Sure, there’s that problem that she’s only suggesting that extant student loan debt gets wiped out. Those who were prudent and paid it off gain nothing. Which is a lovely little bit of moral hazard, don’t you think? Further, we might even suggest that the people with the worst debt problems are those who attended fly by night for profit trade schools. Thus we’re subsidising fly by night trade schools by writing off the debt.
However, here’s the real and large problem:
“No, what I’m saying is there was a $50 a semester option for me. I was able to go to college and become a public school teacher because America had invested in a $50 a semester option for me,” she responded.
“Today that’s not available, and our kids have taken on a trillion and a half dollars in student loan debt. We have got to back that up, and say we’re doing better going forward. That we’re not going to say the next generation has to take on 2 trillion dollars in debt, and what? The next one 3 trillion or 4 trillion, or 5 trillion?” she continued. “We don’t build an America by saddling our kids with debt. We build an America by saying we’re going to open up those opportunities to kids to be able to get an education without getting crushed by student loan debt.”
Those costs of college don’t go away simply because it’s the taxpayer picking up the bill. It just means that taxpayers are picking up the bill.
So, we’ve socialised that cost therefore. Everyone in America must be burdened with a larger tax bill. Rather than the people who actually benefit from college – those with the college degrees – picking up the cost.
This is not the correct solution. The actual right answer is to make college cheaper. We could start by firing the 50% of the staff that are administrative bloat. We could move on to the idea that perhaps 50% of the age cohort shouldn’t be going to college in the first place. After all, the effect of their doing so has just been to raise the entry level qualification needed for many jobs without raising the knowledge level needed for those same jobs.
We could even make the system cheaper by abolishing all grievance studies. Killing tenure would also be an interesting idea to explore. So would the idea that all who teach in college should also be doing research. After all, how many more queer studies in Jane Austen PhDs do we need?
The thing being that if something is expensive – which American college is – why not work to make it less expensive rather than just insisting that the population as a whole must pick up the bill?