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Tuesday Talk*: Where Do You Stand on Student Debt Forgiveness?

It’s back, not that it’s ever really been gone. But this time, it’s back, bigly.

On Monday, President Joe Biden announced a second attempt at federal student loan forgiveness. The new plan, which is estimated to affect over 30 million borrowers when combined with earlier efforts, aims to enact widespread loan cancelation primarily by expanding existing forgiveness programs and targeting borrowers with high balances due to accumulating interest.

Sure, the Supreme Court rejected Biden’s last attempt to bootstrap emergency powers into shifting billions off the shoulders of the students who signed for the loans and got the benefit of a college education and onto the taxpayer, who may or may not have enjoyed any benefit or scrimped and saved to put himself though college, unaware that he could have bought a Lambo instead and waited until his student loans were forgiven.

For students saddled with crushing debt after learning that there isn’t really a lot of money to be made majoring in critical theory, loan forgiveness is a godsend. So what if they willingly took out the loans under mistaken pretenses, believing that college was worthwhile at any price.

While the Biden administration claims that this latest slate of student loan forgiveness will “make sure higher education is a ticket to the middle class—not a barrier to opportunity,” widespread loan forgiveness ultimately exacerbates the problems it aims to solve: that degree programs that cost too much, and that students take on more debt than necessary to attend school.

For others, it’s yet another burden on their shoulders for a benefit they neither asked for nor enjoyed. Does this just encourage colleges to continue to raise their obscenely high tuition with the expectation that they’ll get their money while their students will get a free ride? Is this “equity,” by making taxpayers who enjoy no college degree pay for those who do? What happens to students five, ten years from now when they find out their debt won’t be canceled?

Don’t bring up better alternatives to loan forgiveness, as they’re not on the table. What will be the net result of Biden’s fulfilling his campaign promise to forgive student debt?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply, within reason.

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