Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Who Deserves Student Loan Forgiveness?

Posted by M. C. on March 29, 2023

First, what about those students who have already repaid their loans? By all means, government coffers should be reduced even further in favor of these people, too. Rights violations will thereby be reduced, when the statists have less money (However, those who repaid are not entirely innocent; they rendered money to Caesar, when with the benefit of hindsight, they may not have had to do).

Second, why did so many students have such a hard time repaying their debt to the government? Simple, all too many of them majored in grievance studies. This renders them unusually chatty baristas, but they don’t earn enough money to support their misspent college days.

Luis Rivera

By Walter E. Block

What is the libertarian analysis of the student loan forgiveness policy now being implemented (subject to Supreme Court approval) by the Biden Administration?

Before we can offer any such examination, let us consider the following. The government first boosted tuition into the stratosphere by requiring all sorts of silly reports of universities, which necessitated the hiring of all types and varieties of academic bureaucrats. At one time, in the history of higher education, professors greatly outnumbered administrators; not any more. Then, in its largesse, this self-same institution lent money to students so as to be able to pay for the resulting enhanced tuition. Talk about creating the very problem you think you must solve.

Now, the proposal is to forgive these resulting student debts. Libertarianism, of course, is the viewpoint that it should be illegal to threaten, or engage in, initiatory violence. With that introduction, we are ready to try to apply this perspective to this issue of the day, student loan forgiveness.

One response to this challenge is to ask who is more worthy, on libertarian grounds, of being subsidized? That is, here is a booty seeking (or rent seeking, as the Public Choice theorists mischaracterize the matter) exercise, on behalf of supporters of this viewpoint. The two groups in contention for these benefits are these students who have not repaid their loans, and the general taxpayer, from whom additional taxes will be mulcted, if the program is executed.

How shall we determine an answer to that question? It must be on the basis of which group adheres more closely to libertarian principles, of course. Someone has to pay for the forgiveness program; either the lucky students if this goes through, or the average taxpayer, who previously paid these monies, and, if these debts are repaid, will presumably benefit, other things equal, via lower taxes than would otherwise have prevailed.

So, which group is more libertarian, and thus deserving of greater wealth? In my view, it is pretty much a tie. It is as if each assembly is worse than the other. On the one hand, the general electorate (apart from ballot box stuffing) is responsible for that senile old coot now occupying the White House. I need not say any more than that. This deviates markedly from libertarianism.

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