Thursday, August 27, 2015

More Accurate Infomation, Indeed

In my time monitoring the news reports regarding law schools, I occasionally feel like the entire discourse is an enormous ruse when I see an advocate make a claim that strikes me as strangely absurd. It's almost like Poe's Law for law school discussions - I come to have an honest confusion about whether the speaker is spilling eyebrow-raising earnestness or truly sophisticated parody.

For example, observe this purported quote from Seton Hall's Michael Simkovic:
Providing more accurate information to the public could benefit law schools, but the greatest beneficiaries would be the students whose lives law school can change for the better. For many college graduates, the $30,000 to $60,000 extra per year that they can typically earn with a law degree will mean the difference between living in a safe and clean neighborhood or one that is dangerous and polluted.
For the sake of brevity, I must resist the urge to focus on the premium numbers and the prompted imagery of all those BS/BA holders who are scrounging in the ghetto making what sounds like $20k a year while living out fantasies from The Wire.

It's curious that Simkovic would claim that law schools are somehow victims of public misinformation without an obvious indicator of sarcasm. Up until a few short years ago, law schools regularly profited mightily off media acquiescence and massive information asymmetries. Even now, in the "debate" over law school's general value, the institutional actors have far more media cachet than their struggling graduates, and hardly have clean hands when it comes to accurate public perceptions. Many of those same institutional actors have held postures somewhere between haughty ignorance and defensive criticism when it comes to legal education's most obvious problems. A few of them have aggressively gone after those who dare use their super-lawyer-premium justice-seeker skills against the legal academy.

The loudest voices about having "more accurate information" in legal education have invariably come from outside the academy. And accordingly, the "more accurate information" that has come out has decidedly not benefited the law schools, excepting, perhaps, Simkovic's own unimpeachable, relevant work. It's incredibly difficult to believe that "more accurate information" would, in any possible way, lead to more/higher-quality law school enrollees or else one would think the law schools would open the books with haste whether AALS was splurging on a Ministry of Propaganda or not.

Of course, the AALS could do far more than expend monies on "highly qualified communications professionals" to do "public outreach efforts" in a Fox News-style venture to bring "accurate, informed, and balanced news coverage" to the law school industry.

Instead, AALS could provide a blanket donation to Law School Transparency and pass a resolution that member schools must make their NALP reports pubic. Perhaps, even, the AALS could establish a standard for longitudinal reporting so that researchers like Simkovic would have superior data from which to conclude - for example - that law school is an outstanding investment regardless of any possible variables. Going further, the AALS could have member schools submit their numbers to a third-party audit to give the reporting an official sheen of authenticity for the likely future big firm partners, judges, and premium-savoring others who enroll at Seton Hall.

Or would that be too much publicly available accurate information?

85 comments:

  1. One does wonder how some people face themselves in the mirror every morning...

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    1. That's exactly how he does it. He uses the mirror to see if he's looking good today.
      If he hasn't turned into a rattlesnake, a scorpion, or some other loathsome creature, then everything's fine.

      That helps him rationalize his own moral guilt, as well as his shameless collaboration with the physically repulsive and morally depraved Brian Leiter.

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    2. Leiter masturbates to his reflection.

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  2. The law school shills know that they are losing the battle. In their desperation they are trying to shout down the opposition and flood the public forum with propaganda, hoping to convince as many people as they can to sign away their futures to Sallie Mae. This just means we have to push harder, and soon we will beat them.

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    1. Part of me suspects that the shills are trying to keep the ball in play until the feds unveil some miracle that will bail them out. Kind of like how Hitler was hoping his V-2 rockets, Me 262 jets and atomic bomb wold turn the tide if he could hold out long enough. What scares me is that most politicians talk only of helping pay for education, not of forcing schools to compete on price by cutting off the spigot of student loan money and letting supply and demand take its rapid course

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    2. Indeed, helping pay for education was how we ended up in this hole in the first place. I am also concerned that the government will move to bail out law schools, and some career politicians might think to dress it all up as "helping make education affordable".

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  3. It has been 5 years since I staff d law schools and 4 years since Campos spoke the Lord's word on this issue. Scammers have done nothing to remedy the situation which was fuked before I even started. Those people have no shame. Only low enrollment can defeat them.

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    1. This. 12:07 is 100% right, only when people stop signing the papers and attending will the scam stop. The classes coming out in the next few years are going to have atrocious bar passage rates and will not find jobs. I can't wait for the 60 minutes episode in a few years dedicated to the law school scam. Getcha popcorn ready!

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    2. We can only hope that the financial stresses eventually focus on a few seventh-tier law schools. Then the schools could be forced to close entirely, and the unproductive parasites who monetized their tenure will find themselves in serious trouble.

      It warms my heart to think of professors with Yale or Chicago law degrees being treated like Barry or Whittier graduates. And ultimately, it's the fairest and most just resolution. Teachers should never be allowed to think they're better than the students they let loose on society.

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    3. The problem is that most law schools are no longer just advertising and providing promotional materials, but they are now peddling fantasies and are the morally equivalent of crack dealers. And like crack dealers, law schools are preying on the most vulnerable demographics in the 0L pool. The law faculty should know what they are doing to a significant portion of their students. Seton Hall's tuition is $52,000/year. Harvard Law's tuition is $54,000/year. In Dante's Inferno, the Eighth Level is reserved for those who commit fraud.

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    4. Yes, it's astounding that people would think that Seton Hall should be charging Harvard's price (minus a few pennies). That's possible only because most of the people going to Seton Hall cannot get into Harvard.

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    5. Most? I think it's all.

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    6. Just to be careful, I allowed for the possibility that once every few years someone who could have Harvard might wind up at Seton Hall, maybe because of money or an unwillingness to move. That's possible, at least in principle.

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  4. Speaking of more accurate information, I cannot find the ABA required disclosures on the Seton Hall Law School website (law.shu.edu). There's a link to the ABA official guide, but when I go to the link it says:


    We're Sorry
    An error has occurred. Please try again.

    Back to Official Guide main page


    If Simkovic wtere ruly interested in the public having access to accurate information, then he'd ensue that the ABA required disclosures would be available on the main page of the Seton Hall Law website.

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    1. Try an experiment: Report the matter to the ABA (why are required disclosures not available?) and see how long it takes for that "error" to be corrected. I'll place my bet on December.

