Here is what our society currently believes to be the right and normal course of action for one's life. An individual must attend a college or university to obtain a degree, which will subsequently provide you with the necessary experience to procure a job that pays you enough to live comfortably and debt free. What they are very careful not to inform you of is the very high cost of getting said education. They also fail to mention that if your family can not afford to provide you with the funding necessary to pay for the degree or degrees, then you will have to apply for grants, which are not always granted or sufficient enough to cover all of your expenses. At which point, you have to apply for student loans and here is where things become beyond absurd. You apply for the loans, and they give them to you, because it is in their best interest to loan you money that they know you cannot pay back within a short period. This allows them to charge you interest on what you owe until you can pay it off, so you end up paying more for an education than it is actually worth at the time you received it. After you finish your degree, you enter the job market to find that not only is your degree useless, unless it is highly specialized, but also that there aren’t any jobs to be had, because your predecessors are unscrupulous businessmen and politicians who would very much like to keep you in debt for the remainder of your life. So, I wonder how exactly one can reasonably be expected to pay off a student loan debt, without any prospects for a job that will scarcely afford them the income to pay for day-to-day living expenses.
I am really trying to understand why society thinks it is perfectly acceptable for us to ask future generations to saddle themselves with mountains of debt that they will spend the first half of their adult lives trying to pay off.
While we are on education, I must address the complete mess that is the public school system. I fully understand and respect the need for a well-rounded education, but from my perspective, there have not been any progressive changes in what schools teach for a while. We have requirements for math, science, history, language, and the humanities. All of these subjects are still very relevant for the betterment of society, but I believe that a firm understanding of financial management, current political policy, and cultural diversity will go much farther in helping develop fully functioning, well-educated members of society. We do not currently provide our kids with the tools they need to live productive and happy lives, and inevitably, they will suffer for it as will their children.
That said; let me turn my attention toward the unmitigated disaster that is the American healthcare system. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with a chronic or potentially terminal illness and simultaneously without health insurance, you can safely bet that you will either not be treated or end up in medical debt substantial enough for you to lose everything. I really hope you have the aforementioned student loan debts paid off in this case, otherwise your best bet would be filing for bankruptcy. Just be cognizant of the fact that your credit rating is garbage for 7 to 10 years following that decision. Am I the only one wondering why one of the wealthiest countries in the world is incapable of providing its citizens with affordable healthcare? Take note I said affordable, not free. I think we can agree that many, not all, health problems present themselves through no fault of the patient. Yet hospitals seem to have no issues with charging people more money then they can make in a lifetime for some treatments and more than they can make in a month for lesser ones. It is rather convenient of them to forget the part of the Hippocratic Oath that states, “I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.” I could be wrong in my interpretation, but if your responsibility includes these related problems I am fairly certain that means you should not rob your patients blind if you want your treatments to be effective. There is plenty of research indicating that high stress levels can negatively affect the course of treatment of a patient. Would it not be wiser to lessen the financial stress of patients if successful treatment is the ultimate goal? Perhaps I am mistaken.
Finally, I will address the issue of banks; they are, after all, the ones loaning you all of this money. I think some people forget that the money these people are playing games with is yours. We opened the accounts with these people; it is our money, or interest off that money, that they are using to get rich. They would not exist without us, but what should make you angry is that the government used taxpayer money to bailout corporations that destroyed the world economy. You should be angry that the avarice of a few went unpunished and unquestioned, while the lives of many fell to pieces. There was no bailout for the majority, but you can be sure that the government took care of the ones funding their campaigns. I think it is time that politicians start earning their campaign funds through hard work and integrity, instead of false promises and corporate contributions. Our leaders are bought and sold by the same people that brought about a global recession. The only question now is do we continue to let a few slowly destroy what the Founding Fathers set out to build? Or, do we show them that we refuse to be pawns in their horribly corrupted chess game?