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Question of the Day – Forgiving Student Loans

By JLP | August 26, 2009

Stacey sent me a link to this piece on forgiving student loans. It’s short, so read it and tell me what you think. The main question is:

Should we forgive student loans as a way to stimulate the economy?

I say NO. Actually I say HELL NO!

Lots of college students bought cars too. Should we forgive those loans too? I’m joking of course, but how far are we supposed to take this loan forgiveness stuff? It’s silly if you ask me.

Thoughts?

Thanks for the link, Stacey.

RELATED: Smart Spending: Should Feds Forgive Student Loan Debt?the comments are along the same lines as AFM’s readers.

Topics: College Funding, Credit | 20 Comments »


20 Responses to “Question of the Day – Forgiving Student Loans”

  1. Kin Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    What’s next? I say, let’s forgive all mortgage and house loans, then people will SURELY spend and stimulate the economy.

    Seriously, how do these people’s brains work? What’s wrong with us?

  2. Yana Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    It would be much more stimulating to the economy to forgive medical debt. I can’t think of any other industry that has caused as much harm to the economy as the medical system.

    I guess student loans can’t legally be discharged in bankruptcy. To me, it seems like utter financial folly to take on huge student debt that takes many years to pay off – but those who do it do so willingly, even if often ignorantly. And what they do it for is much more luxurious than getting basic medical needs met. I tend to think that we can’t afford to forgive such luxurious spending and irresponsible debt.

  3. Kirk Kinder Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I agree. People make a choice when they go to school. They understand what amount of loans they are required to take to attain their goal. And, once the debt is incurred, they should have to pay for it.

    When the government helps out a group like this, they are hurting another group. Maybe students who went to community college or worked through college to avoid loans are deprived of a benefit while a counterpart went straight to a 4 year and didn’t work.

    The government should drop taxes for all citizens and allow them to allocate the tax savings in any manner they decide. This way folks with school loans can pay them off quicker while those without can allocate differently.

    This feeling applies to cash for clunkers, $8,000 home credit, etc.

  4. Robert Applebaum Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I encourage everyone to educate yourselves on the specifics of the proposal before passing judgment. It is NOT a student loan bailout plan but, rather, an ECONOMIC STIMULUS plan that doesn’t waste trillions of dollars by throwing good money after bad by continuously propping up the banks, insurance companies and other institutions responsible for creating the economic mess we’re in in the first place.

  5. Robert Applebaum Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I encourage everyone to educate yourselves on the specifics of the proposal before passing judgment. It is NOT a student loan bailout plan but, rather, an ECONOMIC STIMULUS plan that doesn’t waste trillions of dollars by throwing good money after bad by continuously propping up the banks, insurance companies and other institutions responsible for creating the economic mess we’re in in the first place.

    http://www.forgivestudentloandebt.com/content/frequently-asked-questions-faqs

  6. JLP Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The economics of medical care is something I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about.

  7. Laurence Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    The major problems are 1) people who are taking out these loans are often young (new laws that apply to credit card applications of people under 21 stipulate that they must prove the ability to pay off the balance, this does not hold for 18-year-old student loan applicants) 2) these loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy 3) interest rates for student loans are now higher than rates for most mortgages.

    I have a ton of loans to pay back from medical school, but i feel lucky that i was able to lock them in at an absurdly low rate a few years ago. And that, for now at least, the promise of an income that can support them is being kept.

  8. philip Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    I would take it for paying off my student loans, but I agree it is a horrible idea. I would say there is no way the gov’t would try to pull this off but lately I am not so sure anymore.

  9. Mike Dunham Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    My wife and I still have significant student loan debt, most of it coming from graduate school (she is a high school guidance counselor; I am a lawyer).

    I will say that philosophically I would be opposed to “something for nothing” in the form of an outright forgiveness of the debt. Even though it would benefit me personally in a big way, I can’t support it without being a hypocrite.

    I do wish there could be two changes, though. First, change the tax laws that (a) restrict couples who are filing as “married filing jointly” from taking the student loan interest (SLI) deduction for both loans (right now, married couples can only take $2,500 total, even if both are paying and have more than $2,500 each in interest, whereas someone who is single can take $2,500 for himself/herself), (b) phase out the SLI deduction at higher incomes (why should someone making $110K be able to take the full $2,500, but someone making $130K should not?), and (c) cap the SLI deduction at $2,500/year in the first place (this deduction should be completely uncapped IMHO – more interest means more educational expenses which, hopefully, more or better education – that may not always be true, but I still don’t see the rational for capping this deduction).

    Second, I’d like to see plans that are similar to forgiveness, but are more “something-for-something”. For instance, maybe part of my law school debt is forgiven if I spend time working for the government (e.g., as a prosecutor or public defender, or clerking for a judge). Maybe medical school debts are partially forgiven if doctors spend time working for a VA hospital. That way, the government would at least be getting something in return for whatever it has to pay (or whatever income it foregoes) to “forgive” these debts.

