It’s the greatest crisis facing the country today and threatens not only the present, but the future as well. It’s not the national debt, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, health care, or any of the other issues Democratic candidates for president routinely ramble about, no. This is something far more serious – people making informed, really bad choices. And the Democratic Party is rallying to their defense.
Out of pure self-loathing, I watched most of the 5-hour lovefest on CNN Monday with Democratic candidates for president. One hour each for Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. These back-to-back town halls featured pre-selected questions from a screened audience of college students looking to government to solve their problems. Of course, government can’t solve your problems, especially when your biggest problem is looking to government to solve your problems.
Still, it was a look not only into the minds of the candidates, it was a look into the minds of people who, someday, will be in elected office themselves. It was scary.
A day after more than 300 people were killed in a terrorist attack because of their faith, I don’t remember a single question or statement from anyone about it. There were, however, a lot of questions about student loans.
Judging by the amount of coverage student loan debt has gotten this year, you’d think there were loan officers hiding in bushes outside of high schools waiting to jump out and force college bound seniors to sign their lives away to big banks.
That’s not happening, of course, students are signing those documents willingly after actively seeking out loans for college. But you’d never know it by the way the candidates talk about student loans.
The issue isn’t so much an issue as it is an opportunity to pander. Candidates dangle varying versions of loan forgiveness and “free” college to students with more debt than many companies as a way to buy votes. It’s also a way for Democrats to advance an idea that is at the core of progressive politics: no personal responsibility.
So much of what Democrats are pushing this year is designed to insulate people from the bad choices they make – don’t worry about consequences, government is here to “fix” it. It’s the “let mommy kiss your booboo” of 2020.
Nothing captures this attitude like student loan forgiveness. Fully informed people making bad choices to borrow more money than their education will ever be worth, flocking to politicians promising to make it all better.
Rather than stealing from taxpayers to absolve people of their bad decisions, here’s an alternative that will serve the much more important purpose of teaching future generations about responsibility: tell the truth.
One questioner at Monday’s CNN event asked what can be done for her. According to her question, she’d amassed $25,000 in loans for just her freshman year of undergraduate studies at Saint Anselm College, which cost $38,000 per year in 2017. Rather than pander to someone like this girl, all candidates, and all Americans, should ask her why in the hell she chose to attend such an expensive school. Ask what undergraduate degree she thought could justify such a move. These people need to be taught that a degree in interpretive dance or 1940s bisexual polar bear studies might make you super-woke in your Young Socialists of America drum circle, but they aren’t viable for future employment.
Additionally, every student with a complaint about student debt should be asked the following:
1. Why go to an expensive school if you can’t afford it without taking on massive debt?
2. Why would your parents allow you to choose a school if you have to take on upwards of $100,000 in loans?
3. Do you understand the concept of a loan?
Knowing those questions had to have gone through their heads at some point, they should then be asked why they should be absolved of their debts when they willingly and knowingly made bad decisions?
They won’t have an answer, at least not a good one.
Candidates should pat them on the back, tell them they’re sorry but there’s nothing they can do for them. Not everyone is meant to lead a life of example, some people serve as cautionary tales – so let it be with these people.
Future generations can learn from the high self-esteem, snowflake generation whose parents should have but didn’t tell them “no,” so they can avoid their mistakes. Unless you’re going to be roommates with the next Mark Zuckerberg, no undergraduate education is worth $100,000 or more in debt. If you can’t pay for it with savings, scholarships, grants, and some moderate amount of loans, don’t go to that school. There are other options.
There should be no student loan forgiveness. It’ll be a tough lesson for kids to learn, but it’s one they need. Their parents failed them, their guidance counselors failed them, and they failed themselves. Let a group of liberal billionaires step-up, put their money where their mouths are and help, but don’t force an autoworker in Michigan or farmer in Wisconsin who’s helping their kid work their way through a state school or commuter college do it.
Choices have consequences, especially bad ones. At least they should. Government is supposed to protect people’s rights, not from themselves. And certainly not at the expense of everyone else. Let these people serve as an example of what not to do. It won’t help them, but it’ll do wonders for the next generation.