4. America’s escalating student debt…
The stock of outstanding student debt in the US has surged to more than $1.1 trillion. This isn’t all bad news—more people are in college, which is a good thing. But some economists suggest that the burden of student debt is reshaping the spending patterns of younger Americans, prompting them to put off buying houses, cars, and much else besides.
5. …And its outlandish university tuition costs
Everyone knows that higher education is a costly undertaking in the US. But until they see this chart, it’s hard to understand exactly how expensive it is. Since 1978 college tuition costs have surged more than 1,200%, compared with an increase of 280% for overall prices, as measured by the consumer price index. For the record, US colleges counter that this measure only captures the “sticker cost,” and actually overstates the amount most students really pay because of grants and other financial breaks.