How does student debt currently compare with subprime housing debt that sank the capitalist economy twelve years ago? Student debt today is $1.6 trillion. While this is not as high as the subprime loans, those loans were to banks which could be (and were) written off. However, student debt is owed to the state and cannot be written off. The result is that students start out their work life between $30,000 and $100,000 in debt. Given that salaries for working class and middle class jobs has declined in the last 40 years, their debts are not likely to be paid back.
Read Michael Hudson