As the Biden Administration continues to swirl downward and circle the toilet bowl of history, it continues to dig its’ collective fist deeper and deeper into its’ almost empty bag of tricks to find something, anything, that will stop the bleeding of the lowest approval rating in the history of all American Presidents.
Enter the re-emergence of floating the idea of forgiving student loan debt.
92% of all student loans are owned by us…the United States Government. Thus, our elected leaders have the ability to say “you no longer owe us,” and simply add it to the national debt.
As you can imagine, this is a very popular idea with young people who have large student loan debt. This is how desperate the administration is; they’re considering pandering to the group of voters that vocally supports them overwhelmingly yet never, ever, shows up to vote on election day. Of all voters aged 18-29, never have more than 18% of them shown up, and that was their high watermark in 2008 when they ushered President Obama into the Whitehouse by increasing their turnout by a whopping 1% over 2004. The youth vote is a fallacy that Democrats keep chasing and never catching, but at this point, they’ll take anything, thus the trial balloon of forgiving part or all of peoples’ outstanding student loan debt. https://www.pewresearch.org/2008/11/13/young-voters-in-the-2008-election/
There are multiple problems with this idea, starting with the least important and least interesting one; nothing is free. While this is true, it doesn’t move the needle. America has spent 20 years being told our national debt is out of control and our grandchildren will pay for it (or our currency will crumble a la Greece) and no one cares at all. It’s too heady, no one understands it, and it’s not happening to us right now, which is all most Americans care about or can process intellectually. As the greatest power on Earth (for now), we can, by definition, sustain unsustainable debt, longer than any other nation on the planet. If you want to lose the interest of an American, start explaining that forgiving student loan debt means that all of us are paying for the education of total strangers via our funding of the government…snore…snore…snore.
The real reason this is a wildly unpopular idea amongst everyone not owing student loan dent is two-fold; there’s a fundamental principle and there’s an experiential resentment.
The fundamental principle is simple; we live in a country where we are taught and told to pay our debts and honor our obligations. If you promise to pay for something that you have received, you need to make restitution for it, not be told “just kidding, someone else is going to take care of it for you, not for the reason of hardship or ask, but simply because we’re doing it across the board for everyone.”
The experiential resentment is far more potent and powerful. The group of Americans that are most against illegal immigration are legal immigrants because they played by the rules, paid their way, and did it the right, and hard, way. They overwhelmingly loathe allowing a pass to people who skirt the system. Similarly, every single American can and will invoke immense anger at the idea of telling people they no longer owe what they promised to pay.
The most obvious are those who have spent years, if not decades, working their asses off to repay their student loans. They will quickly, and rightly, shout “why did I bother?” and “what about me?”
But it doesn’t end there. Why should I keep making my mortgage payments? Why should you bother with credit card statements? All of us are part of this society and those who went to college are no better than anyone else, so why should any of us honor our obligations?
This, of course, is just another sick step towards socialism and the creation of what has long been called a nanny state; the government will take care of you, like the wonderful parent they are, from cradle to grave, all the while we forget that we are the government. It’s a gross time in America; we’ve been teetering for decades and we’re certainly right on that edge once again. Whether we pull back from it or not remains to be seen.