The one-trillion dollars plus of student loan debt is a drag on the economy.

However, the ease of obtaining those loans have inspired Americans to use the money for expenditures not directly pertinent to their education (hat-tip, WC Varones).

…The WSJ takes on a more conservative tone when it says that “some Americans caught in the weak job market are lining up for federal student aid, not for education that boosts their employment prospects but for the chance to take out low-cost loans, sometimes with little intention of getting a degree.”

Unfortunately, its examples demonstrate a pervasive culture of monetary abuse, which has become as rampant, if at a much lesser scale, as what the TBTF banks have been acused of doing in order to perpetuate the illusion that they are solvent – indirectly taking from taxpayers to fund an unsustainable lifestyle. Taxpayers, who will end up with massive losses on their involuntary “investment” in either case.

 Take Ray Selent, a 30-year-old former retail clerk in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was unemployed in 2012 when he enrolled as a part-time student at Broward County’s community college. That allowed him to borrow thousands of dollars to pay rent to his mother, cover his cellphone bill and catch the occasional movie.

..Tommie Matherne, a 32-year-old married father of five in Billings, Mont., has been going to school since 2010, when he realized the $10 an hour he was making as a mall security guard wasn’t covering his family’s expenses. He uses roughly $2,000 in student loans each year to stock his fridge and catch up on bills. His wife is a stay-at-home mother who also gets loans to take online courses.

We’ve been taking whatever we can for student loans every year, taking whatever we have left over and using it to stock up the freezer just so we have a couple extra months where we don’t have to worry about food,” says Mr. Matherne, who owes $51,600 in federal loans.

The logic for why “students” (or not) chose the easy way out? “The only way I feel I can survive financially is by going back to school and putting myself in more student debt,” says Mr. Selent, who has since added $8,000 in student debt from living expenses. Returning to school also gave Mr. Selent a reprieve on the $400 a month he owed from previous student debt because the federal government doesn’t require payments while borrowers are in school.

In other words, running away from insolvency by adding on more debt. And not just any debt, but Federal debt, which has no liens on any assets, aside from converting the obligor into a non-dischargeable, indentured debt slave indefinitely, with wage garnishment rights afforded to the government. Of course, the borrowers know all about this, but that too is a bridge to be crossed in due course. For now, someone has to pay for the rent and the food, even if that someone is once again the US taxpayer.