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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 9, 2008 at 4:58 PM

Indentured graduates

Teach financial responsibility, parents

The supposedly touching story of student Lora Ladd’s inability to repay her student loans speaks to too many of our young people today who take out loans at a time “when they’ve never needed to be financially responsible” [“With no way out of trouble, more students likely to default,” page one, Oct. 6].

Are we failing our children by not teaching financial responsibility at a young age, so they don’t get themselves into this predicament? Perhaps we are seeing the results in our current economic situation.

My suggestion to Ladd and other young adults is to stop whining, postpone college for a couple of years and get a full-time job, live frugally and open an interest-bearing savings account. When you have saved enough for tuition, go to college and work part-time. No student loans to default on or repay.

Many of us who were determined to go to college did it just this way.

— Ruth Osborn, Bellevue

Subsidize U.S. higher education

To the letter writers who choose to blame the victims in the college-loan stories and tell highly-motivated achievers to “go cheap,” I would like to point out that the current system of paying these loans back can pile penalties on top of interest rates that can be punitive. Having two children use loans as well as grants and mom-and-pop scholarships, I know the system.

Let’s also recall that this wealthy, largest Western democracy puts the burden of higher education in the laps of the students and their families. I think if enough people here understood that in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and many other lands, meritocracy leads to nearly fully subsidized higher education. If more people knew this, would they not rise up and ask, “Why not here?”?

But we have known for years that the Western world has had universal health care for some time now, but not here. Why not? Docile acceptance of the status quo. If our system were proposed in other countries, would they not riot in the streets?

Meanwhile, we continue to elect President Bush and his ilk because we have been so dumbed down by the press and the oligarchs in control that we no longer recognize how to vote for our own economic interests.

— Jack McClurg, Marysville

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