The taxpayer bailout of Higher Ed will come under scrutiny on February 28 when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Biden’s plan to stick Americans with potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in unpaid student loans. Two lawsuits challenge Biden’s debt forgiveness program: one brought by a half-dozen states, while the other by former students who were partially or completely excluded from the relief.
Nationwide, more than 1.75 trillion (not billion) dollars in student loan debt has piled up. Students who go on to graduate school are typically unable to pay down any of this debt, and the longer they stay in graduate school the longer they can typically postpone being held in default on that crushing debt that their unwillingness to work causes. Phyllis Schlafly worked a 48-hour-a-week job, commuting an hour each way, in order to fully pay her way through college in the 1940s. Almost no students do that today, and with Biden promising to waive loan obligations there is little reason for students to work to pay for what they can obtain for free.
As conservatives, we believe in the basic principle of fiscal responsibility because we understand the dangers of the “just print more” philosophy of government spending. After all, that kind recklessness is exactly what brought us to the terrible inflation we are suffering from as consumers. However, it is equally important to understand the trap that our federal government is creating for our young people by encouraging sky-high student loans for worthless degrees.
Every year, graduation season is followed by a flood of stories about young people with useless college degrees, massive student debt, and a dead-end job. Rather than guaranteeing student loans without meaningful oversight, maybe someone should caution an 18-year-old about the dangers of taking out $150,000 in loans for a degree in Native American poetry. Ultimately, this is a failure of parenting. Trustworthy adults need to be warning their children about these dangers. However, the federal government is enabling this lack of responsibility by financing bad decisions. Debt forgiveness is not the answer. Leading our youth to personal and societal fiscal responsibility is the most healthy path forward.