Human Restoration Project
102: Fight Back Against Debt w/ Debt Collective
A conversation around student loan debt has been happening at the margins of American political life for nearly a generation. By 2012, total student loan debt in the United States surpassed one trillion dollars, with the only relief coming from a pause on interest and federal debt collection that began with the pandemic in March 2020. Today, a majority of Americans, nearly 60% of polled voters, support some kind of forgiveness on the nation’s now 1.7 trillion dollar student loan debt, and borrowers have benefited from the pause on payments, recently extended to May 2022. That’s over two years without a single required payment…and seemingly without a single negative economic consequence. A recent study from the Student Debt Crisis Center also found that nearly 90% of borrowers are not financially secure enough to resume payments.
Is it time to pause these payments indefinitely? Is it past time for mass student loan debt forgiveness? While most of the conversations we have at HRP happen at the intersection of the theory and classroom practice of education, today I am joined by Thomas Gokey, Eleni Shirmer, and Jason Wozniak, as they talk to us about their organization, Debt Collective, make the moral, economic, and pedagogical case for debt cancellation, and let listeners know how to join their grassroots movement.
Thomas Gokey, organizer and co-founder of Debt Collective, visual artist, adjunct professor at Syracuse University, and activist
Eleni Shirmer, researcher at the Future of Finance Initiative at UCLA's Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, and organizer with Debt Collective
Jason Wozniak, assistant professor at Teacher's College, Columbia University, and author of the upcoming book, The Mis-Education of the Indebted Student