Government Loansharking

Malcolm Harris files an update on the student-debt crisis:

Last November when I first wrote about student loans for Boston Review, the Department of Education estimated it would be pulling in around $25 billion in revenue from its higher education lending programs. It seemed ridiculous, since the DoE had started lending directly to students rather than guaranteeing private loans partly to give students a better deal. Seven months later, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the student lending haul for 2013 at just under $51 billion, higher than the annual profits of Exxon Mobil or Apple. Rather than leveling off, government surpluses from student loans are following the exponential trajectory of higher education costs.

These revenues are profits—the government is profiting from student debtors. That some commentators have objected to this terminology illustrates widespread denial about the nature of the student-debt crisis. Even the political leaders who are rightly disgusted by such profiteering and favor lowering interest rates on student loans do not grasp the problem. These epic profits are merely the tip of a huge cost iceberg, formed from the skyrocketing baseline costs of education. No lawmaker has proposed a genuine, long-term solution to the crisis.

For more on how the government is profiting off the backs of student debtors and how this is only the tip of the student-debt iceberg, click here.

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