President Biden told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he is considering cancelling student loans entirely, CBS News reported on April 26, 2022.
Previously, the president had indicated that he would support cancelling up to $10,000 in student loans for each borrower.
Former President Ronald Reagan used to joke that there are only two things inevitable in life: death and taxes.
But for most Americans, debt also appears unavoidable and necessary.
It was American journalist Earl Wilson who said, “This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
This is especially true when it comes to student loan debt.
Forty-three million Americans currently owe a combined $1.7 trillion in student loans.
The average American who borrowed money for school has $40,904 in student loan debt to repay. For them, their ever-growing mountain of debt can seem nearly impossible to climb.
But though difficult, I know that it is possible to pay off one’s student loans.
Because that’s exactly what I did.
Just like most “normal” American college students, I took out thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for college.
After I graduated, the reality of those loans hit me in a new way. I realized I had borrowed thousands of dollars of real money that I needed to pay back. But like most recent college graduates, I was broke.
And yet, I decided that I didn’t want to spend decades of my life making payments to my loan provider. I wanted to get out of debt as quickly as possible.
So, with each paycheck I received from my first job out of college, I systematically put every extra penny I made towards tackling my debt. I paid far more than was required of me each month, which during the COVID-19 pandemic was precisely $0.
On November 2, 2021, I finally made my last student loan payment and became debt free. It took me several years and cost a pretty penny: $23,125 plus interest to be exact.
I did the right thing. I paid back what I owed.
But as the old adage goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
There is a myriad of reasons why every plan to cancel student loans, no matter the amount, is bad.
For starters, cancelling student loans would be like a doctor prescribing Tylenol to treat a cancer patient.
Student loan cancellation only treats the symptoms of the crisis without addressing the cause.
Of the $1.7 trillion in student loans, over $1.6 trillion are federal loans. That money comes from a federal program, authorized by the U.S. Congress, and run by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).
If student loans are such a massive problem that warrant complete cancellation, why doesn’t the federal government first stop the bleeding and quit issuing more federally backed loans?
Otherwise, in a few years, as the DOE continues to issue more loans, we’ll be right back where we started.
Additionally, why is the federal government targeting student debt for cancellation? Why not credit card debt? How about mortgage debt? What about car loans?
If we’re going to cancel student loans, why not cancel every other kind of debt?
But perhaps the most poignant argument against cancelling student loans is that doing so would constitute an immoral and unjust redistribution of wealth from the poor and least privileged to the wealthiest and most fortunate.
According to the left-leaning Brookings Institution, “almost a third of all student debt is owed by the wealthiest 20% of households and only 8% by the bottom 20%.”
So why should the federal government force the non-college educated trucker, plumber, or electrician to pay off, via their taxes, the debt of the college-educated lawyer, engineer, or scientist?
Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently spoke about the moral hazard that student loan cancellation would bring.
“What about all those people, over the course of the last several decades, who have faithfully repaid their debt?” Mohler asked.
“You have the temptation of big government to take a popular action in the name of justice, and yet the closer you look at it, you realize, ‘This is not justice at all. This is just a robbery disguised as an act of justice.’”
As a Christian, I believe in helping the poor, including those struggling with student loan debt.
For Scripture tells us, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
But the Bible also teaches, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives” (Psalm 37:21).
Cancelling student loans would turn the government into a reverse Robin Hood, taking from the poor and giving to the rich, harming the very people our elected leaders claim they’re trying to help.
It would punish those who have been responsible and paid back the money they borrowed.
Which leads me to wonder: If student loans are cancelled, where’s my refund?
Zachary Mettler is a staff writer and communications liaison for The Daily Citizen at Focus on the Family. In his role, he writes about current political issues, U.S. history, political philosophy, and culture. Mettler has been featured in The Daily Signal, Life News, The Colorado Independent, and The Millennial Review. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, hiking, backpacking, and walking his dog. Find his writing at: https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com