Skip to comments.Forgive us our student loan debt (Is forgiving debt a moral issue?)
Posted on 04/28/2012 6:42:37 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
We need to start taking student loan debt seriously, both as a troubling moral issue and as a ticking economic time bomb. By some reports, student loan debt will exceed 1 trillion dollars this year, more than the credit card debt of all Americans.
A whole generation of young Americans is at risk in this excessive borrowing. They fall further and further behind in servicing their debt because they have no way to keep up with the payments as many of them are unemployed or underemployed. They will delay starting marriage and families; they dare not take the risk of quitting a paying job (if they have one!) and starting their own business to create jobs, and they certainly cannot save to buy a home. They are trapped.
Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12) Forgiving debt is a moral issue. Forgiving some of the worst of this student debt is crucial literally to save this American generation.
President Obama has recently taken steps to ease student loan debt burdens. But the problem is too big. Some of this student debt needs actual legislation to deal with the whole system of the debt as Robert Applebaum calls for on his Web site, ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com.
Applebaum contends that executive orders can only do so much. It will take legislation that covers predatory practices as well as other changes to the way student loans are structured such as how interest is compounded. Applebaum also argues persuasively that forgiving student loan debt will stimulate the economy.
The kind of moral equality that Jesus asks us to pray for in the Lords Prayer can be seen in Applebaums argument. Jesus calls on us to pray, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
"Forgive and be forgiven. Americans are tied together in this student debt debacle, and debt forgiveness will help the forgivers as well as those forgiven."
"Currently, Im advocating debt forgiveness. It is the moral thing to do and it is the right civic thing to do. This is what Jesus actually meant; real debts, real debtors, forgiving and forgiven. This is what government is actually aboutof the people, by the people, for the people. We still have a chance to show young people that democracy can work for the common good.
Forgiveness. Its the right thing to do."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary
Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008), Thistlethwaite is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Here are a list of her articles for the WaPo:
Forgiveness is one thing. Suicidal business practices is another.
There is no such thing as ‘debt forgiveness’ when it comes to the government and business, someone has to pay it. Is it moral to take money from someone else to pay for another person’s debt?
They may try to make the analogy of you loaning something to a friend and wiping the debt clean, but the analogy is flawed.
Election hype intended to create a “narrative” for the indefensible. This makes as much sense as claiming that requiring ID for voting “discriminates against” the poor and minorities.
It was an immoral act to allow government funding of student loans in the first place. Because of government funding, the banks never had to consider a student’s ability to pay and schools didn’t have to figure out how to give a quality education inexpensively.
Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Please hold off for a few years until my daughter starts (and finishes) college. Then she can run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that will then be forgiven and she nor her parents will have to pay a penny!
Yeah well, is this fair democracy to all the past generations who have paid their student loan debt as they agreed to do? The only difference between students now and in the past is Barack Obama is a desperate president wanting to be a hero and be re-elected at the taxpayers expense. This is not biblical, it is generational and class warfare being waged against the citizens of ths country by a socialist. Life is full of hardships, get over it.
Amen! Excellent post.
Wow Susan! Way to misquote the Bible to advance your own progressive agenda!
How about the verse where Jesus says to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”? How about we stop trying to buy votes for the Democratic machine by offering to give stuff to people who vote the “right” way?
Maybe it’s time to start preaching personal responsibility and stop telling the next generation that they get to do/buy anything they want and someone else will pick up the tab! And pitching a hissy fit doesn’t change that fact! If you were dumb enough to go 50K in debt to get a useless “Women’s Studies” degree, then I have no sympathy for you and I do hope that you put off having children forever!
The whole student loan industry is what has led to the massive increase in tuition - if we stopped the whole program tomorrow, colleges would have to get out of their little liberal bubbles and offer a better product at a reasonable price.
I hear “for profit universities” being blamed for this, and they may have their share of fault, but I don't see the University of Phoenix’s football team getting a new football stadium every few years. Not enough students go to "for profit universities" to drive up student loan debt higher than all credit card debt anyway, that is a diversion from the main villan, state governments, and state run universities.
State universities are just as complicit in driving up costs, and it is a moral issue to require reforms to bring the costs down before just bailing out students. If you bail out the students, you let the schools off the hook for reform.
Bailing out students can't really be done, because all that would do is transfer the individual’s debt to the government, and then they will still be paying off the government debt the rest of their lives.
A University undergraduate education is a total waste of money. I didn't learn a d@mn thing in almost all my undergraduate classes. They were just a rehash of the stuff I learned in high school.
Of course my proposal would put hundreds of thousands of left wing college professors into the unemployment line.
What could be better?
The only thing I will “forgive” is the author’s STUPIDITY!
Call for a Year of Jubilee, forgive all debt, then start over. :)
Besides, since the left owns the universities, online education is one way to cheaply take back the educating of our young. EVERY Christian College/University should be pushing or creating online extensions of their campus.
Online education could be a great equalizer.
Heaven help us if this is the teaching of a theological professor. Exactly, this is not biblical! She has not researched the stories of those who work a job in high school and during their college years, imagine a summer job.., and pay as they go!
Maybe since many are unemployed we need to have them volunteer a year or three to serve our country in the armed forces and pay them nothing. Adding that to the student loan application might help our situation.
Poor imPOTUS wants to help, but darn, it's too haaard for him .... what a crock!
He conveniently tries to deflect the responsibility to a "do-nothing" Congress or prior Administrations when he's hip-deep in the problem. To paraphrase another scripture, it's time to "Render unto Caesar" all the blame that belongs to him.
