I really recommend spending some time browsing the We Are The 99 Percent Tumblr, which is just a great moving literary triumph in a new medium that speaks to some of the really critical issues of our time. Personally, I found it interesting how frequently student loan debt comes up in the narratives.
Clearly the “graduates from college but can’t find a job that makes these loans worthwhile” demographic is not representative of the country as a whole (~70 percent of Americans don’t have bachelor’s degrees), but it’s an important and growing segment of the population and one whose anger and experiences cuts at the heart of some major narratives about American life. What’s interesting about this, to me, is that while for now this particular complaint is being lumped in with the general Occupy Wall Street message, it seems like the more natural outlet for this particular grievance will ultimately be the universities themselves. After all, while a poor economy is exacerbating the problems with the higher education system, the fact that many degree-granting programs are offering students a poor value-proposition is fundamentally the fault of the universities and not “corporate greed.” Indeed, in a lot of ways, it highlights the limits of some of these anti-corporate frames. It turns out that some powerful and privileged folks who are screwing people over run law schools or crappy no-value-added master’s programs rather than having anything to do with the formally for-profit sector.