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  5. Simkovic is obviously distorting the economic realities of incurring debt for a Seton Hall law degree. His primary tool is using an unrealistically low discount rate for future earnings.

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  6. There may be a premium for the lucky few in law. For most lawyers, the question is whether they will recoup the investment in law school, and by how much.

    It is hard to stay employed in law, if you get a first year job.

    Most law jobs are very unstable - they disappear overnight frequently.

    Hard to see the million dollar premium. Career trajectory is big law, then in house, then job loss. Temping or being underemployed or getting jobs that just don't last after mid-career. Making half what a school teacher of the same experience level makes in the same community, counting benefits, taking into account the unemployment and underemployment in the second half of his/her career.

    Is this a million dollar premium? Happy at big law. Happy in house. Then 20+ plus years of misery - cursing the decision to go to law school - worst decision the person ever made. The lawyer can work as a solo, or can work at Barnes & Noble as a sales person. Either way, where is the million dollar premium?

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  7. Simkovic has utterly destroyed his credibility and his integrity. He's nothing but a goddamn carbolic-smoke-ball tout.

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    1. He's becoming a joke even among law professors. I don't think his contrived
      "research" on law schools has even been peer-reviewed. It's just a desperate attempt to preserve his own job.

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    2. I thought it was hilarious when Brian Leiter tried to use his corrupt blog to pimp Simkovic into a better job. Of course this was based on Simkovic's propaganda pieces, not on any conception of truth or dignity.

      The result of this exercise? No takers whatsoever. Apparently elite law professors are too greedy to share their unearned rewards, even with the junior people who shill for them.

      Delete
    3. Peer review in legal hackademia would mean nothing to me. Who cares if Dougie Fresh gives the nod to "The Open Road" or if Leiter pimps for Simkovic? That doesn't prove a thing about the quality of the so-called research.

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    4. Peer review is highly meaningful to anyone who knows about economics, for example. Or physics, or psychology, or microbiology. It's the most common way to avoid or detect fraudulent research.

      As pointed out previously on this blog, professors of other subjects could become valuable allies in fighting against the law school scam. If they objected to the miniscule course loads, the stale lectures, the grossly inflated compensation, and the trivial and unread research of the law professors, then real reform would finally be very close to reality.

      And once the payoffs for their outrageous lies are drastically reduced, law professors like Simkovic could conceivably be rehabilitated, possibly even helping more people than they harm. This is a comprehensive vision of a better society that goes beyond the frustrated fantasies of bitter old men. In my opinion, no social movement without such a vision can possibly succeed.

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  8. The idea that people "can typically" get $30k to $60k more per year just by getting a law degree is obvious bullshit. And certainly the "typical" graduate of Seton Hall gets no such increase. According to the data here (http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/setonhall/sals/2013/), which come from Seton Hall itself (and thus are likely to be rosy), the median salary for the 64.1% of the graduating class of 2013 who were employed and reported their salary was $54k. Adjusting for the 11% of the class who were unemployed yields a figure of $46k. If the "typical" graduate of Seton Hall gets a $30k–$60k premium, the typical salary of a person without that million-dollar degree must be between –$14k and +$16k. Pardon me for finding that hard to believe.

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    1. That's a good analysis. Simkovic just throws out some numbers without any thought for what's plausible.

      I think Simkovic's sloppy work could explode into the next major research scandal in academia. First LaCour, now Goffman, and soon Simkovic will be front-page news.

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    2. "The typical salary of a person without that million-dollar degree must be between –$14k and +$16k. Pardon me for finding that hard to believe."

      It sounds pretty believable to me. If anything, that $14K figure sounds a little high. Many of them would rather be on fire than work. Take away the law degree and the debt - it's not as though these layabouts would be raking in the dough. A bachelor's degree from Shitstain University, no work ethic, and no sense of financial responsibility - sounds like a surefire success formula to me!

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    3. "A bachelor's degree from Shitstain University, no work ethic, and no sense of financial responsibility - sounds like a surefire success formula to me!"

      Worked for quite a few Boomers.

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    4. That was not $14k but NEGATIVE $14k.

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    5. "That was not $14k but NEGATIVE $14k"

      In that case, it's probably accurate, if we consider the $14K to be the amount that other people spend to financially support each of these basement-dwellers.

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    6. A BA from many of the top colleges will pay over $100,000 a year ten years out on average.

      Experienced teachers in New York City and suburbs make well over six figures. Cops in New York City make $90,000 plus overtime (so usually over 6 figures) and will soon have a more lucrative collective bargaining agreement. Government employees in and around New York City also have huge pensions and government paid medical benefits. The package may cost the government $200,000 a year for experienced employees.

      I see ads for senior engineers, who do not have doctorates, at over $200,000 a year.

      We have about 1.6 million law degrees granted in US accredited schools in the last 40 years and 760,000 lawyer jobs. My understanding is that no compensation information is collected for a couple hundred thousand of those self-employed jobs, except by the IRS, which says that pay less than the $50,000 range on average.

      So you have relatively few (300,000 or maybe 400,000 perhaps) lawyer jobs that are known to pay somewhere in the low hundred thousands for more for 1.6 million law grads. A lot of the 280,000 high paying jobs (70,000 perhaps or more, as 120,000 lawyers work in large firms) are shorter term associate jobs in big law firms that are open exclusively to lawyers with a few years of experience.

      Premium is not there for the huge number of law degree holders who do not have the six figure law jobs. To suggest they are working in other high paying jobs, is pure guess work.

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    7. @6:42,

      $100K per year with a BA from a "top" college? OK, sure, but what makes you think that THOSE people are the ones who are going to law school? Graduates of "top" colleges generally get accepted to "top" law schools - right?

      If you think that teaching and policing are THAT damn lucrative, then why don't you all move to NYC and become cops and teachers? Too much work to apply for the job and get hired, right?

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    8. We've been through this before. Not everyone comes from New York or can get a cushy municipal job in New York. Also, many of those positions that you describe are no longer so readily available.

      But you're right about those high-paying openings for lawyers: there aren't many, and even they tend not to last long.

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    9. @5:28,

      Okay, you've convinced me. CLEARLY, these law school graduates are utterly helpless, and it was straight-up retarded for me to ask them to look for work - let alone give back the money that they borrowed. My bad!

