Student loan forgiveness ineffective, benefits rich

In the realm of student loan forgiveness, opinions get tossed around like caps at a graduation ceremony. On Aug. 27, Maine Millennial columnist Victoria Hugo-Vidal advocated for President Biden’s debt pardoning while castigating Rep. Jared Golden’s opposition. I disagree on both fronts.

Regarding debt forgiveness, simple economics disproves its efficacy. Debt forgiveness fails to reduce costs as borrowers simply adjust their cost expectations, allowing colleges to raise prices. To genuinely address college expenses, we should encourage alternatives like military service, trades, law enforcement or even the Postal Service, all of which are experiencing severe labor shortages. This would reduce the overinflated demand for a degree, lowering costs in the long run.

The strongest argument for forgiveness is that rural Maine struggles to retain health professionals and teachers because of loan pressures. However, data from the National Center for Education shows that education and health majors constitute only 21% of undergraduates. Prudent forgiveness for 21% does not merit forgiveness for all. More tailored options like H.R. 1757 or existing programs such as Perkins loan forgiveness better address this problem.

Ms. Hugo-Vidal’s final point asserts education as a class symbol and links opposition to loan forgiveness with resentment toward upward mobility. This validates Rep. Golden’s view that college is a privilege and imposing its cost on those who did not have that privilege is unjust. Loan forgiveness, a policy that disproportionately benefits the well-positioned in society, is a textbook example of champagne socialism, and succinctly exemplifies why Democrats have struggled to reach the non-college-educated demographic.

David C. Holt II

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