So student loan debt has reached in excess of $1 trillion. What are our presidential hopefuls going to do about it?

Obama is proposing a whole truckload of reforms and easy repayment schemes for student loans. Romney is focusing on getting more jobs to the economy. Santorum is promoting for-profit colleges as a solution for debt. Gingrich calls student loans “a ponzi scheme”. Paul wants to get rid of the student loan system in its entirety.

But wait just one darned minute: what exactly does it mean for our nation if we should allow the student loan debt to continue blowing up out of proportion?

Those directly affected by the loans – aka the borrowers – will find themselves burdened with a debt they cannot expunge with bankruptcy. No matter how destitute they are, not matter how long they’ve been unemployed, they will still have to pay off their debt one way or another.

This is a significant problem for students that pay a premium to colleges that exaggerate the potential income and employability of a particular degree. And this isn’t limited to young adults, too: 40 or 50-somethings hoping to step up in life with a college degree could instead find themselves burdened with debt and lack of job opportunities.

But it’s not only the grads that end up footing the bill. Parents, grandparents and anybody else who co-signed the loan will have to shoulder the burden as well. The problem here is that these people get older and will soon have to face that fact whether they like it or not. Their health and their ability to generate income will generally decline as they get older, which is why they are the least-equipped to pay off their debt.

And then there’s you and me – the average American taxpayer. The federal government handles most of the student loans in the market. If too much debt is out there and no one is paying it properly, you and I will have to fork over our money in taxes to help fill in the financial black hole created by student loan debt.

So yes, student loan is something that we need to clear up before it dismantles our country from the inside out.

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