I haven’t had to pay my student loans in over three years.
Neither have any of the other 40 million US student loan borrowers.
Not since Donald Trump froze repayments in March of 2020. Since then, the repayment pause has been extended eight times. And despite the lack of repayment, the world kept turning. The government kept functioning.
Many began to hope that the repayment would be paused indefinitely, or that student loans would be wiped out entirely. But those hopes were squelched last week when the Biden administration announced that the pandemic emergency was over (a good thing) and that student loan repayments would resume (a bad thing).
US Borrowers Not Happy
I’ll tell you what: I’m not happy about student loan repayments. And I think I speak for millions of borrowers who are also frustrated and unhappy with repayments starting up again. The collective outrage should pose a threat to the incumbent administration, the ones turning the loan repayments on again – especially considering that the incumbent will likely be running for reelection against the guy who turned the repayments off three years ago. The simple fact is that with respect to student loans, Donald Trump helped me and my 40 million peers out, and Joe Biden gave me a kick in the butt.
But that’s an oversimplification, isn’t it? Because Trump represents a party that has vigorously opposed student loan forgiveness.
“Republicans are waging a multipronged attack on student loan forgiveness,” The Guardian reported. “As well as bringing legal challenges, which are now being heard in the Supreme Court, Republicans have put forward legislation that would block forgiveness.”
Meanwhile Biden has proposed a plan to forgive $10,000 in debt per borrower. It sounds generous but it’s small potatoes – although, it is $10,000 more than Republicans are proposing.
The Case for Forgiveness
Yes, yes, I understand the principle that those who take out loans should repay their debts, that US taxpayers should not have to subsidize other people’s education. But the hard truth is that student loan borrowers are not repaying their debts. So, while Republicans, and the federal government, have framed the issue as a choice between collecting repayments or not collecting repayments, the real issue is a choice between not collecting repayments or forgiving repayments – point being, the government ain’t getting that money back either way. So, they might as well cut the borrowers loose, let them invest their money elsewhere, let them take the four or five hundred dollars a month and buy stuff.
But aside from practical considerations, there is a deeper, moral-ideological argument for forgiving loans. First, student loans are a predatory scheme. Kids who can’t drink or vote or get a tattoo without parental consent are allowed to take out six figure sums to attend college. And while college used to both be affordable to attend and provide a degree that basically guaranteed admission into the middle class, today college is astronomically overpriced and fails to deliver economic security on the back end.
The entire scheme, despite being what young Americans are encouraged to do, is flawed, outdated, and leaving borrowers in a financial hole. And now, we’ve seen a concrete demonstration that the USA can survive just fine with a three year pause on loan repayments. Repayments should be paused indefinitely, or forgiven outright.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
May 24, 2023 at 1:57 pm
What needs to be highlighted is these tax paying students and parents have made it possible for corporate, banks, small businesses etc to all get bailed out but when it comes to helping them the Republicans don’t want to hear it. At least the Democrats are trying to do something about it. All loans should be forgiven.
May 24, 2023 at 2:10 pm
So then next year when billions more in student loan debt show up…??? And after that. And after that.. and after that..
The solution is as such
Reform the public university system. Public Universities need to be set up like Berea University in Kentucky. It’s free to attend and a 4 year degree takes FOUR YEARS TOTAL.
Student loan debt… let’s talk about that. The top 10 universities in the country sit on 200 billion in endowments. In total all the universities sit on over 2 trillion.
Seize that money and pay the debt. If they refuse to turn it over revoke their charter.
Problem solved. Real problems require a heavy hand.
May 24, 2023 at 7:59 pm
Wanna know how you can tell it’s stealing…? Because the money that you’re suggesting taking from people would not be freely given. You have to use the government to forcibly take it from some people to give to others. Don’t believe me, then why not setup a program whereby people who so ardently support loan forgiveness pay out of their own pockets. And yes, money would be taken from other people whether it’s directly from taxes or via inflation.
