Occasionally I enjoy debating real things and not just telling jokes or doing comedy, so here's an idea.  Student load debt is a national crisis.  I think this is something we can all agree on.

The Numbers

The United States has around $1.2 Trillion in student loan debt.  That averages out to about $3,700.00 per person.  Now, that includes babies and great-grandmothers alike.  Let's say only the population of people aged 18-44 held all the debt, that would be $10,619 per person.  About 41% of people hold some type of college degree, so let's break that number down even more, and the average person has approximately $26,000.00 in debt.  That's a new car!

Effect

Taking $26,000 out of a person's current economic standing would definitely have a huge impact on the average person.  Combine that with interest rates on the student loans, and it's no wonder the economy is struggling.  At a 5% interest rate, you could end up owing over $42,000 if you can't afford the payments right after school for up to 10 years.  That's a really nice new car, or half of a starter home.  We aren't talking just a few people here either, we are talking 38,000,000 people being impacted.  That's a huge number of people that could be positively contributing to the economy here.  However, they are so saddled with debt, they are having to spend all their money paying for a degree that possibly wasn't worth it.  We all make mistakes, but we shouldn't have to live with them forever, and there should be ways for hard working individuals to get out of debt quickly.

My Proposal

My proposal, and this is more of an initial thought, than that of a well thought out plan, so there may be some glaring hole I'm missing, but what if we transformed the 401k plans into a student loan payoff plan.  A lot of companies match 401k investments at 4-6% of their income.  What if, instead of being forced to save 5% of a person's income for retirement, where the payback is almost assuredly less than the interest rate on student loans, that person could put 5% of their salary before tax towards paying off student loans?  Then, that company would match the 5% of the student loan debt.  Suddenly student loan payments aren't coming out of expendable income, and people are able to travel more and do more.  Once they have paid off their student loans, the contribution of their pre-tax earnings could automatically change back to 401k retirement plans so we don't have these same millions of people not having any savings for retirement.  However, as long as student loan interest is higher than the income from 401k plans, this plan will save a ton of people a ton of money and free up people to spend in the good ole USA!

If you have comments, you can comment here, or email me at leeh@leehalecomedy.com

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