Jesse Jackson and HuffPo's Next Crusade: a Student Loan Bailout

April 7th, 2010 3:55 PM

Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader, has moved on from the health care debate and found a new oppressed, downtrodden minority: student loan recipients. And naturally, the Huffington Post was happy to afford “the Reverend” a platform for his activism.  

“A plan to earn debt forgiveness retroactively must be instituted at once as an acknowledgment that an entire generation is mired in tens of thousands of dollars in student debt,” Jackson wrote. “Not every one of them will be able to write a blockbuster memoir to pay off student loans.”

Although the federal government’s latest takeover in student loans by “cutting out the middleman” pleased Jackson, he called on the Obama administration to take more drastic steps in today’s “Second Great Depression.”

“Students need more than good intentions,” Jackson said. “They need a guarantee that the savings realized by cutting out the banks and Sallie Mae go mostly to them. There are lots of hands out for the income that direct student lending will generate. Some of it will go to subsidize universal access to health care. But most of it should go to students themselves,” Jackson opined.

“This is the Second Great Depression. Students should not have to worry about loan repayment while they are unemployed and looking for work. Nor should compound interest mount during periods of unemployment.”

Jackson specifically called for: a pledge to lower interest rates for student loans to zero and one percent; “retroactive provisions” for students who have already graduated; legislation and regulations to implement bankruptcy safeguards; extended grace payments and defered compounding interest rates for unemployed graduates.  

In demanding that the “rules should reflect reality,” Jackson again betrayed a lack of understanding for basic economics and disregard for the idea that abiding by contractual obligations a necessary component of a functioning society.   

Like this article? Then sign up for our newsletter, The Balance Sheet.