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

Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com
Brain vs Heart, 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 starting salaries and mid-career salaries:

Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)
Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)


Keep in mind that you also have to check to see what the unemployment rate for these fields is, but I think they are all very much in demand, hence the salaries.

I don’t mind if a woman studies English and seminary, but Tad is a man – he has the Biblical obligation to be the primary provider, as we saw in the verses 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.

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

  1. Wintery,

    I appreciate your thoughts on this because you’re pointing out a man should pursue reality over self-interested passions, but you’re also putting a high emphasis on STEM careers and not everyone is gifted in those areas. But wouldn’t it be more balanced to say a man should pursue the fields he’s gifted in? This doesn’t mean be irresponsible with one’s choice of career, but perhaps it means not using salary as the litmus test?

    1. You are right not everyone is cut out for stem careers – if you cant stand bodily fluids, dont go into the medical field. Yet i have met some doctors and nurses that are hate blood or freak out when near blood

      1. My mother wanted me to be a doctor, but I freak out near blood. But that’s OK because there is no blood in computer science and you can still afford a wife and kids.

  2. If you take all his money then how is he gonna pay his bills? Do you think the power,water,gas,phonr,cable etc cares that he has loans to pay off? No they dont.

  3. It just strikes me as too rigid. I’m 100% for being responsible and building a life before starting a family and I’m with you men should do hard things, but we’re not all engineers. Just because a job is lower paying/non-STEM doesn’t mean it’s not hard and doesn’t have potential to become something greater or make a difference in the world. I started a family well before I was responsible money and goals. Not ideal and I wouldn’t recommend it, but I worked hard and was able to build a successful career that pays well and is making a difference.

  4. Posted that before I saw your comment about “getting paid well even if you are not the best.” Your line of thought makes more sense now. I’m with ya.

  5. Just wanted to say I like you and your blog. You are a straight shooter. You do not soften the blow when delivering the truth. We need more men like you.

  6. To echo ChildofRa: if you confiscated Tad’s entire salary, wouldn’t he starve to death before paying off his loans? Gruel and oranges won’t be enough.

    Also, if Tad did pay off his loans, why shouldn’t he be allowed to borrow ever again? Ability to pay back is the only real criteria for credit.

    You rightly point out that Tad doesn’t see the consequences of the things he proposes, but then you’re just as bad as Tad. Tad is stupid, but you’re cruel.

  7. While there is something to be said, in general, for your view, I think there is a very serious and horribly wrong message as well. If one is called by God to pastoral ministry or missions, then obedience is called for. This is not some ethereal mysticism, but a very real work of the Holy Spirit calling out those who will be leaders for the church. An English major is good preparation for seminary, as it deals with the kinds of writing, communication, and interpretive skills with reading texts, that a pastor will need to be effective. And let me say this with great clarity – the Bible teaches that properly interpreting and teaching the Word of God is the minister’s primary duty. This REQUIRES the kind of education that is attained in a solid seminary degree, preferably a Masters of Divinity.

    You wrongfully castigate the seminarian for his economic difficulties and recommend he become an engineer or something else. Do you think the church does not need pastors and teachers? Or that they do not need to study Greek, Hebrew, homiletics, theology and apologetics? And whose fault is it if a seminary graduate cannot find a position that adequately pays him to support his family as well as pay for his education? The Bible is quite clear that churches are to pay their ministers a decent salary and it is clearly an act of rebellion on the part of the church to not do so. For that matter, why on earth should a good seminary candidate who is willing to sacrifice for the service of the church have to rack up such debt in the first place. Could it be that the church is sinning by not providing the funds to educate its ministers?

    Here you have a young man who loves the church, has a passion to serve, is willing to make economic sacrifices to do so, and rather than assist him, you blame him and shame him, as if he were being irresponsible. That may be appropriate for the Women’s studies major who has no larger goals in mind than perhaps being a SJW. But to treat serious candidates for the ministry in this way is really unjust.

    Perhaps I am biased, since I have been a seminary professor for over 20 years. I paid off my own student loans so that I could follow God’s call. But today the financial costs are much higher (and I can state categorically that the salaries of myself and my colleagues are quite meager compared to the professions you list above, so we are not getting rich off our students). Seminaries are in crisis because of falling enrollment, and this at a time when the church needs educated leadership more than ever. Yet students often cannot come because the church would rather spend money on expensive building projects rather than investing in its own future where it counts.

    We are never going to be able to fight the cultural slide into decadence without a well educated clergy, but it seems that this is exactly what the church is settling for today. Pastors and worship leaders whose knowledge of the Bible and theology are superficial will produce disciples who are also superficial and easily captured by secular or cultic teachings. Your article, it seems to me, simply feeds right into this sorry state of affairs.

  8. Let me add that I see that Tad is in the PCUSA and gay, so that reflects a leftist, liberal theology. If he went to seminary just because he thought it would be a cool thing to do, then that is quite silly indeed. I have little patience with that kind of thing. However, regardless of Tad’s case, my observations are based on the situation of Evangelical churches and seminaries. I’m am quite convinced that the failure of the church to care for and properly train its future leadership is just one more way in which Evangelicalism is slowly committing suicide. If the church were being obedient, seminarians wouldn’t have to worry about getting bogged down in a swamp of financial debt in order to follow God’s call. Perhaps, then, the church would not be afflicted with incompetent leaders.

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