      So what next? I imagine that you want to force the taxpayers to eat the $1.2 trillion in loans - but THAT isn't going to help these poor unemployable lambs earn a living going forward. We should just fire up the printing presses and give every single one of them several million dollars each, right? That way, they could invest the money and live off of the interest.

      Delete
    10. P.S. for 5:28,

      "Not everyone comes from New York or can get a cushy municipal job in New York."

      What does THAT have to do with anything? My suggestion was that they *GO TO* New York for one on those jobs that 6:42 was drooling over. Apparently that is too much to ask. Is "New York" supposed to come to him, break down his goddam door, and whisk him away to a six-figure job?

      On the plus side, it sounds like you and I completely agree that most of these law school graduates - even without the debt or law school - would STILL be lazy basement dwellers with no work ethic or serious job prospects - what with a quality job being so impossible to find ... right?

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    11. On the plus side, it sounds like you and I completely agree that most of these law school graduates - even without the debt or law school - would STILL be lazy basement dwellers with no work ethic or serious job prospects - what with a quality job being so impossible to find ... right?

      Semi-serious question. If the legal education industry is pumping out roughly 2 graduates for every 1 job, how do you expect all of them to find legal jobs? Do you expect hiring managers to say "Gee, there's no business case for hiring you, but you're just so gosh-darn hardworking that we're going to hire you anyway."? Does this work for other industries? Does plucky spirit and a can-do attitude override market reality?

      You know what, let's accept this view of yours. We will assume arguendo that jobless JDs are all lazy swine who failed to get a job because they used their Cravath associate acceptances as rolling papers. Where's your anger at the government for giving truckloads of taxpayer dollars to people who clearly weren't going to pay them back? In the event that the government establishes PrincePLUS Loans, so that every senile grandma can send hundreds of thousands to Nigerian princes who promise that they will unlock secret bank accounts, will you spend all of your time ranting about the stupid grandmas who will inevitably claim bankruptcy and none of your time yelling about the government that gave them your money in the first place?

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    12. 8:24: I've never said that anyone was helpless, that law graduates should be excused from paying their debts, or that law-school graduates should be maintained at public expense. You are completely misrepresenting my position. You might try reading what I say before rushing in with an incensed reply.

      7:13: Going to New York isn't feasible for just everyone. Even getting a place to live in New York isn't easy when one doesn't have a job with a high salary. And those jobs described above are not readily available either, particularly to outsiders. The idea that a haphazard person from small-town Alabama with a 145 (or a 175) on the LSAT can just waltz into Brooklyn and get an overpaid job as a flatfoot is simply unrealistic.

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    13. And, yes, 7:13, a lot of the lemmings who go through law schools are feckless and lazy, with a strong sense of entitlement. I don't defend them. I insist that most law students, including not a few at the Harvards and the Yales, should never have been admitted to law school. I would impose a minimum LSAT score of 160 and various other requirements. Law in 2015 cannot be called a profession, let alone a learned one.

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    14. @12:32,

      "I've never said that anyone was helpless, that law graduates should be excused from paying their debts, or that law-school graduates should be maintained at public expense."

      LOL, right - then you should stop making fucking excuses for them, now shouldn't you?

      If those motherfuckers can't get a "cushy municipal job" - as you CLEARLY complain - then they should become trash collectors, janitors, etc. And if they refuse to do that, they should LITERALLY be left to starve to death.

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    15. @12:25,

      "If the legal education industry is pumping out roughly 2 graduates for every 1 job, how do you expect all of them to find legal jobs?"

      If a law school graduate can't find a "legal" job, then he should settle for a nice job outside the legal field.

      If he can't find a nice office job, he should join the Army.

      If the Army won't take him, he should get a job as a fucking janitor of a garbage man.

      And if he refuses to "lower" himself to any of those jobs, then he should LITERALLY STARVE to death - as I have mentioned elsewhere.

      And the 25 year old "grandmas" who went on vacation for three years on borrowed money are NOT fucking "senile" - so they should not be able to declare bankruptcy. They should pay back their loans - and work for a living - or they should starve to death. Maybe starving HALFWAY to death would make some of these roaches a little less, ahem, **PICKY** about which jobs they will or will not take, yes?

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    16. Nobody wants someone stupid enough to go to law school for municipal work. They can get any number of people who didn't jump off a proverbial cliff.

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    17. I tried to find jobs of that sort after I graduated from law school. Never even got an interview.

      You don't seem to understand how much of an income it takes to make payments on six-figure student loans at high interest.

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    18. @11:56,

      And what "sort" of job would that be, pray tell? You couldn't find a job of ANY kind? Is that what you're saying? Or are you referring to a "job" where they pay you to sit in an office and goof off all day?

      LOL - those picky debtors would refuse to accept 80 percent of the jobs out there even if the employers cold-called THEM. They are TOO SMART to accept menial jobs as janitors or whatever, but NOT SMART ENOUGH to get hired doing anything else. What a quandary!

      "You don't seem to understand how much of an income it takes to make payments on six-figure student loans at high interest."

      Ever heard of PSLF? I don't know when YOU graduated - it was probably fairly recently if your loans are "six figures" - but people who have graduated in the last decade or so have no fucking excuse. You could owe a billion dollars on your student loans - any government job would completely wipe out the debt tax-free after ten years. These assholes could become high school janitors - or they could join the Army.

      Any takers?

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    19. Senility is not normally a requirement for bankruptcy. You can claim it after blowing money trying to keep up with the Joneses' McMansion, or after going on a Visa-fueled binge in Vegas.

      Why do you think that people who are in loan trouble aren't working? The problem is that the nonlegal (or shitlegal) jobs don't pay enough to make the loan payments and also pay for luxuries like food and running water. If a guy joins the army or becomes a janitor after law school, guess what? At those pay levels they are going to be on IBR or PSLF or PAYE so you're already going to be stuck forgiving much of their debts.

      No amount of spittle-spraying from you changes the fact that the GOVERNMENT is handing out billions of dollars which will not be repaid. Strangely, you never get exercised about the policymakers who seem to think that handing out snake-oil loans and throwing a tantrum when they aren't repaid is smart policy.

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    20. Ever heard of PSLF?

