Tad Hopp accumulates six figures of college debt, wants taxpayer bailout

From: theawkwardyeti.com
From: theawkwardyeti.com

Here’s an interesting editorial from a “Christian” left blog. (H/T Acton Institute via Lindsay)

The author, Tad Hopp is graduating a PCUSA seminary – an extremely liberal, left-wing denomination.

He writes:

I graduated college in 2007.

[…] I majored in English, not exactly what most people consider a ‘marketable’ or ‘practical’ degree…

[…]I went to a somewhat expensive private school…

[…]I did what many students in their last year of high school do: I went to the school where I felt I was being called…

[…]I do not regret my four years at my undergraduate institution one bit.

[….]When I graduated college, I owed nearly $50,000 in student loan debt and was unemployed for almost six months before I finally found a low-paying office job.

[…]“Can’t find a job? Well, you should have majored in something more ‘practical’, like economics or business or medicine.” Yeah, that would be great…if those were the subjects where my skills and passions lie. They’re not.

[…]I felt called to go to seminary.

[…]I will graduate seminary with close to six figures worth of student loan debt.

Let’s take stock of what he’s said so far:

  • he studied English, a language that he already spoke, which has one of the lowest employment rates
  • he was warned by people who knew something about earning and saving money not to study English
  • he went to a school he couldn’t afford to go to, and he graduated with $50,000 in debt
  • he went to seminary, another subject that doesn’t pay, and added another $50,000 or so of debt
  • he says that he doesn’t have to study subjects that lead to a career because he isn’t “passionate” about them
  • he “followed his heart” by going to the school that he had mystical, emotional, intuitions about = “calling”

My advice to Tad at this point would be for him to take the Bible seriously when it says this:

2 Thessalonians 3:10:

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

And 1 Timothy 5:8:

8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Now, for a Bible-believing Christian, these are inerrant and cannot be denied. But we have to go outside the Bible and learn how the world really works in order to figure out how to achieve those stated goals. Why should anyone hire us? What is working really about?

But even before looking at economics, Tad needs to push away all his friends who tell him to “follow his heart” and stick close by his friends who understand economics, who have jobs already, who have savings already, and so on. Don’t look for advice from dreamers, you look to advice from doers – people who can read the times, run the numbers and who have demonstrated the ability to create plans that work to achieve results that please God. When it comes to planning about the future, look at the past accomplishments. Weaving a happy narrative sounds nice, but judge future predictions based on past performance.

I would recommend that Tad read an economist like Thomas Sowell, especially on work, prices, etc., and realize that work means providing value to others. It then follows that he is obligated by the Bible to NOT “follow his heart”, but to instead do something that offers value to his fellow man. Prices are a way of determining what is most valued by your fellow man. And we know what careers have the highest value:

Petroleum Engineering – Starting Salary: $103,000 / Mid-Career Salary: $160,000
Actuarial Mathematics – Starting Salary: $58,700 / Mid-Career Salary: $120,000
Nuclear Engineering – Starting Salary: $67,600 / Mid-Career Salary: $117,000
Chemical Engineering – Starting Salary: $68,200 / Mid-Career Salary: $115,000
Aerospace Engineering – Starting Salary: $62,800 / Mid-Career Salary: $109,000
Electrical Engineering – Starting Salary: $64,300 / Mid-Career Salary: $106,000
Computer Engineering – Starting Salary: $65,300 / Mid-Career Salary: $106,000
Computer Science – Starting Salary: $59,800 / Mid-Career Salary: $102,000
Physics – Starting Salary: $53,100 / Mid-Career Salary: $101,000
Mechanical Engineering – Starting Salary: $60,900 / Mid-Career Salary: $99,700

English and seminary are dead last on the list – he literally could not have chosen worse than he did. I don’t mind if a woman studies these things, but Tad is a man – he has the Biblical obligation to be the primary provider, as we saw in the verse above.

More Tad:

Is the PCUSA doing anything to address this crisis?

[…]What has our government done to address this issue?

[…]I, like so many in my generation, voted for Obama…

[…]It seems to me that we’ve bought into the lie that student loan debt is brought on by the individual person…

[…]You know what I think might stimulate the economy? Automatically cancelling every single outstanding student loan!

[…]If we can spend $640 billion dollars on defense spending, why can’t we find the money to better support public education?

It’s important to understand that an English degree and a seminary degree do not prepare a person to make statements on economics and government. Tad has never studied these things, has no experience in them. He cannot state what the impact of his suggestions would be to all groups, i.e. – he cannot answer “and then what happens?” for every impacted group. Thinking economically is a valuable skill, but as Tad’s personal life shows, it’s not an area he is really knowledgeable about. But he wants to shift money from defense spending (which he knows nothing about) so that he can have a personal bailout. I personally doubt that taxpayers would be better served by paying for his English degree and liberal seminary degree than they would be if a peace-loving democracy could project power abroad to deter aggression from countries like North Korea, Iran, Russia, China and Syria.

