An Activist Idiot

The NYT Business section today has an article about repaying student loans. It’s a good article. It points out how student loans are a special category of loans that come with a higher burden than others. Bankruptcy usually doesn’t get rid of them. The lender can garnish wages, and the government can hold back stimulus checks and social security payments.

On the other hand, they featured Alan Collinge as the face of those fighting to change this. It’s unfortunate he’s an incredibly narcissistic moron.

Mr. Collinge said he did not set out to be a student loan activist. But he backed himself into a corner in his research job at the California Institute of Technology in 2001 by asking for a raise. When he did not get one, he quit. He said he found himself underemployed and gradually overwhelmed by about $38,000 in federal student loans; his lender wouldn’t grant a forbearance, he said. He had borrowed to study toward his two degrees and a certification, all in aerospace engineering, at the University of Southern California. He went into default in 2001, and over the next three years his debt, with interest and fees, grew to $100,000.

He couldn’t get a raise, so he quit. With two degrees and a certification, he couldn’t find another job, and went into default that same year. Maybe he shouldn’t have quit in the first place?

Representatives of loan companies are not fond of Mr. Collinge’s tactics. He has called loan company executives at home to criticize their corporate policies, and sent the occasional profanity-laced e-mail message to lender advocates.

Mr. Collinge acknowledges that at least some of the e-mail messages and phone calls he has made were inappropriate, but he maintains that the sentiments expressed were genuine. His words may simply reflect the resentment of thousands of borrowers who are too embarrassed to talk about their debts publicly.

Calling them at home is just being a jackass. And this may be my favorite sentence ever, “Mr. Collinge acknowledges that at least some of the e-mail messages and phone calls he has made were inappropriate, but he maintains that the sentiments expressed were genuine.” Oh, they were genuine! Well that makes it okay then! As long as he thought the loan companies really were &*(#$(!!”:;!&%ers who should all be thrown in a blender, it’s allright. Maintains they were genuine indeed.

What did they do to get the phone calls?

The Education Department said in a statement Friday that it and others had tried to work with Mr. Collinge, and in February 2008 offered to waive accrued interest and fees.

Ah. That was certainly evil of them.

It’s good to see that he’s at least trying to pay off his loans. I’m sure he’s just working on the website in his spare time, and harassing executives in odd minutes here and there.

To raise awareness of student loans, he embarked last year on a trip that took him through 42 states in an effort to meet with staff members of every lawmaker on the Senate and House education committees. Money raised by his PAC has not yet covered his costs, and the R.V. he drove (and is now trying to sell) still bears scars of the trip.

Um, what? Instead of getting a job he travels the country, losing money the whole time? Is this for real?

Mr. Collinge has devoted himself full time to learning about student loans and has supported himself with various jobs; this year he spent a few months working for a landscaping business, for example, and received an $8,000 advance for a book on student loans.

Good to know he’s learning about student loans — seven years after defaulting on his. He doesn’t get credit for supporting himself with various jobs. That’s life. Congratulations on the advance… I wonder if he knows that advances have to paid back eventually? Oh, by the way, “He takes salsa and tango classes and goes bicycling in a park overlooking Puget Sound.” GET A JOB, YA BUM!

He’s had a lot of problems paying his loans back, and he’s spent an awful lot of time out there talking about his problems rather than trying to pay his loans back,” said Tom Joyce, a spokesman for Sallie Mae. Student loans raise serious issues, Mr. Joyce said, “but he’s just the wrong poster child.”

That’s the truth. What an idiot.

One thought on “An Activist Idiot”

  1. You’re right, what an idiot. The last guy quoted nails it right on the head. Instead of fixing his problem, poster boy runs around whining about it. What a jerk.

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