College Politics Truth

College Debt Forgiveness Is Immoral

Rod Thomson

The college debt “crisis” is a moral question, but it is the opposite of what Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, AOC, and most of the Democratic presidential field are claiming.

An individual forgiving a debt they voluntarily entered into with a friend or family is noble and Christian and laudable. This sort of debt forgiveness happens routinely. I’ve done it. I’ve had it done.

Government eliminating debt is immoral. Here’s why. 

If I loan someone money, and for whatever reason I choose to forgive that debt, that is my right and it is supported in the Bible. It is certainly part of American tradition, and actually may be far broader than that. It is a good and noble act, if I judge it is not enabling bad behavior. It is my choice because it is both my money and I voluntarily made the loan to the person.

But that is not at all what is being contemplated in this debate over forgiveness of student debt by Democratic politicians. First, of course, there is the need to label it a “crisis.” That is always step one for the next terrible government intervention idea.

What causes the confusion, however, is that the language is misleading when politicians say “we” should forgive this huge student debt issue. If they meant themselves as individuals, then terrific. But they most certainly do not. In truth, they intend to benefit and perhaps profit off this, not sacrifice.

Of course the concept is alluring if you are a college student with a lot of debt and know very little of the real world. Most all of us have debt and at times struggle with it. Who would not like their debt wiped out?

But when the “we” is the government, it means that the government will forcibly take one person’s money, to pay off the debt of another person. This is egregious behavior. The person whose money is being taken did not make the loan, consent to the loan, or necessarily even think the loan was a good idea.

The students and their parents voluntarily entered into those debts in return for the college degrees they obtained. They signed on the bottom line to take money to pay for something of value to them, and promised to pay it back. They knew at each step the cost they were incurring.

They were then loaned the money — with the promise they would pay it back — obtained the thing of value with that money, and now they and some politicians want Americans unrelated to the decision to take out the loan and getting value from the product to pay off the debt…while the students keep the thing of value.

This is egregious. But all the media will ever do is interview students with high debt loads and low-paying jobs. That paints a distorted picture, which of course is what it is intended to do.

I have sons who are plumbers. These young men chose not to go to college and take on debt. They work very hard, often in the Florida heat, and they actually make pretty decent money. They have no debt. I have another son working up the management ranks at Publix grocery stores, and he works long and odd hours. And another son who went to college and has nearly paid off his debt, again with a lot of hard work and now runs his own company — as one of my plumber sons does.

They have friends who are working to get nursing degrees and law enforcement training without taking on debt.

Now the politicians looking to make political hay on college debt forgiveness need to explain how it is moral that these people, and the millions like them, should be forced to pay off the debts of those who voluntarily went to college, and voluntarily took on the debt and now have a degree.

They need to explain the morality that nurses, police, firefighters, plumbers, electricians, A/C repairers, roadworkers, carpenters, roofers, block-layers, secretaries, etc. should be forced to pay off strangers’ college debts that they have no association with.

They need to explain how it is moral to force all who went to college ahead of this current crop, who all either paid off their loans or are getting close, to be forced to also pay off the loans of someone else. My wife and I paid off our loans. Sure the debts were smaller, as were the incomes. But it took a few years — while both my wife and I worked nearly full-time during college to keep them low.

If individuals want to forgive loans, that is their right and it is laudable. If banks and creditors want to, that is their right and their choice. But for the government to step in and do it — meaning all working Americans have to chip in — then we have a very different but clear-cut moral issue.

It’s wrong.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 

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12 replies on “College Debt Forgiveness Is Immoral”

Why stop at student loans? Let’s forgive auto loans, home mortgages and business loans. Must be nice to live in liberal fantasy land…

Maybe all Americans should do what Trump did. Rack up a bunch of debt and then just declare bankruptcy 6 times. I guess that’s the only moral way to do things…

