This last week, there were several politically charged gatherings.  The Occupy Wall Street group celebrated six months of continuous protests.  The Tea Party group started their now annual rallies leading up to tax day and anti-Tea Party groups protested the Tea Party.

Tea Party protesters fill the National Mall on...

Tea Party protesters fill the National Mall.

The Tea/Anti-Tea protests are very well-defined.  The Tea Party thinks that Americans are taxed enough already and do not like some of the programs that are being funded by the federal government, specifically the new health care legislation that is now two years old.  The Anti-Tea Party groups think that rich people are not taxed enough and that too much money is spent on the military.  They also specifically support the new health care legislation as a way to save money in the future by guaranteeing that everyone has affordable health care.  The arguments on each side are well articulated and, in general, are civil.

Protesters at the Occupy Wall Street protest i...

The Occupy Wall Street protest in New York.

The Occupy group is still rather nebulous in their message.  They have returned to the “forgive my student loans” issues.  Why the banks are evil on this issue is confusing.  The students chose to take the loans and knew the expectations of repayment.  It would be like charging for tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert then expecting the credit card company to forgive that short term loan.  The argument could be made that a college education is different than a concert, but the basic premise is the same.  If you cannot afford the college costs, is it the bank’s fault or the college?  If you cannot afford the concert ticket, is it the credit card company’s fault or the entertainer’s?  Or in both cases, has the borrower made a bad financial decision and gotten into debt that they should not have taken?

We as a nation have bailed out car companies, financial institutions and certain people with bad mortgages.  The occupy group wants to add to this list people with student loans or apparently loans of any kind that they do not want to have to pay back.  Although most people would like a freebie every once in a while, there will be a cost if the occupy group is given what they want just has there has been a cost for the bail outs that have already occurred.

The previous bail outs have driven the national debt higher.  Unless the federal government pays off the loans that the occupy group wants forgiven (which will add even more to the debt), then the people who deposit in the banks will lose.  Even if they do not lose their actual deposits, the will get extra fees, reduced rates on their investments and many other costs.  The banks are not individuals, they are corporations.  Corporations sell products, in this case, interest to attract deposits and loans to make money.  If the money source does not make money, they will stop providing the product (meaning the next group of college attendees will have no loans available) or charge more for existing products to recover the lost revenue.  Getting the loans forgiven may seem like a good idea for the moment, but it will not get those people jobs, income or opportunities, in fact it will limit opportunities for a very large group of people who could include the protesters themselves.

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