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Critics of Canceling Student Debt Aren’t Afraid It Won’t Work—They’re Afraid It Will

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/04/critics-canceling-student-debt-arent-afraid-it-wont-work-theyre-afraid-it-will

Releasing graduates from debt also enables them to take work according to how rewarding they find it or according to what they might accomplish rather than having to sell their hours and days to the highest bidder and spend them struggling to maintain that bidder’s share of hegemony.

These factors come up in discussions at universities fairly frequently, though of course the perspectives and vocabulary are somewhat different. Administrators talk about “preparing students for the corporate world,” often as though this were a rightful goal or even the rightful goal of education. People talk about “giving” students an education because in some ways we do facilitate their efforts. American society particularly has come to treat education as a commodity that can be sold or purchased or given–as a license, essentially, and not at all as education.

A key document in this, as ever, is Samuel P Huntington’s Address to the Trilateral Commission, entitled “The Crisis of Democracy,” from 1975 or 76. Huntington argues in favor of the current student loan system to “correct” what he calls “an excess of democracy,” the idea that graduates should have a voice in their own governance.

There is nothing about production itself that suggests that people should not be free to work as we see fit. Slavery and servitude are primarily legitimized by the pretense of debt while they are enforced by arms. The accusation of debt is wielded by those authorized to produce money out of nothing by charges for services that the supposedly indebted population provide each other. Primary are these:

  • Education
  • Housing (and heating, in some climates)
  • Medical care
  • Food and water (in many places more critically than within the US, though here too an active population is held in stress to motivate others)
  • Many owe for transportation although it is almost exclusively work that requires it.

To whatever extent we can collectively arrange education, housing, and medical care, we can dispense with odious debt. Any useful transition is likely to involve ignoring or refusing existing presumptions of debt and working together to minimize any that might be undertaken.


Bailout Billionaires with trillions every so often and a protect a tax code that is criminal as our wars for resources, but the screw rest of us unendingly.

It’s the American way.


If free college education was provided to all those who wanted it and demonstrated sufficient academic capability, paid for out of government funds, such expenditures would return a profit to the government, just as our country received a return of several times its expenditures under the GI Bill of 1944.

With a progressive tax system, those college graduates with higher incomes than the non-college-educated would pay for their higher income benefit in taxes on that benefit, each proportionate to their benefit. This would be relatively fair and painless and good for the country.


It WAS the American way. As America is breathing its last breath and our Swamp Things refuse to give it oxygen.


It is a bigger issue than debt forgiveness, student debt is the end result of an entire system that is artificial in nature. Technology and programed learning have changed this paradigm. Student debt is a consequence of a bigger issue.

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Indeed, and with an educated population that is getting more difficult to pull off.

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Joe Dough might go as far as some pathetic half step, if that - payment “flexibility” could be the extent of it.

Expect a “bone” with precious little meat on it.

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“Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren”

Lizzy never advocated for 100% cancellation. Her plan, like all of her proposals, fell just short of the goal post. Dear Liz - You only win the game when the ball gets across the goal post. Please step aside.


An aspect of student loan forgiveness that bothers me is the effect that would have on academic institutions which now charge their students exorbitant tuition. Many of these colleges and universities have been able to build up colossal endowment funds while paying their professors very little. My college that only charged $5,000 for tuition back when I attended now charges $50,000 a year. This ballooning college tuition was made possible by generous government student loan programs. The universities just told their students, “Take out student loans. You won’t have to pay those back until you’re employed.” If that student debt is wiped out, what effect will that have on college tuition? It would be like giving colleges free access to the US treasury to charge whatever they want for tuition. I’m all for debt forgiveness for minority and poor students but they should really receive grants to attend more reasonably priced universities.

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canceling student debt wouldn’t help “laid-off hotel and restaurant workers,”

The tax break didn’t help them either, but that didn’t stop anyone from pushing it.

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I’m not sure that the colleges that have been raising tuition have at the same time been building up huge endowments. While it is possible that some have, student debt has little to do with it.

No, “free college” is actually only Tuition-free , and only going to be a thing at Public colleges and universities. Student debt cancellation is a one shot deal, not a continuous offering. Once the debt is cancelled, if you want affordable college you’d have to go to Public Higher-Education institutions, the government isn’t going to pay back private school loans in perpetuity. Private institutions will have to compete with Public institutions for students by offering inhouse grants, scholarships and loan programs and since they will be offering low-cost services and free-tuition at public schools they probably won’t be offering public student loan coverage for the private institutions in the future.

Imagine three 30-year-old neighbors, each of whom earns $50,000 — a construction worker who never went to college, a legal secretary with a two-year associate’s degree and $2,000 in remaining student debt, and a software engineer who attended a four-year college and graduate school and still has $50,000 in unpaid loans. A bailout that erased $50,000 of student debt would give nothing to one of the neighbors, a modest $2,000 to the second, and a $50,000 bonanza to the third.

That absurd logic actually appeared in a newspaper? WTF? The construction worker already has his “bonanza” - he has no crushing burden of student debt yet is making as much as the students! The legal secretary owing only $2000 should not get relief either because in the interest of best allocating limited funds, there should be a reasonable income-adjusted floor on the relief.

So here we are, on the crux of another effort to spare students the ENDLESS debt that the Banks are set on keeping them under all their lives, if possible, and now Bloomberg wants us to think the “benefits” (by THEIR figuring) of that DEFUNDING, would “acrue to the top income earners?” Excuse me? They must have a DIFFERENT DEFINITION of the supposed “benefits” of that debt cancellation… because for those on the top, there IS NO DEBT THERE AT ALL…

This is because RICH people just pay it off, duh, while the rest of us, down here in the trenches can NEVER pay it off, if we stick to the pay schedules they expect us to…

Any idea that forgiveness of college debt is a “giveaway” to the Rich is frankly a LIE OF THE FIRST ORDER. Rich people are Members of the Board at the Banks who run these stay-Rich schemes, and no the cancellation of debt will NOT benefit them at all… only in Bloomberg’s fantasies…