Paul Kengor: Enlightening Student Loan Stories

Biden’s plan to cancel hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan payments has upset people on both sides of the political aisle, for both political and personal reasons.

Politically, the plan is an outrageous irony coming from President Joe Biden and “progressive” supporters like the senses. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Think about it: what could be more anti-progressive than a policy that takes the income of non-university graduates to pay off the debts of university graduates through their taxes? Those who chose not to go to school, perhaps because they could not afford it, will help bail out those who did.

Are the Democrats the party of the working class or the educated elites?

This policy is regressive. It is a massive transfer of wealth from the uneducated class to the educated class.

It is also unnecessary. Besides the fact that people are morally obligated to pay money back, consider that Biden and his handlers brag about the country’s low unemployment rate. Well, if the job is good, then why bail out college graduates? Is it a difficult time to find a job or not? I wrote recently about the problem of the countless unfilled job offers by young people who choose not to join the labor market. Ask restaurateurs about the enormous challenge of finding waiters and waitresses.

Of course, some people accept these jobs as waiters and waitresses, others to pay off their student loans. Others taking these jobs never went to college, but they will now help pay the loans of those who went to college and don’t take these jobs.

Then there’s the personal component, which everyone can relate to, including those of us who ran up heavy debt and then struggled to dutifully repay money that didn’t belong to us. Here is my story:

I got a master’s degree from American University in Washington, DC, in 1993. It cost a fortune. I did not receive any financial assistance. I really had no idea how expensive that debt would be. I had no debt from my undergraduate degree because my parents invested their savings and because I worked 20-30 hours a week at Pitt. It took me six years to get my undergraduate degree, but I came out of it debt-free. For my higher education, I was not so lucky.

Once my wife and I, as newlyweds, received our first student loan bill, we were shocked. I think she cried. She had also obtained a master’s degree and I had obtained a doctorate. We couldn’t conceive how we were going to pay. We certainly weren’t counting on our mechanic and garbage man to help us.

(For the record, the real scandal is the outrageously unjustifiable cost of higher education. Biden and the Democrats should target their liberal cronies who run higher education.)

How did we repay the debt? I literally had to write a bestselling book – “God and Ronald Reagan”, published in 2004. Without this book, I don’t know how we would have succeeded.

Nevertheless, doing so was a financial and moral obligation. Millions of others have done the same. Some did just before Biden stepped in and wrote off the debts of their former classmates. One wonders how many young people will now wait for their future debts to be canceled by Uncle Sam.

This is my student loan story. What is your?

There are millions. And the Biden White House needs to hear them.

Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Faith & Freedom at Grove City College.

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