I generally don’t watch commercials. Since discovering TiVo, I merely delay when I begin watching a program and skip the commercials when they come up. But, this week Margo is in charge of the TV as I refused to just camp in front of it, and she will use it for background while she works a puzzle, game, or on the internet. So, I will sit down and get engrossed in some 50s or 60s black and white program and watch it live.
Doing so has unwittingly subjected me to in my opinion the worst part of capitalism; commercials geared towards stealing money; legally. You know the type. In the 45 minutes or so I watched today I saw two different legal firms touting how they could get you disability payments from
Social Security. I saw two different companies telling you how you could get a mobility scooter to wheel you around, and I didn’t even try to count the number of ads from online colleges or trade schools.
So what’s wrong with that you ask? Every one of these ads are geared towards someone sitting on their ass at home. They sell a promise of something for nothing. I will grant partial dispensation for the educational ads; at least they will be attempting to teach a trade or marketable skill. But, face facts, the vast majority of people these ads appeal to are the people sitting at home wanting to be given something.
They want a quick education to earn them a job that will earn six figures. They want a free scooter. They want a check from the government. Well we can’t afford this compassion at someone else’s expense. That scooter is not free; taxpayers are footing the bill. The education is not free; someone takes out a loan that is guaranteed by the taxpayers. That disability check is not free; again the taxpayers are on the hook.
I am not against helping out people in need. But the manner in which we do it invites fraud and is inefficient. Do you wonder why education costs have far out stripped the pace of inflation? The federal government guarantees the loans. The schools know this, so they don’t care who they sign up. If they can qualify for a student loan they are in. Aptitude, intelligence, and desire, are secondary. When the graduate, or drop out for that manner, and can’t pay, the taxpayers stand behind the loan. The schools have minimal incentive to lower their costs. They raise their rates and the government guarantees more loan money. There is currently more student loan debt
than credit card debt in America. How scary is that?
I genuinely applaud every person out there who takes out a loan, gets an education, and then works to pay back what they owe. That situation applies to the vast majority of