ONTD Political

Rep. Virginia Foxx On People With Student Loans: ‘I Have Very Little Tolerance’ For Them

8:06 am - 04/16/2012
Rep. Virginia Foxx On People With Student Loans: ‘I Have Very Little Tolerance’ For Them

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) took on a unique enemy during a radio interview yesterday: people with student loans.

Though many politicians sympathize with those who are saddled with exorbitant student debt, Foxx, who chairs the House subcommittee on higher education, had a different take. Appearing on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show, the North Carolina congresswoman recounted her own experience paying for college, where she worked her way through and graduated after seven years. Foxx then pointed to her own experience as justification for why she has “very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt.” “There’s no reason for that,” she concluded:

FOXX: I went through school, I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money. He borrowed a little bit because we both were totally on our own when we went to college, totally. [...] I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” You don’t have it dumped in your lap.

Listen to it:

Despite Foxx’s implication, these loans are not taken out frivolously. They are taken out because of the soaring cost of college. In other words, because the price of college is so high — and House Republicans are working overtime to cut Pell grants for one million low-income students — the amount of loans required to pay for it is also high. Indeed, student loan debt topped one trillion dollars last year, orders of magnitude larger than in the decades prior.

Still, Foxx’s distaste for large loans does not appear to extend to the mortgage sector. In Foxx’s 2010 financial disclosure statement, she owned two individual mortgage notes worth up to $250,000 each, from which she earned as much as $20,000 in payments.
missmurchison 16th-Apr-2012 02:01 am (UTC)
the government never pursued collection

In fact, it's next to impossible to get student loans discharged in bankruptcy and the feds have options for collecting debt that the credit card companies can only dream about. They can seize income tax refund and other federal payments (including portions of Social Security payments), garnish your wages without getting a court order, and assign your debt to the Department of Justice for litigation. They also use collection agencies.
circumambulate 16th-Apr-2012 05:55 am (UTC)
That's now, that was not the case up until the late 80s, or maybe even the Clinton years. There was a big shift in government collection around that time. Before that, a lot of people simply stopped paying and never heard a peep.
missmurchison 16th-Apr-2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
They were lucky, probably because it was harder to track people then. The ability to garnish wages without going to court only goes back to Bush I, but there was other vigorous collection activity before then.

The big deals were the tightening of bankruptcy rules and the abolishment of the statute of limitations. Because the SOL was abolished retroactively, people who thought they had waited out the collection period found they still owed their loans.

Also, since the 90s there has been a better database around to track student loans.

I don't extend my sympathy to people who thought they could simply not pay, especially as there were bankruptcy options at that time and the lifetime loan limits were much lower. However, a lot of proprietary schools did rip people off, especially in the 80s, but there are some administrative solutions for that.
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