I don't know that that's "worse than we thought". The data is just a mathematical extrapolation of one cohort to another. If anything, it'll be a lot worse because the 1996 cohort had three years to insulate themselves from the dot-com crash while the 2004 cohort had three years to insulate themselves from the Great Recession. Having been through both, the 2004 cohort got fucked. If anything, this analysis masks just how bad it's likely to be by presuming there's been no history for the past 20 years.
Worse than that, there was about a trillion dollars of student loan debt in the United States. Fully a fifth of that belongs to senior citizens.
It's now a trillion and a half.
On the flip side, the 1996 cohort was paying an average of 9% interest. The 2004 cohort is paying an average of 4. Don't ask me why this graph is backwards.
But the big question is how much voting do the holders of this student loan debt do? Because this is a gimme issue. This is low-hanging fruit. And when the Republicans side with Betsy DeVos, they give the Democrats a lay-up.
Student loan debt is as terrible as it is because it's virtually impossible to discharge. And nobody wants to talk about the interest-to-principal ratio. That data just isn't available. But if it's anything like my wife's, it's 2:1.
Do... you want to die on the hill of defending a trillion dollar industry whose sole purpose is to make money destroying the livelihood of millennials?