Since 1999, student debt has increased more than 500 percent, yet the average starting salary for graduates has dropped 10 percent, adjusted for inflation. Student debts can’t be cancelled in bankruptcy. A default brings penalties and ruins a credit rating. To make matters worse, the job market for new graduates remains lousy. Which is why record numbers are still living at home.
There’s no concession on the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling needs to be lifted. They’re not getting anything for that.
Today, the median salary is less than SYP 16,000 ($150 at current rates). Some estimates put it between SYP 13,000 ($277) and SYP 13,500 ($287). However, the cost of basic goods has soared by more than 300 percent. A family of five now has to make three times what it used to before the crisis, needing a monthly fixed salary between SYP 95,000 ($905) and SYP 126,000 ($1,200) to sustain its basic needs. Eighty percent of Syrians do not make more than SYP 30,000 ($286)…. Before the crisis, around 7.4 million people were classified between the upper and lower poverty lines, making up 35.7 percent of the population. Today, however, poverty rates have exceeded all expectations, reaching 80 percent of the population. Unemployment rates, on the other hand, are over 55 percent of the workforce.
“If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit this year—at 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—will be less than half as large as the shortfall in 2009, which was 10.1 percent of GDP. Because revenues, under current law, are projected to rise more rapidly than spending in the next two years, deficits in CBO’s baseline projections continue to shrink, falling to 2.1 percent of GDP by 2015.”
The Congressional Budget Office announces revised deficit productions, cutting 2013 deficit predictions by more than $200 billion and deficits over the next decade by more than $600 billion. The media hardly notices.
The U.S. economy added 165,000 jobs in April and overall unemployment dropped to 7.5 percent. The private sector added 176,000 jobs while spending cuts caused the public sector to lose 11,000 jobs. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow notes that February’s record setting growth came after January’s tax hikes, but before the sequester which is now limiting growth due to congressional inaction.
Pictured: Private Sector Job Growth 2008-Present
Last month, the Department of Labor released new job market numbers, which suggests that the economic recovery is perpetuating the trend of college graduates turning to minimum wage jobs. Though there has been significant employment gains, many recent college graduates have been forced to resort to low-wage, low-skilled jobs. There are now 13.4 million college graduates working for hourly pay, up 19 percent since the start of the recession. According to the Department of Labor, there are about 284,000 graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree that were working minimum wage jobs in 2012.
The destruction of fiscal rectitude under Ronald Reagan — one reason I resigned as his budget chief in 1985 — was the greatest of his many dramatic acts. It created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge and allowed George W. Bush to dive into the deep end, bankrupting the nation through two misbegotten and unfinanced wars, a giant expansion of Medicare and a tax-cutting spree for the wealthy that turned K Street lobbyists into the de facto office of national tax policy. In effect, the G.O.P. embraced Keynesianism — for the wealthy.