It seems like we never see them coming. The savings and loan mess, Enron, housing bubble, major bank meltdowns. One financial scandal after another.

Well, brace yourself. The biggest of them all is about to befall us. The college loan turkey is about to come home to roost.

College loan debt has now surpassed all credit card debt. There is no way this money can ever be repaid. The federal government will have no choice but to forgive this reckless delinquency and add another trillion dollars to our national debt.

Will we have learned our lesson? No. It will go on, business as usual, and we’ll repeat the process in 10 years.

Why is this happening? Why is it so easy for a student to borrow money from the federal government to underwrite a college education?

Three reasons come to mind. Academia loves the program. They even lobby for it to continue and grow. Money made readily available to students makes it easy to raise their tuition rates, year after year after year. The current administration knows that providing kids with what amounts to a free college education will make them advocates of this kind of thinking for life and make them voters it can count on.

Lazy, irresponsible parents also play a major role in what is turning out to be a dismal fiasco.

What happened to noble parents sitting at the kitchen table trying to figure out ways to finance their child’s education?

This process usually involved a part-time job for the student, a small scholarship, a small loan from the school, maybe a modest grant and ultimately writing a hugely burdensome check to the school. And when it was over it involved sitting back, smiling and feeling good.

Thomas F. Kistner

Magwood Drive

Charleston