A few months after he buried his son, Francisco Reynoso began getting notices in the mail. Then the debt collectors came calling.
“They would say, ‘We don’t care what happened with your son, you have to pay us,’” recalled Reynoso, a gardener from Palmdale, Calif.
Reynoso’s son, Freddy, had been the pride of his family and the first to go to college. In 2005, after Freddy was accepted to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, his father co-signed on his hefty private student loans, making him fully liable should Freddy be unwilling or unable to repay them. It was no small decision for a man who made just over $21,000 in 2011, according to his tax returns.
Unlike most other forms of debt, student loans cannot normally be discharged even in bankruptcy. But then, we're not the ones who stupidly took the risk of co-signing a student loan for a son who might possibly die, so why should we let Reynoso off the hook for his mistakes? Individuals need to be held responsible for the financial risks they take, just like Wall Street bankers. That's what makes capitalism work.
(And "Reynoso"? A gardner? In California? Sounds illegal-immigranty. Somebody tip off ICE.)