As a student loan debtor, who took on the debt back in 1986, I’m still paying on it after 29 years and 4 years forbearance/deferment in between jobs and 5 years bankruptcy to protect my clients. It was for my bachelors that they claimed would help me get done faster as a divorced Mom–didn’t happen. But the fine print did not mention the REAL issue on the debt, and that was daily compounded interest with a high interest rate. When I saw that, then I paid for my master’s out of pocket even though it took me 8 years of the 10 allowed years to finish–working full-time, attending classes at night. It was a master’s on behavior disorders, special education K-12, so yeah, there were some behavior disorder traits that I picked up on with my govt. student loan vendors! Somehow the vendors “lost” my 1989-1992 payments, and were charging higher interest because of it, and was charging $700+ monthly premiums. As a teacher, my salary was $17,000 per year, and didn’t have enough to pay that each month plus rent and living expenses (rent was $500), begged them to lower it, didn’t, refused to do it, the bank finally told me to just pay what I could as long as it was consistent, so paid between $300 to $500. Vendor came after me to garnish wages-was self-employed with preschool/daycare/tutoring services by then, said they’d garnish my clients’ wages, so out of panic I filed bankruptcy. Was told by atty that, this is Feb., 1992, that in previous Nov., if somebody filed bankruptcy, the student loan would be cancelled, but the new Nov. law did not include that, and it would be on hold during the bankruptcy with the interest still piling up. Didn’t know about the new law, just wanted to protect my clients’ wages, and filed. The vendor agreed to drop the interest piling up on the “lost” payments–the bank with that payment closed down, so didn’t have legit authority to prove payments other than my own proof, and that was only “enough” for them to drop the “lost” interest. Fast forward, after bankruptcy, Sallie Mae bought from the 4 previous vendors. They lowered monthly payments to $431.40 with 8.25% interest. Have paid on it regularly. Since 2008 I have documented proof of payments, never late even once, with them “losing” only one payment. Sent it certified with green return receipt immediately from then on, and still do, and they haven’t “lost” any payments since then. Now, husband passed away, only have one social security check, because was his care giver for the past 3 years and neither of us could be employed with his cancer battle. Since 2008, 11 years, have paid $56,000+, and pretty sure have paid that same amount or more between 1997 and 2008 (minus those deferments/forbearances) for the original amount of loans of $24,000 between 1980 and 1986. Sallie Mae/Navient headlines were that they were charged for fraud and racketeering with the hard-earned money from their clients, and several legal firms filed class action lawsuits. One was in Missouri, but they “lost” because Sallie Mae/Navient (who is partners with Sallie Mae) lawyer claimed that the legal firm was not in legal standing to prove those charges. That same legal firm looked at my account, said the bookkeeping for Sallie Mae/Navient did look suspicious, but to find a legal firm in my own state because his couldn’t help me. Still can’t find one. Asked for help from my US Senator’s office who gladly accepted to help, and them emailed back that “the bookkeeping for Sallie Mae/Navient is over our heads, so you keep working with them and report back to us.” Have asked about what to do with having only one social security check, since nobody’s hiring 72 year olds–maybe Walmart, but havne’t tried them–such as discharge/cancel since they have received almost or more of $100,000+ since 1997–or even 1989 if you count the “lost” money…at the current rate, I’ll be 149 years old when it’s fully paid off–still claiming that I owe $44,000+–and they will have received close to $500,000 for that $24,000+ consolidated loan. There is NO accountability. Check their bookkeeping before ruling in the vendors’ favor. Bernie and Warren are totally messed up, and anybody else who says “forgive” the debt, or “pay” it off, have no clue, or they DO know what they’re doing in taking down our country, basically is my personal observation….BUT, that successfully keeps the focus off the REAL issue, which is the bookkeeping standards and regulations and …. fraud and racketeering….that those vendors are using to brow-beat us student loan debtors into the ground, plus the head line that “student loans is the #1 asset for the US government,” therefore you ain’t going to get any help other than rhetoric, fear tactics, stealing, and more fraud and racketeering. Stop being deceived and side-tracked–focus on the vendors themselves big time, with a fine tooth comb, and that will reveal WHY there’s so much govt. student debt, and WHY we’re all having trouble paying it back…because we keep paying and paying and paying. Several couples have said they have totally paid their govt. student loans off, and yet, the student loan companies keep coming after them to pay them, and no matter how many times they show proof of total payment, the company still keeps coming after them. So they just ignore them. But ignoring can only be for so long until the vendors up the anty, and come after you with SWAT teams, PLUS, in their fine print, it states that once you go into default, not late payments, but refuse to pay them, or whatever reason you have to go into default, after a certain amount of time, they LEGALLY can up the interest rate to the full 18% PERMANENTLY, and that’s why they do all they can to “lose” your payments, or whatever else it takes to give them that “legal” right to permanently up the daily compounded interest rate to the full 18%!!!!!!!! Repeat, DAILY COMPOUNDED INTEREST RATE. Nobody ever addresses that issue, and that’s the part you don’t know about at the time of the govt. student loans. You’re assuming it’s just like any other bank loan, or even a home mortgage loan, where you’re able to pay it off. They even post your payment a week to two weeks after receiving it, as per the date of receipt on that green return receipt!!!! Why, sure, being late to post it given them more daily compounded interest!!!!Yes, I’ve posted this a million times in a million places, with the million “right” sources, and NOTHING EVER GETS SAID OR DONE ABOUT THE VENDORS. Ok, I’m done. Again.

