This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, Dec 13
One of the big hot button issues going through politics today is student loan forgiveness. What this means is that people who have taken out student loans in the past will have up to $20,000 of their student loans forgiven. The motivation behind this government program is to give relief to lower and middle income families who are struggling to make ends meet. This is a terrible idea and I am going to give you just a few reasons why because I have to keep this article under a certain wordcount.
Why are we limiting this to only student loans? People are paying for cars, houses, and businesses with loans as well. Why no relief for them? You may make the argument that people should consider their ability to pay back a loan if they are taking out a loan for a car, house or business. Why do we not apply this same line of thought to student loans? Maybe taking out $100,000 in loans for a career in social work, as noble as social work is, might not have been the best idea given how horribly social workers are paid.
I had to take this into consideration for the degrees I have. I have an undergraduate degree from Ohio Northern and a Master of Divinity from United Seminary. I absolutely had to take into consideration what I could afford to payback based on my situation. Thank God, my mom was an employee at ONU, so I got to go for like 90% off, but if not for that, there is no way I could have afforded the excellent degree I got from ONU on the salary I make now. I did have to take out some loans for Seminary, but due to some grants from the United Methodist Church, I have since been able to pay back all of the loans I had to take out. I had to live meagerly for many years to be able to just pay back Seminary. It was a sacrifice that cost me plenty, but I was glad to make it to have a career I love as much as this one.
The taxpayers of the United States had no obligation to help me get here outside of providing regular protections and services provided to all Americans. They did not owe me anything for my post high school education. The taxpayers already provided me 12 years of education, why would they owe for anymore? If I didn’t learn it in 12 years, what more could they do?
Just the fact that the people who have these degrees are struggling to have enough money to live and pay back these loans is proof that the degrees are not providing much return either to the people who have these degrees and to society at large. I would love to have gotten a degree in comic book reading or physical fitness, but there are not many jobs in those career fields. Yes, I made comic books and physical fitness degrees up, but take a look at a list of college majors and as you are reviewing them ask yourself what you would hire a person with that degree to do.
What this means is that taxpayers like you and me are going to be funding degrees that are not serving their intended purpose. I am one of the lucky ones who has two degrees and both of them are in my chosen career field. Many people have degrees that are not necessarily in their chosen college major and the reason for that is because they could not find a job for that degree. That is a degree that we could possibly be paying for. It is an investment that has no value.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for education. I love for people to go to college and learn to learn, which is the most important lesson college teaches. But when you start expecting taxpayers to subsidize the experience, then society must benefit from it. There has to be a communal interest in you having a degree for the funding to be provided for it. That is why the United Methodist Church helped subsidize my Seminary degree but not my undergrad. They had a vested interest in my attaining the Masters Degree. Before we invest insane amounts of money in relieving these debts, we need to ask ourselves what return are we getting out of it? If people want to do charity, that’s great, do charity. But forcing people to participate in supporting something that they may not want to support is not charity at all.
Besides, you and I both know what is going to be the end result of this program. The price of college is going to skyrocket and students will both be getting these insane government grants and still have to take out loans to afford it.
Disagree with me? Then answer me this question. Has government backed health insurance caused the price of medical care to go up or down?