Student Loans

When "America: What Went Wrong?" originally appeared in the early 1990s, the book got a lot of attention, and became a bestseller, because it documented, in a sound, thorough way, the causes behind the shrinking of the American middle class. Now, the authors of that groundbreaking book, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele -- "two of the most talented investigative journalists in U.S. history," per The San Jose Mercury News -- have put out an updated edition of their text. Mr. Steele is our guest on ST today.

Our guest is Anne Helen Petersen, who is a Senior Culture Writer and Western Correspondent for BuzzFeed News. She's known for writing long-form pieces that skillfully bridge the domains of academia and journalism; indeed, Peterson holds a PhD in media studies from UT-Austin, where she studied the history of the gossip industry. She'll be speaking tonight (Thursday the 28th) on the TU campus; the lecture is free to all and begins at 5:30pm. Peterson's remarks will be drawn from her most recent book, "Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman."

Could America's current student loan debt --- which now exceeds $1 trillion and is predicted to reach $2 trillion by 2020 --- somehow become the sequel to the mortgage meltdown? Some economists think it's possible. Our guest on this edition of ST is Eric Best, an Assistant Professor of Emergency Management at Jacksonville State University. Along with his father, sociologist Joel Best of the University of Delaware, Eric is the co-author of "The Student Loan Mess: How Good Intentions Created a Trillion-Dollar Problem" (University of California Press).