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Student Loan Forgiveness Sure Gets People Worked Up!

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Social media saw a firestorm of excitement and anger over the possibility of student loan forgiveness. The White House is considering options.

President Joe Biden is considering a plan for student loan forgiveness and income caps for eligibility.

Biden told reporters last week he was “taking a hard look” at plans.

“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden told reporters, according to the Associated Press. The Washington Post reported the White House was considering “limiting the relief to people who earned less than either $125,000 or $150,000 as individual filers the previous year.” For couples, that threshold would likely be around $250,000 or $300,000, the Post reported.

I know people who are still trying to pay off student loans well into their fifties. That’s outrageous. Student loans shouldn’t last as long as a mortgage, for heaven’s sake.

I think most Americans — and this is just a guess — think the student loan machinery in this country is out of whack. I doubt seriously if I would find many who think it’s perfect as it is.

Despite what feels like a universal dislike of the student loan system, people seem to have a lot of feelings about student loan forgiveness. Those feelings show a definite selfish streak.

Check out the reaction on social media.

As with many issues, you can see a range of responses. Some of them fall into the category of “That’s not fair.” Others actually propose plans that don’t seem so unreasonable.

Here is a sample of reactions from Twitter and Facebook in no particular order:

  • It’s telling how many people oppose student loan forgiveness because they suffered through repayment and are determined that others must suffer, too.
  • Maybe if we framed student loan forgiveness as an investment in our people resources, to put it on par with our other natural resource investments, we’d have more support for it.
  • No one paid for my education but me! If you want to go to college either work hard and earn it, join the military and earn it, or pay yourselves!
  • I think I’d be more sympathetic to the loan forgiveness talk if I heard anyone say, “I made an uninformed decision and am desperate for help.” But instead all I see is indignance at the thought of being expected to repay money borrowed. Like it is a violation.
  • Those that scream the loudest about wanting student loan forgiveness, simply make bad choices on managing their money, and have likely lived above their means for years.

I just wanted to give you a quick sample. I omitted responses loaded with profanity. But you can certainly find plenty.

A handful have been quoting Elon Musk with this statement:

The fact that an 18 year old can’t take out a $10,000 business loan” but “can take out a $100,000 student loan tells you everything you need to know.

I think it’s a great point and one worth considering for an overhaul of the student loan system as a whole. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence Musk ever said it.

Pesky facts.

I think there should be some form of student loan forgiveness.

I have to agree with the first quoted response above. It is telling that some who’ve been through it want everyone else to “suffer” the way they had to.

There was a time in this country where one generation wanted better for the one that comes after it. Some of us were fortunate enough to be raised by parents who still feel that way.

I have friends who have been saddled with student loan debt for decades. You can bash them for “mess they got themselves into.”

But you don’t know all of their circumstances anymore than I do. So who are you to judge them?

If you were fortunate enough to not need student loans or pay them off, be proud. No one would deny in this day and age that either is a major accomplishment.

But why should others have to suffer more because they didn’t have the means or opportunities you did? How can you be so certain that they haven’t paid “their dues” in other ways? How can you conclude without any doubt that they haven’t experienced their own kind of suffering elsewhere?

I’ll save you the pondering: You can’t.

What’s the best way to execute student loan forgiveness?

The answer to that little question depends on whom you ask. I can assure you there’s no answer everyone will agree on.

But let’s see if we can agree on two points. First, the cost of a college tuition has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Second, inflation has likewise increased and at a rate much faster than salaries are keeping up.

If we can at least agree on those two points, we should be able to agree on this: Students are more likely to need financial aid…and more of it these days.

You can’t really compare your past battle that ended with you paying off your loans with someone who’s still in that fight dealing with today’s inflation. You certainly can’t fairly compare your success with those who have only recently entered the world of student loans.

Only you can decide whether you pity them. You have do decide if you would prefer they didn’t have the same struggle you did. That’s on you.

But one proposal would erase the interest — at least on federal government loans. That plan would retroactively apply those interest payments toward the principle. Some may see a huge drop, depending on how much interest they’ve been paying along for years.

I think that’s a good idea.

Some propose that future government student loans shouldn’t include interest at all. They see that as a way the government could invest in its own citizens. I agree with that, but I doubt that will ever happen. For one, the government loses money on that deal, and those in power may well prefer a less educated public that doesn’t have the ability to see through a lot of what happens in government.

‘What About Me’ Syndrome is the worst part.

I should be amazed by the number of people who are whining about others getting help they never got. Those who successfully paid off their student loans are angry. Even those who never had student loans are angry.

The former group wants to know how much of a check they’re going to get.

The latter group wants to know when their payday will come so they can pay down, for instance, their mortgage.

Those who fought for years to beat down and pay off their student loans should be proud of their accomplishment. That, in and of itself, should bring them satisfaction. If they feel the system is flawed, they should be the last people who want to see someone else suffer. The fact that they beat that “predatory” system — if that’s what they call it — should be happy to see anyone escape it.

Those who never had student loans are so much better off. They shouldn’t be complaining that others who aren’t as well off as they are should get help. No matter what they owe on their mortgage, their car or credit cards, those are choices they made as well.

Let’s suppose the government looks at mortgage debt and takes action. If you don’t have an active mortgage, are you supposed to get help for something you don’t have? That doesn’t make much sense, either.

For generations, people have struggled to get jobs without a college diploma. Right or wrong, employers placed value on that piece of paper. You can argue things have changed these days, but they were what they were. To be successful, many felt they had to get a college degree. With the rising cost of tuition, for many, that required student loans.

There’s nothing wrong with helping those who are still suffering for that commitment. Even if you aren’t one of them.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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