Last week, President Biden looked around at the myriad of problems our country faces, from the border crisis to a faltering economy, and he decided to tackle the student loan crisis. Unfortunately for most Americans, his tackling is worse than his cycling. Biden’s “solution” was to spread the problem to the rest of us innocent bystanders in the country and reward the predatory lenders and greedy universities. President Biden met a bully, but instead of standing up to the bully, he ran home to get the bully his mom’s credit card. The President just incentivized the bully to keep going, as now he has a new mark.
No one denies that our current student admission and loan processes have fundamental problems that take advantage of poor and middle-class families. President Biden’s measure changes none of that! Young adults will still be told that they must go to college to be successful. School counselors will still be evaluated on how many students they sign to the most illustrious colleges; cost be damned. Because secondary education is now exclusively built to push kids to college, enrollment in higher education has never been higher. But what about all those poor kids? Well, that’s where the lending agencies come in and get a 17-year-old locked into the first installment of an $80,000 loan that will require a work-based relationship until at least 40 but will be based on their interests as a teenager. Predatory lenders can only go so far, though, and require a complicit college and university system that continues to further exploit the students by raising costs.
Hence, we see the growth in students is nothing compared to the increase in costs, up over 180% since 1980. Arguing that college graduates will get a justified return on such a steep investment cannot be made in good faith. Between nonsense courses like Speaking Klingon and valueless programs like Interdisciplinary Studies, the student loan crisis is exacerbated because college graduates can’t find high-paying jobs to pay for their education, proving the guilt of the system by not providing students with skills worth the cost. Joe Biden just rewarded them and their cronies at the lending services; almost like he (and we) learned nothing from the Housing Crisis.
The money has already been spent, so it can’t simply be forgiven as if snapping them away with the Infinity Gauntlet. So, if the money has already been spent, what are these banks getting in return? They will be getting more newly created taxpayer dollars. How much? Who knows! The White House doesn’t, and neither does anyone else. All we do know is that freshly printed money will further inflate the dollar. This debt isn’t being canceled but transferred from the 13% who own student debt to the rest of the working-class populace, including the 87% who don’t owe any loans. How is this any sort of solution?
So systematically, we’ve rewarded those who did wrong with money from poor and middle-class working families. Those who saved to pay off their loans, worked during college, or chose a less expensive collegiate option are cheated out of $10,000. Individuals who took out irresponsible loans, decided not to work to enjoy the college experience, and those who wanted a renowned university with top-notch sports and a thriving Greek life got rewarded with the wealth of their neighbors.
We must address this problem at its core if we want to effect real change by:
- Diversifying our secondary education options and allowing students to choose other paths than just going to college. At a minimum we should glorify the economic value of community college and vocational education programs.
- Disincentivizing the predatory loan practices by limiting the age and amount of loans a minor can borrow.
- Holding Universities accountable by requiring them to publicize data concerning the cost of their institution and the average salary and debt for graduates among various programs.
- Executing our current programs with fidelity. The military and the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program offer various options to garner student loan forgiveness by fulfilling a civic need, but are unfortunately marred by mismanagement.
Americans cannot afford to throw money at a problem and hope. The US should first stop the problem at the source, as this debt grows with each graduating class. Seek to forgive students’ loans through better-executing existing programs with transparent and fair metrics to earn taxpayer dollars by helping the community. Broad, sweeping overtures of affection won’t make the bully stop. But if we address this problem head-on, if we pop this bully in the nose George McFly style, this problem might just go away.