    And yes, I know there are programs like this here and there already, but I’m talking about something on a more national scale, in keeping with the theme.

  10. Duane Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    What I can’t figure out is why someone would go so far into debt for a career that doesn’t cover the costs associated with getting there.

  11. TMS Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    It does pay if you pick the right law firm and work hard.

  12. Joe E Says:
    September 1st, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I say no as well. There are plenty of federal programs already available for forgiving some or all of your student loans – I actually just wrote a post about that at my blog.

    Forgiving all student loans would put a huge jolt on the economy and not necessarily in a good way. It would be too much of a sudden change for out economy which is already hurting. The economy will smooth itself out naturally like it has done for the past 100 years.

  13. Rebecca Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I disagree. The government has bailed out failing companies and banks, why shouldn’t the government help those that have legitimately tried to do better for themselves and their families? I have $76k in student loan debt, and have not even graduated because I cannot afford to spend more money on my education. Worse yet is that I will be paying this off well into my 50′s. How will I be able to pay for my future children’s education? How will I purchase a home? How will I ever save money? If I had this money now to save to buy a home, that would stimulate the economy, would it not? What about shopping, getting a haircut, buying clothes that I desperately need, a new car, etc? Currently, I literally have $55 after I pay all my bills at the end of the month. I only have internet, and watch TV on my computer. Woo hoo!

    As far as federal programs for forgiving student loans, they’re not ideal in any way for most people. You can join the military, the peace corp, or become a teacher. I really don’t think that I should go to war or leave the country to serve those in other countries to get student loan forgiveness, but that’s just me. Isn’t there something I can do in my own country to help?

  14. Joan FB Says:
    September 20th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I am for forgiving student loan debt for the following reasons, irrespective of whether or not anyone agrees with this, the following is true:
    1. The average individual could not have predicted the current economic climate, and the rising costs and goods and services, especially those who took out studen loans prior to the 911 catastrophe. (This may have affected ones decision on whether to take out a student loan, or any other loan). 2. Our economy and our legislators, have encouraged borrowng, spending, and credit card and student loan acquisition… it has been promoted. 3. Legislation has been implemented to benefit the lenders,like Sally Mae..so that student loans don’t have the same protection as other loans..( which I don’t think most Americans would think is fair). 4. Our state and local governments change laws in the middle of the game, and the public doesn’t even know what is happening unless you get on your computer and check the proposed legislation on a daily basis… they sneak things through and ALL of us are deliberately kept out of the decision making process. This is not fair or American. And, if I am wrong, then I guess the America I once knew is really gone forever??? My point, this is about correcting a wrong on the part of the legislators, the lenders and not about giving people a free-ride. Since the government bailed out the big-boy-banks, why would anyone think they were more deserving of support for their deliberate mismanagement of public money, than the hard-working American public, overall??? I guess what is good for the goose isn’t supposed to be good for the gander??? In my opinion,, hard working, middle-class Americans should have received the monetary benefits of tax-reduction, student loan forgiveness, credit card debt reduction, rather than allowing congress to continuine gifting their friends on wallstreet. If middle-class America was given the money the banks would have been able to get out of debt, wouldn’t they, if all the loans were paid off. Well, instead they were given money to abuse, and go on vacations and pay high salaries, while “we the people” were exploited. This is the point. This is the issue. Help the American people get back on their feet, they didn’t cause the depression!!! We don’t legislate anything, and we don’t have much of a voice left.

  15. Jonesy Says:
    October 1st, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Yes!!! unlike car and house loans education provides a continuously positive return on the economy enabling students to focus future expenditures on stimulating furthure commerce rather than worrying about past debt. Normally, I would say that students should work off their incurred debt, but considering the current economic situation, debt forgiveness is a better option.

  16. Jenny Says:
    October 5th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    WE HAVE BEEN INDOCTRINATED WITH THE “NEED” FOR A HIGHER EDUCATION. AFTER BEING LEFT WITH 3 KIDS & ONLY HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, I GOT ON THE TREAD MILL & PEDDLED AS FAST AS ANYONE COULD. AT THE TIME MY STATE REQUIRED A “MASTERS” TO HAVE A PERMANENT TEACHING CERTIFICATE. I DID IT IN 4.5 YEARS, WHILE CARING FOR MY 3 CHILDREN AND KEPT A 3.8GPA. YIPPEE! HALF WAY THRU MY MASTERS THE STATE CHANGED THE REQUIREMENTS—JUST NEED A BACHELORS—-GOLLY GEE, THAT’S $20,000 DOWN THE DRAIN BECAUSE NOW I AM ARMED WITH MY BEAUTIFUL “MASTERS” WHICH MAKES ME TO EXPENSIVE TO BE HIRED. THEY ALL HAVE BUDGET PROBLEMS & WOULD PREFER HIRING A 2O SOMETHING, EQUIPPED WITH A BACHELORS DEGREE & WILL PROBABLY MOVE ON BEFORE TENURE SETS IN……..HECK WHO NEEDS SOMEONE WHO IS STABLE, LIVES IN THE COMMUNITY & HAS REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE? SO IF I HAD ANY CLUE THIS WOULD BE THE OUTCOME WOULD I HAVE CHOSEN EDUCATION AS MY “CAREER?” OH YOU BETTCHA, NOT!!!! MY ADVICE TO MY DAUGHTER, MAKE SURE YOU DO THE MATH AND EVEN AFTER YOU DO THE MATH YOU’D BETTER PRAY THE ECONOMY DOESN’T GO INTO FREE-FALL. YOU THINK STUDENT LOANS ARE SOME KIND OF FREEBE—YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. FOR THOSE THAT DO SURVIVE THE EDUCATION CON, BRAVO! AS FOR ME I AM TO EDUCATED TO BE AFFORDABLE… QUALITY IS NOT THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN MY CHOSEN FIELD. HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS, I HAVE SURVIVED WORSE & I WILL SURVIVE THIS

