Parents, Paying for College, and Shame Over Debt
November 12, 2012
In the complicated set of values and beliefs that is the American Dream, I find so many contradictions in this article on parents unable to cover loans that they took out to pay for the children’s college. An excerpt:
There are record numbers of student borrowers in financial distress, according to federal data. But millions of parents who have taken out loans to pay for their children’s college education make up a less visible generation in debt. For the most part, these parents did well enough through midlife to take on sizable loans, but some have since fallen on tough times because of the recession, health problems, job loss or lives that took a sudden hard turn.
And unlike the angry students who have recently taken to the streets to protest their indebtedness, most of these parents are too ashamed to draw attention to themselves.
These parents were doing exactly what good parents are supposed to do: Make it possible for their children to attend college. They played the odds that the things that they believed that they had earned were theirs to keep. And they lost.
I wonder if it would be easier to get beyond the political impasse over economic policies in this country if those who have played by the rules — and lost — start feeling outrage instead of shame.