Will forgiving college debt win or lose votes?

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President Biden recently sent an email to 153,000 student-loan borrowers reminding them to vote for him this autumn.

Actually, his email said that he is going to put America into even more hock to repay the college loans they had willingly taken out years ago.

Putting it bluntly, his email said that the millions of Americans who repaid their student loans, or worked two or three jobs to minimize their college borrowing, or who never went to college at all, must cover the debt of 153,000 people who did.

As it goes, last summer, the Supreme Court said Biden’s ambitious $20,000-per-student college loan-forgiveness plan — which would have cost the rest of us $420 billion — was unconstitutional.

Not to worry, Biden’s staff quickly went to work looking for other avenues to relieve student-loan debt.

They looked for wiggle room in a law that was passed nearly 60 years ago, the Higher Education Act, that they said gives the Secretary of Education the ability to waive student-loan debt.

That bureaucratic trick gave them the authority to forgive debt for the 153,000 people enrolled in the income-driven SAVE program — Saving on a Valuable Education — who originally borrowed $12,000 or less and have made payments for at least 10 years.

Of course, the program doesn’t “save” anything. It simply transfers the bill for about $1.2 billion to the rest of us.

To date Biden boasts he has “saved” $138 billion for 3.9 million borrowers.

But those savings are tacked right onto our $34 trillion national debt that, thanks to the reckless spending of both parties in Washington, is on track to hit $54 trillion in 10 years.

Which brings us back to the student-loan situation.

The New York Times shares the story of Biden visiting the home of one student-loan borrower, 49-year-old educator Eric Fitts.

The middle-aged elementary school principal, who still owed $125,000 in college loans, told Biden “how much of a burden it was and how much of a barrier it was for certain things and opportunities,” reports the Times.

I feel for Fitts. Debt is unpleasant. But why didn’t he consider the consequences of all that debt BEFORE he willingly signed the paperwork to borrow it and promise to pay it back?

Why didn’t millions of other young Americans – or their parents — think things through before they took on a cumulative $1.7 trillion in student-loan debt?

I’m not sure how this student-loan situation is going to play out come voting time.

On one hand, no small number of able-bodied young people feel it is not their responsibility to pay off the college debt they willingly took on. They will vote for the candidates who promise them more forgiveness.

On the other hand, I’m betting a lot more people who did make great sacrifices to repay their college debts are not only angered at being forced to repay other people’s loans, they’re worried about this country’s financial future.

They’re worried that millions of Americans feel no shame about letting others relieve them of their financial responsibilities — and that millions couldn’t care less about America’s runaway spending and debt.

They’ll likely vote against candidates like Biden who are trying to buy their votes with their own taxpayer contributions.

Then, again…

Hey, Joe, if you cut me a check for the $15,000 in student loans and interest I paid back years ago, I’ll consider giving you my vote!

Copyright 2024 Tom Purcell, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Purcell, creator of the infotainment site ThurbersTail.com, which features pet advice he’s learning from his beloved Labrador, Thurber, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. Email him at [email protected].