There will be hell to pay in the long run for the past economic transgressions, and student loan theft will just intensify it. Unfortunately, people like you who don’t understand will be even more confused about what went wrong and beg desperately for more government intervention into the economy.
May 24, 2023 at 10:28 pm
Wow – not to make this personal, but you are willing to put your financial burden on others? What about your responsibility to pay your debts, your civic duty to your fellow citizens? Because one way or another, the school will be paid – that loan is a guarantee from the federal government (or a private loan company) that the school will get paid. Someone has to pay the school – and for federal student loans, they are paid by the taxpayers. It doesn’t just “go away.” What an odd notion. True, the borrowers are not repaying their debt – they have rejected their responsibility and shoved that burden onto the millions of taxpayers to shoulder for them. But make no mistake, the debt is being paid.
Relatively few college students are actually minors, and they typically fall under their parents for FAFSA and student loans (but not always). I sort of agree with one of your assertions, that student loans are a predatory scheme, but that is mostly driven by the way the federal government drives loans, and its effect on the cost of education. The school doesn’t care who pays for the education, and if the fed wants to subsidize it, all the better for colleges and universities, because it becomes an almost guaranteed revenue stream. This leads to the obvious problem of tuition/fee inflation.
You state, “I’m not happy about student loan repayments.” Well, I’m not happy about paying more in taxes so that you can have a free ride. So maybe I’ll quit paying taxes so that someone else can pay for my share of roads or schools or wilderness conservation or your debt. Except I can’t, or the IRS comes knocking on my door and takes EVERYTHING away to satisfy my “tax debt.” Why is one more valid than the other?
May 24, 2023 at 11:07 pm
You borrowed the money pay it back. What makes you so special that you don’t have to pay loans you took out?
May 25, 2023 at 11:08 am
The principal is straightforward, take out debt, you pay your debt. I’m not under any obligation to pay someone else’s personal debt; especially when the absurdity of university tuitions and fees continues without any pushback.
May 25, 2023 at 3:40 pm
Just reading the title of this article makes my blood boil. Let me through out an alternative: “Now is the time to forgive all mortgage debt. The banks can survive just fine without it.”
There is nothing special about student load debt and asking plumbers and carpenters to pay for other people’s kids to go to college is just wrong.
Take out a loan, pay the loan. It’s called resonsibility. Something too few Gen-Y people understand.
May 25, 2023 at 10:38 pm
I do not have student loans because I did not borrow money to go to college, I joined the Corps. Quit whining and pay your debts!
May 26, 2023 at 1:29 pm
I had student loans and had to work hard and put off things like buying a home in order to pay them down. I also had to work at tough jobs that weren’t my first choice, but they paid better. Why can’t you?
YOU, and the people who think like you, are the problem, and we can only hope that there are enough responsible people left to save our country and our civilization.
May 27, 2023 at 3:20 pm
So Harrison, you’re fine with transferring the consequence of a voluntary free choice onto the backs of people who made a better choice and didn’t incur that debt? Why not just support hyper inflation for a year or so, and pay off the loans that way? Eh? After all, that would transfer the debt the same way unto the backs of those who aren’t riddled with voluntarily assumed debt…
May 30, 2023 at 3:47 am
What hutzpah! A guy with three degrees wants taxpayers to pay his loans- just incredible.
May 30, 2023 at 6:19 pm
Wait a minute. You’re a lawyer and a pilot, but you want me to pay your student loans back? I always wanted to fly, but could never really afford lessons or a plane while paying for our two kids to go to college. Now you want me to pay for you, too? I’ll pass.
June 1, 2023 at 10:08 am
This issue reveals traitors on the CCP payroll.
June 3, 2023 at 7:03 am
It makes no sense to say “they’re not collecting the money either way” and “let them take the $400 or $500 a month and buy stuff”
If they have $400 or $500 a month they could pay, but aren’t paying, even when required to pay….then they are deadbeats who need the full force of the law.