EDITORIAL: The case for college loan relief is the same as hurricane aid and saving businesses with PPP loans 

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The universal benefit of making all education, including higher education, available to everyone is an easy argument to make: Educating anyone benefits everyone.

The case is more difficult for easing the financial burden on those penalized for borrowing for college because they weren’t born into better circumstances.

President Joe Biden and proponents of the proposed student loan forgiveness program, however, have made a winning argument to excuse $10,000 in student loan debt — $20,0000 for Pell Grant recipients — for about 43 million Americans being suffocated by federal student loan debt.

Biden’s long-awaited proposal is far from being a complete or ideal solution to what is a critical national problem affecting generations of college students, and especially those from poorer families and families of color.

The plan, as announced, will provide debt relief and a more manageable repayment plan for tens of millions of students and their families already struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic, sluggish wage growth, and now, disabling housing costs on top of historic inflation.

Expectedly, critics of the measure clamor that the plan is unfair to those who didn’t have to borrow to go to college, to those who’ve financially been able to pay off their student loans, or to those who never attended college.

The loan forgiveness program is no more unfair to those people than are massive federal programs that provide billions to homeowners and residents in places like Florida, Texas and other coastal states regularly pummeled by hurricanes or other recurring calamities. That’s hurricane aid paid for by taxpayers in unaffected states, simply because the need for assistance exists.

The college loan forgiveness program is no more unfair to American taxpayers than was the nearly $1 trillion doled out during the Paycheck Protection Program to more than 11 million corporate recipients. More than 700 borrowers received the maximum $10 million in loans, according to federal oversight agency data.

A whopping 10.4 million of  those PPP borrowers had some or all of the loan amount forgiven, including the corporation that owns Sentinel Colorado.

Those loans and their forgiveness addressed a looming economic crisis affecting tens of millions of Americans, just like the Biden college loan forgiveness program does.

The PPP pandemic loan program was created to provide relief only to businesses that would, provably, have otherwise failed or had to layoff their workforce because of the economic problems created by the pandemic.

There is no overlooking the fact that billions in personal wealth among business owners and stockholders, all relatively wealthy in comparison to many of the workers they employed, had their fortunes saved or even inflated because of the taxpayer dollars they received.

Some argued at the time it was not the place for the government to step in with cash just because business owners did not have the reserves or resources to weather the financial storm created by the pandemic.

Some of the most vocal critics of the college loan forgiveness program are themselves beneficiaries of the PPP program or have allies who were.

It’s easy to argue that the PPP program staved off an economic calamity, and it’s just as easy to argue that the college loan forgiveness program works to prevent a looming nationwide financial crisis as well.

Whether this is enough of a solution warrants debate in Congress now. 

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who recently said he support’s Biden’s program, is among those asking how this addresses the underlying problem of an American college system.

It’s a system now priced for only wealthy Americans and the lucky few of the less-than-wealthy Americans able to snag astonishingly large grants or scholarships.

“In my view, the administration should have further targeted the relief, and proposed a way to pay for this plan,” Bennet told the Associated Press. “While immediate relief to families is important, one-time debt cancellation does not solve the underlying problem.”

Clearly, loan forgiveness is an important election issue at the state and federal level.

In Colorado, state lawmakers and the governor have a great deal of control over state colleges and universities. College-cost reform needs to start there.

Federally, it’s unclear whether Biden can even pull off this massive spending maneuver without Congress. The projected cost of the forgiveness program could reach between $300 billion to $600 billion, according to White House and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit agency that advocates for lower budget deficits.

Bennet is running for re-election this November against Denver Republican concrete businessman Joe O’Dea, a vocal critic of the school loan forgiveness proposal.

“President Biden isn’t canceling student loan debt,” O’Dea said last week in a tweet. “He’s transferring the debt onto the backs of working Americans.”

The recipients of this badly needed debt relief are also working Americans, just like O’Dea and the residents he wants to represent. 

Some may even be able to be thankful for their jobs with O’Dea’s business firms because of PPP loans his companies applied for and accepted.

O’Dea owns Denver concrete construction company CEI. Federal PPP transparency documents, made available by a ProPublica tracking portal, show the company received $2,854,500 in PPP funding April 2020 in hopes of preserving 240 jobs.

