As modern government has become a framework for ameliorating grievances, I have a proposition: Let’s construct a hierarchy of gripes, beginning with those who deserve the most sympathy at the top. The highest spots would be populated by, for instance, women who have been abandoned by their children’s fathers, men in their 50s who are let go from their jobs after 20 years, and Native Americans.
Nowhere on this list would be America’s latest theatrically aggrieved group: people who don’t want to pay back their student loans.
It is true, student loan debt has risen rapidly over the past several decades. The average college graduate in 2011 finished school with $24,000 in debt, while tuition and fees have increased by 440% in 30 years. Last year, total student loan debt in America outpaced credit card debt for the first time in history.
Thus, while the Occupy movement struggled to find a common issue upon which to coalesce, student loan debt forgiveness seemed to tie them together. Yet one Occupier in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, wielding a sign that read “Throw me a bone, pay my tuition,” made national news when he failed to articulate a single reason the government should bail him out. Asked by National Review reporter Charles C.W. Cooke to explain his sign’s meaning, the young man simply said, “just because it’s what I want.”