Editorial: Student loan forgiveness benefits entire economy – Palm Beach Post


Some act surprised that stimulus dollars extended by the U.S. government have stimulated the economy. The fact is, government spending is stirring economic growth that will create jobs, outpace the deficit and position the country to better address its social shortfalls and improve its competitive standing. But that work isn’t done, even with this week’s infrastructure bill approval. 
Left behind so far is the loan forgiveness that government leaders dangled before the nation’s 45 million student borrowers. 
At a time when the U.S. faces economic competition from all corners of the Earth, those best trained to unleash the nation’s intellectual strength for the long term, through a storm of entrepreneurship and innovation, often find themselves restrained by personal debt acquired in obtaining the best possible higher education only to emerge in a pandemic. The sooner they shed those restraints and are set loose to accomplish what they’re capable of, the sooner the nation will benefit. 
That’s why the calls for student loan forgiveness make so much sense. 
More:Student loan forgiveness has stalled, but Biden is continuing COVID-era payment freeze
School testing:In across-the-board academic losses, Palm Beach County students see biggest sting in math
Student borrowers in the U.S. owe more $1.7 trillion, an amount of federal debt that has been rising by $100 billion a year. As Forbes points out, that makes student debt second only to mortgage debt and higher than credit card balances or car loans. 
Soon after taking office, President Biden said he would ask Congress to forgive $10,000 per student loan but the issue faded from the spotlight amid negotiations over the infrastructure bill and over the reconciliation process through which Democrats hope to generate more money for social programs without requiring Republican approval. 
Student loan relief is not included in either talks. Rather than legislating that relief, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., among others, want Biden to use executive authority to forgive $50,000 per student. Biden says he’s not sure he has that authority. He’s weighing his options. 
Meanwhile, those bucking the economic challenges of the resurgent pandemic have won significant relief through Biden’s recent decision to freeze student loan payments and interest for an additional three months, through Jan. 2022. That’s a big help but the clock is ticking. 
Surely there must be a number between $10,000 and $50,000 that our leaders can agree upon, for debtors of modest means. 
There are good arguments for exercising caution in student loan forgiveness. 
More:Keiser University will require its 3,800 employees to be vaccinated
Forgiving debt doesn’t make it disappear, after all. It merely pushes the government’s burden into the future and onto the backs of many taxpayers who didn’t borrow, and those who did borrow but fulfilled their pledges to repay their loans. 
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out in recent commentary, the government swallows $100 billion a year in loan defaults, plus hundreds of billions more in loan reduction programs for low-income borrowers. 
Isn’t personal responsibility a value worth encouraging, after all, the argument goes? Finding ways to reduce college costs makes the most sense in the long run, rather than establishing an unsustainable practice of letting borrowers off the hook. 
But under today’s extraordinary circumstances, providing one-time relief to those who would strain under that debt for decades to come makes sense. 
Not everyone is born on third base or even first, and can afford to matriculate at a university with a multibillion-dollar endowment, where financial aid flows freely. And while lower-cost community colleges often provide a worthy alternative and invaluable work-study opportunity, they’re not for everyone. 
Should we seek ways to reduce the cost of higher education, in a free market competing for the sharpest minds and best facilities to help your child compete in the job market? Definitely. 
But meanwhile, appreciate the benefits to the nation’s economy, in a time of severe strain, of unburdening and unleashing our best and brightest to perform and achieve their potential.  
Have faith that all that education would benefit not just them but society as a whole. We’d be paying it forward. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *