The folks at the Huffington Post reached out to me today for an “alternative,” non-lefty perspective on the crisis of college student loan debt in America. I was glad for it, and so should anyone who tuned in to HuffPost Live this afternoon. The conversation was … well … an education.
I pitched them Joy Pullmann, Heartland’s research fellow for education policy. Joy was happy to take out some time on very short notice (one hour) to be on the program. She absolutely slayed three other supporters of more subsidies for college tuition, “help” for college grads straining under immense debt, and the idea that government has to do something to solve this problem.
Joy brought the free-market truth in a clear and aggressive way that seemed to catch host Alyona Minkovski and the other panelists off guard. Joy’s overall message: Government can’t solve the problem because government is the problem.
Joy’s co-panelists were [links to Twitter handles]:
Tyler Kingkade, HuffPost College Assistant Editor
Natalia Abrams, Co-Founder of Student Debt Crisis
Cecillia Barr, Content Contributor, Debt.org
[This is Joy’s Twitter link.]
Quick summary: Joy noted that when it comes to student loan debt legislation currently percolating in Congress, President Obama is just posing. He rejects a House bill that gives him pretty much what he says he wants — lower student loan interest rates — but he’s pushing back because he thinks he can win on the politics.
Kingkade had to admit, in essence, that Joy was right on that point, saying what Obama was doing on this issue is “a sham.”
More Joy (paraphrasing):
If you want to have a better life, make that financial bet on yourself with your own money. Don’t make someone else place that bet for you — especially considering that four in 10 kids who enter college never graduate — but end up with a bunch of worthless debt anyway that is hard to pay off with the salary of a bartender or hairdresser.
I don’t want to quote or paraphrase more — except to say that Joy noted that she took and absorbed “Economics 101″ in college, and openly wondered if her fellow panelests did. (Ouch!) Joy’s verbatim comments — her “performance,” for lack of a better term — is better experienced for yourself. Her ability to bring the facts to dominate this debate is a wonder to behold. Just imagine how good Joy would have been with more than an hour to prepare!
I hope HuffPost Live has Heartland’s smiling assassin on again. (Maybe next time, they’ll spell her name right in the “guests lineup” section.) This kind of Web TV debate is as good as it gets — and its audience could probably use more contrarian perspectives as good as this: