Students should just go bankrupt

Student loans

Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated image via James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal,[1] fair use.

I missed this from last Thursday, but it seems the Joe Biden administration announced new rules for how the Department of Justice will handle bankruptcies involving student loans.[2]

The bankruptcy changes set specific requirements for [student loan] borrowers to prove that they are experiencing economic distress. Government lawyers will assess a borrower’s ability to repay their loans based on a set formula—whether expenses equal or exceed a debtor’s income—and other considerations, such as retirement age, disability, educational attainment and job history.[3]

I would almost certainly qualify for this. While there should be some accountability for this economic system’s absolute refusal to honor my human right to suitable employment, bankruptcy is not something I take lightly.

Gabriel T. Rubin, “Student-Loan Holders See New Path for Wiping Out Debt Through Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2022,


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Fig. 2. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

With only a few exceptions, this year’s results showed each side further consolidating its hold over the states that already lean in its direction. And in 2024 that will likely leave control of the White House in the hands of a very small number of states that are themselves divided almost exactly in half between the parties – a list that looks even smaller after this month’s outcomes. . . .

These offsetting and hardening partisan strengths could, once again, provide the power to decide the White House winner to a few hundred thousand voters in a very few closely balanced states. That’s a windfall for the owners of television stations who will be deluged with television advertising in states such as Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona. But it’s also another reason for the prodigious stress in our fraught modern politics. Each side in an intensely polarized nation of 330 million recognizes that the overall direction of national policy now pivots on the choices of a miniscule number of people living in the tiny patches of contested political ground – white-collar suburbs of Atlanta and Phoenix, working-class Latino neighborhoods in and around Las Vegas and the mid-sized communities of the so-called BOW counties in Wisconsin.

The partitioning of the nation into distinct and intractable partisan camps is one of the defining features of modern US politics. The Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have each carried 20 states in every election since at least 2008. That means 80% of the states have voted the same way in at least the past four presidential elections – a level of consistency unmatched through the 20th century. Even during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four consecutive presidential victories from 1932 through 1944, only about two-thirds of the states voted the same way each time.[4]

Republicans likely improve their chances in 2024 if they ditch Donald Trump,[5] Whether they can do that remains to be seen and we should emphasize that Ron DeSantis probably should be seen as even more frightening.[6]

Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” Cable News Network, November 22, 2022,



Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[7] fair use.

Y’all have to forgive me. I’ve never been a parent, let alone of a rebellious teenaged boy, so I’m a little slow on the uptake.

But after some back-and-forth on (where else?) Twitter, I’ve decided that my description of Elon Musk as having never outgrown puberty is more apt than I imagined. He’s constantly picking fights,[8] even fights he can’t win, like, most obviously, his attempt to back out of the deal to purchase Twitter, but even now with regulators both in the U.S.,[9] possibly even on national security grounds,[10] and the European Union.[11] His defiance of regulators is absolutely nothing new[12] and who can forget the whole ‘pedophile’ thing that didn’t make any sense even before we get to Musk calling a rescue diver a pedophile?[13]

Now Elon Musk persists in antagonizing Twitter’s advertisers and users; these in combination with his layoffs and regulatory concerns have put Twitter on a full-throttle nosedive to doom.[14] He might finally have picked a fight he can win—against himself.

  1. [1]Richard K. Vedder, “Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans,” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, September 16, 2020,
  2. [2]Gabriel T. Rubin, “Biden Administration to Make It Easier to Dismiss Student Loans in Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2022,
  3. [3]Gabriel T. Rubin, “Student-Loan Holders See New Path for Wiping Out Debt Through Bankruptcy,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2022,
  4. [4]Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” Cable News Network, November 22, 2022,
  5. [5]Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey, “One likely 2024 GOP contender triumphed on election night. It wasn’t Donald Trump,” Washington Post, November 9, 2022,; Ronald Brownstein, “Why fewer states than ever could pick the next president,” Cable News Network, November 22, 2022,; Jonathan Freedland, “The winner of the midterms is not yet clear – but the loser is Donald Trump,” Guardian, November 9, 2022,; Liz Goodwin, “A red wave of criticism crashes into Donald Trump after midterm losses,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,; David Lauter, “The midterm’s big loser: Trump suffers multiple defeats,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2022,; Jonathan Tamari and William Bender, “‘It’s time for him to retire’: Some Pa. Republicans want to push Trump aside after their election losses,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 10, 2022,; Chris Walker, “Trump Is Blaming Everyone But Himself for Midterm Losses — Including His Wife,” Truthout, November 10, 2022,
  6. [6]Adam Taylor, “Is the world ready for President DeSantis and a Floridian foreign policy?” Washington Post, November 10, 2022,
  7. [7]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022,
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Elon Musk, groan, again,” Not Housebroken, February 28, 2021,
  9. [9]Joseph Menn et al., “Twitter’s content moderation head quits as departures alarm the FTC,” Washington Post, November 10, 2022,
  10. [10]Sanjay Patnaik, Robert E. Litan, and James Kunhardt, “The national security grounds for investigating Musk’s Twitter acquisition,” Brookings, November 4, 2022,
  11. [11]Natasha Lomas, “Is Elon Musk’s Twitter about to fall out of the GDPR’s one-stop shop?” TechCrunch, November 14, 2022,
  12. [12]John C. Coffee, Jr., “How the SEC can be the babysitter Elon Musk needs,” Cable News Network, April 23, 2020,; Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk’s Defiance in the Time of Coronavirus,” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020,
  13. [13]Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk Cleared by Jury in Defamation Case Over ‘Pedo’ Tweet,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2019,; Alistair Walsh, “Elon Musk won’t stop calling diver a pedophile,” Deutsche Welle, September 9, 2018,; Li Zhou, “Elon Musk and the Thai cave rescue: a tale of good intentions and bad tweets,” Vox, July 18, 2018,
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Elon Musk’s Achilles’ heel,” Not Housebroken, November 18, 2022,

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