Student loan debt is on the rise, but that doesn’t concern Republicans in the slightest. Their solution to student loan debt is to abolish student loans, which would keep millions of Americans from getting the education they need to compete in today’s global economy. Over the years, Republicans have been highly critical of those who use student loans to attend school. Republicans say that students should work their way through college as if flipping burgers part-time will be enough to pay the high cost of tuition on a yearly basis. But that’s just not true, especially if one wants a top flight education.
Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina became the latest Republican to criticize students who have been saddled with school loan debt when she appeared on the G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show on Thursday. She told Liddy that she worked her way through school and never borrowed a dime, and that she has “little tolerance” for students with loan debt.
￼￼”I went through school, I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money,” Foxx said. “He (her husband) borrowed a little bit because we both were totally on our own when we went to college, totally. I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” You don’t have it dumped in your lap.”
Here’s the audio:
This a prime example of a Republican who is out of touch with present-day reality. When Foxx attended school back in the late 1950s to early 1970s, tuition wasn’t nearly as high as it was today. Foxx graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in 1961 and later earned both a Master of Arts in college teaching (1968) and Ed.D (1972) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Tuition in 1960 was not high, ranging from a few hundred dollars per year to a couple thousand. According to openmarket.org,
Law school tuition has risen nearly 1,000 percent after adjusting for inflation: around 1960, “median annual tuition and fees at private law schools was $475 … adjusted for inflation, that’s $3,419 in 2011 dollars. The median for public law schools was $204 … or $1,550 in 2011 dollars … in 2009 the private law school median was $36,000; the public (resident) median was $16,546.”
And that’s just law school, which is considered more expensive than undergraduate studies. In 1960, the cost of a semester at the University of Michigan was $150. The minimum wage in 1960 was $1.00 per hour which is over $5.00 per hour today if you adjust for inflation. If Foxx just worked around 20 hours a week, she could easily pay for an entire year of school in a semester.
Because school now costs thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars per year, working through school is just not enough. That’s why students need the loans. And because college and a good paying job are tightly connected, students don’t have much choice if they want the kind of job that can guarantee a stable financial future. If students had to work through college, it would take far longer to get through school, and in today’s fast paced world and economy, that’s just not an option unless you can already afford school. And many students have families to care for as well so working through school is much harder when you have to divide your earnings between paying bills, caring for your family, and paying ridiculously high tuition costs.
Foxx, like most Republicans, lack empathy for people because they are woefully out of touch with the world of today. They are stuck in the past, when things were cheaper and the cost of living was low compared to wages paid. It used to be that wages rose as the cost of living rose, but that is no longer the case. Now cost of living rises while wages decline. But I wouldn’t expect wealthy Republicans who take corporate money to understand what it’s like to live in today’s middle class. By attacking people who have student loan debt, Republicans are telling young people not to vote for them.