Americans are all about the money this election, whether they realize it or not. Why?
Probably, because in the wake of lingering downturn devastation, most of us are still deeply in touch with what’s going in and out of our pockets.
This year Gallup research showed that the economy and wealth distribution are two of the top 10 election issues — outpacing the serious hot button topics like foreign affairs, immigration, and even race relations.
The penny-pinching habits most of us developed have us concerned and yearning for legislative progress that will actually affect our wallets. What’s interesting is that while one of the most viral economic issues, student loans, affects us all, it’s going barely mentioned by this year’s presidential candidates.
Why aren’t they debating my invisible luxury car note?
…or better said, my college loan debt. In an environment of severe candidate grandstanding, the $1.3 trillion issue of student loans is only sparingly discussed. If you scan the transcripts of the first few Republican and Democratic debates, you can barely scrape together ten mentions of America’s student loan problem—Only ten or so mentions from 23 potential candidates in a combined 22 hours of “debate.”
All of this chatter and no one is discussing the average $242 payment coming out of each American household’s budget every month. No mention, even though, when compared to the median US household income of $50,500, this average payment amounts to almost 10% of the household monthly take home.
This 10% budget hit is absent of real-time, tangible payoff and keeps many Americans from living the dream that they were all sold when they enrolled in college – graduate, get a job, get married, buy a home, and live wealthily ever after.
Even though the dream’s been crippled for more than 60 million of us, the cause is barely getting referenced by the pool of people who want to be this country’s next leader. This is hard to believe.
Why there should be more student loan talk
The absence of student loan talk is hard to believe because no other issue has grown by almost 400 percent in the past 10 years. No other government-funded debt is carrying a delinquency rate of more than 50 percent. In addition, no other solvable issue is having this level of cyclical affect on American families, households, and businesses.
Data from the American Student Assistance® (ASA) showed that 75% of Americans say student loans affected their decision to buy a home; 73% said they’ve had to put off saving for retirement; and 63% said their debt affected their ability to make large purchases like cars and computers.
The unbeatable effects of today’s student debt are both deep and wide for most Americans. Unfortunately, after months of debate, we’re still waiting to hear of a real plan to help those of us that face the burden today.
Yes, free tuition could be great, debt forgiveness options are good (if you qualify), but what’s our next president planning to do about the major budget issue that’s affecting us now. The one that’s keeping us from taking advantages of the dreams that we were guaranteed; like having a child or buying real estate. Where’s the talk about that in the great debates?