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  • bjbj"9"9 JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the first of two reports on the ever-growing student loan

  • debt problem. NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman tallies up the larger toll it's

  • taking and what it means for new graduates. It's part of his ongoing reporting Making

  • Sense of financial news. PAUL SOLMAN: America's age-old academic rite of spring: commencement.

  • Degree in hand, graduates are about to begin real life and the world of work. What's different

  • these days is the cost of that degree, and the extent to which it's been financed with

  • debt. Americans owe $700 billion in car loans, more than $800 billion on our credit cards.

  • But student debt now tops $1 trillion, and it's not just weighing down the 37 million

  • former students who owe it, but the whole economy. Here's economist Paul Krugman in

  • a recent public interview. PAUL KRUGMAN, columnist, The New York Times: The preponderance of the

  • evidence is that the biggest single factor keeping us where we are, keeping us in this

  • depression is the overhang of debt. PAUL SOLMAN: And student debt, we asked him a few days

  • later. PAUL KRUGMAN: Household debt is the big ball and chain on this economy, and student

  • debt is a big part of it. PAUL SOLMAN: But how, you might wonder, could people like Ricky

  • Evans, age 32, who works in finance in the D.C. area and earns upwards of $70,000 a year,

  • still have student loans of more than $80,000? MAN: Honestly, back then, I barely understood

  • interest rates. PAUL SOLMAN: What about 27-year-old teacher Beth Hansen? In addition to working

  • full-time at a Maryland middle school, she now works two other part-time jobs, running

  • an after-school book club, singing in a church choir, and yet earned only $46,000 total last

  • year, while still owing more than $60,000. MAN: Looking for employment? BETH HANSEN,

  • middle school teacher: Yes. PAUL SOLMAN: She's now looking for a waitressing job to make

  • ends meet, working tables after teaching seventh and eighth graders all day. Did she understand

  • the load she was taking on? BETH HANSEN: Think, how old was I when I signed my first promissory

  • note? Seventeen. Am I really going to read said promissory note from beginning to end?

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Or understand it. BETH HANSEN: Or understand it even if I had read it. MARK

  • KANTROWITZ, FinAid.org: Most students will sign whatever piece of paper is put in front

  • of them, and they won't pay attention to it. PAUL SOLMAN: Mark Kantrowitz is a financial

  • aid expert. MARK KANTROWITZ: There's no one out there telling them, don't borrow too much.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Daniel Habtemariam, 28, a medical statistician who had attended the Krugman

  • event, says student debt is depressing pretty much everyone he knows. DANIEL HABTEMARIAM,

  • medical statistician: I know for myself and as well as for many of my peers, we have put

  • off major life decisions, put off having children, putting off buying a house. My peers don't

  • have enough revenue, they don't have enough income, they don't have enough security and

  • enough sort of confidence in their future income. PAUL SOLMAN: And the overhang of debt

  • is restraining them? DANIEL HABTEMARIAM: It's a terrible burden, yes. PAUL SOLMAN: Beth

  • Hansen is typical. BETH HANSEN: I live in a one-bedroom apartment, and it's the cheapest

  • one I can find, and it's still 35 percent of my monthly income. That also makes it so

  • much more difficult to pay off my student loans. And thinking about my life with my

  • future with my fiance, are we going to be able to buy a house? No, because I have no

  • money in the bank. There's no money for a down payment. There's no collateral. PAUL

  • SOLMAN: The standard loan contract allows anyone who cannot pay, like Hansen, to put

  • off payment for years. But the amount owed rises in the meantime, as the deferred interest

  • is added to the total bill. Meanwhile, since the crash, many public employees have seen

  • their earnings decrease. BETH HANSEN: I have actually been making less each year because

  • they furloughed us one year. And then, this year, they increased the amount that I had

  • to pay into my retirement. So I have gotten a 2 percent pay decrease. And I don't know

  • what they're going to do next year, but there's certainly been no cost of living increase

  • in four years. PAUL SOLMAN: Four years after graduating, Hansen has just started making

  • loan payments, $468 a month. To cover it, she's interviewing for that waitressing job.

