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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 6, 2008 at 3:59 PM

Indentured graduates

John Lok / The Seattle Times

Alan Collinge, left, founder of, and Lora Ladd, a young woman who has some outstanding school debt, photographed in front of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle.

Consumerism put students in debt

Editor, The Times:

College-debt burdens, such as those described in The Seattle Times on Oct. 5 [“Young, educated, drowning in debt,” page one], compromise the quality of life for our families, young people and future generations.

And for what? For the privilege of sacrificing our world’s young people — our beloved, our future — on the altar of consumerism that the college experience has become.

It would be too easy to say that the army of young people who leave college with a crushing debt burden — and only maybe a degree — should have been more responsible. But we can’t let institutions, or ourselves, off the hook so easily. We parents have indulged ourselves and our young people in a credit-fueled consumer theology that fails to distinguish between need and want.

Universities allow commercial interests to prey on financially naive populations through such means as student IDs (paid for by banks) that double as debit cards, turning on a predictable stream of spending, followed by overdraft fees for banks.

Our young people are our beloved and our future. Instead, we have been treating them like carrion, feeding them and future generations to the greedy vultures of instant gratification and short-term profits.

— Liz Tidyman, Bellevue

Big loans aren’t necessary

I do not have any sympathy for Tyson Hunter or others like him who chose to borrow big money to attend expensive private universities, especially to acquire a bachelor’s degree.

It seems that, since his mom is so accommodating, he could have lived with her and attended the local community college and then transferred to one of our fine state schools to complete his degree. All of this could have been done for far, far less than that the $152,460 which he borrowed.

Yes, we all like to have the very best, but sometimes we have to adjust our sights to fit our incomes.

Further, putting this boohoo story on the front page makes no sense in this time when there are people who really have genuine hardships.

— Karen Moore, Bellevue

Debt of the indebted is ours

I see in the today’s news that Not only have people been buying houses they couldn’t afford, but also buying education they couldn’t afford.

Oh, well. I’m sure Sen. Barack Obama will figure out a way to redistribute the income of those of us not up to our eyeballs in debt, because we “pay as we go” to help these poor souls.

— Gary McGavran, Bellevue

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