I’m not happy about paying off someone else’s debt. Nor do I want to fund support for the two million illegal immigrants who crossed our borders last year – and are still coming in with tsunami force – but that’s another rant. Thank you for a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mike and Kellye! I feel the same way. I would love to see us return to small, localized government, where city/county/state receive the lion’s share of funding and decision-making power, while the federal government is limited to (a reasonable) national defense, overseeing travel, infrastructure, and inter-state issues.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t really know enough to comment intelligently, but I absolutely agree that loan forgiveness is actually loan transference – to the rest of us. And I’m sure there are some folks who are responsible and deserving, but I suspect there are many more examples such as the one you witnessed. 😖 As a side note, kudos to you for putting in the work to pay your loans off the old-fashioned way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I’m reading through the comments, I think that I would consider supporting student loan forgiveness ~if~ it was paired with a financial education program and evidence of ongoing financial responsibility for X-amount of time prior to forgiveness. But it is frustrating that I made many sacrifices to pay off a debt I agreed to take on, and others expect to be let off the hook without a second thought.

      Liked by 1 person

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