Published On: Wed, Jun 10th, 2015

Lee Siegel Calls for Student Loan Boycott in America


Lee Siegel

Author Lee Siegel is calling on Americans to default on their student loan debts, something that he himself did.

His words are especially relevant today as much is being made of how American Americans are drowning in more than $1 trillion worth if student debt. And this after many failed to find decent employment after spending a small fortune on law or business schools.

It also comes after the federal government said that it would forgive the $3.5 billion student debt held by all of the people who were scammed by the now defunct Corinthian for profit colleges. What about all the other schools which made grandiose promises about future employment to their students, people ask.

The major problem with student debt is that it cannot be defaulted on. Unlike with mortgages and credit card debts, an American cannot simply declare bankruptcy to avoid paying back their student loans.

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Siegel explained why he choose the default route. He wrote, “I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school.”

“Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.”

“I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans. As difficult as it has been, I’ve never looked back. The millions of young people today, who collectively owe over $1 trillion in loans, may want to consider my example.”

As for a national boycott, Siegel told CNBC in an interview, “I do think that in an ideal situation, it would not be the worst thing in the world to have a national boycott like that.”

He also pointed to the inequity in allowing big businesses and mortgage holders to default on their debts, but not the holders of student loans.

See his CNBC interview here.

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