      Certainly. But if you go on PSLF as a janitor, the taxpayers are still going to forgive most of your loan. Hence why some people want to actually slow down or stop the Grad PLUS gravy train.

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    21. @7:00,

      I don't object to PSLF - in some instances, it's the only way out for debtors who are actually willing to work for ten years. It's better than the shitstains who turn their nose up at such work and demand a six-figure handout, right?

      Also, please find me one single instance where someone with no assets was given an unsecured loan for $200,000 (or $50,000, for that matter) for "a Visa-fueled binge in Vegas."

      Student loans are **UNIQUE** - it's the only type of loan where they will lend $200,000 to someone with no credit, collateral, security, or assets. They can always recoup some of the loan by repossessing the "McMansion" that you are blathering about. But student loans are in a unique category of their own. They make the loans for "public policy" reasons. I'm all for turning off the money spigot - but forgiving (or "discharging") the debts of the people who already borrowed (and already spent) $200,000 - and who have nothing to show for it - would be the fucking DEFINITION of "bankruptcy abuse."

      For the people who are already in debt, I say tough titty - they should get jobs (jobs that are "beneath" them, if necessary) and honor their debts - or they should fucking starve to death.

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    22. So "honoring their debts" includes using PSLF, under which they will effectively not honor tens or hundreds of thousands worth of debt. I mean, for all your ranting about people "refusing" to work, I've never met a law grad who acted that way. I have met many who are working crappy jobs and will eventually go on loan forgiveness programs like IBR.

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    23. People who have weak credit and no assets are able to get unsecured financing all the time. It would be difficult to get to $200k, but I can guarantee you that there are tons of people who've run up $50-100k unsecured debt on completely frivolous things. People who are hyper-wealthy could easily get $200k in unsecured credit; if they go bankrupt, they can discharge every cent of high-priced liquor and cash advances and cars and sharp threads. Also, find someone who does debt collection and ask them about "professional debtors."

      You say that lenders can "always recoup some of the loan by repossessing the "McMansion." Well...that's just wrong. For one, you'd have to be a primary mortgagee to do that, and for two, primary mortgagees - particularly after the housing crises - often were exposed to massive debts that were practically unsecured, often with lenders who have no other assets.

      And for that matter, most students loan recipients have the exact same asset as any person in a chapter 13: a future income stream. Even if you bar dischargability under 7, there's no reason to make the debt nondischargable under a 13 plan - heck, that's basically what IBR is, anyway.

      There are numerous forms of unsecured credit that are also made for public policy reasons. Read up on the SBA program - most of those loans are completely dischargable.

      I find that the people who claim student loans are super-unique almost invariably have limited practical exposure/experience with debt collection/bankruptcy, and I'm guessing 8:42 is no exception.

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    24. @10:24/10:34,

      PSLF is a COMPROMISE - compared to an immediate bailout, it is clearly the lesser of two evils. Of course, many of these lazy roachies are just angry that the taxpayers aren't bailing them out faster. Left to their own devices, they would prefer to go on borrowing forever, with a conscious plan to eventually die owing tens of millions of dollars each. Fortunately, the system prevents them from doing that.

      And LOL - "there are tons of people who've run up $50-100k unsecured debt on completely frivolous things. People who are hyper-wealthy could easily get $200k in unsecured credit."

      You must have, um, MISSED that whole part about the student loan borrowers having "no credit, collateral, security, or assets." Does that sound like a "hyper wealthy" person to you?

      Um, let's see, what else? Your McMansion: I was TALKING about the person who gave the borrower the mortgage, you imbecile - I guess in your mind-bending straw-man dimension, though, people like to claim that credit card companies can repossess people's houses to settle unsecured debts - right? Do you see why it makes more sense to treat a secured debt differently - or are you still playing dumb? Also, the mortgage isn't "practically unsecured" unless the house is "practically" worth ZERO. LOL, if you find a house like that - you should buy it for a dollar.

      If they ever made student loans "dischargeable," without a painful decent interval (and quite frankly, the wait ought to be 20 years for PSLF, and 50 years for IBR), the law schools and their students would be formed into an unholy alliance, with the common goal of completely raping the taxpayers. Tuition would likely soar to a million dollars a year - virtually overnight. The student would get a three-year vacation at a posh resort, and the law schools would get more money than ever before. At the end of the vacation, the student could immediately turn sideways and disappear, leaving the taxpayers with a much bigger debt than we are seeing right now. Everybody would be a winner - except the taxpayers, of course.

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    25. 11:19:

      10:34 here. I'm only going to address two points:

      1. Legally, ethically, and in practicality, there's no difference between a formerly-wealthy person having 200k in unsecured debt and a relatively poor person racking up 200k in unsecured debt, so I don't understand the distinction you're ranting about. In a bankruptcy proceeding, no one really looks at the intent of the lending party. And yes, if you'd actually look at bankruptcy petitions, there are debtors who wind up with obscene amounts of debt for their income levels - vastly more than typical student debts that would be nondischargable.

      2. You are utterly clueless how mortgage financing works, and how secured mortgage lenders fare in bankruptcy. "Also, the mortgage isn't "practically unsecured" unless the house is "practically" worth ZERO." NO - it's practically unsecured when the house is underwater.

      Let's say 1st lender gives $300k to a family of four to buy a house. They pay it down for 10 years. Housing market rises. House is worth $400k. They get a 2nd mortgage for an additional $100k to start a business, which is fully secured when the mortgage is originated. Housing market tanks and now the house is worth less the remaining balance on the first mortgage.

      Guess what? 2nd mortgagee now has an unsecured debt and the 1st mortgagee has a secured portion up to the value of the house and an unsecured debt on the remainder. In bankruptcy, the 2nd mortgage would be lien-stripped. Both practically and legally, that 2nd mortgagee has no security and has cash out on an unsecured basis to someone with no assets, likely poor credit, etc. Same with the underwater portion of the balance on the 1st mortgage.

      As an aside, that's one method of how poor people can wind up with $200k in unsecured debt.

      Why should those people get to wipe out such massive amounts of money - some of which was incurred with total recklessness - while the prudent student debtor is stuck paying for temporary mistakes over a lifetime?

