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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 10, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Student debt: We’ve broken the covenant for future generations

Regarding recent coverage of student debt in The Times and in many other publications, it is interesting that nothing is said about the root cause of the problem [“Prodding Congress, Obama acts to ease student debt,” Nation & World, June 9].

When my father attended college in Washington state in the 1930s, the taxpayers paid about 80 percent of the cost of educating a student, with tuition making up the remaining 20 percent. The breakdown was similar when I attended UW in the 1970s. Starting around 1980, that ratio started to change, so that it has now flipped, with the state (taxes) paying around 30 percent of the cost.

For generations, we paid our parents’ generation back for our education by paying forward for the next generation’s education. We’ve broken that intergenerational covenant, and are now saying, “Our taxes are too high, so we’re no longer going to pay back for what we received.”

Our children are reaping the bitter fruit of what Tim Eyman, the tea party, and 30 years of Reaganomics have sown. All the money has flowed to the top, and left us feeling too poor to pay forward to educate the next generation. Shame on all of us.

Al Johnson, Seattle

Comments | More in Student debt | Topics: student debt, tea party, Tim Eyman

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