When is the last time politicians or big business cared if they payed back debt or transfer debt to the public. I doubt they gives two moral craps about defaulting on debt. In fact, we reward business and politicians for squeezing out the best deal possible and laughing all the way to the bank. I doubt many borrowers struggling to get by will feel any differently if Biden pulls the trigger on loan forgiveness.

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There have been times when I felt crushed by the weight of my student loans. Full disclosure: I paid off my student loans! Borrowers would undoubtedly feel relieved if their debt disappeared, but it doesn't solve anything long-term. Next year's graduates could feel resentment about having to pay back theirs.

I wonder why the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) doesn't work better? Maybe make it easier to sign up with an option for 60 payments and partial reimbursement. From what I've read, only a fraction of those in the program succeeds in getting their loans forgiven.

Why not tie universal pre-k specifically to student loan forgiveness, recruiting recent graduates for four years to fill spaces at lower pay with loan forgiveness as a benefit. I tried to go the teaching route, but it wasn't an easy path since I didn't have an education background and would have needed another degree. Perhaps, participating schools could offer certificate courses to qualify.

Why not allow students to discharge their student loans through bankruptcy? It would take the burden of responsibility away from the government and back onto the borrower. Sure, it still gives folks a clean slate, but not without the cost of ruining their credit score.

Maybe schools could allow students to opt out of amenities like rock walls for lower tuition, but it's not like the government could force them to do so. I remember my tuition increased every year. Maybe schools could set tuition at the rate of their first year, but what would compel schools to do any of this?

Instead of providing free community college, why not offset costs by lowering tuition for in-county residents back down to $50 per unit. It seems like the easiest thing to do is sign away the debt, and I understand the appeal of an easy fix, but why do legislators wave away solutions with a failure of imagination?

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Charlie, per your chat with Lucy Caldwell today, one other odd thing about Elon's "if people want more censorship the government will provide more censorship" tweet, or however he phrased it, is that this is precisely what the government of his new home state of Texas, and a bunch of other red states, have done *this year*. If your standard for free speech rights is whether government is expanding them or contracting them, 2022 may go down as the biggest contraction of free speech rights in America since the Red Scare or something. Ban the books! Purge the teachers! Distribute the lists of prohibited words and concepts! Any pushback from The World's Richest Man (tm)? What performative nonsense from Elon.

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I think Thom Tillis hates Madison Cawthorn almost as much as I do. As a registered Democrat in North Carolina, I didn't vote for the guy, or for Burr, but I'll give Tillis credit for clearing the low bar of calling out possibly the most deplorable member of Congress (he's doing this consistently now, since Cawthorn is doing something disgraceful about every other day right now), and I'll always be grateful to Burr for acknowledging the facts and convicting Trump in the second Impeachment. I was watching at work when they read off the votes in the Senate, and gave several jumps and fist pumps when I heard Burr was a yea. Not in front of anyone, though; it was an empty library.

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Some thoughts on the education-related portion of this thread, as someone who has been in the field for the last three and a half decades. No, I don't have all the answers. But I've learned a few things along the way.

1) Let's stop calling college students "kids," as if they are too young to know what they are doing and that there aren't or shouldn't be consequences for both choices and actions. They don't want to be called kids. They don't want to be seen as kids. And they don't want to be treated as kids. They want all the perks that come with adulthood, which is fine as of 18 years of age. But it isn't a free ride where they get to cherry-pick the benefits and take a pass on accountability. That's not how the real world works, and it is one of the life lessons that college is meant to teach them, as the last stop on the way to full-on real world commitments and expectations.

2) Student loan agreements are legal documents and need to be treated accordingly, just like when they buy a car, rent an apartment, and otherwise obligate themselves to a binding agreement. It is incumbent upon them to inform themselves, read the fine print, do the math involved in budgeting, and otherwise prepare themselves for success. Saying "they didn't know what they were getting themselves into" is a strawman argument when they have more access to information than ever about the risks involved and potential outcomes. And what about the many students who enter into such agreements and uphold their obligations in full, and in a timely manner? They seem to figure it out just fine. Are they freaks of nature? Or did they do their due diligence and prepare themselves adequately? I sense the latter.

