Shell – Welcome to Trillion Dollar Day

240 Character Description

While President Obama haggled with Congress over the interest rate on Federal Stafford loans for undergraduate students, hundreds of people gathered in Union Square on April 25th to protest the rising cost of college tuition. Many were demanding a one-time government bail out as well.

250 Word Description of the Story

What have all these people done to deserve a bail-out? And what do the rest of us have to gain from it? Shouldn’t they have to pay back their student loans?

The path to trillion dollar day is a twisted one. Even the trillion dollar figure is murky – because interest rates cause the amount students owe to increase dramatically as they enter repayment. Those who default will see their balances increase as well.

And the amount they borrow will increase – as tuition at public universities continues to rise at three to seven percent annually.

This debt prevents people from spending and therefore stimulating the economy, according to economists.

Last November, Robert Applebaum’s online petition acquired over 400,000 signatures in a matter of weeks. Fast-forward six months, and more than 950,000 people have signed. The petition calls for Congress to vote on a bill introduced by Rep. Hansen Clarke. It’s the only proposed legislation that will help people with private loans, or who may already be in default. It requires that student loan payments be capped at 10% of discretionary income and the balance forgiven after ten years of repayment.

Behind the Scenes

Corrina Giglio, 40, and her friend Laxman Giri, 31, stumbled upon the Trillion Dollar Day demonstration at Union Square by accident. Occupiers were protesting tuition hikes and student loan interest rates, and many were demanding a one time government bail out, as well.

Proponents of the bail out say that it will put money directly into the hands of consumers, stimulating the economy.

Giri said that he didn’t have student loans, but Giglio, who interpreted the event for him in American Sign Language, said that she had first hand experience.

Giglio said she borrowed $80,000 for her degrees – speech pathology at SUNY New Paltz and deaf education at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD.

“I’m always worried about the debt,” Giglio said. Not only does it weigh on her mind, but it affects her future, too, she said.

“I don’t even think about buying a house. I know it’s something I’ll never be able to do because of my loans,” she said.

It sounds unsustainable. That’s because it is.

200,000 dollars, now, at least.


30,000 left, remaining on my student loans.

I’ve got 186,000. Under the belt.

My name is Sally Mae! (boooo)
We’d like to toast you. Thank you for signing your futures away! (Boooo!)

It alters peoples’ whole life trajectory and limits peoples’ options.

It’s keeping my parents from retiring. Cuz they took out loans for me and my brother, too. I also worry because I have a medical condition, and if I’m hospitalized, like in a coma or a vegetative state, they still have to pay it off.

Right now we have a real paucity of demand. We don’t have enough spending and the huge debt that people are in, not only student debt, but other debt, is an enormous drag on the overall economy.

Something has to give.

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