With Puerto Rico spiraling toward financial disaster, spokesman Josh Earnest stood in front of cameras yesterday and reiterated the White House’s support for an idea to help the troubled island: Let its public corporations to go through a structured bankruptcy, the same way they can in the 50 states.
In an April campaign stop, Jeb Bush said much the same thing: “Puerto Rico should be given the same rights as the states.”
With both Obama and Bush behind the same plan, you might expect it to have decent odds on Capitol Hill. You’d be wrong. Puerto Rico’s non-voting delegate, Pedro Pierluisi, introduced such a bill in the last Congress, but it never even received a vote in committee.
Some call it the Student Loan Bubble — I call it crazy. And what better time to discuss student debt insanity than now, as countless soon-to-be graduates prepare to slip on their caps and gowns? An estimated 1.8 million students are graduating this year, many with degrees that perhaps aren’t worth a damn when it comes to actually getting a job. Nevertheless, many of them will soon be paying back the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars they borrowed to get those nice degrees, and I wonder how many will regret the decision to spend what they spent as they see their interest compound and principals skyrocket through cycles of deferment and forbearance. The college experience can be an amazing one, but is it really worth the cost? (And I’m not just talking about tuition.)
To get at the heart of this question, I recently commissioned a poll that asked adults of all ages about student loans. We asked how much student debt is okay, and how much is too much. One in five senior citizens and almost a quarter of adults between the ages of 35 to 49 agree that $20,000 to $50,000 in student loan debt is too much to borrow. Maybe that’s because they are in the age range of folks in a position to hire young people. Maybe it’s because college didn’t used to cost so much. At any rate, people of college age, between 18 and 24, disagreed with the old folks; only 16 percent said graduating with that much debt is too much.