Student loan debts, after a suitable waiting period of 10 to 12 years after leaving school, should be cancelable in bankruptcy just like almost all other debts. The fact that they are not is an error by Congress that should be corrected.

As always, Rod, you nailed it. Two questions. Will I get reimbursed for my equivalent degree from the school of hard knocks/ And, I’m wondering how many people realize a forgiven loan is considered income an therefore taxable? That will be a BIG shock to many.

Very strong argument that forgiving government student loans is different than friends and family forgiving loans given personally to others. Instead the democrats propose to take money out of my pocket, without asking, to give it to someone who knowingly and voluntarily went into a loan arrangement to go to college, even though there are many options to making a good living without going to college, sometimes even much better than the degrees/majors that students decide to focus on.

What many people don’t realize is that the loans that were made when student loans became part of the Dept of Education under the Obama administration (rather than previously when student loans came from banks and were strictly for use toward tuition) and became very loose in terms of what college students can use them for. A survey of students revealed high percentages admitting using such “college” loan money for pizza parties, clothes, alcohol, drugs, travel for spring break, and even car payments. Once many students got the money in their hands, they didn’t know how to manage it, or perhaps secretly hoped it would all be forgiven. No wonder such loan numbers have skyrocketed – it’s not all increases in tuition.

The American taxpayer should not be expected to pay any and all discretionary expenses of irresponsible college students who don’t know how to manage money and who don’t take seriously the idea that borrowing money means taking personal responsibility for paying it back.

Who’s going to pay reperations for all the people who had to repay their student loans? Fair is fair.aa

Student loans are a scam/racket. Someone mentioned retaining the “value” of the item purchased with the loan. That implies that it has value. If the person can’t get a job with the degree then I’d say it was a bad purchase. A business that makes a bad investment can deduct the investment loss from their taxes. Can student loan debtors deduct the amount of their bad investment? Why not? What about bankruptcy? Except for court ordered judgments student loans stand alone for being nearly 100 percent non-dischargeable by bankruptcy. In what sense is the government backing these loans? If i say I’ll back a loan and co-sign it, I pay if the debtor fails to pay after a period of time…measured in months not decades. Whatever the government is doing, it surely isn’t “backing” the loans in any meaningful way. And lastly, why are so many people so easily swayed to “blame the victim” so to speak? Investing involves risk. Lending money is an investment. If there is no risk, there should be no reward. So why is there any interest on the loans – at least any more than that offered by a US savings bond? If the lender does stand to earn an interest rate higher than the rate based on the perceived solvency of the US (the savings bond rate), then they must be incurring risk. Guess what? Sometimes investors lose money because they made a bad investment. That is life. Student loan lenders made many bad investments so they should lose their money. But they were told the GOVT would pay. So…there was no risk? Why did they charg extra interest then? AND guess what. The federal government can pass a law and change their policy. Much like they did to people holding student loan debt why they made that debt impossible to clear via bankruptcy (yes folks they did it retroactively). The debtors had the terms of the debt changed AFTER they had signed the contract. Seems as though the federal government can do exactly that sort of thing – change terms after the fact. So let’s just lay out the facts – banks lend enormous amounts of money AT NO RISK, charge exorbitant fees and earn interest above the prime rate with federally mandated collection abilities even the most notorious loan shark would envy. That doesn’t seem right. Do they use manipulation and propaganda to entice vulnerable people into borrowing huge amounts of money(e.g., kids are investing in themselves and their future)? In any other context the borrowers would be considered the victim (in a legal and moral sense). It isn’t like the American people haven’t been forced to foot the bill for banks making wildly bad investments (2008 anyone?). That money didn’t go to help the underwater homeowners…only the big banks (and their executives who got huge bonuses right afterward). I think it is a good thing to want to help out our fellow average Americans…not the banks. No it probably isn’t possible to do it in a way that is completely fair but so what? Have you lived on earth for very long? On earth, things rarely work out fairly for all concerned. But if we can do something to make the future a little better or more fair for our FELLOW AMERICAN CITIZENS then we should.
Also if you can’t get past the fairness roadblock, review the Bible regarding the concept of Jubilee.

Student loan debt is peonage and is unconstitutional. Those that support it and enforce it, must be stripped of their citizenship and deported. It is modern day slavery and a gross violation of the 13th Amendment.

This issue, is a good way to sort psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists out, as their lack of empathy and morals, and their delight of harsh systems, exposes them.

We fought one civil war over slavery, this will cause another civil war. The only thing demonic psychopaths have to support their evil, is anecdotal stories of people misusing the money. The same lies, that where used to justify removing bankruptcy protections in the first place.

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