  • Will she ever pay off her loans? BETH HANSEN: I may die first, in which case, they would

  • need a copy of my death certificate to finally cancel my loan. JUDITH SCOTT-CLAYTON, economist:

  • College is a very good investment. PAUL SOLMAN: Economist Judith Scott-Clayton studies higher

  • ed. JUDITH SCOTT-CLAYTON: Your level of education is the biggest single predictor of your lifetime

  • earnings that you can control, that you can do something about. And so it makes a lot

  • of sense to borrow, to finance this investment, which is going to pay off over the whole,

  • you know, 30 or 40 years that you're working. PAUL SOLMAN: But tell that to recently minted

  • B.A.s in the job market of the past few years, whose reality has clashed with the pretty

  • picture painted during orientation week. BETH HANSEN: They tell you, oh, you have made such

  • a good decision by joining our family. This is going to pay off so well in your future,

  • and our graduates have received this and this award and that award, and they're prestigiously

  • employed at, you know, X and such. And so, you think that that's clearly what's going

  • to happen for you as well. PAUL SOLMAN: So students borrowed money from the government

  • or private lenders, each with different terms, interest rates and payback options. The students

  • tended to ignore the total tab, or even what's called the opportunity cost, the income they

  • might have earned if they hadn't gone to school. Now the next generation sees what happened,

  • and may become wary. But a frightened overreaction is also a risk, says economist Judith Scott-Clayton.

  • JUDITH SCOTT-CLAYTON: The risk is that if they decide not to go because they're afraid

  • of taking out debt, they may actually end up in a worse situation than had they decided

  • to go. PAUL SOLMAN: Now, one reason student debt has surged past a $1 trillion, 80 percent

  • of it owed to Uncle Sam, is because college has become increasingly expensive. But the

  • Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey argues that's because of student debt financed by government

  • loans. NEAL MCCLUSKEY, Cato Institute: The massive inflation we see in tuition, in college

  • prices, have gone up faster than health care, faster than almost any other major industry.

  • Well, that's a product in large part of federal student aid. And, again, that's the -- if

  • you give someone $100, you tell them they have to use it for college, and colleges know

  • they have it, of course they're going to raise their prices. PAUL SOLMAN: The government

  • begs to differ. MARTHA KANTER, U.S. Undersecretary of Education: Federal subsidies are not the

  • reason that college costs have escalated. PAUL SOLMAN: If government aid drives tuition,

  • says Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter, how come prices are rising fastest at state

  • schools? MARTHA KANTER: Just last year, if you look at states, over 80 percent of states

  • have dramatically cut American higher education. Institutions of higher education raise tuition

  • when that happens. PAUL SOLMAN: But no matter who's responsible, soaring tuitions mean soaring

  • debts mean more defaults. And that's very bad news, says Mark Kantrowitz. MARK KANTROWITZ:

  • When someone defaults on a student loan, it's like a trip through hell, I mean, all the

  • negative things that occur, the garnishments, the interception of your income tax returns.

  • Your credit is ruined. PAUL SOLMAN: Moreover, unlike credit card and other borrowing, Congress

  • has legislated that you can't even escape student debt through bankruptcy. Robert Applebaum

  • is an advocate for student loan reform. ROBERT APPLEBAUM, ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com: Not

  • only can you not go to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is a discharge of your debt. You can't

  • go to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is just a restructuring of your debt, so essentially

  • refinancing. You go into massive amounts of debt just to get an education that you need

  • as a prerequisite to get a job, and then spend the rest your life paying off that educational

  • debt. There's got to be a better way. PAUL SOLMAN: The policy question then that hangs

  • over the trillion-dollar student debt overhang: Is there a better way, and, if so, what is

  • it? JEFFREY BROWN: Paul's next report looks at the move to forgive student loan debt.

  • Online, you can figure out whether it's still possible to work your way through school.

  • You can use our college cost and income calculator. urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags

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  • place JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the first of two reports on the ever-growing student loan debt

  • problem Normal Microsoft Office Word JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the first of two reports on

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bjbj"9"9 JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the first of two reports on the ever-growing student loan

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學生貸款。更多的債務,更多的違約,更多的問題。 (Student Loans: More Debt, More Defaults, More Problems)

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    Hhart Budha 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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