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October 3, 2023

Student Loan Repayments Begin Again

COVID deferment has come to an end, but don’t blame the Republicans.

Student loan deferment has come to an end. The U.S. Supreme Court in late June overturned President Joe Biden’s executive bribe and, as of Sunday, October 1, those who had not been paying their student loans all along need to resume paying their debts.

Many took advantage of the COVID-era deferment that should have ended two and a half years ago when people were able to go back to work. But the freeze on student loan payments continued, and President Biden led people further down the path of financial burden by promising to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for millions of borrowers.

Biden and even then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew that he didn’t have the executive power to forgive that debt, but he tried to do it anyway. Not having to pay student loans during the pandemic acted as a carrot in front of voters who saw loan forgiveness as a way out of a financial hole. Team Biden used those borrowers’ plight to apply pressure on the rest of the government to allow his overreach to stand.

Borrowers got used to not having to account for that student loan deficit in their monthly budgets. They could afford more things and have taken on other debt that they now can’t afford. Adding to the hurt of that renewed financial burden is a terrible economy, bad inflation, and rising interest rates. One does feel sad for them, but at the same time, they made a bet and lost. The twofold bet was that Biden would be able to get away with an unconstitutional act and that the rest of America would be okay with using their tax dollars to cover the cost.

Politically, the blame is thrown at the Republicans’ feet, but as Politico reports, this reversal of student loan forgiveness has been part of the Democrat calculus for a while. As much as Politico tries to paint it as Democrat benevolence in terms of programs to help with repayments, the important political point is buried in the happy talk. Realistically, it’s been a lost revenue stream for the government since the loan repayments stopped. However, the trade-off of that renewed revenue stream will mean a more bearish economy since borrowers are going to have to slow spending on goods and services as a result.

Duping millions of people into going along with their harebrained student loan forgiveness scheme is bad, but it’s only a symptom, and it’s not the actual source of the problem.

The advocates for student loan forgiveness, though wrong on just about every point, are right about a college education being too expensive for the average American. Why do colleges and universities charge so much for higher education? Our Nate Jackson has written about this at length, but between government subsidies, too much unnecessary staff (read: DEI diversity hires), and imprudent spending, the price of a college education is unsustainable. Many people who aren’t of the elite class are going to choose other options than college.

Part of the impetus that spurred on the whole student loan forgiveness scheme came from the ideologically driven premise that college debt hurts students of color more than other students. However, this premise is part of the problem. Racism is not to blame for college debt; rather, it’s the pushing of the need for college diversity on students who can’t achieve academically and yet have incurred college debt.

The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh recently did an interview with Heather Mac Donald, academic and author of When Race Trumps Merit. Mac Donald addresses the inherent problems with identity politics in college. When merit is replaced by an oppression hierarchy, people who aren’t ready or aren’t able to handle the academic rigor of becoming a doctor or engineer are then funneled into programs that are a waste of their time and money, such as gender or racial studies, which are not exactly financially responsible paths for future careers. Even overpaid DEI professors are culled once their positions fall out of favor.

Democrats have used COVID, systemic racism, and the economy as an excuse to lure borrowers into a false sense of financial security. They will try to spin it as the Republicans’ fault, but the reality is that the Democrats placed power, ideology, and potential votes over the financial well-being of their constituents. It won’t end until feckless spenders are booted out of office and the American public becomes financially literate and perhaps even opts out of the college racket.

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