In a recent speech announcing her backing of a bill to forgive all student debt, Rep. Ilhan Omar told reporters that student debt isn’t the result of personal choices. Instead, it’s the fault of a society that encourages students to pursue a college education as well as Wall Street businessmen and women who aren’t willing to foot the bill for other peoples’ education.
The freshman lawmaker later called those who take out student loans “victims,” and noted that the College for All Act would forgive the debts of up to 45 million current and former students in the United States. Other politicians who appeared with Rep. Omar and backed up her comments include Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was not present at the time, held her own press conference to lend support to her fellow far-left colleagues.
It’s not hard to see what’s wrong with the concept that taking out a loan makes a person a victim. If students can have loans dismissed under this premise, why not extend the same courtesy to homeowners? After all, it can be said that society encourages home ownership. The same point can be made by a person who takes out a loan to purchase a vehicle — as it is nearly impossible to travel to and from work in many cities without a personal car.
Another problem with the “victim” mindset is the fact that there are millions of Americans who either saved up for an education before enrolling in college or university, or who worked while studying. Some of these successful individuals may even be among the “Wall Street workers” that Rep. Omar and her ilk are blaming for the student debt crisis. The College for All Act says nothing about providing a refund to hard-working individuals who never expected the state to pay their bills for them.
Yet another problem with the bill is that it does not address one of the main reasons why students go into debt to get an education. The cost of attending college or university has been steadily rising for many years. Forgiving everyone’s student debts will not prevent educational institutions from raising prices. Indeed, many colleges and universities will figure they can continue to jack up the cost of getting an education because, after all, the federal government will bail them out even if their unwitting students aren’t able to pay back their student loans. Companies offering private student loans are also sure to get a windfall as they will not only be paid back the principal of the loan, but also the interest that may have accrued on the loan.
It is true that the ever-rising cost of attending college or university has resulted in large student debts for tens of millions of people. It’s also true that society pushes young people to attend college and/or university even if many people could find good jobs without an expensive degree. However, it’s not true that a young person who borrows tens of thousands of dollars to pay for a diploma is a “victim” of “Wall Street greed”.
The internet has made it possible for any thinking adult to do careful research before choosing which diploma to study for and where to study. Young people also have access to resources such as scholarships, grants, financial planning apps and part-time job opportunities that can help to offset the cost of a college education.
Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that the government is responsible to do everything for the people it governs. While there are many thinking adults who are disgusted with the idea of absolving adults of any blame for their unwise borrowing decision, the sad truth is that there are also millions of people who think they are entitled to others’ money simply because they want to have it.