  17. Jill Says:
    November 7th, 2009 at 3:54 am

    If the government forgave my student loans, I would gladly return my degrees. It’s nothing but a worthless piece of paper.

    BTW – It wasn’t the students fault that banks bundled bad mortgages and caused this economic fiasco. However, we’re getting the brunt of it all. And, lenders are still up to their old tricks.

  18. Jabrim Raven Allen Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    There’s two schools of thought on student loan debts those that have made and those that haven’t. When you loo at those that have made it, they are on average white, male and middle class. They have and will never face job discrimination based upon gender, race or credit scores. They had parents who had connections or a parent who could get them a job their company. In short, it goes back to the analogy of the full back pack most whites are given from day one in the US. Then there are the rest of including those whites that only have white privilege on their side and sale out earlier as oppose to joining the rest of us poor buggers out of solidarity.

    For a long time, whites in general have been able to live in a world of privilege convinced that they will never be touched by the hidden nastiness of capitalism and they have been right up to a point — that point is now. Yes, there’s been people of color who have made it Obama, Sonya Mayore, but these are exceptional talents and intellects that do not represent all people in terms of we are not all blessed with these talents and gifts. We’re average black and white and require a great deal of luck to be successful. Often times that’s not there. The white world did not work for everyone because it wasn’t meant too. It was meant to work for whites only. Remember guys Civil Rights was only 50 years ago. How long do you think it takes to get rid of institutionalized racism that is deeply entrenched — a lot more than 50 years. Lets be real about it. So, even when we like our white friends we’re going out with our shiny degrees guess what, we found out that not much had changed even though our white friends were fooled into thinking that things had. Its not your fault white friend. You had to be allowed to think that our you would not have gone along with the program which was business as usual because you would have realized what was at the end of the road of white privilege and how much it really cost. Lets face it, if racism was dead and had been dead why is the president being called ###&&!!n and why are there tea parties.
    So, I’m not blaming you for your success, but I am stating that everyone was not competing on a fair playing field even though it was made to look like. That includes those that were afflicted by HIV and AIDS and could not get jobs due to that fact rather sick or not. So guys, that’s the jest of it. There are those of us that have gotten degrees and found them worthless not the paper they are written on. For us its just debt and shame. If you asked us if we’d do it again we’d say no, but employers that wanted to keep us out of the workforce would insist that we have them. So, don’t just blame us blame everyone including yourselves for not wanting to really have a fair playing field and insisting that we all make it not just some of us make it.

  19. Tommie Says:
    May 5th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I agree we should not expect to get something for nothing. But I also feel that if we get a student loan we should benefit from the education we pay for. I took a course in Business Mngmnt and Accounting, I am a grocery clerk, where is the benefit? I am in default with my student loan and am now paying more than I can afford and it will take me 20 years to pay it off. I am 65 female and single one income no help. I need help without being condemned.

  20. Katrina Says:
    April 11th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I am wondering if people understand the cost of education, for me it was an impossibility to pay out of pocket for college. I went to a state university for my undergraduate studies, worked part time and still had to borrow $40,000 to allow myself the opportunity to receive an education. After Graduate school forget about I ended up with a B.A. and a M.S. making $30,000 a year and owing the government over $100,000. That meant I was expected to pay $800 a month out of my $2,000 a month salary, which was another impossibility for me. Now, yes perhaps I was not careful enough and perhaps my not yet fully developed brain didn’t quite comprehend what I was doing to myself. But what has happened is I have created a life of debt, where I will never be able to buy a car, house or even be approved to sign the lease on my own apartment, all in the name of education. Just doesn’t make sense to me. In a developed and prosperous country such as the United States why are we making education so important (“you’ll never get anywhere with out a college degree!”) and yet so unattainable for the average citizen. I say it’s a set-up from the start.

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