Biden's Student Debt Cancellation Farce

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help.

--Ronald Reagan, Aug. 12, 1986

On Aug. 25, 2022, President Biden announced that “Twenty-seven million people who will get $20,000 in debt relief” and “nearly 45 percent can have their student debt fully cancelled.” 

His official reason for this was his desire to help people burdened by crippling student debt. 

The real reason he did it was that his poll numbers are abysmal due to his disastrous policies and he needs to buy some votes before the November 2022 elections. 

Further, this program will likely never come to pass because, as the Department of Education, Nancy Pelosi, and others have stated, Biden does not have the authority to do this and his executive order may be struck down by the courts. 

Of course, typical of disingenuous D.C., Pelosi immediately flip-flopped once he announced it. 

Even so, Biden can in that case claim, probably while yelling at people or creepily whispering to them, that he tried to do it but evil MAGA forces in the courts invoking this thing called “the law” stopped it.

The terms in which Biden frames his thoughtless policy are deceptive.  Biden cannot “cancel” these debts.  If John owed a debt to Joe Biden, he could say, “John, I decided you don’t need to pay me back the $10,000 you owed me.” 

Unfortunately, Joe appears to have forgotten, which happens a lot in Washington D.C., that this is not his money.  Since the debts are owed to various other institutions, he does not have the right to decide that it will be cancelled.  

As a consequence, if Joe does not require the students who incurred the debt to pay it back, it will have to be repaid by somebody else.  If for example, Jack, a “Queer Studies” Major, owes $10,000 dollars in student debt and Biden “cancels” or “forgives” $10,000 of it, someone else will have to pay that $10,000.  This will, of course, be the taxpayers, many of whom never went to college because they were too busy working for a living in a real job or trade.   

For some unexplained reason Biden thinks it is simple and fair that some steelworker Bill who never had the chance to go to university and has spent his life working himself to the bone for his family has to pay part of John’s student debt because John, with a degree in Queer Studies, cannot find the kind of job he thinks he's entitled to.  One can assume that Bill will not find this fair, but the Democrats’ hope is that because the payment for John’s worthless degree is hidden in Bill’s taxes, he will not notice it enough to stop voting Democrat. 

The problem with Biden’s “solution” is, however, worse than this, for it will actually make the student loan crisis worse.  

The reason is that universities, which charge these exorbitant tuition and fees for useless degrees, will factor the Biden debt forgiveness plan into their future calculations, i.e., they will reason that if a future student debt crisis gets bad enough, the sitting politicans, eager to get re-elected to the D.C. gravy train, will step in again and “forgive part” of the student debt (that is, transfer another part of that debt to the long-suffering taxpayers).  Some already are raising their tuition in response. If one subsidizes something, such as a useless degree, there will be more of it.  Since Biden wants to subsidize useless degrees, we will get more of those in the future. 

Furthermore, Biden’s plan is unfair to the minority students that he purports to be helping.  This is because black students are more likely to borrow federal student loans and at higher amounts than other Americans. Four years after earning bachelor's degrees, black borrowers owe nearly $25,000 more than their white peers on average.

Although the decline of our universities has devalued all degrees, consider this special case involving various “minority studies” degrees.  John, a white student with a $10,000 debt for his degree in Queer Studies, and Andrew, a black student who needed to borrow more money to get his engineering degree, owes a $35,000 debt.  Since both, under the Biden-plan, get $10,000 in debt relief, the wealthier white student will end up completely debt-free.  By contrast, the black student will still find himself owing a substantial sum of $25,000 – which is not fair.   

The claim is not that universities should not address such issues.  On the contrary, since the United States really is a free country, it should be possible to study the special and real situations, history and problems facing black, female, gay and other minority populations. 

However, if one wanted to study such topics, there were these things called “Sociology departments,” “Anthropology departments,” “Economics departments,” and “Philosophy departments” where one could do employing time-honored methods and procedures.  By creating entirely new departments, such as “Black Studies,” “Woman’s Studies,” “Queer Studies,” etc., each populated with activists freed from time–honored methods of the traditional disciplines, one inevitably gets academic departments committed to the cultivation of victimhood (“current forms of inequity and oppression”).  That is, the “X Studies department” (for any X) has an intrinsic interest in promoting the view that X is systematically mistreated.  For if the X Studies' department discovers that X's are not systematically mistreated, then there is no need for an “X Studies” department and the funds for it disappear.  For these multiple reasons, students who graduate with a degree in “X Studies” often find it hard to find a job and repay their loans.

It is typical of politicians in Washington that they generally do not try to solve the actual problem but instead put a politically useful Band-aid on the issue to get them through the next election cycle.  

In fact, many of these problems are created by the government in the first place. For example, in ages past politicians sought to buy votes by passing out large amounts of money to enable many people to pursue university degrees that do not enable to do anything useful in the real world. 

When, therefore, many years later, these people graduate and cannot pay off the exorbitant student loans because they cannot get a paying job, this is called a “student loan crisis” (when it should be called a “government-created loan crisis”).

In summary, many of these crises are created by the fact that politicians in D.C. recklessly throw around money to pander to certain groups to buy votes, leading, inevitably, to crises down the road when the bills inevitably come due.  At that point, these politicians generally start abusing people who don’t want to give them more money and calling them names

The real solution to these government-created problems is not to do exactly the same thing that created the problem in the first place, namely, throw some more money at the problem, but, rather, to cut the wasteful spending and promote the development of responsible disciplined university programs that lead to the kind of useful degrees that enable graduates to get jobs and pay their bills.  That, however, would take courage and rational foresight and it is, therefore, unlikely to happen until taxpayers and patriots force politicians to start behaving responsibly.  

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License

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