      Delete
    26. If they ever made student loans "dischargeable," without a painful decent interval (and quite frankly, the wait ought to be 20 years for PSLF, and 50 years for IBR), the law schools and their students would be formed into an unholy alliance, with the common goal of completely raping the taxpayers

      What, is the government incapable of conditioning student loans on the viability of the underlying degree? For example, allowing student loans to be discharged 5-10 years after graduation, but refusing to give any loans for attendance at a school whose graduates' bankruptcy rate exceeds a cap level?

      20 to 50 years already sounds like a hilarious overshoot of what would be necessary. Even a couple years of paying all discretionary income to the federal government is probably going to demonstrate to the typical lemming that the decision to go to law school was a bad one. And to the extent that lemmings are irrational, an enormous waiting period before discharge won't do anything to convince the lemmings who have irrationally convinced themselves that they will make BigLaw coming out of East Nimbleshit University. If you are so concerned for taxpayers, why not support a change under which law schools actually face quick and severe financial consequences for pumping out way too many grads?

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    27. @12:00,

      LOL - *I'm* the one who is clueless? Do you even understand that student loans are the only instance on earth where someone with no assets or credit can get an unsecured loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars?

      If someone has a house and two mortgages - as you state in your idiotic example - then that person *****DOES***** have CREDIT and ASSETS.

      You think THAT is the same thing as a 22-year old with no credit being given a $200,000 unsecured loan? Are you even being serious with that comparison?

      Or - to cite your other idiotic example - how about that Vegas binge of yours? I suppose you think that people with nonexistent credit/no assets all have credit cards with $200,000 limits, right?

      Student loans ARE unique - you have not produced a single example where someone else with no credit or assets is able to receive an unsecured loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      In view of your powerful intellect and obvious expertise on finance, I don't know why you are even worried about your loans - LOL, I'm sure Goldman Sachs or Charles Schwab would TOTALLY let you write your own ticket there. Apply today!

      Delete
    28. Yes, you are clueless.

      -10:34/12:00.

      Delete
    29. @12:03,

      Um, WHY are those two things chained together, exactly? Go ahead and end all student lending, whatever. But they can do that WITHOUT forgiving $1.2 trillion in student loans, changing the bankruptcy laws, etc.

      @1:58,

      Is it Goldman Sachs or Charles Schwab? LOL, you probably work for both of them. Let me know if you ever think of one of those examples I asked you about, okay?

      Delete
    30. I am not going to answer the vulgar and personally abusive taunts of the uninformed person posting above. Anyone who has read my postings here for any time would know that I do have a good job in law (although for years I was afraid of not finding work as a lawyer), that I was too lazy or self-important to look for other work (I applied for all sorts of jobs, including unskilled ones), and that I owe nothing (I have paid back every cent that I ever borrowed). I am unwilling to waste my time on someone wħo makes allegations and pronouncements on matters outside her knowledge.

      We moderators won't allow personal abuse here ("stop making fucking excuses", "you imbecile"). Comments containing such remarks may be deleted without warning or notice.

      Delete
    31. Do you even understand that student loans are the only instance on earth where someone with no assets or credit can get an unsecured loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars?

      Perish the thought that any lender might (Or, God help us, should) suffer harsh, not to mention totally unpredictable, negative consequences for making $200,000 unsecured loans to marginally-vetted 22-year-olds so that they can acquire assets with $0 resale value. I mean, how could that be risky at all?

      You'd almost think that the US government is guaranteed to suffer consequences for making many of these loans, especially since tuition is expected to continue to increase. Someone working as a TSA baggage screener with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt isn't going to be able to pay down the balance on that kind of loan. The most the Feds can realistically do is to kill of the existing forgiveness programs and make the loans completely nondischargeable. Sure, all that'll do is guarantee that the government has a vast portfolio of nonperforming loans, but hey, at least that will spare our representatives the Herculean task of tightening lending standards. Surely a world in which waterheads CAN'T get hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of loans in order to go to Cooley is such a terrible thought that we cannot even consider the idea of just refusing to give them loans.

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    33. The only way to make big bucks teaching in New York City is to do it for many years. Start at 22 and by age 42 you grow into the high salary. If you are fired from your law job at 42, and can get a teaching job, you are going to be working at the much lower salaries offered to less experienced teachers.

      Municipal jobs like police and firefighters have strict age limits - like you must be under age 26 to successfully apply.

      Anyone who finds themselves with no opportunities in law in their mid to late 40s or after that does not have the opportunity to get into that lucrative municipal job. Entry level teaching does not pay that well, but if you get benefits, it may turn out to be a very lucrative job.

      I think in New York City, teachers with all the educational degrees but no experience you get $63,000. That amount goes up with each year of teaching. If the City pays even 50% of that for benefits (they probably pay more in fact), you have an almost six figure pay package with just the educational credentials. You get tenure after a couple of years, and the pay is guaranteed to go up for each year of experience. The salary portion caps out at about $114,000 this year, going up to about $119,000 in the future. Experienced teachers cost the City $200,000 each.

      Lawyers very often do not get employer-paid health insurance, which becomes a big issue. Subtract $25,000 for a decent family health insurance plan from your earnings. If you have to pay for health insurance after tax, it can be $35,000 or more out of your earnings. You are earning too much to qualify for subsidized health insurance on an exchange if you earn $54,000 a year.

      Law school is a screw job all around.

      Delete
    34. The student debtors wracking up $200k in law school can totally take whatever job they can get and try to pay their debts, but short of literally winning the lottery the vast majority of them will never make enough money to do so. IBR/PAYE/PSLF are already laying those cases off on the taxpayer.

      Imagine if these cases were shifted over to the law schools? If your grad can't pay his loans, then you owe the government for having the gall to demand taxpayer dollars to fund his "education". That would shut down a lot of law schools real quickly.

      Delete
    35. @809,

      Why don't you all become teachers and firemen, then?

      Is it because you don't want all that money?

      Or do you just hate to work?

      Delete
    36. @8:09 -- well said!

      Nobody believes me when I say how much money public school teachers in NY & NJ make, but they do indeed make good money. I know an elementary school teacher (age 43) that makes $80K, a high school English teacher (age mid/late 30s) that makes $95K AND a guidance counselor (age late 40s) that makes $140K. Aside from the excellent benefits package they also get, these people all have more enjoyable jobs (and quality of life) than many lawyers do.

