Why I’m thinking of running for Congress — the student debt bomb

First, I don’t hunger to be a congressman. Let’s face it, despite all the perks, it’s a hard job that demands almost all of your waking hours. And in truth most congressmen are ineffective legislators. I know I worked in the House of Representatives for a dozen years starting at age 15 as a page to the Majority Leader and finishing as the staff director of a committee. I wrote legislation for hundreds of billions of dollars of federal spending. As they say, I saw how the “sausage is made.”

So, what would make me contemplate leaving my happy life in the mountains above Santa Barbara — having all the time I want to do the things I had to steal time on weekends or vacations to do when I was raising a son and working?

The answer is the student debt crisis.

The average student debt in 2015 was over $35,000

Student debt threatens not only our financial institutions but small businesses where a whole generation of customers won’t be able to afford to buy their products or use their services, plumbers and carpenters who won’t find work on the houses indebted graduates cannot afford.

Having to repay $900 a month in student loans right out of college limits choices in careers, family life, where and how you live. One late payment effects your credit rating. Over 70% of all U.S. college graduates owe more than $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loans. The Federal Reserve estimates a 27% delinquency rate.

The student debt crisis is robbing our society of artists, teachers, and inventors who now take the job that pays the most. The doctor who might want to work in an underserved community now chooses the most lucrative specialty in order to pay off his $167,000 medical school debt.

Economic inequality is being exacerbated with a devil’s bargain of going to school and risking putting yourself into a lifetime of debt and poor credit rating or seeking one of the shrinking pool of jobs for those with only a high school degree.

If we can bail out our banks we can bail out our children.

So, I am going to go out and “test the waters” to see if there is any interest in my candidacy.

[This will be the first in periodic reports on my testing the waters for a run for Congress].