Gail Collins and Bret Stephens, columnists, periodically face off on the editorial page of the New York Times. They are a liberal and a conservative, respectively. On Tuesday, among other things, they debated Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. This proposal is noble in intent but outrageous in cost and unfairness.
First and foremost, Biden has overstepped his authority. “Federal courts have been rightly skeptical of any presidential [money] decision made without input from Congress…” So says Stephens. “It’s an abuse of the separation of powers, an insult to everyone who paid off their loans…”
Collins responded, “We got a generation of Americans who were encouraged to take out big federal loans- often by scummy for-profit schools that never really delivered anything.” Collins indicates that, “Even those who went to good colleges were never given the proper information about the likely future earnings compared with debt.”
Stephen’s retort was that he doesn’t see students who borrowed as victims, rather “beneficiaries who won’t make good on that end of a bargain.” Further, Stephens says “Undergraduates borrow an average of $30,000 for a degree that will raise their lifetime earnings by a half million dollars,” which sounds like a good deal. “This just sounds like a giant giveaway to young progressives who don’t like the idea that loans are things you have to repay.”
During the short debate, Steffens got the best of Collins, which elated me. The most unfair part of Biden’s proposal is that the millions of honest borrowers who paid back their loans, likely parents’ money, get nothing for being responsible. The proposal is a tragedy. And since when is the president solely responsible for the nation’s purse. It’s Congress’s job to appropriate our hard-earned money that gets taxed.
It’s refreshing to think that SCOTUS will likely act with discretion and not allow this unfair benefit to those who are able to pay loans back through hard work.
Perhaps colleges should take some responsibility. They should inform students before they select a major what is the earning power of their choice. Come to think of it, why aren’t colleges assuming some of the financial pain of their high tuitions?