Barrett: Occupy slackers want others to repay their student loans

Barrett: Occupy slackers want others to repay their student loans

November 27th, 2011 by Steve Barrett in Opinion Cartoons

Any lingering hope that the Occupy Wall Street set isn't infested with sloths and slackers can now be pitched without ceremony into the nearest Cuisinart.

Amid OWS' hot denials that it is a magnet for the shiftless, the entitled and the infantilized, it has begun urging a mass heist against taxpayers.

Here is the plan, announced in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park by a branch of OWS with the brazenly lackluster title "Occupy Student Debt":

People who borrowed money to attend college will sign a pledge vowing not to repay their debt. When 1 million people have pledged thus, they will put a fiscal gun to the heads of the American people and, as casually as they might tweet about their choice of granola, pull the trigger: They'll stop paying on their loans.

The precise effect of this action is impossible to know, but it could be devastating. The federal government is responsible for 85 percent of student loans, and student debt is in the neighborhood of $1 trillion. That's more than the American people owe on credit cards.

A flood of deadbeats suddenly overwhelming the system to the point that it cannot effectively collect on student loans would shift at least part of that bill onto taxpayers.

"The theory behind the campaign is that if 1 million students refuse to pay, they would face minimal consequences due to safety in numbers," Inside Higher Ed reports.

But that's the least of it. How many other Americans would understandably conclude that if graduates don't have to repay loans squandered on five or six years of advanced marmalade studies, there's no reason why they should pay off their mortgages, their car loans or that colorful pantsuit from Sears?

Hard as it is to fathom, it's doubtful there are enough bureaucrats even at the Department of Education and the IRS to track down a million student loan-chucking loafers plus millions more who may be inspired to dump sundry other financial obligations.

So we arrive again at the axis of the self-absorbed OWS movement: If they want something, and they can muster the sheer mob force to take it, they will. To heck with what it does to anybody else.

Incapable of, and uninterested in, gaining the intellectual traction or emotional maturity to pull out of the perpetual mosh pit they mistake for reality, they demand a life unencumbered by grown-up responsibilities -- and they will have it, even if it means embracing the tactics of the bailed-out Wall Street miscreants they denounce.

The belief by at least some portion of the Occupy movement that repayment of their loans is the duty of plumbers, waitresses and janitors who never signed up for that borrowing is merely the latest manifestation of that. It merits their dismissal to the sparsely populated ideological netherworld of Michael Moore and Newsweek.

If you've lost Chris Matthews ...

Speaking of sparsely populated netherworlds, I saw a link to a vigorous denunciation of the president by -- wait for it -- Chris Matthews of MSNBC!

"What are we trying to do in this administration?" Matthews ponders in palpable despair. "Why does he want a second term? Would he tell us? What's he going to do in his second term? More of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Where are we going? Are we going to do something in his second term? He has yet to tell us. He has not said one thing about what he would do in a second term. He never tells us what he's going to do with reforming our health care systems, Medicare, Medicaid. How he's going to reform Social Security. Is he going to deal with long-term debt? How? Is he going to reform the tax system? How?"

All fine questions, Friar Matthews. So far, Obama's plan is:

* Raise taxes on the rich.

* Toss a few hundred billion more smackers down the stimulus rat hole.

That's it. That's the plan. That's the grand design for economic turnaround.

Small wonder the president is now hemorrhaging the support of even the Chris Matthewses of the world.

Reach Steve Barrett at 423-757-6329 or