3) I have no statistics to cite on any actual correlation, much less causation, between students who struggle academically and those who have loan and debt issues later on. And there are myriad reasons why students struggle, often for reasons beyond their choice or direct control. But one thing I do see now is a growing number of students, especially incoming freshmen and sophomores, who treat the early college experience more like thirteenth and fourteenth grades and expect instructors and staff to cater to that, rather than raise their game to enter this new environment and make the commitments that are needed in order to realize their stated goals. Literally every day in the classroom is an unnerving experience in how many young college students position themselves to fail more than to succeed, by skipping class repeatedly, not doing their assigned work, not coming to sessions prepared with the resultant wasted, irreplaceable contact time, and not pursuing tutoring, individual consultations with instructors, and other extracurricular opportunities that are offered to them. If these people are not mature enough (yet) to succeed in the higher education environment, of their own choosing, then it seems foolhardy to expect that they treat student loans and other serious issues any differently.

4) Agreed that not everyone needs or should get a college degree, and that people's interests and skill sets often indicate that they would be better off in another area where they can make more and better contributions. Open admissions policies can do more harm than good. But disagreed that college exists simply or even foremost to help people get jobs. So much more goes on in our environment, not least learning vital critical thinking skills and appropriate ways to express the self. College in many ways helps people to learn for life, not simply for a job or a career. The most successful students tend to be the ones who achieve both, not just one or the other.

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I think a point that is missing on the student loan debate. Making smart consumer decisions required the ability to be informed. Picking a college in this country is about like picking a doctor. It is a crap shoot and you never know if you were successful until it is too late. How do you know your doctor wasn't competent? Because you are dead.

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Apr 28, 2022·edited Apr 28, 2022

Lots of commentators here think forgiving student loans is a bad idea. I tend to agree with them as well. Personal responsibility is essential. I have also been saving up for my kids' education so I can put them through college without having to be burdened by debt. I'm also sure there is a sizeable chunk of people in student loan mess because they were greedy and/or naive.

That said, here is the reality.

Remember the 2008 recession? Unreasonable borrowing was the root cause there as well. & the banks/financial institutions who led the world there had "professionals" and "experts" who led us there. Contrast that with a student & his/her parents (in many cases the student alone) having to make such decisions in the face of predatory & deceptive marketing & desperation while also have to deal with "laws" & policies designed to keep them insolvent as long as possible.

We bailed out the bankers, why shouldn't the students get the same kind of helping hand? The Bankers (and the politicians who were ok with the bail-out) will point out that the banks repaid with interest. Do the same here. Restructure their loans (for the deserving students at least). The only difference was that the Bankers were big enough and greedy enough to bring the whole world to its knees & the same politicians who tout capitalism and self-responsibility were happy to become socialists.

Romney & the lawmakers really ought be to looking at this holistically and working on the the broader changes (such as tamping down on universities who offer outdated courses, making sure the fees charged is realistic & reasonable, going after lenders who are deceptive etc.) that is required to tackle this issue. That's not happening anytime soon, it it? Has Romney offered any specific solution, other than opposing student loan forgiveness? If not, he should just sit this one out and get back to doing his job.

BTW right or wrong, the Right will absolutely use this Biden proposal to create confusion (like they did with "Defund the Police", "CRT"). Hopefully the Dems counter with clear, aggressive messaging and complementary proposals/actions that addresses the broader structural issues that lead to large student debts.

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Regarding student loans we have to be more clear on what the problem is. A lot of for profit schools are scams. They encourage financially strapped people to run up huge student loan debt for an, at best, dubious education. But even legitimate higher institutions regularly lie to students about employment opportunities post-graduation. There is a lot of fraud involved in encouraging these (generally) young men and women to run up huge student loan debt for an education that simply is not worth the cost.

