Q: Debi writes: I am 67 yrs old and recently retired, so as I sit here with my “mail in” ballot, I decided to look up to see who these 3 people are running for US Representative for District 8. Of the 3 I have to tell you I was most impressed with what you had to say. I am not originally from Indiana, I moved here 45 years ago from WI. I have never married but have a 43 year old Son and a Daughter-In-Law who works at a place where they have just had several new cases of Covid-19 (luckily in a different part from where she works). So COVID-19 is on my mind constantly. We need testing for everyone in Indiana and in the US. With people being ASymptomatic, no one even knows if they even have it so how can anyone know if they are spreading it? I wear a mask whenever I go to the store, which is only around every 10-14 days. We need someone, like you, to step up and take the reigns and help this state as well as the country. WE need leadership, that I feel like you have. Your having just come back to Indiana 7 years ago is not a hindrance to me, it’s an asset.
What you said about student loans also hit home for me. My Son has 3 degrees, got great grades, and drew his 1st unemployment check at the age of 40. He’s struggled to make his student loan payments for years. So if you are proponent of student loan help, how far back would you go?
A: Hi Debi, thanks so much for writing. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if your son has paid back at least as much as he borrowed, probably much more. I think people like your son who have paid the most back should be first in line for relief. They would be my first priority.
But we need to go way beyond providing relief to the victims of exorbitant college costs and predatory lending. We need to fix the system, make a college education eeasily affordable, put it back to something like it was in our lifetimes, and still is across most of the world. When I was at IU in the early 80’s, tuition was around $30 per credit hour. I think I got about $900 financial aid from the Federal government, about $500, and I took out $2000 student loans every year, which easily covered tuition and room and board and left me with a lot of extra cash to live well and spend a good year abroad. I owed $8000 when it was all over, and my payment was $75 per month.
With inflation, that $30 would be about $95 in today’s money, so a year of college at IU would be roughly $3000. Yet somehow it is closer to $10,000 for tuition, and $25,000 total. Kids today come out owing more than the cost of a decent house, with much higher payments than if they had a home loan.
That kind of onerous debt for young people not only hurts them and their families, but it does grave harm to the economy as well. The money they are paying to bankers, hedge funds, and other investors would do so much more good if they were buying houses, cars, toys for the kids (which they would be able to afford), family vacations, etc.
It simply does not have to be this way. The only thing that has changed is that Republicans have taken power, and weak Democrats have caved. Since 1980, they’ve done everything they can to transfer the nation’s wealth from the people who work to the people who invest, or got a large inheritance. This Republican grifting and pillaging has irreparable harm to generations of good, decent people who should be able to work hard and earn a solid middle class existence, but who instead are on a hamster wheel of student debt payments that fund yachts, condos in Vail, and mansions in the Hamptons.
So what can we do about it? Vote against Republicans and for strong Democrats.
If I am elected, you can be sure I will bring this fight to Congress, and I will bring it in the most effective way possible.
Thanks Debi, for your support. I truly do feel humbled by your belief, or at least hope, that I can be of service.