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Joseph Stiglitz On Student Debt And The American Dream

Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on how student debt is crushing the American dream, and what to do about it.

Graduates from various institutions take part in the Toss Your Caps: Philly Graduates College photo opportunity on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Friday, May 20, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP)

Graduates from various institutions take part in the Toss Your Caps: Philly Graduates College photo opportunity on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Friday, May 20, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP)

It’s cap and gown time all over the country.  And since it’s this country, that means a lot of new young college graduates graduating with a lot of debt.  $26,000 on average now for student loan borrowers.  In total, more than a trillion dollars in student debt.  Famously more student debt now in this country than credit card debt.

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says this isn’t just an astonishing number.  It’s a real drag on the US economy, and a real promoter of US inequality.  It’s got to change, he says.

This hour, On Point:  Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz on student debt in America.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tamar Lewin, higher education reporter for the New York Times. (@tamarnyt)

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel-Prize-winning economist. University Professor at Columbia University and Co-Chair of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought. His recent op-ed in the New York Times was, “Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream.”

Closing Segment

A selection from Annie Lennox’s commencement address at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream — “The crisis that is about to break out involves student debt and how we finance higher education. Like the housing crisis that preceded it, this crisis is intimately connected to America’s soaring inequality, and how, as Americans on the bottom rungs of the ladder strive to climb up, they are inevitably pulled down — some to a point even lower than where they began.”

Time: Elizabeth Warren: Students Should Get the Same Rates as the Bankers — “Consumer protection maven Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced her first piece of legislation this week, a proposal that would allow students to take out government educational loans at the same rate that big banks pay to borrow from the federal government.”

The Huffington Post: Obama Student Loan Policy Reaping $51 Billion Profit —  “The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation’s most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets.”

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