You also have a problem that lenders LOVE to loan people money for education because student loan debt is extremely difficult to discharge in bankruptcy. Because student loans are treated differently than other unsecured debt, lenders have no problem making loans even though they know the thing the person is buying - the education - is not worth the money that is being spent. A lender is not going to loan you $10,000 to buy a car worth $5,000. But a lender will loan you $100,000 for an education that is worth maybe $5,000 if that.

Forgiveness of loans fixes none of these problems. In fact it makes it makes the problem worse. But there is a fix. Congress can pass a law treating student loan debt exactly like any other unsecure debt regarding discharging it in bankruptcy. That change would remove many of the incentives and disincentives that has created the current student debt crisis which is a huge problem.

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"Exit take: Before you comment, look up the term 'moral hazard.'"

Can you understand why the people who just watched PPP loans turn into a giant fraud fest while all the people involved got a pass find this to be a particularly unfunny joke? Moral hazard never seems to be a concern when it comes to cutting politically favored groups checks.

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I am not a huge fan of forgiveness--because it doesn't solve the actual problems (and there are multiple).

1) A lot of employers set stupid minimum requirements for jobs. Requirements that have little to nothing to do with actually doing the job in question. This is the problem of creeping certification requirements (which colleges are happy to be behind for obvious reasons).

2) I am in favor of reforming the system to make it easier to get forgiveness in necessary cases and to put them on the same plane as other types of lending when it comes to bankruptcy, default, etc.

I am even more in favor of government support for state university systems to lower tuition and keep it low. And if you are angry about people getting a cheap education in your state and then leaving for the "big city"... MAYBE you should fix your state so it is more attractive to educated people and the people who employ them.

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People SHOULD know a lot about a lot of things... but apparently don't.

Student lending is also kind of predatory... and in most cases you cannot get the same kind of relief from student debt that you can get from, say, a regular loan you cannot pay off or credit card debt. That's because most of this kind of debt is, in the end, not good debt... and it can be a while before the lender gets their money back in normal circumstances, let alone if things go south.

A lot of people going to college probably shouldn't be. It is WAY oversold and WAY over-required (for no real good reason). Looking at it from a distance it pretty much looks like a racket.

I have multiple degrees. I think I paid a few thousand (at most) for my undergrad degree because I was a veteran and my state picked up 90% of the tab at the state university. Most of my expense was books and materials.

My grad degree cost me a few hundred (fees not covered by my fellowship). The college ate the tuition because I taught for them.

Same when I was working on my PhD, except they not only ate the tuition but paid me (not a lot but it was something).

Plus the military USED to let you put money aside on a monthly basis (with matching funds) to pay for college. Not sure what they do these days. The nice thing about the service is they usually train you in a marketable skill (if you are smart enough and sign up for the right job) and they force you to actually grow up a bit and learn some responsibility.

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My problem with any loan forgiveness is that it is a bandaid that doesn't fix the problem. For the last 40 years we have increasingly placed the burden of higher education on the individual. Yet we as a whole enjoy huge benefits from a highly educated population. We all should be paying a greater share than we are.

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Amanda needs to apologize to sanitation workers.

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None of this GoP eating the GoP stuff means anything because people find it entertaining. The GoP base will vote for whoever the biggist eater is in the primary,

Leftists and center left that marginally identify as Democrats will not vote for a GoP candidate. Some few center right GoP or ex-GoP in the vein of Cheney will hold their nose and vote for an independent if there is one or not vote or do a stupid write in vote for an old-style Republican if there isn't... because of teh woke-ness or some other stupid excuse.

Because we are a fundamentally unserious people who want to believe we are serious and principled who vote far more often on the basis of identity or momentary emotion than anything else.

We keep getting this narrative about how the GoP is finally going to eat itself--only it never actually seems to happen.

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Re: forgiving loan debt, the Dems continue desperately to try to find ways to lose in November. Irrespective of the general merits, the *timing* is terrible. "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" doesn't do it justice.

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I understand why forgiving student loans is a bad idea. Why not, then, take on the massive, stupid costs of a college education?

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