MAKING SENSE -- July 11, 2012 at 5:18 PM EDT
Ray Kurzweil's Immortality Cocktail; And a Student Loan Skeptic
Wednesday we feature the second of our interview outtakes with inventor/author/futurist Ray Kurzweil. (Tuesday's installment: the melding of man and machine.) In our broadcast story, which debuted on Making Sen$e Monday, Kurzweil explained that his recipe to combat aging entails taking 150 pills a day. You can find more details at a supplements business he runs, rayandterry.com, which features, we were excited to see, items like "healthy chocolates." You can also read yourself into old age with his three books on nutrition: "The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life," "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever" and "Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever."
But in case you still think your time is of some value, this video is a more economical look at Kurzweil's daily regimen.
Name: Bob Fults
Question: Saw your piece on student loans. One trillion dollars owed by 37 million? That's an average of $30,000 per student. That's not a crisis. It's a car. Buy a used car. Put your SUV payment against your loan and you're out in five years. Why are you people making this look like more than it is?
Paul Solman: Partly because we in the media like to dramatize things to make them seem important and get your attention. And partly because student loan debt is actually a crushing burden for many, especially in the current jobless maybe-it-is/maybe-it-isn't recovery. We talked to several folks so crushed by student loan debt, they've been forever scarred. We were all set to interview one debt-beset woman in her 70's, but she pulled out at the last minute, too embarrassed to talk on camera or even let us publish the details of her case here.
Look, an average is just a statistic. If the average is $30,000, then there's a person who owes $45,000 for every one who owes $15,000.
Joel Bernanke expects to owe a reported $400,000 by the time he graduates. I don't suppose we should worry about the son of Fed Chairman Ben (and besides, he's becoming a doctor). But as we reported here on July 6, students who carry a heavy debt load are not taking public service jobs they would have otherwise sought. The evidence is well summarized here.
The main point, though, is that we're talking 37 million Americans in total. The fact that journalists have a penchant for drama should not obscure the fact that millions of them are struggling with student debt, including young people who work at our own program. And the irony is that the most responsible among them -- those who pay their debts diligently -- are the most burdened.