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College loan debt and Roe's health care plan in Sunday's Forum

Staff Report • Oct 2, 2013 at 8:39 AM

I am writing you this letter because I feel like college tuition is way too expensive for students. College tuition continues going up — it never goes down. Common people and families with money problems have a difficult time paying for college, which leads to many obtaining student loans. Around 39 million Americans currently have student loans. The students then go into a humongous pile of debt, and it takes them a long time to pay it off. Robert Hilton Smith’s report about student debt very accurately states, “Student debt has skyrocketed over the past decade, quadrupling from just $240 billion in 2003 to more than $1 trillion today.” An average student debt for a dual-headed household with bachelors’ degrees from a four-year university is around $53,000. At the rate college tuitions are increasing, low and average income families will have an increased household wealth loss. The problem many people face with student loans begins with their inability to save money. With all of their built up debt they find it very difficult to save money to plan for their futures. This can also lead to a loss in growth for the U.S. economy. To fix these existing problems, we need to reduce existing student debt and prevent future debt from getting any larger. Another way to assist with this problem is to have the ability to refinance existing debt at lower rates. Many students are not able to find a job that will provide enough income for them to pay off their loans. If that’s true, they should be able to discharge their debt in bankruptcy court. Finally, politicians and our government need to be negotiating with college systems to provide more adequate grants and scholarships. I just think college is way too expensive for our economy to even handle, and we should try our hardest to help lower tuition rates for future generations. MATTHEW ABRAHAMJohnson CityRoe’s health care planDear Johnson City Press:I would like to congratulate you on writing a very effective press release Sept. 19 for Congressman Phil Roe and his plan to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.I am impressed by the total commitment to making such a mediocre congressman look good. That takes immense skill and devotion. I mean, any two-cent journalist can ask follow-up questions instead of taking everything the congressman claims at face value. Where’s the fun in that? It also doesn’t take any talent to ask health care experts if any of the congressman’s claims are true, and it’s absolutely poor form to listen for (or, heaven forbid, quote) any dissenting voices.It’s great press-release writing, however, to imply that this bill would be better than Obamacare, if for no other reason, because it’s 200 pages long instead of 2,700. Who needs to fact check? If it’s simple and from one of our good ol’ Republican boys, well then it obviously must be better than anything those long-winded, Satan-loving Democrats come up with.Keep up the good work.KEVIN ANDERSONJohnson City

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