14 December 2016

Student Loans: Jealousy or Hypocrisy?

You can read a report from The Wall Street Journal here about the anger of some loan borrowers. Those who have dutifully paid are upset about the expansion of income-driven repayment plans. (Some of my earlier comments about IDRs here.)
“I don’t think it’s fair that some people would get forgiven and not us,” said Mrs. Reed, a retired hair stylist whose husband still works long hours as an electrical engineer. “We did everything right.”
Three thoughts. First, IDRs have been around for a long time. The article doesn't explain why the Reeds didn't take advantage of one years ago. First-and-a-half, most IDRs will saddle the borrowers whose loan are forgiven with a large tax bill at the end.

Second, the issue is one of public policy, not justice. Forgiveness is never "just." Perhaps the disgruntled among student loan borrowers should consider the words of Jesus about the full-day laborers who were angry about the equal pay given to the short-timers. (Matthew 20.)

Finally, unchecked expansion of student loan forgiveness is a function of the runaway federally-subsidized loan programThis is the fundamental problem and one that no one at the federal level is going to address because too many voters like it.

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