Two national debt debacles have been popping into the headlines lately:
- For the last 18 months, some 650,000 homeowners haven't paid their mortgages; many are using the money to get back on their feet.
- As 1.7 million students look toward college this fall, tens of thousands will take out loans they can ill afford—with the blessing of banks and financial aid officers.
The blame game
Some homeowners argue that banks were trying to make a buck from bad loans, and extended way too much credit to innocent people, who now owe more than their homes are worth.
Now, they say, let the banks eat those overinflated mortgage payments.
This NY Times article argues that banks are on the verge of creating a similar, student loan crisis by lending far more than most students can afford to pay back.
Is it the lenders' fault if students borrow money that will keep them in debt for years?
Let's hear it
We've all been exposed to the ugly underbelly of the financial world in the last few years. It's clear that lenders can and have stooped to incredible lows to saddle their customers with debt.
And yet… in hindsight—the money spent, the diploma in hand—it's suspiciously easy to cry, "I can't afford it."
When people are in debt up to their necks, whose responsibility is it?