‘Debt is good’ message may be luring young people to disaster

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  As the Independent reports:

Banks are teaching teenagers to accept debt but not what to do when things get out of control.

And I’m was not the only commentator in the article to say so:

Maggie Kirkpatrick of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service is not optimistic about the ability of this generation to pay back their debts. "Students leaving university now are finding it harder to get higher-paid employment," she says. She detects amongst them "sheer disappointment at not being able to achieve what they expected". And she hopes that they do not get so disillusioned that they just give up on the debt repayments, but she says: "That might be something that grows in future."

And as the report also notes:

But if students do keep on course with repaying their debts, [Richard] Murphy is concerned at the other sacrifices they have to make. "This debt restricts their freedom of choice. They may feel they have got to take the highest-paying jobs," he says.

I am incredibly worried about the impact of debt on society. No one is free when in debt. True, if they have an asset to cover the debt there is relative freedom, but this article related to personal debt – and debt of another sort – the debt incurred to pay for education.

This shackles people and ties them to the workplace in a way nothing else can. No wonder the financial services hierarchy like it so much: a treadmill of debt for life is their dream for the people of the UK. This is the antithesis of freedom.

That’s why I hate debt so much. It is, as the word mortgage says, the grip of death leading to lives lived in quiet desperation at the behest of bankers. It’s a loathsome prospect we must do as much as possible to prevent.

How? Try these options:

1) Ban direct selling of credit

2) Ban store cards

3) Set strict limits on absolute levels of credit that can be granted to an individual in relation to their income at the time debt was taken out and make debt above that level unenforceable

4) Set a legally enforceable cap on interest rates (20% would be high, in my opinion)

5) End student loans and properly fund education instead

6) Ensure that there is a proper social fund so the poorest are not driven into the arms of doorstep lenders.

Now there’s an agenda for the ConDems.

And one every Labour leadership candidate should endorse.