Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Living Off Student Loans: Far Preferable to This

First, thanks for the high turn-out in the OGI thread - it does seem like a lot of people are going to be dealing with a lot fewer interviews than last year. There's a lot of interesting comments on the thread, and I urge people to skim them if they have the time. There's also a sort of back-and-forth on whether career services should provide more information and/or different guidance on how to pick their interviews. We'll way in on that, and some of the other issues raised in the comments, very soon (alas, a busy week for us).

Second, during our daily browsings today we came across this article from the Washington Post. Basically, it's about a family in some place in Indiana. The Dad and Mom both lost their jobs, and they are about to get kicked out of their house. (Spoiler: At the end of the narrative, they DO get kicked out). The whole narrative is heartbreaking: every day they do the same thing, and the Dad has to get up and be reminded of the indiginity of not being able to provide for his family. The son is about to graduate high school and has no prospects, either, except maybe joining the military. Things seem pretty bleak, and you wonder what has happened to the American dream:

[The family] already took free food from a church pantry, cardboard boxes filled with Corn Flakes and bologna and saltines, his wife, Kelly, walking in, head down, while he stayed in the car, ashen. They pawned his wedding ring, sold part of her Silver Eagle coin collection and had help from the Salvation Army paying their electric bill.

But then you keep reading, and you realize that said Dad spends his unemployment checks on bar-bought beer, lottery tickets. The Mom won't take a job because she can make more off unemployment (even though that's going to run out). The family take free food from the church pantry, but they also get delivery sometimes, too (see pictures). The husband had a job that paid him $53,000/year (more than many public interest lawyers!), but didn't manage to save any of it, instead spending on nights at the bar and expensive dinners out. In some ways this makes us less sympathetic, in others, it makes the story seem even more tragic.

Anyway, we wonder how typical the story is. Hopefully not very - but with unemployment now approaching 10% (and that doesn't include all the 3Ls who will be looking for work in a tough market next year), who knows. If you don't mind a little bit of American tragedy, give it a read.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's "weigh." First.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of loans, did you see this article, which notes that public law school tuition at most places is rising by double-digit percentages? The exceptions are the quasi-private schools -- Michigan and, of course, UVA -- which saw roughly 5% hikes. Since this blog was a big opponent of any tuition increase (and understandably so), I'm curious as to your thoughts.

FWIW, I think at many universities, the business and law schools use their high tuition (and the fact that students pay w/ loans rather than out of daddy's pocket) to subsidize the general univ operations. We're somewhat fortunate here that, when tuition does go up, at least we get to keep most all of it in-house.

Anonymous said...

2:57 - I think you're right. Part of the reason there are so many law schools in the US (have we hit 200 yet?) is that universities view them as cash cows.

Anonymous said...

They only sold part of their silver coin collection?

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis. It's all about priorities.

I think the same thing when I read many of the health-care horror stories - not all the time, but a lot of the time, people just choose to spend money on different things. That's their prerogative, but it shouldn't me my duty to in turn pay for their healthcare.

Anonymous said...

He golfs, plays poker, still drinks bud-light (at bars, - 8 beers then drives) and pepsi, buys donuts, bets at a "nascar betting pool", and buys Marlboro cigs. With his unemployment checks.

She has a blackberry.

That's absurd. At least he could smoke something generic and buy Natty Lite, if he's living off of other people's work.

This is beyond the welfare queens of the early 90s. I have no pity for them, only scorn.

Anonymous said...

They've paid in premiums to receive these payouts in the case of their unemployment. In fact, they've probably paid more in premiums (relative to how much they're entitled to receive) than richer folks. So they're not exactly spending other people's money.

Anonymous said...

How about a post about how annoying the CARS system is for people applying to clerkships. Apps are due next week but CARS is closed so you can't access your list of judges in order to get addresses/create mail merges, etc.

Anonymous said...

WTF: http://www.cvillenews.com/2003/11/19/cav-daily-fires-two-for-plagiarism/

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

Anonymous said...

Don't stop posting such themes. I love to read articles like this. By the way add more pics :)