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Editorial

The Government Should Ease Student Debt

A firestorm of reaction has risen since the day President Joe Biden announced his desire for partial student debt relief.

On the other hand, had he announced a few billion more dollars for something else, i.e. for Ukraine, etc., everyone would… applaud.

Look, we all know, whether we go to college or not, that tuition at American universities is expensive. The result is that tens of millions of families are unable to pay for it. So what should be done? Should only the children of the rich go to university?

Shouldn’t a poor child or a middle class child be able to receive a good education? Shouldn’t s/he be able to borrow from a bank with the obligation to pay back the loans later?
I am sure that many of you reading these lines belong to the category of those who borrowed to study.

Isn’t it a sign of personal responsibility to borrow from a bank to pay your tuition instead of driving your family into poverty or even bankruptcy?

But you may also be thinking, “why don’t you, the student and future beneficiary, take on the full responsibility of paying the tuition fees?”

The thing is, when someone graduates it’s not that easy to pay off $50,000 or $100,000 in loans. Starting salaries are not that great. And life has a mind of its own: you may quickly find yourself starting a family – disposable income can disappear completely, and you spend many years paying off the loan.

To indicate the extent of the problem, I note that Biden’s measure will provide a breather to 43 million Americans. And, of course, many of them already have families, so the number of beneficiaries will increase even more over time.

The criticism is that this creates an ‘a la Europe’ mentality, where borrowers do not take responsibility, and that future generations will over-borrow, thinking that one day the government will write off the loans.

Is there any logic to this? Of course there is. Some people ‘work’ the system in this way.

There are always those who will try to take advantage of whatever the state does. Take for example the aid given to businesses for the devastation caused by the coronavirus. Billions were embezzled.

Some also see political expediency: the ‘buying’ of votes by the Democrats, in view of the elections in November and beyond. And there is logic in this criticism. Of course, Biden aims for political benefits – but all presidents do that when they develop programs that meet the legitimate needs of groups of citizens.

However, I do not consider either reason so strong that they justify denying aid to tens of millions of people who, with their studies, have benefited not only themselves but society as a whole, as well as the state.

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