      By contrast, all us "high end" professionals (with JDs, MDs, PhDs, engineering degrees, or various combinations thereof) are getting the short end of the stick in the private sector. Some (like MDs and EEs) are still doing a bit better than others (like JDs and PhDs), but it's generally going downhill for everyone.

      Although I'm no fan of his, Senator Marco Rubio in some interview noted how apprenticeships should be established as a type of competition for universities, thereby ending this monopoly universities have had for so many years over entry into professions. On this issue, Marco is 100% correct.

      Delete
    37. @5:58 -- you think it's that easy anymore?

      Once upon a time, getting into the public sector was doable. Now, not so much.

      For a variety of reasons, obtaining a job in the public sector has become quite difficult these days. This has a lot to do with budget, since local and state governments have to make cuts. It also has to do with more applicants for public sector jobs.

      For example, Nassau county NY once accepted police officers right out of high school (provided they completed the Police Academy). Now they require a 4-year college degree. Evidently, they were so saturated with applications, they needed some way to easily eliminate candidates.

      Basically, if you already have a job in the public sector, you're golden. If you don't, you missed-out.

      I should also point out that public sector does have layoff issues too, so it's not a guarantee. However, it's still more stable than the private sector.

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  9. A proposed AALS print ad:

    ---------

    War Is Peace.

    Freedom Is Slavery.

    Ignorance Is Strength.

    A Seton Hall Law Degree Is Worth A Million Dollars.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Simkovic reminds me of Don Lapre, king of 1990s infomercials. Don kept reminding us that with his secret system of "tiny little ads" we could be raking in thousands of dollars a week. Of course it did cost us $49.95 but that was a pittance compared to what we COULD be earning once we bought his system.

    IMO Simkovic evens looks a bit like LaPre and lets face it, the nonsense he spews is just as unbelievable.

    LaPre committed suicide whilst in jail a few years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bachelor's degree from top 3 national university according to US News. Law degree from top 4 law school. Substantial big law experience . Earning in the mid $50,000s working full-time in private practice in New York City. Looking, but no interest from any full-time permanent job. 95 job applications to attorney jobs in the last month. Also tried JD advantage related to my legal area, but there is no interest.

    Close colleague with bachelor's degree from top 3 national university and law degree from HYS. Also substantial big law experience. Colleague put in a few hundred job applications. Colleague is unemployed and has gotten only one interview in 2 years of looking, and that job wanted substantial portable business.

    There is no premium for a law degree for a lot of lawyers, even lawyers from the top law schools with the top records. If one can get a "going rate" job, law is good work. But there are twice as many lawyers as jobs. So whatever premium a lawyer gets absolutely disappears in many cases after big law. In house is hard to get and much, much harder to keep for the length of a career.

    Anyone who is thinking of law has to consider that it gets increasingly hard to work years before the Social Security retirement age. It is a problem of almost 2 to 1 lawyer oversupply and employers' preference for younger lawyers.

    This is not an "oldster's" problem, as was so many times asserted on Campos' blog. The problem of career-long lawyer jobs disappearing is going to be a problem for anyone who attends law school. The law degree is a negative if you spend years earning a third of what an experienced teacher earns in your geographic area, taking into account that a teacher gets pension and health benefits and has tenure.

    To describe a law degree as a million dollar premium is crazy. The demand for lawyers is stagnant; law jobs are very unstable, and the job market is weak if you are not a recent graduate.

    There is no way to just get paying work as a lawyer when you want to work. You can't sign up for an extra shift. The job openings are almost all "purple squirrels", requiring years of very specific types of experience as well as a very specific number of years of experience (such as 3-6 years) that few lawyers have.

    Take your impressive college degree elsewhere. Law is too risky today.

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    Replies
    1. @ 5:34 AM

      These are the outcomes no one has any desire to talk about nor does anyone in academia know because they occur after schooling is done. There is no real follow-up on the part of anyone from the schools other than checking "employed" or "unemployed" if they bother to collect that data for employment purposes. Schools don't really reach out to alumni other than to ask for money..

      The college degree from a top school, in other words, was tarnished - or devalued - by continuing on and then having a JD as the terminal degree. Once that was received, you are now "locked" into that educational level. The BA - and its benefits - were subsumed.

      People can talk about outcomes for engineers but all the examples above still assume that a person gets the right leaps in their career at the right time. Everything is essentially "up or out" and law with 2+ graduates for every job is perhaps the worst (best) example of this.

      Essentially, one needs to still abide by the laws of supply and demand. Stick to fields where the demand is greater than the supply and where the degree has value.

      The jobs posted as examples, btw, are still BS because the taxpayer is essentially paying these people. They've privatized the job gains to themselves and socialized the losses over the masses in the private sector. Teaching is just milking property taxes for cash. Policing is milking the locale's tax base for cash.

      As far as engineering, there are many unemployed engineers in Iowa who'd move to China for work if they could.

      Bottom-line: Taking on too much educational debt and in the wrong area before even leaving the starting gate is a recipe for disaster. Many people will fail. Few will succeed. There are no guarantees in today's global economy and the gov't jobs are only masking how bad things truly are and cannot continue to be paid for indefinitely (see Puerto Rico).

      Delete
    2. Very well written. You are absolutely correct that job openings require very specific experience or else you are not even considered. Of course, how do you get such experience? I wish I knew.

      Delete
    3. Something else is quite evident here as well: This sharply illustrates the PPC nature of the profession. What did all that IQ net? It's economically meaningless. People who aren't a member of the aristocracy simply have the same chances of success as everyone else even from top schools and those are - not much. Not very much at all..

      People always want to showcase the one person from a working-class background who, against all odds, beat the System. Fine. But then they generalize it and apply it to everyone else and therein lies the basis of the entire scam of education / hard work in America. Quite simply, not every little boy or girl can grow up to be President.

      When you're a member of the Club, anything is possible. It really doesn't matter what you do or fail to do. When you aren't, it really doesn't matter what you do or fail to do either as success will be elusive or impossible.

      Delete
    4. Being in the club in the lawyer context means the person who made it into the popular clique in high school. Someone who has extremely good social skills and sales skills. Being born into aristocracy does not help you if you don't know how to get in with the in crowd and stay in with the in crown.