Here is the solution to Tad’s problems:

  • we need to put Tad to work in a minimum wage job and confiscate his entire salary, until his loans are paid off.
  • we need to put Tad on a watch list such that he is never allowed to borrow money from anyone ever again.
  • once Tad’s loans are paid off, he should be taxed on his future earnings at the top tax rate for the rest of his life. The money we tax from him can fund education – that’s what he said he wanted.
  • Tad and his household should all be barred from collecting any money for unemployment, welfare or other social programs.

That’s the only bailout Tad should get. It would actually be in his best interest that he encounter real life as quickly as possible, because the longer he waits, the harder it’s going to be for him to recover to independence. He needs to stop his crazy retreat from adult responsibilities, and start working and saving now. I would say that at this point, marriage and parenting is out of the question for him (in another post, he comes out as gay, so that also complicates things). And he can thank the politics of the secular left for marriage and family being less affordable now, thanks to laws like Obamacare, which raised the cost of health care by thousands of dollars. I found it interesting that he actually did work at some point but he mocked the job as a “dead-end job” – as if it was beneath him.

I know some of you will be thinking, “but God called him things and so of course God is going to bail him out with $100,000 for his student loans”. But the thing is, God doesn’t usually work like that. First, I don’t accept that he is a Christian at all. Second, just because you have feelings that your plan will work, that isn’t a calling. The truth is that you certainly can assess the feasibility of things that you feel “called” to do, and if the plan looks crazy, then don’t do it. If you find yourself at odds with wise, practical people when explaining your calling to them, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

17 thoughts on “Tad Hopp accumulates six figures of college debt, wants taxpayer bailout”

  1. I don’t entirely disagree with you, but rather then putting Tad to work in minimum wage, I think we should make him take some already free business classes and learn some entrepreneurial skills. Then he can start a business as a janitor or a window washer or something. I really think what’s missing in this country is some appreciation for blue collar work. So many young men could really benefit from learning some trade skills in high school and some short apprenticeships and mentoring. Education is good, but we’ve become very elitist in this country. Even Einstein said if he had to do it all over, he would have become a plumber. Christ Himself was a carpenter.


      1. It was good, just the same. I know so many men who started with nothing and still managed to either thrive or carve out a decent living. To watch people now blow through 100 grand getting an education that doesn’t even enable them to provide for their own selves, is irritating. Women do this too, I’m surrounded by people with degrees who have never worked a day in their lives.


          1. loads of liberal Texans now, Wintery. Not a majority, but in a state with this many people you’re going to have quite a few. I’m a Texan born and bred, now living in Austin after migrating around the state and we are over run here. They’re not all mean people, but…geez. I wish they could think outside of their own narratives once in a while long enough to weigh the merit of what I say rather than just hand-waving what I say as stupid because I am in disagreement with the accepted progressive storyline. I’ve never met a liberal who wasn’t massively judgmental towards those who are not liberal. So much for tolerance and acceptance, eh?

            I get what you are saying, I just kind of think you should leave seminary out of it, at least for those whom God is calling to lifelong ministry and service of that sort. Vocational ministers are well aware, or should be, that it’s not a well-paying job (unless you land in a mega church of some sort anyway), but it is still the calling, even if you have a family.

            But then I think again – so many people have these romanticized notions about what it is to serve God with whole life and heart. In eternity, it will be all roses. Now, it will be pain, strife, suffering and hurt. We were promised that by Jesus. Maybe that’s the kind of person you’re addressing with those comments? It’s good stuff. Personally, I have no degree, but the field I’m working in (general IT work with some program management on the side) doesn’t require it and gives you a chance to grow into it. They value experience far more.

            In two decades of ministering to youth, I think the biggest thing millennials lack as a group (though I certainly know individuals who are not that way) is the ability to take pleasure and satisfaction in a job well done, even if they don’t necessarily enjoy the work, and that is true of everything from doing dishes (which I despise, but I do because my wife hates it even more than I do) to car repair to yard work to whatever job you want to name. Doing the hard and unpleasant stuff well is the quickest way I know of to differentiate yourself from the hordes of others who are just hanging out looking for their dream job. That dream job is far more likely to come your way if, while you are waiting on it, you impress your current boss with the job in front of you so that you have good references and promotions you can point to. Anyway. I’m rambling due (at least in part) to sleep loss, so I’ll stop there.


    1. I couldn’t agree with you more on all counts; this is something I bring up so very often! There’s no shame in any of those jobs, either—they’re all honest work, and often entail working with one’s hands, something Paul exhorted us to do. Also…having hired various contractors (electricians, plumbers, etc) for things we could not manage ourselves, they get paid quite well.

