A great question nobody is asking about Biden's student loan giveaway plan
I am vehemently opposed to Joe Biden's illegal assumption of the power to force taxpayers to assume the burden of student loan repayments on college tuition obligations voluntarily entered into. It's wrong constitutionally, and it's wrong morally to force other people to pay for services to others that only a minority receive.
Besides, higher education has devolved into a brainwashing arm of the hard left and has lost all claim to be a general public benefit. The education cartel has abused the public, with tuition escalating at three times the rate of general inflation for about half a century now, financing useless, expensive, and counterproductive administrative bureaucracies that now equal or outnumber teaching faculty at many institutions.
But David Catron at American Spectator today raises a terrific point that I have never heard mentioned before, one that should trouble even those who do not share my critique: why should college dropouts be rewarded for their failure to complete the degrees to which they aspired?
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch did note that it would provide benefits to certain favored persons while ignoring the very real costs it would impose on others, but no one mentioned a fact that will gall most taxpayers — it would cancel student loans for college dropouts.
Remarkably, the Biden administration and most Democrats see this as a selling point for the plan. The White House fact sheet puts it as follows: "Nearly one-third of borrowers have debt but no degree, according to an analysis by the Department of Education of a recent cohort of undergraduates." The Democrats justify canceling these loans because tuition costs have risen, ignoring evidence that the loans have driven that increase. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) claims: "Up to 4 in 10 people with student loan debt weren't able to graduate, many because of high costs. ... Canceling student loan debt would change their lives."
The problem is that the $400 billion program would also "change the lives" of millions of Americans for the worse. How? It will raise the stealth tax known as inflation. As former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers put it when Biden announced the scheme: "Student loan debt relief is spending that raises demand and increases inflation. It consumes resources that could be better used helping those who did not, for whatever reason, have the chance to attend college." It is also unfair to students who finished their degrees and paid off their loans.
To be fair, subsidizing failure is a primary feature of the welfare state. And anything that you subsidize, you tend to get more of. See single parent homes.
It's bad enough asking people who didn't go to college to pay for those who did. But it is far worse to subsidize those who didn't follow through and complete the programs they started. They have given up. Why should quitters be subsidized? Advocates need to be pestered with this question, for there is no good answer.
Graphic credit: WBluese, CC BY-SA 4.0 license.