      The real problem is that there are too many lawyers and too few jobs, as Mr. Harper says. There are few good jobs in law that are career jobs.

      Big law is a scam because it is producing many more lawyers that there are good jobs those lawyers can go to long term. Lawyers get first jobs from big law, but the jobs rarely last long-term.

      Hence you have double Harvard graduates dealing with unemployment and having to take temporary work when they can get it, which is intermittent at best, after big law. The numbers are not small. Harvard and Yale Law are risks for not getting and keeping a good job for the length of your career. This is not months of career trouble, but years of career trouble in many cases.

      The percentage of the top law school classes with full time permanent legal jobs in private practice that pay the going rate is much much less than the percentage of the class seeking those jobs when you get out several years and age out of big law. The mid-six figure jobs for experienced lawyers only exist in limited numbers.

      The advice of choosing a career where there is very strong demand relative to supply of workers is best advice you can follow.

      Delete
    5. The problem is people don't want to do the jobs that offer a guaranteed middle class (possibly upper middle class existence) because those jobs were not good jobs when the boomers came up. People view white collar private sector jobs as the jobs where the money and life is at because years ago, ie when the boomers were in the heart of their careers, that was true. This simply isn't the care anymore, unless you are in the super elite of STEM, finance, law and medicine (and I mean super elite).

      I've been harping on the scam blogs for years that the best jobs are high paying municipal jobs, and yet few college material applicants apply for those jobs. The private sector sucks period because of our outsourcing and immigration policies. This is why candidates like Donald Trump andn Bernie Sanders have such extreme support, and this is why the media is doing everything in its power to diminish both. Both, although by very different means, are going after the apparatus that has turned the private sector employee into the loser in this economy. I don't believe this will change because the interests supporting the policies that have wrecked private sector labor are too strong, and the majority of Americans simply don't understand what has happened and what will continue to happen. (Ross Perot warned us, and here we are 20 plus years later reaping the rewards).

      Without exception, my friends who did not pursue a four year degree in favor of learning a trade or working for the city in some other capacity, police officer, garbageman, etc are doing much better than most of my friends in STEM and most of my friends in law.

      I will say this though: the legal field is a particularly fucked up situation. Most lawyers aren't merely going to be worse off than had they not pursued higher education, rather their financial lives are going to be absolutely obliterated. At least in STEM, you'll have 10-20 years of solid employment before they ship your job to China and you won't have much student loan debt. Sure, the fireman with the GED and a six figure pension is much better off than the forty-five year old unemployed Engineer (who has no retirement options), but most forty-five year old lawyers are (and will be) fucked before they start.

      Delete
    6. @9:26,

      So why don't you become a fireman, then? No fire departments in the entire country are hiring, I suppose?

      Delete
    7. @2:22,

      I'm too old now, the cut off is late 20s, early thirties. The more brainwashed lemmings I can save from entering private sector employment in the 21st century globalized economy, the better. This is especially true for those considering law school.

      You rounding up any indigents to sign student loan promissory notes for the local TTT? (At the courtesy of my tax dollars of course...)

      Delete
    8. @10:21,

      SAY WHAT?! So all the fire departments in the country are engaging in wholesale age discrimination? Naturally you are suing them, right? You should not stand for this! Your theme should be "I WANT TO WORK!!!"

      P.S. WHAT "tax dollars"? You're just mad that they are spending the money on student loans instead of welfare for you. Those are "your" tax dollars.

      Delete
    9. I consider myself lucky; I have a public sector job that is intellectually stimulating with good pay and excellent benefits. Some of my coworkers have tried to persuade me that my talent is wasted here and I should go into tech. While I try my best to deflect the issue, the simple truth is I'm not going to be leaving anytime soon because I actually have job security here. The Hindenburg is on fire and I'm steering clear of the hot mess the private sector has become.

      Delete
    10. @5:30,

      I've been on the scamblogs since the beginning of the movement. I have never, no matter how hard pressed, personally insulted another blogger out of courtesy and out of the hope that some misunderstanding could be resolved with rational dispute. However, for you, I am going to make an exception.

      I am not the other poster or posters with whom you have been engaged in childish exchanges.

      You are one or all of the following: 1) an idiot, 2) a sociopath, 3) a boomer with deluded world views or 4) someone with a vested financial interest in the law school scam.

      I doubt you are going to review the substance of what I am going to say, but here goes anyway:

      1). In every single major U.S. City (NYC, Boston, LA, etc) the cut off for firemen is between 29-35 because the general consensus is after 35 you can't handle the physical nature of the work. This has nothing to do with age discrimination.

      2) I am one of the first ones in my family to get higher education. The majority of my education was paid by scholarships, and the rest of it I paid by working and help from family. I had no student loan debt within a year of graduating law school. I hold advanced degrees in STEM as well. I am, as of the moment, extremely grateful to be employed in the private sector, which is being brutalized by our country's immigration, banking, and outsourcing policies.

      3)The personal criticisms I direct to you are based on reading the nonsense you constantly put forth. It seems you take great pleasure in the suffering of other people, and it also seems that you pretend not to understand the grave nature of the student lending problem. You constantly focus on the student borrowers, when law schools are a) lobbying to abolish the bar exam; b) lobbying to continue the federal guarantee of student loans; c) admitting convicted felons and people with sub 140 LSATs; (in NY, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals has single handily ordered the dumbing down of the bar exam, no doubt due to pressure from law schools, so that more incompetents can continue to supply law schools with federally backed tax dollars); d) the head of the NCBE has been threatened by Brooklyn law school's dean because of comments she made about the dumbing down of the profession.

      Despite these FACTS you place the blame of this problem squarely at the feet of the idiots who attend these toilets, not on the actual power structure, which consists of the stakeholders from the various toilets themselves.

      I have to conclude you are doing this because you possess the characteristics I described above. If you cared about the tax payer, you would argue for abolishment of the federal guarAntee on student loans, even if non-dischargeAbility was important to you. Yet, not once have you addressed this issue, nor have you addressed why colleges and law schools should have loans for their products guaranteed by the tax payer.

      We can destroy the life of every single person who borrowed money to go to law school, but law schools, if they have to will admit bums off the street to get the guaranteed student loan dollars. This doesn't mean I advocate for discharge of student loans; what it means is I prefer to focus on the real culprits.

