Thoughts on Debt Forgivness

Seeing enough about this online that I feel I need to get my thoughts out somewhere. So please forgive me for dipping into politics for a hot second. I unfortunately cannot promise this wont happen again, but I will try to stay out of these fraught waters. So where to begin?

The start is usually a good place to start. Without diving into the minutia of the situation, Biden is authorizing debt forgiveness for a moderate portion of college debt. He is also implementing a few other relief elements for those struggling under the debts they incurred going to college. There are some limitations, such as income limitations meant to ensure those most in need of relief are those getting it. But with that base line established, why am I writing this?

Because so many people have so many stupid ideas about the situation. Plenty of people are/can have reasoned discourse on both sides of the issue. But so many loud, obnoxious, uninformed people are drowning out the reasoned discussion… and worst of all is that some of those people are in government. So second base line: where do I stand? I never had to go into debt for college, I was fortunate enough that my parents paid for my education, and I am unbelievably grateful to them for that. Even still I support debt relief for those suffering under the predatory loans so many got swindled into. Even with no direct benefit for me. I don’t think that one mistake, made between 18-20 years of age, should define the rest of a person’s life.

Now that we are all on the same page, for the reason I am writing this. I see two arguments against forgiving student debt touted around a lot. And both are just such vile garbage. The first is the idea of “I don’t want to pay for people to get ‘worthless’ degrees”. First off this is a straw man argument, because of these nebulous people we shouldn’t help anyone. Secondly, please tell me what a “worthless degree” is. I never see this phrase defined in the argument. Is it a degree that doesn’t pull in a lot of money? A degree that you think doesn’t add value? A degree that isn’t being used? To all of those I say: there is no such thing as a worthless degree, just as there is no such thing as worthless knowledge.

On to the second “argument” I see. “It would be unfair to those that already paid off their student debt.” What utter garbage. You might as well say you don’t want diseases cured because it would be “unfair” to all those who already suffered from them. Or that no one should ever get a raise above minimum wage because that would be “unfair” to those that only make minimum wage. Or even that we shouldn’t have cell phones because it is unfair to people like me that didn’t grow up with them. Utterly ridiculous right? Well, some people are so afraid of progress and change I am surprised they are even able to use computers.

Things change, and it isn’t always fair. I missed out on several things before my time and wish I was still a child for several things that came latter. On the other hand, because of when I was born I got several advantages that those born even 5 years latter might not have gotten. Life isn’t fair. But we can, and should, try to make it better for everyone. Even if that means we don’t see any direct benefit ourselves.