In 2015 The New York Times profiled Liz Kelley, a Missouri teacher and mother of four who owed the federal government $410,000 (and counting) in student loans.
Kelley's borrowing was not as remarkable as one might think—most of the debt was interest, not principal. Nor was her situation that unique. At the time, nearly two percent of Americans, some 779,00 people, owed more than $150,000 in loan debt.
By now, we've all seen stories like Kelley's. What was most interesting was the confession from the Times about who the villain of the story was.
The student loan crisis, the Times said, was the result of the federal government's student loan program, which
has been removed from the norms and values of prudent lending. Because the Department of Education doesn't consider risk, it takes no responsibility. If life, luck and bad choices leave you $410,000 in the hole, it's all on you.