SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

April 21, 2014

Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

(Continued)

The saddest thing here is that student debt ought to be addressed seriously. It is an enormous and growing problem, at about $1.2 trillion. When graduates leave school with $30,000 or more in education debt, they spend the first decade or more of their working lives trying to pay that off, which makes it tough to save for a home or start a family.

The cause of all this is not the interest rate on the loan, which is relatively trivial. It is the amount of the loan. And to address that would require Warren and her colleagues in the higher-education racket to look in the mirror.

It would require her to account for accepting $350,000 to teach a single course at Harvard Law. Multiply that “big-bucks-for-very-little-work” syndrome across the country and it goes a long way toward solving the alleged mystery of why college costs so much. What was that about the rich getting richer?

It would require explaining why tenured faculty teach less but get paid more; some get sabbaticals every third year, instead of every seven. When was your last sabbatical?

And it would require politicians to explain why they keep loaning more money to students, since every time they do, the colleges just raise their prices again.

But that wouldn’t prompt applause, or votes. That would only focus on how to solve the problem. It might tarnish Warren’s star power. What good is that?

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Taylor Armerding of Ipswich is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

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