Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm trying to ignore the anti-Wall Street protesters. It's not easy, as I like to read the blog posts on the National Review, and it's been getting daily mentions out there.

It annoys me. Lots of things annoy me, actually; some things more than others. I really don't like being in a perpetual state of annoyance, as I'd rather be amused. I am more frequently annoyed, these days, and less often amused. It's an imbalance I seek to correct.

Avoiding things that really annoy me is part of my plan to restore my annoyance/amusement balance, and that is why I have been trying to avoid those stupid protesters. I have not done a good job, because I've read a fair number of articles on the subject (excluding the purportedly glowing endorsement from Krugman: how can you sing the praises of anti-capitalist protesters when you make seven figures writing for a paper that advertises for Rolex and Tiffany's? Seriously?) I have read some articles, and so now I am annoyed.

I like to rant when I am annoyed, so here I go:

I have worked in the student aid industry for fifteen years now, and I know those protesters. They're the same ones who failed to file their federal aid applications on time, missed grant deadlines, and screamed at me because somehow it's my fault that they wouldn't be getting aid that semester. They're the ones who missed a line on their loan application, and screamed at me because their wouldn't disburse in time to buy books before the start of the semester.

These are the same kids that spent all six (count'em, six) years of undergraduate study calling up and screaming at people like me because the loan limits weren't high enough. I'll repeat: they screamed and ranted and raved because they COULDN'T BORROW ENOUGH. After all, loans are generally the only type of aid for which middle-class kids qualify. (The free money is for people on welfare; the financial aid system is set up to reward bad behavior, so if anyone in your household is working, you're screwed.)

For Federal loans, the schools determine a borrower's eligibility, and transmit that information to my agency. (Well, they used to under the old system, which was a much better system than the system now in use, but that's a rant for another day.) I used to call school financial aid offices on behalf of borrowers whose loan applications were pending school approval, and the story was always the same: the student was either ignoring requests from the school for verification of their income/status/costs, or was in some way ineligible. Generally, "ineligible" = "crap grades," but not always. I would relay this to the borrower, and the borrower would scream at me. Then the borrower would call up the school and scream at them, too.

After they graduate, or drop out, they call up to scream about how they can't possibly repay all this money they borrowed. In spite of the fact that they are counseled to borrower conservatively, and only borrow enough to cover attendance. (Using loan money to fuel your three-five-dollar-Starbucks-frappuccinos-a-day habit is just a bad idea.) They don't listen, they borrow loan amounts in excess of what they could ever hope to earn with a degree in interpretive dance or filmmaking or basket weaving, because the screamers are often from the most useless and unmarketable fields of study, for some reason.

Then they file bankrupcty, and call and scream at us because you can't discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy. This is stated on the promissory notes they sign when the apply, mind you, but they never read them. Most of them have their mothers completeing the applications for them, so how can they possibly be held responsible?

They default, and they call up and scream because their wages are garnished and their tax refunds seized. Then they decide that the loans aren't theirs; someone stole their identity and borrowed money in their names, so they file fraud claims. When that is disproven, they'll file disability for their depression and anxiety. When that's denied, they'll add fibromyalgia and ADHD to the disability discharge application form.

These disgruntled student loan borrowers, blocking the sidewalk waving their little cardboard sign with their outstanding loan balance scrawled in Sharpie have always been disgruntled. I think they're extra angry now because they lived better when they were living off student loans. The majority of them are unemployed not because they can't get jobs, but because they can't get the jobs they think they deserve. They're underemployed because they're following some pipe dream ideals of working in some low paying activist job, or forgoing better-paying jobs they COULD get for low-paying jobs they ENJOY.

And the spoiled little smelly shits think it reasonable to expect someone else to now foot the bill for their degrees, like the banks, and taxpayers.

I am slightly bemused by the "smash the system" socialists of the movement, who say they want to overthrow the government. (This will never happen as long as Ted Nugent is alive, by the way.) Ditto the "anti-capitalists" who completely miss the irony of Tweeting anti-capitalist sentiments on their iPhones while eating pizza donated by sympathizers who ring up local pizzarias to place mass orders, paying with their VISA cards.

The student-loan-forgiveness jackasses, however, just piss me off. Perhaps they should have paid attention when they were told not to overborrow, and chosen less expensive schools. Or, more importantly, perhaps they should go back to their respective alma maters and ask why the rate of inflation for higher education is four times that of any anything else?

I hope they actually do affect some change with their villify success/eat the rich/sour grapes bullshit nonsense. I hope Herr Obeekaybee pushes through some kind of legislation to allow student debt to be included in bankruptcies. I predict that when that happens, the banks will jump ship, and people like the "erase student debt" assholes won't be able to borrow themselved in to a hole in order to attend college. In fact, they won't be able to go at all.