Demographically, the members of the scamblog movement are, by-and-large, from Gen-X. By most definitions, the "last" of Gen-X hit the legal market right before the 2008 financial crisis, and the "lemmings," by the same analysis, are mostly from the Millennial camp.
Well, of course Gen-X are the scambloggers, I hear some people say - that just fits the form. Gen-X is full of materialistic, slacker, lazy bums who got participation trophies for just showing up (amirite?), so of course they mumble and complain about law school outcomes. In fact, they've been angry people all along and they just generally hate life, so they need to just buck up and take personal responsibility for their actions whilst generally being ignored.
(As an aside, the exact same accusations have been leveled towards Millennials lately by Boomers, but who is keeping score, anyway?)
I've heard those empty accusations my whole life, and I suspect many of you have as well. Truth be told, however, Gen-X went to college in larger numbers than their Boomer forebears, and generally went further by obtaining multiple degrees and credentials. Some credit Gen-X with a now-more-than-ever-needed spirit of individual effort and business entrepreneurialism (in national hind-sight, of course). While Millennials are lauded for their volunteerism and community focus, Gen-X weren't completely "slackers" in that area, either.
Do you know why? Because every generation has to work, muddle their way through, and try to make the world a better place in the process. Gen-X in particular is "all grown up," with families, careers, and real-world responsibilities, but the unwarranted stigma and out-of-hand dismissals still persist. Yet this cohort decries the law school scam for what it is, because we don't want others to go in blind, as we did.
Further, we know what we are talking about, as evidenced by the latest report from the Pew Charitable Trust. I'll just start with the conclusion:
Generation X is discussed significantly less in the media than are baby boomers or millennials, the much larger generational cohorts that bookend it. Despite its small size, however, Gen X provides critical insights for researchers and policymakers into changing family balance sheets. Gen X may also be a harbinger of declining opportunity for many American families now and in the future.
The findings of this research are that Gen X reflects the growing divergence of economic fortunes for American families. Many Gen Xers have been exceptionally prosperous, reaping the successes of the economy and benefitting tremendously from being raised by families at the top of the economic ladder. But many other Gen Xers, like their parents, have failed to gain an economic foothold and remain stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder with few prospects of moving to the top.
However, across the economic diversity of Gen Xers, a common thread exists relative to the preceding generation. Although Gen Xers have outpaced their parents in terms of income, they have fallen far short on accumulating wealth. Their debt burdens and inadequate savings cause a ripple effect throughout their balance sheets. Low levels of savings mean that many Gen Xers could have difficulties weathering unexpected and costly life events such as unemployment or a health issue. An inadequate financial cushion could also put Gen Xers’ future economic security at risk, given that they are already behind previous generations with respect to their
retirement preparedness. The drag of student loan debt could prevent many Gen Xers from providing for their
own children’s college aspirations, creating an intergenerational reach of student debt.
Without adequate wealth among Gen Xers, the mobility of not just the current generation, but also the next, could be at risk. Exactly how all of this will affect equality of opportunity in the future is unclear, but it indicates a strong need for policies that create wealth-building opportunities for Gen Xers and the younger cohorts who are following them into financial maturity.
Further, many continue to voice concerns about ever-increasing student loan debt along with Pew. ZeroHedge has some interesting facts on the subject, and the CFPB has something to say as well:
CFPB PRESSES CONGRESS TO CHANGE BANKRUPTCY CODE
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is urging policymakers to reconsider how student loan debt is treated under the Bankruptcy Code, American Banker reported today. In the agency's annual report on student loans, released today, it said that there are severe roadblocks for struggling student borrowers in getting modifications or other flexible options to help them pay off their debt. As a result, the CFPB said Congress should revisit a 2005 change to the Bankruptcy Code that made most private student loan debt and other "qualified loans" exempt from discharge. The agency is also recommending more favorable tax treatment on any debt that is forgiven. "Unlike mortgage servicing, there are no specific laws or rules that require specific procedures on loan modifications and the laws we administer," said Rohit Chopra, the CFPB's student loan ombudsman. "That is something that we are going to take a very close look at . . . We are going to weigh every option to see that these problems are corrected." The CFPB noted that the 2005 amendment, which raised the threshold to discharge student loan debt, made it easier for debt collection firms to increase recoveries on defaulted private student loans compared to other types of unsecured debt. Read more. (Subscription required.)
Why do we scamblog? Because we know. Because we have been and continue to live economic reality. Because we have seen the writing on the wall for some time, but when we tried to bring it to light we were dismissed out of hand for being a smaller, "know-nothing" cohort whose only original sin was being born between the early 60s and the early 80s. Yet we still speak out, regardless.
Read the report. The economic trends are sobering, and I guarantee you there is a Gen-X JD or two buried in the statistics, trying to pay off massive debt while struggling to make a living. Millennials, we have already been through the wringer of false employment statistics, ever-increasing tuition, and overproduced graduates, so when we say "law school is a scam," we are saying it for your benefit. Do not go to law school, with its non-dischargeable debt in a saturated, shrinking market that is increasingly being outsourced and automated, unless you have the social means and financial backing to do so.
Do not rely on "wanting it bad enough." Do not rely on IBR/PAYE to see you though, as those programs are in the crosshairs. Do not rely on romantic visions you see on TV. All of this is what the Law School Cartel is counting on you to do - to "follow your dreams," to "engage your passion," to "pursue liberty" and "defend justice," while ignoring all the other important data.
To your detriment.