The Colorado Sun reported in February that an O’Dea campaign spokesperson said the loan was repaid.

“O’Dea, whose assets are worth between $17.5 million and $77.4 million, reported receiving $663,000 in salary from Concrete Express,” the Sun reported.

Another business O’Dea has financial interest in, Mile High Station and Ironworks Events Center, “received more than $319,000 in PPP loans over two years” the Sun reported. “Those loans were forgiven, and helped keep at least 22 employees on the payroll when large events were prohibited,” campaign officials told the Sun.

That was good news for those 22 employees. It was good news for the rest of the metro area that weathered an economic crisis across the nation that arguably would have been much worse without the PPP program and the government’s ability to forgive businesses their loans.

The need for Biden’s college loan forgiveness program is just as clear.

Congress needs to ensure the program is executed to aid as many as possible and move quickly to reform college costs to prevent the need for another such program.

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FactsOverFeelings
FactsOverFeelings
1 month ago

Educating anyone benefits everyone.” 100% agreed, education massively benefits society as a whole. But not Republicans – there’s a reason Republicans are constantly voting to slash education budgets and complaining about colleges teaching “liberal agendas”. Education and critical thinking are inherently liberal.

There’s a reason that, statistically, the more educated you are, the more likely you are to have liberal views. There’s a reason the GOP’s strongest voter base is non-college educated white men. Republicans want the common people stupid and ignorant so they can be told what to think instead of thinking for themselves.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

True, but apparent only to those who think independently and pay attention.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago

Republicans want the common people stupid and ignorant so they can be told what to think instead of thinking for themselves.”–Woof, the projection in this statement can be seen from Pluto.

Don
Don
1 month ago

No

DICK MOORE
29 days ago

Spoken like an unknowing child.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

Yes, I belief all these hand-outs under the guise of “aid” are similar, but I don’t concern myself since they are nothing more than shifting money around, and “money” in these cases constitutes nothing more than figures on paper.

I predicted long ago that soon, higher education would be accessible (read affordable) only to the most wealthy, which would constitute control of the system by the republicans. Then they will have achieved the goal they have sought for so long–the dumbing down of Americans. They’ve already achieved the goal of destroying lower education by their take-overs of school boards and refusal to provide funding.

GeneD
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

However, consider that we’ve had only two Presidents with M.B.A,s: the previous occupant and W. Education does not always imply intelligence.

Don
Don
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

This weird opinionated comment has no foundation in reality.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
1 month ago

Thank you Pres. Biden. Good points in this article. And this isn’t just a young person’s problem. 22% of student debt in US is held by people over 50 and amounts to $33.6 Billion. Student debt has always been the least flexible debt – not allowed to refinance it when interest rates drop, not allowed to consolidate it, must pay even when no income, cannot have it forgiven in Bankruptcy, so ballooning to massive amounts with the high interest charged.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago

The average amount of student loan debt is about $37,000, which is easily manageable if the propaganda about “getting a college degree guarantees you a better wage” is actually true. A married couple making $250K, or a single person making $125K, who can’t make student loan payments on that amount is a personal problem, not a national crisis.

The best part about this push to wipe out $1.75 trillion in student loans is the left is now basically arguing that a college degree isn’t worth the return on investment anymore. If you’re going to make more money with that degree, you can afford to pay off the loans you took out to get you the piece of paper. You might need to exercise some future-time orientation and delayed gratification (a serious challenge with today’s electorate, to be sure), but it’s quite doable.

And of course, Perry and the rest of the neo-marxists at the Sentinel are squawking the “BUT MUH PPPP LOHNZ” talking point like the good little parrots they are, hilariously acknowledging that the reason the law was passed was because the government forced so many businesses to shut down, while conveniently ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the workforce does NOT have a degree, nor did anyone force college students to attend college or take out loans.

(Posted by someone who paid off $25K in ten years, most of that in the last 2.5 after several years of gaining experience for a better-paying job)

Don
Don
1 month ago

You certainly can refinance your student loan through many different companies whenever you want. I used to get mailers once a week when I had student loans.

