Opinion: Student Loan Forgiveness Is a Good Start

Walter Rhein

Image by Walter Rhein

I’ve been reading some grumblings over Biden’s proposal to forgive certain student loans. However, I believe this action will have a major, positive impact.

The White House is preparing to announce a student loan relief plan as early as Wednesday that would forgive up to $10,000 for some borrowers and further extend the current freeze on loan repayment, according to several people familiar with the plan—Biden closes in on student loan forgiveness plan and extension of repayment pause

This is excellent news for our country because it represents an influx of cash into the pockets of hard-working people. Too often, government programs send money to the wealthiest people in our country. When that happens, there’s no economic impact because wealthy people just sit on their money.

[D]isparities in income and wealth have fueled ever more saving by the top 1 percent. But while many economists think more saving leads to productive investment, Sufi, Princeton’s Atif Mian, and Harvard’s Ludwig Straub make a different argument. They find that these savings are largely unproductive, being remade by the financial system into household and government debt. And their research outlines a cycle whereby the savings of the top 1 percent fuel the debt and dissavings of the lower 90 percent, which in turn leads to more savings at the top—How the 1 Percent’s Savings Buried the Middle Class in Debt

When students have more financial flexibility, it helps local businesses. Students have more buying power and that leads to more prosperity for everyone.

The other factor to consider is that a more educated society is a more powerful society. It would be great to live in a nation where every citizen was equipped to make good decisions about a wide range of issues.

The United States still retains its military superiority over the rest of the world. However, other countries are moving ahead of our nation in terms of the education levels of their populations.

Thirty countries now outperform the United States in mathematics at the high school level. Many are ahead in science, too. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the millennials in our workforce tied for last on tests of mathematics and problem solving among the millennials in the workforces of all the industrial countries tested. We now have the worst-educated workforce in the industrialized world. Because our workers are among the most highly paid in the world, that makes a lot of Americans uncompetitive in the global economy. And uncompetitive against increasingly smart machines. It is a formula for a grim future—Why Other Countries Keep Outperforming Us in Education (and How to Catch Up)

Americans need to start recognizing that education represents an element of our national defense. If our populace is uneducated compared to the populations of other countries, our whole nation is going to suffer. We’re going to end up on the receiving end of bad business deals. Our products are not going to compete in the global market.

If the United States wants to maintain its status, then it must change its philosophy on education. In many countries, education at the college level is free for all citizens. Why do citizens of other nations enjoy benefits that are denied to citizens of the United States?

Another problem is that too often in the United States, predatory institutions arise to take advantage of students.

A federal court approved a $25 million settlement on Tuesday with students who said they were duped by Donald Trump and his now-defunct Trump University, which promised to teach them the "secrets of success" in the real estate industry—Federal court approves $25 million Trump University settlement

Every hard-working student in the United States of America should have the opportunity to receive higher education. This is the only way to ensure our country’s economic stability and protect its status as a world power.

If we have brilliant students who come from economic hardship, it does our country no good to condemn them to stock groceries for minimum wage. We need to give these students the opportunity to develop their intelligence and flourish.

If the United States has enough money to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the military, or trillions of dollars on bailouts, then we can certainly afford to educate our children so they can compete in the global economy.

Biden’s decision to forgive student loans represents a responsible allocation of resources. In the past, other administrations have forgiven the financial obligations of other industries or provided major tax benefits to the wealthy. It’s nice to see an administration take care of working-class families for a change.

Comments / 26

Published by

Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

More from Walter Rhein

Comments / 0