Confession of a Vulture Lee Siegel

Today Lee Siegel confesses that he screwed the system out of bachelor of arts degree from the Columbia University School of General Studies a master's degree and M.Phil. from the Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

ears later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

Lee they goes on to explain that in order to pay his student loans he's have to change his vocation so shoe salesman because at the time he wasn't making it as a writer, his chosen vocation.
It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college. Having opened a new life to me beyond my modest origins, the education system was now going to call in its chits and prevent me from pursuing that new life, simply because I had the misfortune of coming from modest origins.
IN other words because at the beginning of Lee Siegel's career he could not afford to pay his student loans and also pay the rest of his bills. So his solution was to go even further in the hole and get a masters degree.

As if entry level writing would pay an even larger bill. He then goes on a tirade against the banks and Department of Education who guarantees the private loans that Lee took out.

Or maybe, after going back to school, I should have gone into finance, or some other lucrative career. Self-disgust and lifelong unhappiness, destroying a precious young life — all this is a small price to pay for meeting your student loan obligations.

Forty years after I took out my first student loan, and 30 years after getting my last, the Department of Education is still pursuing the unpaid balance. My mother, who co-signed some of the loans, is dead. The banks that made them have all gone under. I doubt that anyone can even find the promissory notes. The accrued interest, combined with the collection agencies’ opulent fees, is now several times the principal.

The Department of Education makes it hard for you, and ugly. But it is possible to survive the life of default. You might want to follow these steps: Get as many credit cards as you can before your credit is ruined. Find a stable housing situation. Pay your rent on time so that you have a good record in that area when you do have to move. Live with or marry someone with good credit (preferably someone who shares your desperate nihilism).

So Lee's solution to his bad credit is to leach off another's credit rating just like he leached his degree from the the taxpayer and also every single other person who paid their loans back?

Am I detecting a pattern here?

So now years later, not that Lee is a supposed success, an author with five published book and regular writing gigs it appears he is able to pay the bills he wants to pay but has no intention of paying back the loans that gave him the education he uses to pay for all those other bills. And he justifies it by pointing a self righteous finger, I mean down sprinkles at the the Dept of Education.

Am I a deadbeat?
Yes..... not only that but a leach as well.

What gives me the right to say that? Because I lived it. I too had to borrow to get an education and to my surprise I didn't get hired as VP on my first shot. No I had to start at the bottom, running proof, babysitting printers, can you imagine someone as precious and educated as me, with my qualification babysitting a band printer? OMG! The injustice.

So when I started I could not pay my loans either. I mean I has a choice to make I could pay my loans or eat. One of the two but not both. Maybe not as glamorous as living the precious life Lee was meant to lead. But I found eating to be a necessity.

So at first I could not pay but as I worked I began to move up, take new positions, learn my profession and while doing so I began to earn more money.

I began to pay my loans, not as much as the lenders wanted me to. But enough to hold the line on the balance, to stop the bleeding. Lenders bought and sold my loans down the line each adding their own brand special fees until it had been 10 years. My balance stubbornly high. The last lender now was able to claim the guarantee from the Department of Education and now the Federal government became my creditor.

No see this is another sticking point I have with Mr. Vulture. The last lender I had paid all the interest due and about $1000 in principal. At long last I was making progress on paying off my education. But when the Department of Education sent me their balance the previous lender had added enough in fees to undo all the progress I had made, it was as if I all the money I had paid for years was simply gone and I was back where I started.

But by this point I was earning enough to make a payment large enough to make a dent but I was down about starting over from the beginning. So I called the US Department of Education and talked to the person in charge of my account. I explained that I had paid the previous creditor on time every month and showed her how all the progress I had made against the principal was eaten up by fees posted the last few days that creditor had the account.

She went to work for me and recovered all those bogus fees from the previous creditor. Returning the progress I had made in the previous years. Not taking the interest the previous creditor had earned, just the tacked on fees for nothing.

