The Student Loan System Has ‘Layers of Dysfunction’

Everyone wants to talk about student debt.

Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, for example. The incoming The Biden administration and the main Democrats for another. There is a vigorous discussion in the Make Me Smart Facebook Group and, oh yes, some 42 million Americans in charge of $ 1.6 trillion in university debt probably want to talk about it too.

Will in New Orleans is just a listener who called asking us to talk about this debt – in particular, forgive a lot of it.

“What would be the potential effect of this on the US economy? And is this possible as an executive order if and when Congress does not act? ” He asked.

To find out, we called Susan dynarski. She’s a professor of public policy, education, and economics at the University of Michigan, and today she’s helping us look beyond our own monthly payments and bring some nuance to the conversation.

We’ll talk about how her own thinking about canceling student loans has evolved, what all this debt is doing to the economy at the macro and micro levels, and the deeper reforms this country needs to resolve the crisis.

“There are only layers and layers of dysfunction here,” Dynarski said. “If you were hoping for a very simple economic story, this is not the case.”

Because like so many things, if you push a little here, pull a little there, there’s a lot of ripple effects through the economy.

Later in the show, we’ll get an update on the state of the U.S. Postal Service, and listeners taking a closer look at their Christmas trees and logo on their Marketplace mugs. Plus, everyone’s favorite intern answers the Make Me Smart question.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our Daily Explainers. This week, we’re really in the spirit of the season, explaining gift wrapping, toys for toddlers and holiday decor. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter too! You can find the last number here.

Finally, if you liked this episode, you will love our recent episode of “It’s uncomfortable“About a woman who worked in a call center suing people for student loan repayments – while struggling to pay off student debt on her own.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

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About Hannah Schaeffer

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