The Michigan house just voted to raise the cap on cyber schools. There are thousands on the waiting list. I realize you’re talking about college but this is good too.
Well, SHOOT, I paid for college. I want HER to pay me back. I should have to pay some lunkhead’s college tuition? So all the universities are supported by the taxpayers?
What kind of idiocy? Oh, I forgot — she’s an academic.
AND...what about the really smart people who either paid as they went to school (by...working!)....or chose not to go to college, and went to work? So, now THEY should all help the college students.....????
Forgiving any debt is immoral!!!
It’s flat out theft from responsible people!
Well, we once ‘forgave’ student loans. It was could bankruptcy, something that happens every day to a business or person. But, that was changed a few years ago.
She misuses a Biblical quote.
The only candidate with a real solution for the exceedingly high cost of college is Newt.
I have realized that the whole student loan movement was merely a massive transfer of wealth to the post secondary education establishment.
They, not the students, were the beneficiaries.
err...could = called.
bullshit! They took the money willingly, they can pay it back. the government is already broke from too goddam many give away programs and you want to add more to the list??
We have bankruptcy (in Australia)- it is based on the Jubilee concept. Here your debts are forgiven after 3 years if you go bankrupt (used to be 7) but don’t expect anyone to jump at giving you another loan in a hurry. Why should they? Trouble is people want there debt forgiven and still live the high flyin lifestyle that their study bought them. The Jubilee concept was a do-over thing and was for people who were flat out poor and unable to pay their debt.
I am unsure how your system is financed but our student loans are paid back through the tax system - once you have completed your study and earn over a certain amount the tax man cometh and taketh a percentage. There is no interest charged as far as I know. It seems to work ok.
Why on earth would you forgive that??
I thought it was the “honorable and most Christian like” thing to do....
Yeah ok. Christians like to say “its not our place to judge”. Well whatever. I say its not our place to forgive. That’s god’s business not ours.
You short circuited both her brain cells!
Straight out of Alinsky's RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."
They may try to make the analogy of you loaning something to a friend and wiping the debt clean, but the analogy is flawed.
Yes, the analogy is flawed. This silly Liberal twit isn't holding the loans is she? God forgives me because Jesus paid my debt. It's not her place to use the governments guns to stiff the banks or taxpayers.
I think I earned the equivalent of a Masters in Theology during the Cal/Arm wars.
I should go print myself a degree.
Yeah...well I just forgive her stupidity...NOT HER ACTIONS!
When I went to school in the US (a while ago now), we just paid the loan off in installments just like any loan. Most of the loans were from private lenders. Recently, early in the Obama administration, the federal government basically took over the student loan industry.
This was a perfectly workable system for a very long time, but a lot of rot and corruption came into the education system over the years, and recent attempts to fix it just makes it worse. They have been playing the game of raising their tuition at a much higher rate than inflation for at least two decades now, but they always cry poverty, so the states and federal governments step in with even more money.
The students are the genuine victims, but bailing them out also bails out the people that caused this mess. The education industry is trying to keep the bailouts coming, but without admitting they are the cause of the problems or undertaking any real reform.
The Air Force had a program that (if I understood it right) paid off the student loan of new enlistees who had a bachelor’s degree. It made them inelligible for certain education benefits (tuition assistance? GI Bill? I don’t remember exactly) but I guess the rationale was they got their benefit in advance.
Exactly. The lending institution writes off the debt as a business expense and issues a 1099 in the amount of the debt forgiven to the student. The IRS becomes the worst nightmare of a debt collector that the student could ever imagine.
You left out the part about student loans have special interest rates and delayed payment schedules and they were subsidized by the federal government.
” - - - - Forgiving debt is a moral issue.”
CREATING debt is a moral issue.
Meanwhile, the workers in the cafeteria at UNC-CH, the janitors, the grounds people, the hardworking farmers in NC, any remaining textile workers who haven't already lost their jobs in the past 3 years, and all the other laborers are paying increasing tax rates to subsidize these students, many of whom drive fancy cars, live off mom and dad, and will hope to have great jobs with high salaries--that is, if America elects a President with some real-world job creation experience.
Does that about begin to sum it up?
The reality is that their awe and joy may be over soon, when they leave the campus and move in their unemployed parents' basement, waiting to find a job that's not out there because of government spending, deficit, debt, and taxation policies which have driven employers out of business or overseas.
I should also write that in the US, education is constitutionally the realm of the states. There is no constitutional duties for education at the federal level. All states have state university systems, with large campuses and land often set aside by the state constitutions, along with subsidies at the state level. Having student loans at the federal level should be unconstitutional in the first place, but in practice also gives a green light for states to get as much federal money flowing into their states as they can, using the students as intermediaries.
The first moral factor is to not borrow more than you can repay. Yes, forgiveness is a moral factor, but we must realize that when debts are between private parties, it is the lender who bears the burden alone. The financial costs are isolated and contained. However, what is being advocated here is the forgiveness of a debt that government insured, so the costs will be socialized.
The net result will be the same as if government printed the same amount of money— the wealth that money represents will be taken from all holders of the money by proportionate dilution. There is no free lunch, no matter how many socialist college students may occupy otherwise.
Repaying your debts is a moral issue.
I repaid my student loans. They were proportionately large to me given earnings back then.
I think that’s what I’ll tell the IRS next year. See how that works out.
Maybe that’s how Obama plans to deal with our national debt. Just force the rest of the world to just forgive our debt to them. See how that pans out.