After President Joe Biden announced the administration’s plan to cancel $10,000 to $20,000 of student debt for millions of Americans last week, I listened to debates, watched the Facebook comments and had some interesting conversations with my husband about what this all means.
For me, it very well could lead to $10,000 off the student loans I still carry from getting my degree from Arizona State University. Sure, for a moment I thought that’s awesome. That is a huge amount that will make it possible for me to pay off the full loan way sooner than expected.
However, that thought of instant gratification faded when I really started looking at the big picture and realizing this is not as great as those pushing for this big payoff think. Even economists are questioning what it will mean to an already struggling economy. Will it make inflation worse? Will middle-class families be the ones paying the bill? A lot of questions started coming to mind.
As the days and discussions continue, I cannot see this as anything more than a political stunt to buy votes ahead of the midterms. Let’s face it, Democrats appear to be learning from past mistakes and taking advantage of American’s short attention spans by stringing several PR victories together leading up to Election Day. It is not a bad strategy.
However, the long game strategy of student loans just shows an administration and Congress as a whole that refuses to truly address, discuss and work to fix a broken system.
I will happily forgo the instant gratification the $10,000 would bring in the name of fixing the system to make it possible for my three children to enter college without the problems our students are facing today.
Take all those billions of dollars Biden is willing to shell out to pay people’s loans off or down and apply them to fixing the system. Fix the loan system itself, fix the loan forgiveness system, and for the love of God, do something about the incredibly ridiculous tuition rates our institutions are charging.
You want to turn things around and make a difference as you claim? Then fix what is broken.
While $10,000 is going to be looked at as this wonderful gift from the government — my question is, what happens next?
Think about it — a student who had a bunch of student loans they were paying off for the bachelor’s degree gets this gift applied to their loans. In some cases, the amount may even pay them off. What next? Does that person then go forward and get a master’s degree? Again, they will be signing the same loan documents they signed before.
Once they are tired of paying those loans — does the government again step in and pay those off?
As a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein says, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The results here are not going to be different. The instant gratification and happiness many Americans feel over this today will fade into expecting more.
How much money do we as a country have to keep doing this? I am not convinced we have it now.
This action taken by the Biden administration is nothing more than a small Band-Aid being applied to a hemorrhaging wound that requires immediate surgical attention.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor for Colorado Community Media.