Wednesday, April 17

Student Loan Cancellation is Unjust

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday a plan to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers who make less than $125,000 annually. The plan will also include another four-month long payment freeze for those with any amount of student loans.

Many praised the move as a compassionate step towards ameliorating the pain and suffering caused by our nation’s $1.7 trillion student loan catastrophe.

But canceling student loans is immoral and unjust.

I graduated from college with more than $20,000 in student loan debt—a price I was willing to pay to earn my degree.

Upon accepting my first full-time job, I didn’t go buy a new car. I didn’t take a nice vacation, or travel to Europe, or put a down payment on a house. I attacked my loans with ferocity.

Every extra dollar I could find, I threw at my loans until, in November 2021, I paid off my debt entirely—seven years early.

Instead of rewarding me (and others like me) who chose to do the right thing and pay off the loans that we agreed to take, student loan cancellation punishes us for making wise and prudent financial decisions.

Former president Ronald Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.'”

That’s exactly the case here.

Student loan cancellation unjustly redistributes wealth from the poor to the rich.

According to the Brookings Institution, a plan to cancel $10,000 of student debt per borrower would cost taxpayers about $373 billion.

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25: Student loan borrowers stage a rally in front of The White House to celebrate President Biden canceling student debt and to begin the fight to cancel any remaining debt on August 25, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Brookings found that “the beneficiaries of student loan forgiveness would be higher income, better educated, and whiter” compared to the beneficiaries of other welfare handouts.

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“The median income of households with student loans is $76,400, and 7 percent are below the poverty line,” Brookings observed.

The Left claims student loan cancellation would benefit poorer families who are struggling to make ends meet. But this is simply false.

Poorer Americans who didn’t go to college, and thus didn’t take out any student loans, will be left picking up the tab via their tax dollars. Truck drivers, plumbers and mail carriers will be forced to pay off the debt of Ivy-educated lawyers, doctors, and engineers.

That’s profoundly unjust.

There are many other reasons why canceling student loans is a bad idea.

Why should the federal government cancel student loans, but not other kinds of debt? Why isn’t there a discussion about mortgage forgiveness, or car loan forgiveness, or credit card debt cancellation?

Additionally, most student loans are guaranteed by the federal government as part of the US Department of Education’s federal student loan program. Why would the government forgive loans that it apparently believed were essential enough to issue in the first place—and then continue to issue more loans even after cancellation?

Canceling student loans disincentivizes good financial decisions, pits Americans against each other, and benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.

While campaigning for the White House, President Biden promised to unify America. But there’s hardly anything more divisive than forcing poor Americans to pay off rich Americans’ debt.

Zachary Mettler is a staff writer for Focus on the Family’s DailyCitizen. Mettler earned his bachelor’s degree from William Jessup University and is an alumnus of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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