John Hechinger of Bloomberg News is the best education journalist at work these days.

His latest story is chilling: It tells of a determined effort by the federal government and lawyers to collect a student loan debt owed by  a teacher in Los Angeles.

The teacher had a debt left from the 1970s. The aggressive lawyers emptied her bank account and grabbed a quarter of her earnings. A court intervened.

What’s the moral of the story?

Some might see it as evidence that people should pay their debts. There’s no free lunch. etc.

I’d say it shows that our nation is hypocritical about the importance of  higher education, that we say we want to have the highest college going rate in the world but we shrug our shoulders at the rising cost of higher education.

My view is that the federal government and state governments should reduce the cost to the student of getting a college degree. The nations where college-going is increasing have done that. Meanwhile we pursue student loan debt with a SWAT team vengeance.

This is no way to out-educate the rest of the world.