Recall that President Barack Obama (D) touts his Stimulus Bill, with its explosion in national debt (which is still growing these 7+ years later), as good for our economy. That it’s an economy still mired, these 7+ years later, in a pseudo-recovery that’s the slowest since WWII and that has a smaller per centage of Americans in the labor force than at any time since the Jimmie Carter (D) years is lost on, or ignored by, him.
Now he’s making the same claim about our nation’s exploding student debt, a pile of markers reaching $1.3 trillion, a pile that has doubled in total size, and a pile that has seen a doubling of per-graduated student debt, all over these same 7+ years of Obama and his administration. This growing pile is good for our economy, he says.
Maybe not. That growing debt represents a number of drags on our economy beyond the broader national debt.
It drives up the cost of borrowing for the rest of us by competing for the supply of loanable funds, whether from government or from banks.
That’s fairly minor. More importantly, money spent on debt repayment is money not spent on
- consumption or on saving for the borrower’s emergency money needs (at least one such emergency is virtually inevitable over the course of a lifetime)
- future retirement (which results in an increased reliance on a bankrupt, or nearly so, Social Security and Medicare public retirement system)
- big ticket items like housing and cars (certainly these are routinely borrowed for, but added debt?)
And there’s this: money not spent on student debt repayment because the student (now adult) borrower has defaulted on his debt represents two more drags on our economy: increased general borrowing costs in order to cover the lenders’ costs of absorbing those bad loans, and increased taxes (which, among other drags, is money withdrawn from the private economy) to cover government-guaranteed privately extended student loans.
All of those drags represent reduced overall private demand and so lower business prosperity and so fewer jobs. All those drags also represent higher taxes tomorrow or increased (yet again) borrowing tomorrow—and so higher taxes the day after tomorrow.
This is the level of understanding of basic economics held by Obama and the Democratic Party.