For Immediate Release: August 18, 2015
Lexington, Massachusetts – Today Dr. Jill Stein released the text of her keynote address to the Student Power Conference, calling for abolishing student debt, as well as making public higher education free. The proposal was part of her remarks this past weekend to a New Brunswick, NJ gathering of student leaders and activists from New Jersey college and university campuses, as well as diverse social justice and student networks, including the United States Student Association.
Stein called for bailing out the 40 million current and former students who are carrying $1.3 trillion dollars in unforgiving college loans. Students are “trapped as indentured servants because 75% of the new jobs being created in today’s economy are low wage, part time and temporary. So the jobs are simply not available with which to repay those loans.”
“We provided a $16 trillion dollar bail out to the bankers whose waste, fraud and abuse crashed the economy, creating the meltdown that lingers today, including a 35% collapse in average household wealth. If we bailed out the bankers who caused the economic crisis, it’s time to bail out the students who are victims of the ongoing crisis.”
Stein argues that quantitative easing, which was used to bail out bankers and large corporations, should be extended to students carrying debt. “Student debt creates a massive drain on the economy. It prevents young people from using the creativity and ingenuity of their youth – society’s greatest resource – to re-imagine our economy and society, as each generation must do. Instead, graduates are chained to the drudgery of the low wage, corporate jobs that are available. As their wages are siphoned off to repay debt, even their earnings are unavailable to recharge the economy.”
“Because student debt is a major drag on our precarious economy, the Federal Reserve should use its emergency authority to expand quantitative easing to the student sector. This is especially warranted given the high rate of non-payment, and the bundling of risky loans into investment instruments, creating the potential for a student loan crisis comparable to the mortgage melt down of 2008.”
“Using quantitative easing to repay student debt would unleash enormous productivity and creative power. It would deliver a real boost to the economy, unlike the quantitative easing used to repay bank and corporate debt, which allowed ‘too big to fail’ banks to continue racking up huge profits in an unproductive financial sector.”
Dr. Stein’s full prepared remarks can be seen at