The Wall Street Journal thinks President Joe Biden’s (D) write-off of $10,000 worth of student loan debt is a “forgiveness coup.”
It has that effect, but I don’t think Biden is operating that deviously. This is nothing more than Biden and his Progressive-Democratic Party syndicate nakedly buying votes for this fall and 2024. It’s the bread part of bread and circuses, with the circuses being staged by his Party supporters in Congress alternately touting his having bypassed Congress to do this and bleating that he didn’t go far enough in the doing.
But at what cost is Biden buying those votes? Purely fiscally, he’s forcing us taxpayers to pony up $300 billion to make good on Biden’s largesse, according to Penn Wharton, and as much as twice that according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Politically, the move seriously angrifies a major fraction of us American citizens and voters. Perhaps chief among these are the majority of us who have no student debt to pay off: we never went to college/university; we went to work, instead, vis., in the trades, without which no house, no office building, no road, no mine or well, no part of our nation’s infrastructure gets built. Or we went to other than Ivy League schools to get quality educations in marketable areas of study, didn’t borrow to do so, and got jobs. Or we went to Ivy League or those Other Than schools, borrowed, and paid off our loans—because we got degrees in marketable areas and so got jobs.
We are the folks Biden and his syndicate are explicitly tapping to cover his forgiveness. We’re the folks who have demonstrated a grand capacity to pay off debt, so Biden is calling on us to use that skill some more.
Morally, it’s costing those bailed-out students the practice of actually keeping their own commitments, and it’s trapping them into the welfare cage of being too used to government welfare to get out of it. Because that’s the easy way out for them, and that’s what this sort of “forgiveness” teaches them.
There’s also the potential financial cost to these bailed out persons: now they have money to buy their first house, start a family, buy a car, …? Who’ll lend them the money? Are they now too great a credit risk, expecting as they might, simply to be able to walk away from that loan, too, when repaying it becomes inconvenient to them? Who’ll be willing to hire them, with potential employers looking askance at their willingness to walk away from inconvenient commitments.
The answers to those last questions will unroll only over the next few years—possibly to no serious effect, possibly to the great detriment of these persons, and thence to our economy.
One other thing is certain: colleges and universities will raise their tuition and other charges to absorb this Progressive-Democrat donation. That will leave none of us in the real economy better off.