So, my first comment as an economist
answers the question: is this a feasible way of going about the problem? There the
answer is an unqualified yes, of course. Is this doable? Yes. Would it solve the
problem? Absolutely. Let’s take a look. One of the questions raised about it is “oh
my goodness this is going to impact the economy because money that is now in the
hands of stockbrokers and bankers and all of the people who speculate on Wall
Street, they won’t have this money.” Yes. That’s true. They won’t. But on the other
hand, fifty to a hundred million Americans, who have no longer a student
debt problem, will be able to use the money they used to pay in their regular
monthly payments on student debt to buy goods and services. So the loss to one
part of the economy is offset by the gain to another part. This is simple
economics and ought not to be forgotten. Here’s another way of saying the same
thing: you’re taking away money from the top so it doesn’t trickle down. But
you’re giving an economic boost to the average American who has a student debt
and that’s money gonna be spent by that person no longer on paying that debt but
on buying goods and services. That’s money you might call trickling up. And
the trickle up offsets the trickle down. So if you want to argue about the
student debt let’s be honest. It is a program not surprisingly coming from a
socialist like Bernie Sanders that’s good for the average American, the vast
majority, who either have student debt or face the burden of student debt if they
want to help their kids get a college education. It helps them at the price of
the 1% or the 5% at the top. One side benefits
the other side loses some. That just corrects what’s been going on the last
40 years where the reverse has gone on. Or, to take a more recent example, the tax
caught back in December of 2017 that enormous ly boosted the top arguing
that it would trickle down (which it didn’t) rather than help the bottom. Which
is why Bernie and the others supporting his bill say “We bailed out (the people
did) Wall Street back in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It’s time for Wall Street
to bail out the American student.” So is it economically feasible? Sure it
is. But here’s something to think about, because there are questions. First,
what’s the economics here? It’s simple. You don’t pay enough in America to the
average family to pay for their college education for their kids. That’s the
problem. At the same time that you don’t give people enough income you charge
more for education than they can afford so they end up having to borrow if
they’re gonna get the education. The solution to the problem is not to create
these conditions. Even if you forgive the existing debt you’re not changing the
conditions, which is why many countries (Germany, France, Italy, Finland, many
countries in Europe) charge next to nothing for higher education. I’m talking
two or three hundred dollars a semester covers it. There is a political problem
here. There’s also the question of other debts. We don’t pay people enough to
cover the cost of their home, their car. That’s why they go into debt for those
things. If you want to really deal with this problem you’ve got to change who
gets paid what and what costs what, or else the debt is always gonna come. And
you’re gonna have those angry people with home debt and car debt and credit
card debt asking: “why help the students and not me?
Good for the students, but I want my debts relieved too!” And the same
economics would apply. Look, it’s a fundamental system that has to change.
These are systemic problems; those that led to slavery and those within
capitalism that lead to unbearable and unsustainable debt. The system is the
problem and system change is the answer.