Image credit: The poster was used at the Tea Party demonstration on Tax Day 2010 in Washington, D.C. Public Domain / Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Although 43 million Americans (fully 26 percent of the labor force) are being billed for $1.9 trillion in accumulated student debt, we know little about the composition of the debt: how much is principal, how much is interest, and how much is accounted for by negative amortization of capitalized penalties. This last category, draconian penalties imposed on untold thousands of student loan debtors, is particularly important. Because of these penalties, a very large cohort of borrowers have paid off their loans, sometimes twice over. Yet they still owe double or triple the amount they originally borrowed.