Student Loan Bailout Makes Suckers Out of Rule Followers

Two years ago during a campaign stop in Iowa, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was confronted by a parent angry over Warren’s proposal to forgive student loan debt.

“I just wanted to ask one question,” he said. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money. She doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”

Warren said he would not, which prompted the man to respond, “So, you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”

Warren and other progressives are again pressuring the Biden administration to do something about college debt. Democratic Attorneys General from seven states and Puerto Rico have sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to cancel all student debt.

“Student debt keeps millions of struggling borrowers from reaching financial stability and leads to a cycle of financial burdens that follow them throughout their lives,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Biden is considering his options. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “The President talked back on the campaign about… looking at steps to help people making less than $125,000 a year, so that is the frame through which he’s making considerations at this point.”

The federal student debt is massive, $1.6 trillion and rising. More students are attending college and getting advanced degrees, all while college costs keep growing. The Brookings Institute reports that, “About 75 percent of student loan borrowers took loans to go to two- or four-year colleges; they account for about half of all student loan debt outstanding. The remaining 25 percent of borrowers went to graduate school; they account for the other half of the debt outstanding.”

One of the arguments in support of loan forgiveness is that it would free borrowers from the burden of debt. No kidding! Debt is a burden. Just ask anyone who has a car payment, a mortgage, credit card debt and hospital bills, but not every life challenge necessitates a government solution or bailout.

Proponents of debt forgiveness conveniently ignore the stories of how millions of Americans have managed to get a degree or learn a trade without piling up massive loans. They have gone to more affordable schools, earned scholarships, taken full advantage of grants and, yes, worked while attending school and over summers to help pay for their education.

Still others have lived frugally after graduation and kept up with their loan payments. Will loan forgiveness make them feel like suckers for working hard and following the rules?

Additionally, debt cancelation lets colleges off the hook for spiraling costs. If Washington wants to do something substantive, it could pressure colleges—especially institutions that are publicly funded—to keep their costs more affordable. Private colleges with huge endowments can offset more of the costs for their students.

The Biden administration will soon propose some form of college debt forgiveness. The debtors will be grateful and probably reward Democrats at election time. As for those who saved, made a more economical college choice, worked their way through school and paid off their loans?

The Iowa father said it best: You get screwed.


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