Settlement payouts should be like binging on your favorite show FAST, EASY, ON-DEMAND HERE ARE THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH US: Funding available for a variety of case types Advances range from $10,000 to $10,000,000 Fast easy process + No hidden fees Find out if our post-settlement funding solutions are right for you or your plaintiffs. Phone: 267-457-4540 Email: email@example.com www.balancedbridge.com 64 x The Trial Lawyer PUNISHING THE YOUNG Ben and Danielle acted responsibly, but is that really what we want for their generation? Once, society celebrated young people who pursued education. Today we celebrate their punishment — especially when it’s driven, penitent-style, from the depths of their own self-abnegating souls. But latte-crazed students didn’t create this problem. College education costs more in the United States than it does in any other country, by far, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). About one- third of the 35 OECD countries charge no tuition for higher education. Another ten charge less than $4,000 per year. And some of them help students pay their living expenses. In the US, 70 percent of college graduates have some level of student debt. The average four-year graduate owes more than $37,000. People who were unable to complete their education, often for reasons beyond their control, owed an average of nearly $9,000. Once they graduate, they face a labor economy where underemployment remains widespread. But, hey, hold the cappuccino! We shouldn’t fetishize student debt. These students played by the rules, and were caught in a trap that was not of their own making. We need to free them, and ourselves, from that trap. PICTURE AN END TO STUDENT DEBT Now let’s go back to that picture in your mind of a student debt-free United States. Wages are stronger. Young people have more freedom to choose their careers based on the public interest, as well as their own education and inclination. They, and their families, have more to spend on homes and the necessities of life. (And yes, they can have a second cup of coffee.) By this time, hopefully, the United States will have joined the most developed nations on earth in making tuition-free higher education available to everyone. That way, today’s student debt crisis can never be repeated. The act of cancelling student debt will benefit the entire economy. It will make us a stronger national community. And it will send a message to ourselves, from ourselves: we care about each other. We are not afraid to change. We are not afraid to set others free, and to share in the benefits of that freedom.