First lady Michelle Obama has been making the rounds lately to promote the federal student loan program. CNS News reports Mrs. O as telling high school students in Washington,”Almost everyone is eligible for some form of financial aid, and all you have to do to access that aid is fill out this one little form. It’s so simple.”
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 6, 2014
In her recent quest to get young adults to believe “The American Dream is still alive (we swear),” she even went so far as to post a video on WhiteHouse.gov she titled, “I’m first,” where she has to read her own name from a teleprompter while she waxes on about how she had a rough go of her first year at Princeton, but anyone from anywhere with any amount of money can succeed in college and go on to build an incredible life for themselves in America — just like her. That’s right! Michelle makes it seem effortless to go to college — just take out a few student loans if you can’t afford it.
Well, like Michelle Obama, I too, am first.
I was the first person in my family to get a master’s degree, and the second person ever to get a bachelor’s (or any degree). My mother was the first to get a four-year-degree. We don’t come from money; we didn’t have rich daddies or trust funds, nor did we marry future presidents. We had to take out student loans, loans that have haunted both of us for the whole of our careers since exiting college.
I was more than a little incensed after watching her video, telepromptering trite, Hallmark card-esque platitudes about, “You can do it!” while the student loan debt abyss in America is tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic post-iceberg.
This bubble is going to burst. Here are the stats. College students are on the hook in the country for over $1 trillion dollars. TRILLION. More than half of that is not being paid back. It’s the largest share of American household debt after mortgages. According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 30% of 20-to-24 year olds in this country are neither employed, nor in school.
That’s because there aren’t enough jobs. Only 47% of adults in this country even have a full-time job. The fastest growing job sector is food service. Workers at fast food restaurants like McDonalds are striking everywhere because they can’t live on their wages, so it’s pretty obvious getting a job there won’t help anyone pay back a student loan faster, will it?
The jobs simply are not awaiting all these graduates, as evidenced in this chart here:
Twice as many people (or more!) are looking for jobs in most sectors than there are jobs available in those sectors in this country. In fact, I put out about 100 applications for full-time work befitting my education and experience last summer. I currently work three part-time jobs to make ends meet.
(Let’s not even delve into the fact that the Congressional Budget Office recently released a report which concluded that Obamacare is set to cost America another 2 million jobs by 2017).
The truth is, college is so expensive at this point, that unless a student receives a hefty scholarship, or has that rich daddy or that trust fund, the only real option left to pay for that degree is to apply for financial aid. (I would have written “get a job to pay for school outright” as an option, but again, there aren’t a lot of those jobs going around these days, especially not for high school grads lacking experience; McDonalds isn’t going to afford anyone the ability to pay high tuition costs unless someone plans to try and chip away at a 125-hour degree by taking one three-credit-hour course a semester, not being able to achieve what should be a four-year degree until they are middle-aged.)
We are currently witnessing the largest wealth gap this nation has seen in over a century, and the poor just keep getting poorer.
While Michelle Obama cheerleads starting out one’s adult life already in debt bondage to a broken system — where the job they got the degree for in the first place probably won’t even be waiting for them once they get it — she’s also telling people they can do it because she did it and now she’s living the dream:
So that’s my message to all of you – no matter where you come from or how much money your family has, I want you to know that you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build an incredible life for yourself. That’s been my life story, and my husband’s as well.[emphasis added]
Because everyone can be first lady…yeah, and anyone can be president. Just a few months ago, she was bragging about going on multi-million dollar, taxpayer funded vacays to Hawaii:
Michelle Obama recently revealed that she and President Obama don’t give Christmas gifts to each other. They merely say, “We’re in Hawaii,” and that’s Christmas gift enough.
But actually the present is from taxpayers, and it’s an expensive one. The total cost to taxpayers of Obama’s vacations to Hawaii since becoming president is likely in excess of $20 million, and possibly much, much more. [emphasis added]
It’s insulting. Have you ever been to Hawaii? I haven’t. I haven’t been much of anywhere in my adult life. I’m still working to keep a roof over my head, put food on the table, and pay off my student loans. (Glad I could afford a little to pay for her to go, although, she could have at least sent me a post card.)
Worse, Mrs. Obama starts off her video by attempting to charm us with a story about how she brought the wrong size sheets with her to Princeton, a decision which supposedly left her sleeping uncomfortably with her feet sticking out rubbing up against her cheap plastic dorm mattress for her entire freshman year.
This question is rhetorical, but should anyone, anywhere really be taking advice from someone who couldn’t even figure out how to go buy a sheet that fit her bed properly for a whole year — financial, education or otherwise?
The truth is, Mrs. Obama never had to struggle. She wouldn’t know what struggle meant if someone read her the dictionary definition, because, as Breitbart has reported, the concept is simply foreign to her:
Both Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama began their adult lives with a leg up on the rest of America. They attended elite schools: Michelle went to Whitney Young, the public magnet school for Chicago’s upper class, while Barack attended Punahou, the private prep school for the top stratum of Hawaiian society. They were accepted to Ivy League schools despite undistinguished credentials, and both attended Harvard Law School…
Meanwhile, I, and many other college students and graduates out there like me, will continue to struggle against reality just to stay afloat in this country…as the band continues to play…
Like George Carlin said, “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
(…and there are only so many positions for First Lady available.)