So they we worked out a new payment. I kept it as low as possible because although I was earning a bit more it was still a struggle. But as I earned raises I would tack on extra principal to the payments. Starting at first with an extra $20 then $40, then $100. Ind the end the Department of Education was the best lender I worked with.

And guess what I paid them off. Ever. Last. Cent. I was 37 years old.

But Lee won't even try. Because as Lee Siegel admits he has no character. He feels not moral obligation to pay for his degrees. He fully intends to let the taxpayer an all those struggling to pay their loans to shoulder the burden of his default. And fully intends to allow the consequences of his default fall on those around him, admiring his precious self in someone else's mirror.

You know what, F8ck Lee Siegel.

ike Lee Siegel, I came from a lower middle class background. So did my wife. Like many, many other Americans in our circumstances, we paid our student loan debts. Siegel doesn’t get to default on his and pretend his shameful abandonment of his obligations is justified.

The biographical note at the end of Siegel’s piece states: “Lee Siegel is the author of five books who is writing a memoir about money.” Good. I hope his memoir about money is successful, and that he makes a lot of cash from its sales.

And I hope Siegel’s creditors take every penny.


Posted by: Howie at 08:16 AM


1 We've got a growing leach class in this country and this douche bag is a member in good standing. What a POS.

Posted by: Richard at June 08, 2015 10:29 AM

2 Howie in Germany ALL college and university is free, even to non citizens. people come from all over the world to study there for free, but of course they are SOCIALISTS !!
Total student loans outstanding are just about equal to total mortgages both at about 1.3 trillion. Somehow i think real estate might have a higher real value that a degree or a certificate.
Lee Siegel lives in Montclair NJ median household income 150 grand. i don't think he is vulnerable to creditors now or in the future.
Most of that student loan 1.3 trillion defaults to you, the US taxpayer. ??? One might ask why YOU elected politicians who chose to put yourself down as cosigner. Well it is because schools and institutions many for profit schools received massive donations from them. Not to say that any money a parent or taxpayer obligates himself to for a polisci course by Rusty is (in)valuable because ..... well just because.
For profit schools should not be able to stick the taxpayer for defaulted loans. Their default rate is 4 times higher and their costs are 4 times higher than public or private not for profit schools.
Plus Grey Rooster should mention something about the bio clues you have left

Posted by: Righter at June 08, 2015 03:31 PM

3 The true welfare queens are the rich. For years the american people have been paying more into social security then they are receiving with rest going for tax breaks to the rich. While this is going on the rich keep talking about social security going broke in the far future! By the way what do they mean by broke? It will be taking in 95% of what it is paying out. Also the poor pay a higher percentage of their income in state and local taxes and fees. When I was going to collage I paid $75 dollars a semester before reagan evilnomics took over the collages and paid my way thru collage driving a garbage truck. I couldn't do that now! This is why I say republicans are evil!

Posted by: captain*arizona at June 08, 2015 03:33 PM

4 Judging by the last two comment, there's NO.WAY. that commenters Reicher & kapitan*anschluss are:

1.) educated beyond the third-grade level, and,

2.) not the same person.

Posted by: Ghey Rooster's Son at June 08, 2015 03:46 PM

5 When a third party pays the bills, this removes from the consumer the incentive to chose the best deal and reject products that are overpriced. When the consumer doesn't care what it costs, the seller will raise the price as high as he/she/it can. In this case, the sellers are the universities. When faced with a financial crunch, they raise tuition. There has been little resistance to this because the people getting the education are insulated from the cost. By the time the graduate has to pay back the loans, they're concerned about tuition, but it's too late.

So it's not the rich who are to blame. It's the greedy university officials who are to blame for high tuition. They've been able to raise the rates when every other business has had to cut expenses.

Posted by: Halal Bacon at June 08, 2015 06:10 PM

6 Righter.

A. I don't live in Germany.

B. "Lee Siegel lives in Montclair NJ median household income 150k i don't think he is vulnerable to creditors now or in the future."