      On another tack, though—WK, I know of hard-core Libertarians who also call themselves Christian who say this very thing, that the government forgiving all student loans would be a brilliant idea. It is very unsettling, really.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, WK, you are so judgmental and mean. We are all obligated to fund Special Snowflake Tad’s passions. /sarcasm

    If he had taken economics classes he’d know there just *might* be some consequences of wiping out those student loans.

    Kudos for the quotes on the “Christian” Left.


    1. I just think it’s funny that there are people running around out there talking about God who think that the Bible is not worth reading or following on stuff like finding a job, much less the big issues like chastity and definition of marriage.


  3. Question for you, WK: You seem to push very heavily STEM carriers. Your rational behind that seems to be economic/financial. Given your schema, where do people who are not gifted/do not like/are not ‘called’ to STEM carriers fit in?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend that they go for trade jobs, like electrician or welder or a plumber.

      My reason is simply this. The university is a cesspool of liberal indoctrination. So. if you are going to hand them $40,000, make sure you get a return on the investment. Otherwise, it’s equally good to become an electrician, welder, or some other trade. And then you can explore philosophy and economics and everything in your spare time.

      Unless you are REALLY good at a non-STEM field, because then by all means – go for it.

      My caution is for people who kind of drift into university, get Bs and Cs, then come out and can’t find a job.


      1. Machinist master race checking in. My job is the definition of “dead-end.” If I want another position in my company, I’ll have to make sure my boss and nobody seinor to me show up for a few months (if you know what I’m saying and I think that you do ;).

        But it pays the bills. Biggest perk? Unlike Tad, when I read this blog post, I didn’t have to say “Mom! Someone said something mean about me on the internet!! And can I have another bowl of Froot Loops?”


  4. Interesting story that. I attended art school here in England in the days when you got a grant towards living expenses as well as tuition paid. It was enjoyable but I moved towards furniture design and making as I didn’t have confidence to make a living as a sculptor. My best friend did just that so it works for some people. Another thing is I started college with over £1000 (maybe £5000 now,) of savings from jobs while at school and continued working evening,weekend and holiday jobs while at college. I knew I wasn’t University material by my exam results but I was very good at drawing and making. When I started working full-time I had to “get over myself” as I had picked up bad habits of self- regard and unwarranted self-esteem in the indulgent art school environment. Years later I recovered my faith mainly by observing the relationship between people’s words and deeds…….
    My friend Peter who is a builder with no college education talks to fellow workers and clients about his faith on a daily basis. He has probably brought more people to faith than Tad I imagine……

    Having said all that I think I may have fallen into a similar position as Tad if loans were being pushed on me and if my parents were not warning me about debt all the time.


  5. “[…]You know what I think might stimulate the economy? Automatically cancelling every single outstanding student loan!”

    I’m no economist, but I’ve done very little reading, and even I can see how apparent it is that this kid has absolutely no idea how money is created… Although I have to agree it would stimulate the economy… by ensuring its final flush down the toilet.

    “[…]If we can spend $640 billion dollars on defense spending, why can’t we find the money to better support public education?”

    I’m pretty sure Bill Gates recently offered millions of dollars to schools that produced results and if I recall correctly it didn’t do anything. Even if I’m wrong, throwing money at our education system isn’t the right answer.
    I don’t have enough time at the moment to suggest anything positive.


    1. Putting competitive pressure on public schools would force them to spend more on teachers, less on administration and unions. We can do that by giving parents vouchers to choose schools that work, and reporting metrics about where graduates are accepted to college or trade school. That’s the solution. Competition and transparency.


  6. I disagree with a bit on the passion thing. I do believe a passion should have some sort of passion for the career they chose. I mean money is nice but if you dont have some sort of passion for your career it will seem boring or from what i’ve seen in high school you can be really mean because you hate your job.

    An example would be the medical field. One can make good money in this field but with being in this field one must have passion,patience,compassion, empathy etc. I have sen nurses during my clinicals in high school that lack these things and only chose this job for the money. Its a very sad sight


    1. I don’t think he’s saying don’t find or pursue your passion, rather, I think he’s suggesting don’t go into college expecting to be paid for your passion. Secondly, don’t go to college and any other school and suggest everybody else pay for it.

      I work in a factory and feel purpose and wonderful writing. I’m not very good at it yet, but I never went to college for English (I went for German and had to drop out because I couldn’t pay tuition… And very glad I didn’t keep going honestly) I am still finding avenues for practicing however. My point being, whatever your passion is, paying YOUR bills comes first and passion when/ if you can find the time. Ask anybody who’s done it, it takes hard work, determination, learning from mistakes, and fortitude to make what you love into profit.


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