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Auchter's Art: Crushing student debt

Sep 9, 2016

My first instinct was to draw the weighty Student Loan Debt object as an anvil.

You guys know what an anvil is, right?

An anvil is a block with a hard surface on which another object is struck. The block is as massive as it is practical, because the higher the inertia of the anvil, the more efficiently it causes the energy of the striking tool to be transferred to the work piece.

Yeah, that's not very helpful for me, either. How about this:

An anvil is the very heavy hunk of metal that falls from the sky onto the head of guys like Wile E. Coyote and Yosemite Sam in Warner Bros. cartoons.

Better?

Because I grew up watching those cartoons and apparently anvils are actually used for blacksmithing, which I was not aware of till much later. But then, most millennials probably have not seen those cartoons, so I went with the big boulder.

In a similar way, young people today are having a difficult time imagining starting off their adult life without significant debt.

Earlier this week, a study was released by the Michigan League for Public Policy that showed Michigan college students who graduated in 2014 had $29,450 in student loan debt on average.

It's a complicated issue, and there is plenty of blame to go around.

I didn't want to go down that road. I simply wanted to point out that crushing student debt has specific consequences for us Michiganders and our dependency on the auto industry.

Another report came out this week showing that Americans are borrowing more than ever for new and used vehicles. The total balance of all outstanding auto loans reached $1.027 trillion between April 1 and June 30, with 30- and 60-day delinquency rates rising.

Hmmm... More young people need to watch those old cartoons — I'll definitely be wanting to use that "anvils falling from the sky" metaphor.

John Auchter is an editorial cartoonist. Views expressed in his cartoons are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.