Say it ain’t so, Joe

I admit to being moved by Stephen Colbert’s interview with Joe Biden. Both men have suffered tragedy in their lives and both entered the world as Irish-American Catholics. Colbert displayed empathy. Biden exhibited emotional pain along with unabashed humility. Joe Biden. Common man.

I quickly recovered, however. Joe Biden is a politician, after all, and no one gets to be a senator or vice president without compromising or jettisoning moral principles, if they existed in the first place. As it happens, Joe Biden, for all his Catholic sensibilities, chose repeatedly to represent the interests of Big Money over those of working-class college students.

Before Biden was rebranded as the kindly, well-liked Vice President, he was a long-serving senator from Delaware, the “senator from MBNA” as he was often called for a number of very good reasons. Delaware is the state that attracted a great many credit card company headquarters by offering little in the way of usury laws — limits to interest rates that banks could charge their customers. As a result, one of Delaware’s most important industries is those who profit from debt-creation [via Hullabaloo].

Student debt weighs heavily on thousands of young people answering the politicians’ call to get a college education, or else. At the end of 2014 such debt stood at $1.2 trillion.

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The whole system is a racket, which accounts for what’s shown in the chart at the top. Because of the highly profitable nature of the student loan program in general (loans earn interest until they are paid regardless of graduation or post-grad jobs), and because of the government guarantees and the number of loans issued, college tuition is encouraged to rise, which further encourages loan amounts to rise, which further increases profit from interest payments, in a near-endless cycle.

And Joe helped make it so.