I have a new story today about Michelle Obama's visit to Zanesville, Ohio, where she met with a group of women at a local day care center. According to the U.S. Census, Muskingum County, where Zanesville is located, had a median household income of $37,192 in 2004, below both the Ohio and national averages. Just 12.2 percent of adults in the county have a bachelor's degree or higher, also well below the state and national averages. About 20 percent don't have a high school degree. Nevertheless, Mrs. Obama urged them to foreswear lucrative professions like corporate law or hedge fund management and go into the helping industry, even if the sacrifice is great:
As she has many times in the past, Mrs. Obama complains about the lasting burden of student loans dating from her days at Princeton and Harvard Law School. She talks about people who end up taking years and years, until middle age, to pay off their debts. "The salaries don't keep up with the cost of paying off the debt, so you're in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids," she says.