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By Catherine Kildea

Junior, CUA

One of the most harmful tendencies of the left is that they encourage self-victimization. When one believes that they are a victim and that circumstances are out of their control, they no longer have an incentive to strive to be better. Under this disposition of believing that no matter how hard one works, no matter how hard they try, they will inevitably fail. Student loan debt forgiveness perpetuates self-victimization, as it is based on the idea that the American consumer has “fallen victim” to a consensual agreement where one must return money that is owed. The truth is that no part of the United States government should be meddling in the forgiveness of federal student loans.

When one decides to pursue secondary education, they are making an investment. In order for it to be a good decision, they must make a choice that is economical and provides a return on investment. According to the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities, young adults who graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree earn $32,000 more than their peers with only a high school diploma. If potential students research prospective universities and choose a major that has a proven track record of success post-graduation, their investment can be discerned as prudent. If a potential student makes a choice about their major or school that is not economical, it is not the role of the government to bail them out and save them from this mistake. They must deal with the consequences, or work to change the outcome of their investment by changing  their major or attending a cheaper university. However, the left is working to convince students that the reason they are in massive amounts of debt is not their fault and that it is the role of the government to bail them out. It is not the role of the government to bail out people who make bad financial decisions. 

While certain students who cannot afford a specific university might take a gap year to work or choose a less expensive school, others do not. While some students choose a major and career path with statistically proven success and job opportunity after graduation, others do not. In attending college, one may not be able to attend their dream school because the price is too high, or they might not be able to stay in a top-level dorm, because they cannot afford it. There is an opportunity in our economic system to deal with this problem, and it requires taking out loans that one is expected to pay back. American students need to understand that just because one cannot afford something while simultaneously believing that they have earned it, does not mean that they are entitled to government assistance. This understanding is paramount to seeing why the government should not be involved in loan forgiveness. 

If loans are predatory or fraudulent, the government has a role in assessing the damage done, holding the proper parties accountable, and protecting the vulnerable. Federal loans, however, are not predatory. According to US News, a predatory loan is one that has, “unfair, misleading or unaffordable terms that generally benefit the lender at the expense of the borrower.” Federal loans consist of benefits that private loans do not typically offer, such as “fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans.” When students sign their names on loan agreements, they are promising to pay them back. While regret after making a poor decision is understandable, expecting hard-working taxpayers to clean up the mess resulting from that decision is impermissible. 

There is also a problem with the term “forgiveness” when describing the use of taxpayer funds to bail out those suffering from buyer’s remorse: in order to “forgive” student loans, the government must take taxpayer money.  If one makes a good investment, completes college, enters a well-paying job post-graduation, and pays off their loans to the government, they will suffer by having to pay more in taxes. This backwards mentality removes incentives for the American people to work hard. In this case, never will American youth be able to learn how to properly analyze a good and poor decision before they make one, for the government will always be there to bail them out when they make a mistake.   

When one agrees to take out a loan, nothing is to be expected from that agreement other than that they will need to pay it back. Nowhere in a loan agreement does the lender promise a return of investment to the borrower. The borrower must use the widely available data and proper judgment to make a good decision about their investment. The federal government should not play a role in loan forgiveness. 

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