COLUMN: WHAT STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS MEANS COMING FORWARD

The monetary relief is helpful for the American student, but what does it mean to the American taxpayer?

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Unpaid internships in the United States hurt both college students and young adults alike. Yet, thousands of Americans still take up the position for various reasons, including college credit and work experience. But in the end, the benefits don’t fit the cost. Photo Credit: Rhamil Taguba

Biden’s astounding move to cancel billions of dollars of loans has kept millions of young and old Americans alike celebrating their freedom from serious financial burden.

However, the Biden Administration’s recent move has become yet another partisan issue concerning the student, the taxpayer, and the current $1.75 trillion student loan debt.

Currently, the program offers up to $10,000 to loan borrowers in debt who earn under $125,000 or live in a household earning under $250,000 annually. The program also offers $20,000 to Pell Grant recipients of the same financial level. Previously, Biden improved the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which has saved some 175,000 government-employed and military members over $10 billion. 

But no progressive plan has ever been free without criticism. A common argument in the defense of student loan forgiveness is the morality of the concept: young students shouldn’t be forced to be encumbered by increasing college tuition to pursue a better adult life. While major Republican players like Ron DeSantis concentrate on downplaying the new loan relief as a burden to the taxpayer, Biden has cited the program as a relief for low-income families who have the even greater burden of having to support an expensive college education. 

In a partial sense, DeSantis is right. Early projections show Biden’s project costing the nation over $500 billion in the next decade, if not more. Adding to the already-looming national deficit, it’s ultimately the taxpayer that foots the bill. Although the Biden Administration has yet to release the full statistics on this elaborate spending project, analytics are suggesting a raise on taxes or a decrease in consumer spending. And as such, Democrats are forced to push the “tax the rich” narrative to ensure none of the weight projects towards the focus demographic: low and middle-income families.

Bharat Ramamurti, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, disputed these analysts by downplaying the amount of students who actually do take part of the program and emphasizing that the cost is already paid by the deficit reduction plan already in place. Biden has also outlined that to reduce the impact on the taxpayer, he’ll hold colleges responsible to keep tuition costs affordable. He also plans to double the amount Pell Grants offers, which is a perceptive decision considering 66% of Pell Grants are used by families with an income of $30,000 or less.

But although Biden has addressed the impact on current borrowers, Democrats have been adamantly refusing to address the unfair impact on families who have been forced to save their money and have already spent it on student loans. A recent video surfaced of Elizabeth Warren refusing to speak with those who were infuriated by Biden’s decision, calling it “unfair to those who have worked hard but don’t receive their money back”. To be fair, this is one of the most valid points in this process.

If I was a middle-class income worker who worked 75 hours a week saving for my child’s college tuition only for other debts to be forgiven, shouldn’t I get my money back? It also isn’t fair for college students who have academically worked endlessly to receive scholarships and grants in order to alleviate the future pain of having student debts. And let’s not forget low-income military personnel who enlisted to pay for higher education.

Other social media videos defended the loan forgiveness, many of which find it “a personal problem” for those who “could afford to repay debts and never really needed the money.” Although some videos come out as coarse, the concept of “making everyone else suffer because you did yourself” is even crasser. That’s the point of progressivism – the ability to move on.

Biden would face even more major backlash if he even attempted to give back money already paid. Because most debts are owed to the government, Biden would have to cut some funding to other agendas he’s currently working on, like clean energy, if he ever wanted to attempt it. He still has to deal with the dangerous recession predicted to come up. 

The case for student loan forgiveness is not a new debate. Although students may have to make amends to relieve themselves from financial suffering, they can thank Biden for at least having the heart to give them just a little amount of $10,000.