Another non-problem, in Will’s world, is student loan debt:
Political logic suggests that this year Obama will try to rekindle the love of young voters with some forgiveness of student debts. But one-third of students do not borrow to pay college tuition. The average debt for those who do borrow to attend a four-year public institution is $22,000, and the average difference between the per-year earnings of college graduates and those with only a high school diploma is … $22,000.
I guess one lesson is that 2/3 of college students should either get themselves full scholarships or wealthier parents. But in the event that this isn’t possible, never fear–you’ll make enough money in a hurry to pay off your debt.
The more important question might be how this level of debt has changed over time. According to this item from the Wall Street Journal‘s Real Time Economics blog (8/15/11), “There was $550 billion in student debt outstanding in the second quarter, up 25 percent from $440 billion in the third quarter of 2008.”
And as the Project on Student Debt reports, the average debt load doubled from 1996 to 2008: