Saturday, March 23, 2013

(Social) Contracts 101

This comment was posted anonymously yesterday, and I felt it needed to be reposted on its own.  It sums things up nicely.  Thanks to whoever took the time to write it.  Everyone else - enjoy.

Yes, I have a sense of entitlement. You know why? Because from age 5 to age 18, every parent, teacher, and guidance counselor told me that if I worked hard and went to college and succeeded, there would be a place for me in the economy. I'm smart and have worked hard my entire life. Go to college, everyone said, and you'll make more than a living wage; you'll make enough to be a positive member of the community, etc. A great mind itself was the skill set.

From 18-22 I heard the same thing, that by getting a degree at my school, I would be a shoe-in to get a solid job in business, consulting, etc., and that even if I didn't, I could get a masters or go to law school and be incredibly marketable. I worked for a few years and went to a law school that promised 90+% employment at a median salary of $80k. I specifically asked about non-law opportunities, and I got a gushing career services person who told me the value of the degree to local employers in business, government, compliance, etc.

Now, people want you want to tell me I have a sense of entitlement to expect anything more than breaking even. Well, YES, I DO. Because I've heard 25 years of lies that constitute a form of social contract that no one actually wants to honor.

All I needed was the truth. In high school, in college, and before law school. But society - predominantly the boomer generation - chronically lied to me (and my whole generation) about the marketability of certain skills.

I would have been better off getting a community college degree in HVAC or auto mechanics or healthcare or plumbing or IT networking stuff. I'd be 10 years into a career of some kind and debt-free.

So yeah, I feel I'm entitled to a certain level based on the systematic representations of the society at large. It doesn't help that peers in undergrad with equal or lesser skillsets make 50-60k based on who mommy and daddy are or that peers in law school now make 80k because they interned with the right person and I networked with the wrong crowd.

AND FOR THAT MATTER, don't even get me started on the numerous entitlements and social contracts that Baby Boomers and the War Generation have demanded and/or benefited from. People in those generations are absolutely not in any place to whine about entitlements under implied social contracts.

So yeah, I feel entitled. I should feel entitled, as should anyone who invested in an education or training that pledged certain returns. At the very least, I should have the right to declare bankruptcy, but in a sane society there would be some sort of restitution or grant system to account for the massive deception at work in oversupplying a generation with massive amounts of training funded by nondischargable debt that the economy has no use for.

I'm not entitled to a full-time job because I graduated from a law school. But I am entitled to something for the fact that I've invested all of my adult life in personal betterment and spent considerable sums/opportunity costs, all of which seem induced at this point by fraud at a massive level.


  1. Just another loser with his hand out. All because those crafty devils "tricked" him into attending law school.

    If all the FIERCE welfare fiends on this site are that damn determined to see someone "take care of" this poor 30 year old, then perhaps you should support him - forever - with your OWN money.

    Wow, I think I just heard the heads of all fifteen of this sites' readers simultaneously explode.

    Oh, and first.

    1. America: where calling out BS makes you a "loser" "welfare fiend[]"

      What a country!

    2. @530,

      America: where anyone whose mommy tells him he will live in a fairy castle some day ... is entitled to have one built for him at taxpayer expense.


      LOL, just glad she didn't promise him he would be able to fly like Superman and travel through time. I have no IDEA how the taxpayers would be able to make that happen for him.

    3. America: where people who have benefited massively from aggressive government action clamor on about "taxpayers" and "entitlements" the second push comes to shove.

    4. Haha, some "massive benefit." Care to particularize?

      LOL, it sounds like the taxpayers need to build TWO time-traveling fairy castles. Do I hear three?

    5. Pretty sure our friend here just wants to get back to zero.

    6. @731,

      For some bizarre reason I got the idea for a second that he wanted "some sort of restitution or grant system" as well.

      Weird ...

    7. Restitution IS about getting back to zero.

    8. @803,

      Not to go all "lawyer" on you, but the OP *already* demanded that his debt be dischargeable. The "restitution" and "grant" part would be on top of that, or it would be superfluous to mention them.

    9. 8:03 here. @9:31:

      Not to go all lawyer on you, but:

      Bankruptcy (well, ch. 7): basically an injunction against further collection of legitimate outstanding debts.

