Education & Student Debt

Our nation did not sign the Declaration of Independence 247 years ago with the idea of later reverting to dependence.


Last year’s student-loan case decision by the Supreme Court actually did a favor to those students who now must pay off their own loans, rather than having the taxpayers do it for them. Among other things, young people go to college to learn how to live independently. Learning instead how to become dependent on the government is a bad thing.


America is a country that loves to celebrate its national freedoms. We celebrate the freedom each of us has to lead our own lives, to make our own decisions, to worship our own God, and to pursue our own economic gain. With those freedoms, however, must come the responsibilities to control our own lives, to be accountable for our own decisions, to respect religious worship beside our own, and to stand on our own feet economically if we are able. 


Limited government, protecting the vulnerable, and free enterprise are the governing principles central to the issue of whether the U.S. Treasury should get involved at all in loans for undergrad and graduate students. The same principles apply to the question of whether the government should eliminate the obligation to repay those loans.


Limited government means the feds should do only what is absolutely necessary to advance national objectives that cannot be attained any other way. Assuming both that helping our economy and that financial aid for education will assist the disadvantaged and our nation as a whole, Quentin supports the idea of federal grants to needy students and loans only to those truly incapable of attaining higher education without them.


Widespread annulment of repayment obligations would not further those same principles. Nor are leadership principles of integrity, service, or dignity toward others honored by making such proposals. So-called forgiveness of loans encourages bad decision making by borrowers, and providing handouts as a remedy exacerbates the problem.


The point also has been made by others that student loans will not actually be canceled or forgiven even if the political ideas come to fruition. In truth, what will happen is that the person who signed the loan — and benefited from it — would be relieved of the obligation to pay it back. The loans, however, will be repaid, but by another party.


That other party is the U.S. taxpayers, to whom the obligation is effectively transferred without their consent. Unforgivable.