Attention College Graduates! (This Man is a Moron)

Attention College Graduates! (This Man is a Moron)

- in Moos Room
Lee Siegel – Author, Cultural Critic, and Student Loan Deadbeat


Okay, just for the record, this is NOT me.  I wear glasses, I probably have 20 pounds on this guy, and I work for a living.  The only thing we most likely we have in common is that I once owned a shirt this color (was it called ‘French Blue’?) in 2001.  Any other similarities between the two us pretty much begin and end there. .

I didn’t know who Lee Siegel was until around 6:35 this morning when he unexpectedly popped up on MSNBC as I punished the Elliptical machine with my undulating bulk at my neighborhood Planet Fitness.  The crawler under his name said that he was a writer and he wrote this weekend in the New York Times that the youth of America should follow his lead and…


Having noticed that I have already called Lee a ‘moron’ in the title of this post, let’s get on with a summary of his opinion piece from Sunday, shall we?  After all, I can’t fairly call someone a moron and not back the claim up with some significant contextual verbiage, right?
From Sunday’s nonsense published in the New York Times:  ONE late summer afternoon when I was 17, I went with my mother to the local bank, a long-defunct institution whose name I cannot remember, to apply for my first student loan. My mother co-signed. When we finished, the banker, a balding man in his late 50s, congratulated us, as if I had just won some kind of award rather than signed away my young life.....Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society...

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.…..

As difficult as it has been, I’ve never looked back. The millions of young people today, who collectively owe over $1 trillion in loans, may want to consider my example..

It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college. Having opened a new life to me beyond my modest origins, the education system was now going to call in its chits and prevent me from pursuing that new life, simply because I had the misfortune of coming from modest origins..

Am I a deadbeat? In the eyes of the law I am. Indifferent to the claim that repaying student loans is the road to character? Yes. Blind to the reality of countless numbers of people struggling to repay their debts, no matter their circumstances, many worse than mine? My heart goes out to them. To my mind, they have learned to live with a social arrangement that is legal, but not moral. …..

Some people will maintain that a bankrupt father, an impecunious background and impractical dreams are just the luck of the draw. Someone with character would have paid off those loans and let the chips fall where they may. But I have found, after some decades on this earth, that the road to character is often paved with family money and family connections, not to mention 14 percent effective tax rates on seven-figure incomes..

Moneyed stumbles never seem to have much consequence. Tax fraud, insider trading, almost criminal nepotism — these won’t knock you off the straight and narrow. But if you’re poor and miss a child-support payment, or if you’re middle class and default on your student loans, then God help you..

Forty years after I took out my first student loan, and 30 years after getting my last, the Department of Education is still pursuing the unpaid balance. My mother, who co-signed some of the loans, is dead. The banks that made them have all gone under. I doubt that anyone can even find the promissory notes. The accrued interest, combined with the collection agencies’ opulent fees, is now several times the principal..

I am sharply aware of the strongest objection to my lapse into default. If everyone acted as I did, chaos would result. The entire structure of American higher education would change.. .

The collection agencies retained by the Department of Education would be exposed as the greedy vultures that they are. The government would get out of the loan-making and the loan-enforcement business. Congress might even explore a special, universal education tax that would make higher education affordable..


I also found the following information at the end of the author’s post:  Lee Siegel is the author of five books who is writing a memoir about money.  (Moos Note:  This guy’s penning a memoir about money?  Title Suggestion:  “The World’s Shortest Memoir About Something Which I know Nothing About”)
Whoa, where to begin?  I guess what struck me about this intelligently-written piece (after all, he did use the words, “impecunious” AND “opulent”, each being very intellectual words) is that the author takes NO responsibility for defrauding the government.  He hopes that if / when others follow his actions it may cause the Federal Government to levy a ‘special, universal education tax that would make education affordable’ – yay!  Affordable education!!!  But, affordable for whom? .Hey Sparky, EVEN if education were ‘affordable’, you’d have no particular interest in paying that ‘affordable’ education back, now would you?  After all, as you stated above, why would you waste your life in a job “that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society?”  You had no intention of paying the loans back, even after publishing five books, and preparing to pen a memoir on ‘Money’?  Sorry, but this last one continues to crack me up…..Oh please, Mr. Siegel, write more so that we may learn from your life lessons as to what it takes to be a modern day scribbler!?!?  Although, after reading your opinion piece, I’m still searching for your ‘particular usefulness to society’ referenced above?  


Do you volunteer at a soup kitchen or something, donate clothing to the homeless, teach illiterate children Spanish, or something?  Anything?  If so, you really should mention THESE items as it doesn’t make you sound like such a weasel for sticking my kids, and my children’s kids with your misspent college / graduate school tuition debt by way of increased interest rates.  .


Most people realizing that they will not be able to afford graduate school…  Don’t GO to graduate school unless they can financially support their educational whims.  .

You, however, you’re special, aren’t you?  Yeah, special.  Seriously special.  




Dude, you sum it up very nicely when you say that, “someone with character would have paid off those loans and let the chips fall where they may.”  Then a sentence later, predictably, you take the low-road with your comment that “the road to character is often paved with family money and family connections, not to mention 14 percent effective tax rates on seven-figure incomes.”  

Lee, buddy, who do YOU hang out with on weekends?  Do you KNOW these people, or did the folks at the local commune fill you in on how ‘the richest Americans live’ based upon one of those George Soros / DNC subsidized websites?  If not paying your college / graduate school debts has enabled you to hang with people like this, I have to rethink my whole concept of being a ‘contributing member’ of society.  Well, not really, I enjoy sleeping well at night knowing that I am providing for myself and my family to the best of my ability – perhaps this is why you don’t ‘get me’ and presumably, I’ll never ‘get you’.  

I’ll continue to be a contributor for the betterment of my family, my Nation, and society in general. 

You just go ahead and continue to be a ‘member’.  When something works for you, you stick with it, right?


About the author

My name is Mike Kane. I've been writing stories for years. Most are a release valve from the weirdness of everyday life. Some of these will find their way here, others will fade off into the ether. A select few will be sent via e-mail directly to friends, family, and sometimes complete strangers (you have been warned (assuming that you are 'completely strange')). I've been in Sales all of my adult life. Sometimes sales are good, sometimes sales are bad, but in reality, 'life' is always good (regardless of sales). Well, 'LIFE' is a lot better than the alternative, at least. p.s.: No cows were injured in the generation of this blog. However, a trace amount of methane was released moments ago... For this, if nothing else, I am sorry.

Facebook Comments

  • For the most part, higher education in the US has proven to be nothing other than a massive fraud. My advice to Americans of all ages is that, unless you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or other professional for which a particular degree is an absolute requirement, don’t go anywhere near a college or university.

    • I post a comment a few months ago on Campus Reform that went something like

      If you want to get a job done, hire a vet..
      If you want to know all the reasons it can’t get done, hire a recent college grad

You may also like

Ripples… From Pearl to Paterson

The following was originally posted December 7, 2012