I’ve been sifting through comment threads on various media outlets and was struck by the following post, which was in response to a fellow commenter. Apologies to the person who posted the following but I couldn’t ask permission.
“I agree with Tyler about the student debt nonsense. As a 23 year old who has graduated college in May of 2011 with an engineering degree, it’s not that I felt “entitled” to some level of material wealth and now I’m pissed off. I was supposed to leave for the Peace Corps in September of 2011 but was made to hold off until June of 2012 because of the budget cuts to that department. I recognize our unsustainable lifestyles. I criticized Nick Kristof’s article on this movement for the same reasons: unrestrained capitalistic societies dependent on economic growth simply cannot continue indefinitely, especially with emerging economies taking their share.
What I am pissed about, as Tyler said, is the amount of debt that I’m stuck with, with no way of paying it off — despite the fact that I got an “engineering degree” from a top school (my program is ranked 10th in the nation). It was a state school, too, so it’s not like I went to an expensive private university. I put engineering degree in quotes because everyone always says, “Well what did you expect getting that POS liberal arts degree?” If the job market wasn’t this bad, I would be able to pay off this debt easily. It’s essentially the same reasons homeowners who were evicted are pissed off. They entered a contract under agreed circumstances, and now the other side isn’t living up to its end of the bargain. I got this degree because I always wanted to be an astronaut. During college, the president’s campaign made me change my mind and I instead wanted to go into public service, so I applied to the Peace Corps. And now I can’t even fucking do that, and I’m stuck with $50,000 in debt substitute teaching when I can while looking for permanent work. It’s bullshit, Freddie, and it’s not because “I want mine!” You don’t call yourself a Marxist; I don’t know exactly how I want society to eventually operate, but it is very much inspired by Marxist thought. I don’t know that I’m a Marxist either, but I do know that something has to change, and these grievances aren’t necessarily “I want mine, dammit.”