Boots & Sabers

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0835, 18 Feb 19

Student Debt Delinquencies Peak

I blame the students who took on odious amounts of debt for degrees that offer little opportunity to repay the debt and the adults who enabled the kids to take on the debt.

Student-loan delinquencies surged last year, hitting consecutive records of $166.3 billion in the third quarter and $166.4 billion in the fourth.

Bloomberg calculated the dollar amounts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly household-debt report, which includes only the total owed and the percentage delinquent at least 90 days or in default.

That percentage has remained around 11 percent since mid-2012, but the total increased to a record $1.46 trillion by December 2018, and unpaid student debt also rose to the highest ever.


0835, 18 February 2019


  1. Jason

    Owen, did you also report that the number of 90 days+ past due car loans is at a record high, or did I read that else where?

    Seems to me the economy is ready to crash again, these are two forecast points that seem to indicate some major issues by the middle class.

  2. jjf

    Well, those “kids” were probably legal adults, and their parents probably have twenty years of experience as adults, and maybe they knew what “co-sign” meant, so should we say they were any more stupid than the kid who believed the Army recruiter when he told him he could pretty much write his own ticket?  Or the “kid” who learned to weld at taxpayer-subsidized expense at a tech school, who realized that welding is a dirty job that you might not enjoy for thirty years?

  3. Owen

    Yeah, I mentioned “the adults…” that includes their parents. But to answer your question, no. We are all responsible for our decisions and the consequences of them. Just remember that when your favorite local lefty comes around with their sob story saying that we should absolve these adults of those consequences.

  4. jjf

    Or also, for example, then, a business that gets into a line of work knowing their tax obligations, and that they shouldn’t beg to get out of it?  Or shouldn’t beg for subsidy?  This is different from the hopeful eyes of a college freshman when they take on debt?

    Can you think of any businesses that walked away from obligations and into bankruptcy?  Any high-profile people who’ve done that repeatedly?

    But these are people who are more than 90 days late.  They could turn it around, right?

    You see a little drop in 2011, and a jump in 2018, or is that just my eyes?

  5. jjf

    Or to put more of a point on it, it sounds like we agree – there’s much about  the idea of a wholesale student loan forgiveness / bailout that I don’t like, too.  It’s obvious the public college and university funding situations are making the problem worse.

    But preventing them from refinancing?  That seems cruel.  

  6. Kevin Scheunemann

    This is all on the students!

    Some of the laziest students had the worst amount of debt at UW-Milwaukee.

    They would not get a job, would live in expensive apartments, borrow for food, supplies, vacations, books, etc, etc.   Some would be in debt six figures before they were done with their undergraduate degree.  They tended to party, waste a lot of time on lunatic liberal advocacy, etc.

    We caught a student there going to school for 24 years as an undergrad, just kept borrowing, (because loan payback did not start until graduation) he had a massive amount of credits, and just became a professsional student.  After my newspaper exposed that, UW set a max undergrad credit accumulation policy soon thereafter. (essentially forcing graduation).    It was absurd this liberals hippie could abusee the system like this.

    I lived at home and communted, worked full-time, and paid as I went.   I ended up borrowing $4,000 from my credit card for final semester, but had 0% interest for 12 months and paid it off by month 8.


  7. jjf

    Wow, that’s an impressive pile of personal anecdote, there!

  8. Kevin Scheunemann


    I have rich life experience with the social destruction liberalsim causes.

  9. jjf

    Pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, without anyone lending a hand!  No one helped you!

    I’ve heard the story before.

  10. Kevin Scheunemann


    You act like that is a bad thing….I had a lot more “impairments” to overcome than many of my peers as well.

  11. dad29

    90 days+ past due car loans

    Those are not loans taken out by “the middle class.”  Those are the high-risk loans (sub-primes) which were being granted liberally for the past 3-4 years.  Prime loans–the ones which the “middle” (and upper) class take out–are doing just fine, thanks.

  12. Mike

    The students bear the majority of the blame for their student loan debt, but there are others that should share responsibility.

    What about the school counselors  that set them on a path to a career with a low average salary? Do they bear some blame?

    It’s generally the parents that teach financial responsibility, but what about the school’s role? Do they even teach budgeting and money management, or home economics, any more?

  13. jjf

    Careful, Mike, your mention of the element of luck and misfortune is contrary to Kevin’s tale of survivorship bias.  If someone got bad advice or had a bad teacher along the way, it must be a reflection of their character if they didn’t succeed.

  14. Kevin Scheunemann


    We have some responsibility to not be stupid, even if we are surrounded by stupid.

    What are you saying? No consequences for making stupid choices?

    That is utterly stupid if you cling to that.

  15. jjf

    When I said “luck and misfortune” and “survivorship bias” you thought I said “stupid choices”?  

  16. Le Roi du Nord


    You really, really should practice what you preach;

    “We have some responsibility to not be stupid”.

  17. Kevin Scheunemann


    Practice that everyday, even though I get my hands dirty with you.

    I had no student loan debt, saved and paid for college 100% myself, while having a full time job.

    So I did not fall into the stupid trap of irresponsible student loan debt.

    This is fault of liberals making financial aide too easy to get and abuse!

  18. Le Roi du Nord

    “This is fault of liberals making financial aide too easy to get and abuse!”

    Is it really?  Any evidence to back that up?

    I doubt that you ever get your hands dirty.


  19. Le Roi du Nord

    Nah, you have said things a lot dumber.  You can do better.

    Prager isn’t a source, it is propaganda.

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