      Restitution: repayment for amount wrongfully gained by another party.

      They're two separate concepts. Sometimes both are needed to get one back to zero.

      For example, say a person gets fraudulently induced into buying a business for 3x what the business is worth and goes into deep personal debt to make it viable. He can declare Ch. 7 to get rid of the debt issue, but there's still a wrongdoer who cheated him and has been enriched significantly. He's not "back to zero" until he's been made whole against the wrongdoer.

      Of course, this has no application whatsoever to the law school scam, as clearly no one has conceivably been unjustly enriched by the perpetuation of such misdeeds.

    10. So in your view, the OP won't "break even" unless someone makes his debt go away AND gives him $80,000 per year for life? Or gives him a time-traveling fairy castle?

      It sounds to me like you are just arguing semantics. Do we at least agree that the OP is demanding the discharge of his debt AND a flying fairy castle (or maybe its cash equivalent)? I maintain that he deserves neither of these things, but I do admit that they fall into two different categories of unreasonableness.

    11. And P.S. If there was any "restitution" after the bum had his debt discharged, I would think the money would go from the law school and to the taxpayers who took the hit on that discharge. Not to the bum, who would already have received a free 3-year vacation at a posh resort at this point.

    12. No one is asking for 80k/year for life, no one is asking for a "time-travelling fairy castle," people who gain graduate educations are not "bums," and going to law school is not a "free 3-year vacation at a posh resort" under any circumstances. (I wish I had gone to Bermuda instead of law school). These aren't "semantics," either, they're real people whose lives have been damaged.

      You are correct that the schools should owe restitution for their fraudulent behavior. However, you're understating the damage done to to the individual student and ignoring the conduct of the taxpayer in causing, perpetuating, and benefiting from the fraud.

    13. @756,

      I would love to hear this exotic theory of yours about how those dirty taxpayers "benefit" from having people go to law school.

      Are people who attend graduate school bums? Not necessarily - but you can't automatically exclude them from that category, either. Someone who demands massive handouts from the taxpayer to go on a free three-year vacation (which it certainly would be, if the "restitution" was actually made) is a BUM - irrespective of whether he attended grad school.

      And it sure SOUNDS like the OP is demanding $80K per year for life. Are you saying that you're willing to "compromise" with the people who owe you nothing? $40K per year for life, perhaps? $80K per year for "only" 20 years? A time-traveling fairy HOUSE, rather than a castle?

      It's unreasonable enough to demand that the taxpayers absorb $1 trillion in loans that are owed by people like you. That's the real generational warfare right there. But to actually demand gifts on TOP of that absurd demand is straight-up retarded - and profoundly un-American.

    14. You are a hopeless troll, 11:16

      That said, here is a non-exhaustive list of benefits the taxpayers receive from an oversupply of law graduates:

      -legal fees racing, in many areas, below sustainability.
      -~100-120k young(ish) people have something productive to do and are guaranteed money to spend in the economy
      -an entire section of the upper middle class intelligentsia exists and is sustained by the influx of loans
      -the societal benefits of having an educated populace

    15. LOL, let's see:

      - "Legal fees" haven't gone down one cent. In case you haven't noticed, people with law degrees usually make either $80K+ from the practice of law - or nothing at all.

      - Actually, your whole complaint is that those "youngish" people DON'T have "guaranteed money to spend in the economy." Right?

      - How many people in this supposed "entire section of the upper middle class" of yours do you think are actually law school professors or administrators? Maybe 1/100 of 1 percent?

      - #4 is just too fucking stupid to reply to. It makes me wonder if your entire comment isn't a sarcastic joke..

      Because in America, when someone makes you a promise, the taxpayers should ALWAYS be forced to make it come true. No matter how stupid or impossible it is.

      ONE MORE time-traveling fairy castle, comin' RAAAAAAAIGHT up!!!


      Fairy castle up, boy! Fairy castle up.

    16. "#4 is just too fucking stupid to reply to. It makes me wonder if your entire comment isn't a sarcastic joke"

      No, sir, it's a key reason the taxpayers, through their representatives, decided to guarantee student loans and bear the risk of loss.

  2. It is interesting the metamorphosis that takes place when talking about law school.

    We are told that students who enter law school are amongst the most intelligent and prestigious personages that our elite universities can produce; worthy of jobs that pay $160,000, careers in consulting, management, politics, and the like.