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago

Man, there’s a lot to unpack there. Why not start by rectifying the canards you threw into your argument? Yes, make student loans able to refi. Yes, allow consolidation. In other words, make them just like most other loans. But transfer the balance onto the backs of other taxpayers? No thank you. It does get the snowflake vote, though, and that’s really what this is all about, isn’t it?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago

The funny part is that almost nothing she wrote was accurate. You ARE able to refinance student loans if you get offers (which typically are sent to people who make their payments on time), you can consolidate (I did with mine), and while it is difficult to get it cleared off in bankruptcy, it’s not impossible. She also seems to believe that no other debt holder requires you to make payments if you don’t have income, which would be news to anyone who’s had to pay credit cards, a car loan, or a mortgage.

Dean
1 month ago

Let me see if I have this straight. The headliner wants us to buy into this papers high minded socioeconomic rational for free college tuition. It says ‘Loan relief is the same as hurricane aid and same as saving business with PPP loans….really? So, college loan strapped students are now in the victim class as a natural disaster? So the Sentinel truly believes a self- serving consumer loan is the same as when a hurricane blows your house down in the middle of the night…huh? – Interesting analogy. And when the Government shuts down the economy overnight it too is the same as a student that was forced to take out and make a promise to the Government, he will pay back the loan for his choice of what he thinks he wants to study and hopefully parlay into a good paying job – great.
When I went to college years ago, I too had student loans. The loans were a mass production process done through the school. (A large 4-year state college) The loans had mandatory insurance on them deducted from the total loan in case of default, the private lenders had no risk they would get their money back, the US guaranteed it. This insurance was prepaid out of the check that was later mailed to your house to spend it the way you wanted, you signed for it. You were responsible for it. And envision all the loans become fungible at this point and in the hands of a young person. Not surprising, every semester after loans were mailed out, just like magic new cars all over in the student parking lot. Something this foolish, this forgiveness notion is promoting is making the taxpayer pay for the cars or whatever the student wanted to spend his money on. This is simply about the economic fairness of personal consumer debt being shifted onto to the backs of the taxpayer, nothing more. You get this kind of Government fairy tale program thinking when you have old Joe sharing smoking the crack pipe with Hunter. You get some goofy policy not at all good for taxpayer. No— congress can see through this half-baked idea and the reality of how taxpayers are reacting and rejecting paying for this thing, and it’s soon headed for the DC trash bin.
           

Last edited 1 month ago by Dean
Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dean

So, college loan strapped students are now in the victim class as a natural disaster?”

That’s the basic thesis of the article–the editorial literally takes the position that signing up for student loans was a socio-economic “penalty,” even though this has been an accepted part of the college funding apparatus ever since LBJ signed off on it as part of the Great Society, and it’s been a fully captured function of the federal government ever since the Obama administration.

If someone is taking out student loans to get a degree as a means to enable them to rise to a higher income level, then they hardly need debt forgiveness, especially if they’re making six figures.

Dean
1 month ago

The problem-solving debt shifting scheme that Biden calls a solution and the Sentinel jumps on board with the full speed ahead crew, should anyone be surprised with that position. But the natural disaster comparison premise of these students owing a legitimate debt and the taxpayer is on the hook, come on? If the Sentinel insist to use this innocent victim assessment, that’s fine then be accurate. The taxpayer the true innocent third party is the actual party to suffer from this upside-down policy, we’re the ones that did nothing wrong that would be hit by this economic hurricane- as it were.
             

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dean

Their side has been pimping these loans as “good debt” for over 50 years, and now that a bunch of deadbeats got used to not paying what they owed for two years in this supposedly roaring Biden economy, they’re suddenly a victim of unfair forces. That’s why the neo-marxist description of these people is so accurate, because they don’t do anything except complain about the current state of things, in the belief that endlessly engaging in the critical dialectic will get them their unobtainable utopia.

Don
Don
1 month ago

Comparing a voluntary loan to disaster recovery. Only an idiot would do that.

-$44k paid off in student loans from 2012

Don
Don
1 month ago

IF this loan forgiveness makes it past the courts, which I don’t think it will, national student loan debt will return to this level in FOUR years. The problem is out of control colleges, driven by the government’s out of control loan distributions.