The problem with student loan forgiveness
People have been asking me, “Is this loan forgiveness business a good idea?” and the question itself is the problem with today’s politics. Many are looking just to determine which side you are on. I get it. Who has time to be discussing the nuance of each of the issues, nobody. When we end the conversation there we miss out on all the things we agree on that might lead to good policy. If you have the time and an open mind let me go through what we could have done to really help people.
The main conservative argument is that these debts were voluntary and that taxpayers who never went to college should not be held responsible for these voluntary debts. That is absolutely correct, but please keep reading. The lender in this case is the United States government, who has a monopoly on criminal consequences and on the judiciary. The lender in this case has made the laws such that the only way out of these debts at the moment is strict compliance with a pay as you go plan, full repayment or death, in order of most to least appealing.
Someone with $100,000 of student loan debt (at 6.8% and a 10-year term) pays approximately $1,150 a month. After $10,000 in relief the monthly payment becomes approximately $1,036, but angers everyone who didn’t go to college because they couldn’t afford it or who already paid off there loans. Instead lower the interest rate to 4.5%, the monthly payment goes down to $1,036 and the argument that there is some kind of payoff evaporates and people get relief.
The argument from the left about PPP loan and industry loan forgiveness is just what-about-ism. The only similarity in terms of policy is that the word loan is involved. People deserve relief over companies but they’re fruits of a different tree.
People should be mad. This does not offer real help to those who truly need it and are under difficult financial pressures after doing what they thought was the right thing by going to college. People who never went should be mad that there is a “handout” to those who they strongly believe are undeserving. Everyone should be mad however that we didn’t sit down together to solve the real problem and to really help those who need it in a less divisive way.
We need to change the way we talk to each other so that our collective interests are better represented, when divided we are more easily conquered.
Jake Dunigan is a candidate for the 41st House District.