As the House of Representatives prepares to pass an economic stimulus bill that will cost at least $2 trillion, some politicians wanted to include student loan cancellation in the bill. Their plans, thankfully, didn’t pan out.
On March 18, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted, “If we want to stimulate the economy and minimize the burden of a financial crisis, canceling student loan debt must be part of the next coronavirus stimulus package.”
Representatives Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., released a proposal to cancel up to $30,000 in student loan debt due to the coronavirus, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday unveiled her version of the $2.5 trillion stimulus package that would cancel up to $10,000 in student loans. Presidential contender Joe Biden voiced support for the Speaker’s idea.
Now, if there’s anyone who should be in favor of these plans, it’s me. I currently have thousands of dollars in student loan debt, which means I stood to gain financially from the Democrat’s idea. But cancelling my loans is misguided and immoral, even in our crisis. Here’s why.
There’s an old adage that says, “No good deed goes unpunished.” The Democrat’s plan would have proven that saying true once again.
In a viral clip, when she was still a presidential contender, Sen. Warren was confronted by an voter angry over her student loan cancellation proposal. The voter, who had saved his money to put his daughter through college debt free, asked Sen. Warren if he was going to get his money back? “Of course not,” Sen. Warren replied. “So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed,” the man aptly summarized.
He’s exactly right. Those who have worked hard to pay for school outright, or who have already paid of their loans are left out to dry.
Additionally, student loan cancellation redistributes money to the wealthiest among us. According to a recent study from the Urban Institute, the top 25% of households with the highest earnings hold 34% of all student loan debt. The bottom 25% hold just 12%. Student loan cancellation is wealth redistribution, but from the bottom to the top, not the other way around.
Why should the truck driver with a high school diploma who makes $70,000 a year pay off the loans of the electrical engineer who graduated from college and makes $100,000 per year?
Cancelling student loans would also do nothing to help fix the current problems facing many Americans due to the coronavirus. As anyone with student loans knows, debt is paid off gradually over the 10-year lifetime of the loan. Cancelling those loans may help borrowers down the road, but it does nothing for those who need immediate assistance because the government has forced them not to work.
Finally, so called student loan “cancellation” is nothing of the sort. Loans cannot just be cancelled. Someone will have to pay off the loans, and that someone is the American taxpayer.
The Democrat’s push to include student loan cancellation in the economic stimulus package was a shameless promotion of partisan pet projects in the midst of a crisis.
Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel was once lambasted for saying, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” referring to the great recession of 2008. Cancelling student loans because of the coronavirus was the Democrat’s attempt to live up to Emmanuel’s exhortation.
During this trying time, we must remain clear-eyed and vigilant about the crisis we’re facing, and we must face it together. But no American should ever be forced to pay off another’s student loans. Not even mine.
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