A woman who graduated from college 30 years ago received a letter from the U.S. government. The letter stated that she was in default on a loan she had paid off over a quarter of a century earlier.
She had paid off that loan. Sorry, said the agency. There is no record of this. She still owed the money.
What would you do if you received such a demand? Go to court? You will pay the layer to defend you.
Where would you locate records of receipts from the government?
This woman had kept records. She proved that she had paid off the loan. But it took time for her to locate these records.
The federal government is mainly a gigantic, inefficient bureaucracy. Most things get lost. Today’s bureaucrats cannot locate documents from the past. This is a big advantage for liberty. The inefficiency of the system protects us. But it can bring havoc to someone who becomes the target of some bonehead or vindictive bureaucrat.
In this case, a bureaucrat got involved in a mindless pursuit of an ancient debt. Bureaucracy is mindless. If you get trapped by a bureaucrat who methodically and relentlessly pursues some mindless project, it will take a piece of paper to get out of the trap — or a lawyer.
After countless letters, phone calls, and digging through ancient boxes, I was able to produce the information needed to prove that the loan had been paid. But I was really worried for a while. if I had not been able to provide the documentation they needed, I would have been on the hook for another loan. As I calmed down over this near miss, I became angry over what I had learned about student loans. I didn’t like what I saw and became even more committed for my son to graduate college with as little loans as possible. (Translation, none.) The deck felt stacked against students borrowers with the only way to beat the house was to not play.