Bill leaves college students at risk for overwhelming debt

The bankruptcy bill that was passed by Congress on Thursday has the potential to leave many U.S. citizens out in the cold. Since the bill makes it harder for individuals who face overwhelming debt to start over, the bill will put many students at a disadvantage. Instead of giving citizens a second chance, the bill will play into the hands of corporations that thrive on credit, most notably credit card companies. Such companies will make millions while the average citizen is being put at a disadvantage.

USF students are familiar with the monetary demands a college education brings. It is also no secret that college students, in particular trying to come up with the funding for an increasingly expensive education, often have to take out credit in order to come up with such funds. College is also the time when many attempt to start building a life, a dream that could not be more American.

But since many students overburden themselves with debt, be it due to misguided choices or because they see no other alternative, it is particularly college students who could be left at the mercy of creditors now that said creditors have more tools at their disposal to collect on debts.

The bill also makes it harder for small business owners who, for whatever reason, go out of business. Such individuals, heavily touted as America’s future during the lead-up to last November’s general election, are now all but abandoned by the Senate and House of Representatives they helped to elect.

All that is now required to make the bill a law is President George W. Bush’s signature. And while the president once professed he can identify with small businesses — as he “used to be one” — it is doubtful the president will veto the bill. President Bush himself had several failed business ventures before he was elected governor of Texas. But unlike the president, the average American will not have a former U.S. president as a father to bail him out; they will lose even the basic protection of certain bankruptcy laws.

That Congress passed such a bill is not just disconcerting because it puts a strain on the constituents that elected them into their current jobs; it also opens up the question of why the honorable members of Congress feel so obliged to cater to “big business” operations such as banks and credit card companies.

But Americans can rest assured that the same men and women who passed the bill, sending millions of dollars into the coffers of these businesses, will vehemently chastise the same businesses in the near future. The next election is, after all, always looming just around the corner.

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