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Today Walter Williams in his syndicated column reminded me (like I needed to be reminded) that people simply don’t care about personal responsibility anymore. He gives a number examples of how the culture has changed, and writes about companies that advertise the ways people can get out of their debt. They promote steps people can take to “quickly be debt free.” Essentially, because someone carelessly and thoughtlessly used a credit card to satisfy their materialistic needs, the companies are paying for it. Even Dave Ramsey, a financial expert and person of high moral values whom I greatly admire, encourages people to negotiate with companies to lower their debt, and for a fraction of what they owe.
Then we have the Federal Student Aid program, which provides a means for students to have their loans forgiven, canceled, or discharged. At first, when looking at the requirements, I thought that the criteria made sense; then I realized how any creative person could play with those guidelines:
- Your school falsely certified your eligibility to receive the loan based on your ability to benefit from its training, and you did not meet the ability-to-benefit student eligibility requirements (for example, you did not have a high school diploma or General Educational Development certificate).
- Your eligibility to receive a loan was falsely certified because you were a victim of identity theft.
- The school certified your eligibility, but because of a physical or mental condition, age, criminal record, or other reason, you would not meet state requirements for employment in the occupation in which you were being trained.
- The school signed your name on the application or promissory note without your authorization, or the school endorsed your loan check or signed your authorization for electronic funds transfer without your knowledge, unless the loan money was given to you or applied to charges that you owed to the school.
On second review, I realized that almost anyone who wants to qualify for this program could do so easily. For example, on bullet point three, how difficult would it be to incriminate the school? And why should a school be responsible for your poor decision in choosing a study major for a job that doesn’t exist? Or one that’s hard to find?