Don’t Cancel Student Debt
For many of the 43 million Americans weighed down by student loan debt, making their monthly payments is a major drag on their lives. About a third of undergraduates going for a bachelor’s degree are either dropping out or taking more than six years to graduate, which means that lots of people carrying student debt don’t even have a degree. Others are finding that what they learned in college doesn’t even help them get a job.
Federal student loan debt hit $1.6 trillion last year. This is a major problem for people in their 20s and 30s. But the federal government simply wiping their debt clean is just about the stupidest way to address it.
Forgiving student loan debt altogether, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) promised on his 2020 presidential campaign trail, would mean printing more than a trillion dollars, thus driving up inflation and bringing the federal government even closer to insolvency. While President Joe Biden hasn’t proposed going this far, he has said he wants to forgive $10,000 per borrower. In the meantime, he’s been using his executive authority to whittle away at the debt load, including a recent $85 billion expansion of loan forgiveness programs.
What Biden is doing is kind of like if you had a clogged sink that’s flooding your apartment, but instead of turning off the faucet or clearing the drain, you grabbed a coffee mug and just dumped the water onto the floor. And while your house keeps flooding, you tell yourself that maybe you just need a bigger cup.
Loan forgiveness programs are incredibly unfair. One-time cancellation not only screws over taxpayers and those who’ve already worked for years to successfully pay off their loans, but it also leaves out the generation of college students about to graduate into thousands of dollars in debt.
Biden has suggested expanding a program that forgives the loans of people who work in public service. While this may sound like a noble idea, the beneficiaries include some extremely high-paid professionals working at nonprofit hospitals, like cardiologists who make $400,000 a year on average. Public service wo
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