      Ever since I graduated law school, I've become a conservative, and watching what liberal liars have done to this country, I often find myself wondering how a candidate like Trump isn't obliterating everyone in the polls (not just other establishment Republicans). The answer is that the conservative movement is littered with closet sociopaths that don't care about principles, they just like to see people suffer; and this is what enables the hypocrites on the Left.

      Delete
    11. The law school shills are busy focusing on the students, because their MO is tear down everyone that disagrees with them. They try to shout us down by suggesting that the only reason someone might be concerned about destroying thousands of lives with reckless lending policy is because they're a debtor looking for a handout.

      This is also why anonymous/pseudonymous commenting is important. When they can't latch on to a critic to silence, the argument becomes more important than the arguer. We saw what happened when a certain law professor tried to abuse the system to silence dybbuk. Without knowing who we are, they can only make baseless, faceless accusations.

      Delete
    12. @8:01,

      Not sure why you are bringing Donald Trump into this - but if you think he would be in favor of charging off $1.2 trillion to the taxpayers, then you really don't know your candidate, do you?

      The "real culprits" are the people who borrowed $1.2 trillion from the taxpayers with no realistic strategy to pay it back. In some instances, they never even intended to pay it back. I suppose if these lambs had blown the money on liquor instead of a 3-year vacation at law school, though, you'd be mad at Jack Daniels, rather than the lazy roaches who refuse to honor their debts - right?

      Delete
    13. Donald Trump might not be in favor of non-discharge ability, and as I have stated, I'm fine with that provided the law schools are held accountable; and by accountable, I mean the unrestricted federal guarantee of student loans is lifted.

      Donald Trump is against insiders bribing politicians to fuck the public, and that's what the law schools are doing: they are trying to fuck the public out of money by making sure incompetent people have unlimited access to federally backed loans student loans. They take active measures to influence power brokers and they have regulatory captured the organization that is supposed to regulate law school accreditation.

      That 1.2 trillion dollars is going to be triple soon because colleges and law schools can charge whatever they want and admit wholesale unqualified people to attend due to the federal guarantee of student loans; and then, the cost is eaten by the public when it isn't paid back.

      I provided concrete examples of what they are actively doing to make admission available to anyone, no matter individual ability. This occurs in conjunction with yearly increases in tuition.

      I am not advocating for student loan forgiveness, don't forgive the loans. Let the people who took them out suffer if that's what it takes, but end the madness that is happening now where someone who is a convicted felon with a 140 LSAT and Down syndrome can attend law school at 250k of federally backed dollars.

      This is what Trump understands: high level corruption at the publics's expense has to end.

      If you don't understand this, you have to have some other kind of motive.

      Delete
    14. @6:29

      I'm not going to limit myself to blaming the chowderheads for taking out the loans. The government made those loans, and should be held to higher standards of financial accountability. The reality is that no unsubsidized private sector lender would EVER give a functional retard a quarter million dollars to go to Trash State Law School because of the nearly 100% chance of a partial or total loss on that loan. Of course these fools exist. The world is full of people who just want a big pile of dough so that they can try out an idea. Often these ideas are stupid and unfeasible. Free market lenders would evaluate such ideas as being worthless and not give out loans. It is the government that has chosen to dole out taxpayer dollars to these absurdly risky and expensive gambles.

      The government is the reason that taxpayers are on the hook, and it continues to pour taxpayer dollars into this system in the face of data showing that this is spectacular waste of taxpayer money. You are damn right that the government deserves a healthy share of blame.

      And moralistic ranting about how "roaches" won't pay back their loans will only go so far. The lost money is still lost. It was given out by the Federal government in the first place. They are the ones who demand my money for this scheme and the ones who would lock me in jail if I didn't pay those taxes. Aside from weird fantasizing, the "roaches" won't "starve". If they end up broke and unable to pay down the loan balance, they will go on Food Stamps, TANF, SSDI, Medicaid, etc., and inflict even MORE expenses on the taxpayers. I have no student loans. I will receive no immediate benefit if the loans are made more dischargeable. What I think must be done to prevent further bleed to my own wallet is to stop the Federal loan gravy train. Keeping it going and then posting spittle-spraying screeds about how horrible the defaulting borrowers are would provide me no actual financial benefit. It only would make more more irritated at the fact that the Feds continue to hand out bails of loans which will never be paid back, all so that law schools don't have to face the reality of a market correction.

      Delete
    15. 7:12,

      This is 9:17. Amen. The central question is why wont the federal government stop guaranteeing student loans? Tuition is increasing exponentially because schools know they can get idiots to attend at any price and then stick the bill to the taxpayer.

      No other product, except maybe healthcare, gets this benefit. It makes no sense, and it's the bigger of two problems.

      Delete
    16. 10:39,

      The problem is that we've been conditioned for generations to believe that more education is always good and that any premium is worth paying for it. People are only now starting to question this belief.

      It will take time to break through, but we need to keep pushing this because it is a fairly radical idea and not everyone is ready to accept it yet. If we can convince people to view the claims of educators and the value of investment in education with skepticism, we will make headway.

      Delete
  12. Ah yes, I always keep hearing about Simkovic and his "million dollar degree" claim.

    The only way I can see it being worth $1million is if the debt owed on it explodes to that much. And given how those JDs now cost about $200K (a fifth of a million!), that may be all too likely.

    ReplyDelete
  13. From Scamkovic:

    "For years, misinformation accelerated while the AALS failed to respond effectively."

    Yes, indeed, why has the AALS not responded effectively to bald-faced lies such as Scamkovic's invocation of "the $30,000 to $60,000 extra per year that they [college graduates] can typically earn with a law degree"?

    But that's not what Scamkovic has in mind when he complains of "misinformation". No, he's talking about the correct information that is deterring prospective lemmings from the law-school scam. And he proposes to combat the truth with a bullshit propaganda campaign funded by higher fees on law schools—said fees coming largely from the public coffers courtesy of federally guaranteed, non-dischargeable student loans available to anyone whom a law school admits and in any amount that the law school designates.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Folks - I can't speak for the other mods, but I deleted a few posts and marked a few others as spam before even posting them.

    We keep it fairly free and unmoderated, but stop being a stupid troll. You know who you are.

    ReplyDelete