Hold Your Breath

Scott Walker never graduated from college – and he wants to make sure you don’t either.

All of us have aspirations and goals. We all want to swim rather than sink. We all want to keep moving towards the next great horizon.

But what happens when you can’t swim? Not from any fault of your own, but because the system has quite literally tied a cinderblock around your foot and is pulling you downwards to the abyss? What if, despite your best efforts and all of your struggles, you are pulled under the waves and drown? What if you work hard in school, manage to get into a good college, commit to your studies, get a degree, and, against the odds, find gainful employment in your field only to realize financial security and attaining the true American dream will forever be out of your reach thanks to crippling student loan debt? 

That was exactly the situation facing thousands of students in  Wisconsin when Gov. Scott Walker slashed the budget for Wisconsin’s public education system by $250 million, the deepest in the history of Wisconsin’s higher education, leaving 41,000 without student aid. As a presidential candidate, he’s willing to continue turning a blind eye on the growing national student debt crisis and make ruthless cuts to higher education. 

Student loan debt in the U.S. now exceeds $1.3 trillion, making it the second largest debt category, behind mortgages. This staggering debt load is contributes to stagnant economic growth and presents a major barrier to young Americans attempting to break into the middle class.

Scott Walker’s suggestion to people who want to escape poverty is to “learn more and earn more”. His suggestion for those who follow that advice and are now drowning in student loans is…”hold your breath.”

With the help of One Wisconsin Now, Think Progress, StudentDebtCrisis.org, and Wisconsin Jobs Now, “Hold Your Breath” has been widely distributed to highlight the national conversation on the issue of student debt, both to highlight the detrimental policies of Republicans and embolden Democrats to act more aggressively to address this issue.