The push by American progressives to have Joe Biden’s incoming administration forgive $50,000 of student debt per borrower is deeply stupid, but at least clarifyingly so.
More polite language fails to capture the absurdity of singling out college attendees for an unprecedented $1tn transfer of wealth — equivalent to the total spent on cash welfare in the last 40 years. The top sources of US student debt are professional business and law degrees. [Brookings]
(The comparison to “cash welfare” is misleading because nearly all U.S. welfare spending is officially “not cash” and, for Democrats, “not welfare”. A person who gets a free “means-tested” house, a free “means-tested” health insurance policy, free food via SNAP/EBT, and free phone service via Obamaphone is not “on welfare” and is not receiving “cash welfare”.)
The article contains some other fun facts. College here costs 2X what it costs in Germany or France. Only one quarter of the folks who sign up at two-year community colleges earn a degree within six years. And the author points out that young people would be stupid not to take the opportunity to enjoy “sports and parties, sex and alcohol” for four years at taxpayer expense.
What the author doesn’t mention is that Black Americans will be paying for this while white Americans will be the ones primarily enjoying the sports, parties, sex, and alcohol.
If 2020 was the year that old white rich Americans stole a year of life from young healthy slender Black Americans (by locking them down to “protect” them from a disease from which they faced minimal risk), maybe 2021 will be the year that young white rich Americans steal massive quantities of cash from Black Americans via student loan forgiveness?
- “Who owes the most in student loans: New data from the Fed” (Brookings): The highest-income 40 percent of households (those with incomes above $74,000) owe almost 60 percent of the outstanding education debt … The lowest-income 40 percent of households hold just under 20 percent of the outstanding debt. … education debt is concentrated in households with high levels of educational attainment. In 2019, the new Fed data show, households with graduate degrees owed 56 percent of the outstanding education debt—an increase from 49 percent in 2016. The 3 percent of adults with professional and doctorate degrees hold 20 percent of the education debt. These households have median earnings more than twice as high as the overall median.