Just read an article about marriages breaking up over student loan debt. Seems some spouses are entering matrimony without telling their significant other that they owe Uncle Sam somewhere between $34,000, upwards to $200,000 in student loans.
I'm not surprised. Since, through hook and crook, the mortgage crisis of 2008 has been settled, student loan debt is America's next crisis. How much total student loan debt is disputed. The NEA says total student loan debt totals $1.5 trillion. Other government agencies argue that it exceeds $2 trillion.
Would any of you be surprised to know that, as recently as ten years ago, the average student loan debt was $17,000 dollars. It is now $34,000, a doubling in one decade.
Why should you worry? Well, economists say that if major defaults occur it could shove us into another recession. In fact those same economists say that the current student loan debt is a constant 1% drag on the economy as kids leave college with non-marketable degrees and can't earn enough to live on their own (another statistic; some 33 percent of recent college graduates live with their parents) and still make student loan payments. This student loan burden affects every facet of the economy...from home buying, automobile purchases, etc.
Can we blame Barack Obama for this massive student loan debt increase? Well, it occurred pretty much on his watch, and he did encourage those generations of students to pursue degrees that any sane person knew was unmarketable. And he did give lots of folks the idea that "nanny government" would somehow make all this go away.
Our snowflake generation can only hope that, this time, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren win the Presidency in 2020. Both have pledged that, if elected, they'll forgive that $2 trillion in student loan debt (yes, you get the bill) and begin a costly program where college will be free.
In the meantime the snowflakes are divorcing....and moving back into Mom and Dad's basement.
Note: That graph is now out of date. We crashed through the $1.5 trillion mark in 2015.