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Student debt drags down economy

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By Dante Chinni and Sally Bronston

WASHINGTON – The college admissions scandal may have driven the conversation about higher education this week, but away from the headlines the far bigger story is student loan debt and what it is doing to a generation of Americans.

For a large group of young people, many so-called Millennials, the desire to attend the best possible school (and the desire for graduate degrees) combined with spiraling college costs may be fundamentally altering the economy – and the next era of American politics.

Consider a recent analysis from staff at the Federal Reserve. It found that the average student loan debt held by those in the 24- to 32-year-old age group doubled from $5,000 to $10,000 between 2005 and 2014. And that same report found that home ownership fell nine percentage points in that same time period for those in that age group.

Homeownership fell across all age groups by about four percentage points, but the Millennial drop was much steeper.

You can see the impact of student loan debt on Millennials when you compare their financial liabilities to other generations.

On average, Millennials, ages 18 to 34, carry about $36,000 in debt, according to a 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual Life. That looks very similar to the numbers for Generation X, who carry $39,000 in debt on average, and Baby Boomers who hold about $36,000 in debt, according to the study.

You can see the impact of student loan debt on Millennials when you compare their financial liabilities to other generations.

But the numbers look very different in that study when you break it down into categories.

The largest source of debt for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers is their mortgages, which clock in at 32 percent and 25 percent respectively for those age groups. The biggest source of debt for Millennials? Personal education loans at 21 percent.

Millennials have almost the same amount of debt, in dollar terms, as their older generational counterparts.

Those numbers raise some serious issues. Millennials have almost the same amount of debt, in dollar terms, as their older generational counterparts, but their debt is primarily going to pay off something they have already acquired, their education.

The net impact is not only a drag in their personal financial situation, but it’s also a drag on the economy as a whole. It means millions of young Americans have less money to spend on the goods and services – and particularly on big-ticket items like homes and cars that are the backbone of the economy.

The point here is not that all student debt is bad. Education, in general, is an investment that pays off over time. But the broader question is whether skyrocketing college costs and the student loans that have followed are increasing debt amounts to unhealthy levels for the next generation.

And ultimately there may be political ramifications to all these data points.

In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, we asked about how respondents felt about the word “socialism.” The only age group where the majority did not hold a negative view about the word was the Millennial group, 18- to 34-year-olds.

Millennials held decidedly mixed views on the term.

Millennials held decidedly mixed views on the term. Among them, 38 percent held negative feelings about it, while 21 percent said they felt positive. The most common response among the age group was “neutral” or “don’t know.” Together, those responses clocked in at 41 percent.

Across every other age group, more than 50 percent said they had negative views about “socialism.”

There could be a lot of reasons for those different feelings on “socialism.” Younger voters generally tend to lean further left politically. And some candidates favored by younger voters have fewer concerns about the word. Remember, Vermont Rep. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic socialist.

But the student loan data may suggest another possible reason.

After sinking a big down payment into their education, many Millennials are finding themselves with piles of debt of no easy way to buy into the American Dream. That may be leaving some of them with mixed feelings about the economic system as it currently functions and perhaps more hungry for dramatic changes in how it operates.

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Trump urges ‘bring back’ Jeanine Pirro after host pulled off air following anti-Muslim comments

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By Allan Smith

President Donald Trump called on Fox News to keep host Jeanine Pirro on the air after she didn’t appear for her regularly scheduled Saturday night program following her anti-Muslim comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a week ago.

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”

Fox News “must stay strong and fight back with vigor,” Trump added.

“Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country,” he said. “The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!”

Trump told Fox News to “stay true to the people that got you there.”

“Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine,” he said. “Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Pirro suggested last week that Omar’s religion was antithetical to the Constitution.

“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Fox News issued a rare condemnation of Pirro after her remarks, which caused several companies to pull advertisements from her show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” Pirro said in a statement that she was just trying to “ask a question and start a debate.”

“Of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution,” she said. “I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment to NBC News about why Pirro’s show did not air, saying “We’re not commenting on internal scheduling matters.” The spokesperson also did not comment on Trump’s tweets.

Pirro is one of Trump’s staunchest cable news defenders. The president’s tweets come just days after an avowed neo-Nazi allegedly killed 50 at two New Zealand mosques, which the president condemned. Asked Friday if he felt there was a growing threat of white nationalism across the globe, with this massacre following a white nationalist killing spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue late last year, Trump responded, “I don’t really,” adding, “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Trump’s mention of Fox News host Tucker Carlson is in reference to therecent unearthing of comments he made on shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show between 2006 and 2011, causing companies to pull advertising from Carlson’s show. The liberal activist group Media Matters for America released recordings of Carlson’s remarks, in which he said Iraq is populated by “semi-literate primitive monkeys,” that women are “extremely primitive,” and that a Democratic presidential candidate would cruise to election in 2008 if they promised to kill as many “lunatic Muslims” as possible.

Carlson, who joined the network in 2009, did not apologize for the comments, saying, “If you want to know what I think, you can watch” his weeknight program. “Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why,” he continued.

Fox News said in a statement that it stands by Carlson.

“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” the company said in an emailed statement.



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No deal Brexit tracker: What is happening with Brexit? Could UK still leave with NO DEAL?

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BREXIT is still due to go ahead in less than two weeks, and despite recent developments in Parliament, no deal is still an option. Here is everything you need to know.

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BREXIT FARCE: Redwood insists UK MUST leave on March 29 for THIS reason

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BRITAIN should not seek an extension to Article 50 and prolong its membership with the European Union as the UK continued uncertainty would be devastating for business, according to Tory MP John Redwood.

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