The Corner

Politics & Policy

Student-Loan Forgiveness — Who Gains the Most?

(Rattankun Thongbun/Getty Images)

The narrative we always hear is that college graduates are suffering under the terrible burden of their student loans and hence the big political push to generously bail them out.

In fact, relatively few grads have the onerous debt burdens we hear about. For most, the debts are quite manageable, especially if your credentials have gotten you into a lucrative profession. Bailing those people out of their student-loan debts transfers the cost from successful professionals to the taxpayers.

That’s the point that Richard Vedder, Thomas Lindsay, and Andrew Gillen make in this piece published in The Hill.

The authors write, “Progressives often portray themselves as fighting against attempts by the rich and powerful to hijack public policy to enrich themselves at taxpayers’ expense. So why, in the name of fighting for the oppressed, are they trying to send well-compensated dentists, doctors, and lawyers six-figure checks? While there are certainly dentists, medical doctors, and lawyers who are struggling with debt, many others are lavishly compensated and can afford to repay their loans.”

Vedder, Lindsay, and Gillen point out that there are existing policies that can assist students who are in over their heads with debt; there is no case whatsoever for the kind of sweeping loan forgiveness that many Democrats are talking about.

It was a colossal blunder for the federal government ever to have gotten into the business of financing postsecondary education, and the costs of that blunder keep mounting.  The more that taxpayers pick up the expense of putting students through college and grad school, the more wasteful the whole system becomes.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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