    Three years later; the students who don't drop out, who don't flunk, who earn a Juris Doctorate are not prestigious at all; they are self important, entitled, welfare fiends, insolent, defeatist, losers, and failures.

    It makes me think that a person should avoid going to law school, in order to avoid such a TTT fate.

    1. I agree. The focus of ITLSS always seemed to be chronicling the evaporation law jobs and warning potential students about law school.

      The focus of *Outside* the Law School Scam, on the other hand, is to air grievances and demand various forms of payment from the taxpayers.

    2. I disagree with the Anon reply @9:58. The point of this blog is to have the same sort of focus but from a different group of people.

      This post was based on the comments of a person who represents a growing young block of disillusioned, over-educated individuals who feel betrayed by those who came before them.

      There's a reason why it is often said that "this generation is America's first which will be worse off than the one before it."

  3. The trolls are out an masse. The reposted comment articulates a common sentiment and draws the vitriol of those who like the status quo (why do those people visit this blog other than to troll?). I made a similar observation about our political system two weeks ago (Grey Dawn) about how the boomers say that we can never touch Social Security and Medicare because "it would not be fair, we deserve these entitlements!" Of course, many boomers did not pay their fair share of these entitlements but somehow they think it is simple decency to keep these programs bloated and untouched. Yet, when it comes to the horrifying student debt crisis and the desire for fair relief, such as low interest, forgiveness, and bankruptcy protection--all rather modest proposals--the suggestion suddenly becomes an unfair entitlement requested by a loser.

    1. Apparently, asking for government solutions to serious problems with the social system makes us all whiny, entitled bums.

    2. @515.

      Are you being sarcastic or something? I notice that you referred to the "forgiveness" of more than $1 trillion in student debt as "A Modest Proposal."

      Adding $1 trillion to America's already-ENORMOUS national debt IS the demand of a bum ... and a bum of dubious patriotism at that.

      Sure, I don't like Social Security or Medicare. But here's the political reality: far more people want those entitlements than student loan forgiveness - and I suspect that you will eventually come around to that viewpoint yourself by the time you are in your 50s. Since that many people want Social Security and Medicare to be left untouched, they will be - no matter how much oxygen they choke off for every other priority like, oh I don't know, a military. But I guess you must be very fond of the phrase "in for a penny, in for a pound," aren't you?

  4. Good post. Worth repeating. Society is not better off keeping its boot heels planted on a young generation's throat. There are winners and losers in Capitalism that have nothing to do with "how hard you work." Somebody is going to lose when there are twice as many people playing musical chairs as there are chairs. Its that simple. There needs to be employment transparency. There needs to be proper funding of higher education. There needs to be bankruptcy reform now.

    1. Well society certainly isn't better off if it takes on an additional $1 trillion in debt by "forgiving" those loans.

      ITLSS was focused on dissuading people before they attended law school. OTLSS is decidedly focused on certain people who have already graduated, and their message is simple, but a bit repetitious - to wit: GIMMEGIMMEGIMME!!!

  5. Heeeelp! It smells like someone took a huuuuuuge "Seton Hall Law" in the office toilet!

    1. Why don't you stick your head in the toilet with it, just to be sure?

  6. While I agree anyone under 35 has been lied to his/her entire life wrt hard work and education, the best solution is to prevent younger people from making our mistakes. We need reality to permeate the discussions that parents and teachers have with their kids. We're up against huge vested interests, but with a million conversations, the truth will shine through. You'd be surprised what a 10-minute frank conversation with a 50-year old with kids in high school can do.

    You can't beat these scammers at their own game (they've already captured all the legislatures and rulemakers that can help us) - all you can do is slowly reduce the volume of people they can ruin.

    And you'll never get loan forgiveness. The best you can hope for is 4% inflation to slowly reduce your debt's real value. That's gonna be tough - Helicopter Ben printed money like crazy for years with no inflationary impact. Maybe we'll see a bankruptcy discharge option at some point, but Congress never listens to debtors when creditors are out there handing out checks. Like I said, Congress has been captured.

  7. Great column. You sound exactly like someone I'd love to know. Keep celebrating you. The world needs a lot more people just like you. Thanks for your honesty.
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