The three big reasons student loan forgiveness is a terrible idea

OPINION:  John Hawkins

FILE (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When liberals compete with each other, the “winner” inevitably comes down to who can portray himself as the biggest victim, who can claim to be the most offended and who’s the most willing to spend other people’s money to try to buy votes.

In the competitive 2020 field, that final metric has produced a push from candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders for the government to pay off everyone’s student loans. From the nakedly political liberal perspective, this has the benefit of incentivizing young Americans to vote Democratic while funneling massive amounts of money to liberal colleges that will push their views. In addition, the more students you have who spend 8 years getting degrees in women’s studies and “anti-cis normative Communist basket weaving” in the future, the more it benefits them.

However, this is not a policy that benefits the rest of America and there are some very good reasons for that. We could note that it would cost more than a trillion dollars, but sadly, no one seems to care about spending money we don’t have these days. It’s also worth noting that it takes us further down the slippery slope of government dependence. If we even have the government paying for college, why not food? Water? Clothes? Shelter? If anything, we need to be looking for ways to transfer responsibility BACK to the public, not looking for new things Big Daddy Government can give us for “free.”

That being said, there are three reasons that stand out above the others when it comes to explaining why the government should not forgive student loans.

1) College students need to be held responsible for their own loans: Why would we want to set up a system that pays Malia Obama or Barron Trump’s way through college? Why should some plastic surgeon who’ll be making $300,000 a year one day have everyone else paying his bills? Setting that aside,  over the course of their lifetimes, college students earn roughly $900,000 more per year than people who don’t go to college and on average end up spending only 6% of their income after leaving school to pay back their loans. If college is a profit-making endeavor over the long term, why shouldn’t the people who get that benefit be the ones who pay for it?

2) It will inflate costs at colleges even more: You think college is expensive now? Then set up a system where the government will pay the bill when people go to a pricey private college to get a degree in “Justin Bieber studies” or “Trans-culture micro-aggression theory.” When roughly 70% of high school graduates are already going to college, you have to think most of the people left either hate school or barely have the intellectual chops needed to put together a Big Mac at their day job. Do we want to encourage enormous numbers of these people to waste 4-6 years of their lives on college rather than starting their working lives because it’s “free?” I’m sure liberal colleges wouldn’t mind inflating their exorbitant prices to meet the new demand, but it doesn’t sound like such a good deal for people that would be paying for it, which probably means YOU if you’re reading this.

3) Why should people who didn’t go to college or people that paid off their loans be penalized? The claim with these kind of programs is ALWAYS that some new tax on rich people will handle all the costs, but seldom does that work out in practice because:

  1. A) New taxes usually produce less income than anticipated.
  2. B) Rich people can hire lobbyists to protect their interests.
  3. C) Everyone wants to tax rich people and you can get only so much blood out of a stone, etc., etc.

As a practical matter, what this means is that EVERYONE ELSE who pays taxes will end up paying for this government giveaway – but why? Why should a plumber or small business owner who never went to college pay for someone else’s degree? Why should someone who diligently paid off his own loans have his tax dollars taken to pay for someone who didn’t do the same? It’s one thing to take our collective tax dollars to help the poor, but why should we do it to help people who will be doing better than average over the long run? At the end of the day, YOUR college loans should be YOUR problem, not a problem for everyone else.

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.


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John Hawkins


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