Jon Gertner wrote a terrific piece, Forgive Us Our Student Debts, in tomorrow’s NYT Sunday Magazine (link not available yet). I said my piece in it: A college diploma is the necessary ticket for a CHANCE to launch a young person into the middle class. But, for many kids, the debt that accompanies those diplomas erodes the very middle class safety and security that a diploma once promised.
What are the solutions? I want to use Warren Reports today to ask you to consider an option: An absolute guarantee that every young person in the U.S. can go to college on a government loan (regardless of family income), and that for every year of public service following graduation, a year of college debt is forgiven. Four years in college, four years in public service, and the student is 26, debt-free and ready to begin an adult life.
I have the faith of a teacher. If we want to strengthen the middle class, we must grow the economy so that there are good jobs for millions more Americans. Our best hope to accomplish that is a well-educated workforce that will create new opportunities in the US. We can remain competitive internationally only if we have a well-educated workforce that can out-innovate the rest of the world. We will be able to pay for health care and for the retirements of millions of our citizens only if we have a highly productive, high-earning cadre of young people. College is a collective investment that pays off for the whole country.
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