Then pay the man!

The biggest fucking Lee Siegel is getting is by himself. His refusal to live up to HIS FUCKING CONTRACT. Is the reason he thinks he's getting screwed.

But in truth the real culprit is his entire lack of effort to rectify or even make and attempt.

He is a greedys selfish bastard.

So the "Taxpayer" pays. That's me and its also me again whenever the principal and interest I paid go to a fucking selfpish deadbeat.

Socialism can't work if people refuse to participate.

USSR 101. Empty shelves and bread lines. But free tuition at University of Moscow.

Posted by: Tony Montana Political Refugee From Cuba at June 08, 2015 07:17 PM

7 Capitalis also can't work of folks word is not good.

And our quasi-capital-solcialist system can't either.

Posted by: Tony Montana Political Refugee From Cuba at June 08, 2015 07:18 PM

8 He sounds like one of those degenerate scumbag gamblers.
"How dare you let me get so deep in debt!"
Yes, it's all their fault. A**hole.

Posted by: Tilikum Killer Assault Whale at June 08, 2015 07:22 PM

9 Capt Arizona is a professional troll. He usually goes by Hector. He is a Serb, his wife is from central america, and he is a complete antisemite. He may be Russian, or paid to troll by them.

Just thought you should know

Posted by: ThunderB at June 08, 2015 07:31 PM

10 I paid off my student loans. I made a deal with the bank and NDSL and that was...they lend me the money, I pay it back. IT DID NOT OCCUR to me to renege on my obligation. SONS OF BITCHES who think you are justified in reneging on your contracts!! You are what is wrong with this country. Bastards.

Posted by: Calypso Jones at June 08, 2015 08:27 PM

11 Ya, I took out loans for graduate school, too. But, I worked enough to pay my food and rent, so the loans only covered tuition. And I raised my infant son by myself, with a $3,000 gift from my parents to pay for his Montessori school.

This spoiled snowflake can pay his bills, too.

Posted by: Valerie at June 08, 2015 08:30 PM

12 Every time I hear someone say that we should do what some countries in Europe are doing, they always leave out the rest of the story. My favorite is, "Germany allows gays in the military" or "education is free". I was in Germany and last time I checked, they still had a mandatory 2 year enlistment, which explains why saying you are gay doesn't get you out of duty. Also, you get the "free" education after you complete your enlistment. So, as always, nothing is free.

And Halal Bacon is correct, anytime the government guarantees any payments, you can bet the costs are going to skyrocket.

Posted by: Barry at June 08, 2015 11:18 PM

13 Borrowed 50 grand to go to law school. Ended up marrying the class valedictorian. She went corporate, I went sole practioner. Bought a house a year out with an 11% mortgage. Threw every dime into early payoff and paid it off in less than 3 years. Two years later my student loans were fully paid off. We had no debt other than monthly bills and my child support payments. I never missed a support payment. A few years later we bought the house next door and joined it together with ours (very cool). Paid that house off in two years and used cash on hand to fund the project. I hate debt. I will drive 5 miles to buy chicken on sale. We buy new, but less expensive cars and trucks and make them last. We save, save, save. Paying interest is much like shooting yourself in the foot so we don't incur it. We're reasonably comfortable as I enter retirement. The wife, looking over the joint tax I prepared said "You don't make enough to make that much of a difference around here." As I was about to get real fuckin' belligerent, she continued, "You're losing your hearing rapidly. Why don't you retire? I make enough to pay what we need (about 5 times more than me). You can ride your Harley and hang out with your biker buddies. Just finish the house and get dinner on the table." Best deal anybody was ever going to offer me. I took it. House is finished. No debt and money in the bank allows for great vacations. Kayaking among the icebergs in Antarctica and the camel trip across Gobi desert in Mongolia weren't cheap, but were made possible by being debt and interest free.

Posted by: faboutlaws at June 09, 2015 10:56 AM

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