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Activist #MMT - podcast

May 8, 2022

Welcome to episode 120 of Activist #MMT. Today's student debt horror story number two, with Sean McCoy. Sean's a Virginia-based filmmaker who, outside his professional career, donates his skills and footage to progressive candidates and nonprofits. As a teenager, he was a professional actor who applied to theater programs at eleven different universities. He settled on Boston University, which is a private institution that offered to cover fifty percent of his costs through various grants and scholarships.

(Here's a link to part two. A list of the audio chapters in this episode can be found at the bottom of this post.)

Despite the deep discount, Sean left school with nearly $150,000 in student debt. Now it's five years later and he's paid more than required each month, which has reduced it to around $120,000. At this rate, he will have fully paid off his loans around the year 2042. That's not a joke.

Sean describes in detail how debt is a lever of power, and how that in turn is a tool used by the rich to enslave their workers. This despite the obvious fact that, even though chained down by debt, these workers create well more in value for the economy – for society – for these rich people! – than the amount they owe in debt. In the case of my previous student debt horror story, Dalton is a high school teacher who's spread that education to hundreds of students in his seven years' of teaching experience. Like all teachers, Dalton has created many times more in value for society than the $47,000 society has chosen to burden him with.

Even if "our individual tax dollars" really were needed to pay for the education of others, not burdening teachers with student debt would obviously be a good investment. How much more would they benefit society if they were let loose by never burdening them with student debt to begin with?

Student debt is nothing more needless future punishment for daring to aspire above your station.

In part two, Sean responds to some of the common criticisms of those who argue against canceling student debt; arguments almost entirely based on the false assumption that "our individual tax dollars" are required to pay for the education – and debt – of others.

To learn more about Sean and his work, you can visit his website at

And now, onto our conversation. Enjoy.


Audio chapters

  • 4:43 - Where do you live? Viral tweet.
  • 5:42 - Sean introduces himself
  • 8:14 - Ilhan Omar shared his video.
  • 9:19 - That's how you live. How do you survive?
  • 10:47 - Back to the beginning. Planning on going to college.
  • 14:53 - What would you say now to that person who said all of this was normal?
  • 17:22 - Assuming false economics is true, would you do things differently if you could go back and start again?
  • 20:24 - How did you minimize or costs while in college?
  • 24:42 - The current state of all of his loans.
  • 35:50 - Why won't Biden cancel student debt?
  • 40:04 - tinfoil hat
  • 43:23 - Wage-price spiral. Only poor people cause inflation.
  • 45:24 - Larry Summers and the shiny ball. (John Harvey and the price of cotton.)
  • 50:58 - Milton Friedman and short-term thinking FOR WHO?
  • 54:59 - Duplicate of introduction, but with no background music