What is the purpose of student debt forgiveness? Which problem does it attempt to solve, and how does it go about solving it?
- What is the problem?
A student in debt is a person in debt like any other. Therefore, any argument in favor of relieving them of their debt should apply equally well to any other person in debt. So why is there a focus on students specifically? How are they any different?
In fact, one might even argue that students are better off than others in debt: students actually have a degree that will plausibly ensure significant future income, hence helping them in paying off their debt. On the other hand, a person with no degree who is struggling with debt is in a worse position and less likely to successfully pay off that debt, hence surely they are more in need of debt forgiveness than a student? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said she is still paying off her debt, but her salary is 6-figures. I don't think that debt is a big problem for her.
From a different perspective, one may further argue that a student is in debt out of their own volition: they knew exactly what they were getting into from the onset. This is in contrast to a poor home-owner who is in debt because of the financial crisis, or some such. Thus, from an ethical perspective, surely relieving such home-owners from debt is more fair.
- How exactly does debt forgiveness solve the problem?
Another question that I wish to ask is, how exactly does debt forgiveness solve the problem it purports to exist? A student is in debt because education is expensive. Let's say you take the millions of people who currently have student debt and you wipe the state clean. Aren't you just going to end up millions of students in debt a few years later anyways, as a new generation of people go through college?
So you'll end up with the same problem a few years later. And then what? Another round of debt-forgiveness? That doesn't seem financially feasible. So if student debt is a problem, wouldn't a more permanent solution that targets the expensive tuitions and fees at colleges be a more logical approach?