Letters: Student loans and Occupy Wall Street

Marketplace Staff Oct 12, 2011
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Letters: Student loans and Occupy Wall Street

Marketplace Staff Oct 12, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: There’s no actual list of demands from the people at Occupy Wall Street. Their manifesto that came out last month just has a list of things they’re against — one of which is high and rising student debt.

We used that the other day as a way to get into a commentary earlier this week about whether the government should forgive that debt. Justin Wolfers said no, but Dina Gachman from Los Angeles said even a bit of loan forgiveness goes a long, long way.

Dina Gachman: If companies like Sallie Mae could possibly forgive at least a portion of the interest, especially if people are laid off or unemployed, having trouble looking for a job, to forgive even a portion of the interest would be a huge help to a lot of us out there who can’t even afford health insurance, let alone paying off our monthly loans.

James Vineyard from Dallas said that’s a bad idea.

James Vineyard: If we forgive a bunch of student loan debt, private lenders are going to be much more hesitant about making student loans in the future, fearing it will happen again. This could lead to fewer people being able to get a loan and afford a college education.

We’ve been discussing Occupy Wall Street quite a bit this week. And judging by our inbox, satisfying absolutely no one. Richard Johnson wrote from New York to say our characterization of the protests was just wrong.

Richard Johnston: I was there yesterday and I can tell you the crowd was mainly middle-class, normal, non-funky, non-counterculture, not unreformed hippies. They were average people who are simply fed up with the status quo and the egregious imbalances that have developed in our society in the last 30 years; and they are starting to speak up.

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