Regarding your Dec. 6 editorial, "America's indentured graduates": We're in the midst of an obsession with student-loan debt. On the surface, all the noise seems to represent concern and wisdom – college students are forced to take on too much debt, and it affects their postgraduate lifestyle. I've been in the student loan business for more than a decade, so I know the concern is legitimate. That said, the singular focus on the cost of higher education is wrongheaded.
Americans take on a lot of debt. We take out mortgages to purchase homes. We take out car loans. Most of us also take out student loans to pay for college. But not all debt is equal. Indeed, a college education is the best investment an American can make, and the return on that investment is growing. College graduates earn more than $1 million more over their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. It's that number that makes the $20,000 in student-loan debt less frightening. Indeed, it makes going into debt to obtain a college degree a rational economic decision. So as you read the headlines trumpeting the perils of student-loan debt, remember the other side of the equation.
Chief Executive Officer, Think Financial
Regarding John Hughes's Nov. 29 Opinion column, "Beijing residents push back on new one-dog policy": As an American and former dog owner, I respect the right of people to own dogs and share the friendship and compassion. What Mr. Hughes doesn't write in his column is how the ownership of dogs in China is status-related and carries with it little sense of responsibility.
Where I've lived for the past seven years, I have not seen seven owners clean up after their dogs. The dogs bark at all hours. I've seen at least two women put their dogs on the balconies because they don't want to take the dogs out. Most of our living spaces are small apartments with high density, and people have many full-size dogs.
Do people's individual rights give them authority to treat the dogs that way, to mess up an environment filled with kids playing, and to disturb the sleep of neighbors? I've met very few people here who deserve to own a dog. People smuggle the dogs to the countryside to evade Beijing's one-dog policy? What a fantastic idea for dogs and neighbors!
Thank you for the Dec. 6 article, "Home sweet fortress," about living in South Africa. Our 17-year-old daughter has just returned to Johannesburg (where she is finishing her last year of high school with extended family) after a brief visit home here in the US. The article further alerted me that we in my family need to be prayerfully supporting my daughter, her friends, other family, neighbors, and schoolmates from wherever we call home.
Our daughter loves her new home country. During her visit, she explained to me that whenever she is in a situation that makes her feel frightened or unsettled, she looks for "the kind face of an older black woman" because she knows such a woman will always help her. Our daughter, who is blond and has green eyes, has found her safety in the mothering qualities of kindness and compassion she sees in women who have had to worry about their own children's safety during dark years of racial tension, oppression, and violence. Motherhood knows no color and opposes violence wherever it raises its ugly head. I feel secure knowing that wherever there are mothers, my daughter and her friends are safe and cared for.
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