Letter: Don't forgive college debt

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  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    May 3, 2019 7:52 a.m.

    To "Edgar " I didn't say that a house has more value than an education.

    I said that a home loan has something tangible backing it. Meaning, if you default on the loan they have something that can be taken and sold. If you don't pay back an educational loan, they can't take back your degree.

    What Senator Lee did, is no different than what was going on just after the housing bubble burst. He didn't receive any special favors from the banking industry.

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    May 2, 2019 4:14 p.m.

    Redshirt. - Did you just suggest that a house is if more value than an education. My oldest son received a generous fellowship from a major university to achieve his Mater’s and Doctorate degrees but loans obtained by his siblings are with private companies and there is no chance that anyone will be writing off any portion of those loans even though they can site the same economic conditions that Lee successfully used to get relief from his creditor.

    I believe it is the fact that Lee accepted contributions from and works in favor of legislatively the banking industry that he received relief from his obligations. Whether it is a government backed student loan or one with a private company, the recipient of that loan does not have the same power and position as a sitting Senator in dealing with financial hardship. And no one should accept that as fair.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    May 2, 2019 1:17 p.m.

    To "ECR" yes, one was a secured loan and had something of value backing it. The other was for education.

    The other issue is the simple fact that Lee's home loan was with a private company, the government was not backing it. That means when short sale went through it was only the bank and its shareholders that lost. With Student Loans it is the tax payers that lose.

    We can also go into the fact that to get a home loan Lee had to prove income, student loans just make sure you can sign for it.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    May 2, 2019 11:52 a.m.

    It's certainly easy to find examples of college students spending money on frivolous life styles but the vast majority of students who borrow money do it to get an education that would otherwise not be available to them because of their family finances. And I think of the $250 tuition I paid for a full semester load in the 70s and compare it to the tuition my own children have paid 40 years later that amount to tens of thousands. They also got an education looking forward to a job market that disappeared 10 years ago and when it came back the salaries were significantly lower.

    And so I use that example to contrast the experience of someone else who found themselves in trouble in the economic downturn.

    Sen. Mike Lee sold his home in Alpine at a significant loss — up to $400,000 — in a "short sale" as the housing bust drained his house's value.

    Lee purchased the home 2008, at the height of the housing boom. But as home prices dipped and he was elected to the Senate, Lee found himself underwater in the home.

    The home eventually sold for around $720,000 after J.P. Morgan Chase agreed to write off the loss.

    Is there a difference in how and why these two circumstances played out?

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    May 1, 2019 12:26 p.m.

    The problem is a lot of student loan money is wasted on lifestyle. See "Student loans diverted to clothing, phone, survey finds" from CNBC where they found that kids were using loans to buy cloths and social activities.

    See also "Student Loan Debt: How Are The Funds Spent?" at the University of Tennessee where they found that students were getting more loans so that they could maintain a similar lifestyle to what they had in High School and living in their parent's house.

    To "dulce et decorum est" we don't require a college education to become a useful member of society, that is a fallacy that your ilk perpetuates. For instance, a plumber's average salary is $57,000/yr, an electrician is about the same, mechanics average $47,000/yr. There are also quite a few jobs that only require vocational school that have incomes over $100,000.

    To "The Educator" then that makes it easy. When my child enters college, I cut them off from support and they now have nothing. Therefore, using your plan, college is free or nearly free for them.

    I don't know of many people who make a lot who are going to school to get a degree, do you?

    But how is that fair? Your plan punishes those who save.

  • barfolomew Tooele, UT
    May 1, 2019 12:19 p.m.

    @ The Educator

    Spoken like a true progressive.

    Every issue addressed by the left seems to have one common solution: the redistribution of wealth.

    Healthcare - let the healthy and rich pay for the poor.

    Business - make the CEO's equally share their wealth with the janitors.

    Taxes - make the 1% pay for 99% of the taxes.

    Global warming - make the rich countries foot the bill for the poor ones.

    College - "Those who have the most, pay the full cost for tuition. They can afford it. While those who cannot, pay less and less."

    What I see is that you folks have one solution to a myriad of issues.

    Your solution is quite illogical. When I get to the checkout at Walmart, should the clerk do a financial background check on me and then adjust the price of the shirt I'm buying based on my income? After all, according to you, it isn't fair that a poor person should pay the same for that shirt. I should have to pay more. After all, I can afford it.

  • The Educator South Jordan, UT
    May 1, 2019 10:12 a.m.

    Using this logic, wouldn't people using vaccines be disrespectful to those who died from diseases?

    I have a better idea, instead of making college free, institute a progressive reform. Those who have the most, pay the full cost for tuition. They can afford it. While those who cannot, pay less and less. That makes the most sense. To those where much is given, much is required. It's time the rich pay their fair share to live in our society.

    Get Educated

  • Eponymous Eggplant Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    @Impartial7: Occasionally we share the same point of view. I also believe the real crisis in higher education is the runaway cost of tuition, especially at public schools.

    Here's an ambitious idea: How about if the state aggressively pursues a 10 year initiative to reduce tuition at public Utah universities by 50% (inflation adjusted). Cut it in half from 2020 to 2030.

  • barfolomew Tooele, UT
    May 1, 2019 9:34 a.m.

    @ Imp7

    "We don't need to reinvent the world, just take a page from other progressive countries."

    Here we go again. the Imp is wanting us to model ourselves after other countries. We should follow their example on everything and "not reinvent the world."

    Well, I've got some news for you - it's actually history, if you've ever payed attention.

    This great nation exists because our Forefathers came here looking to escape those other countries. They did indeed "reinvent" our system of government - our world. That "page" they took was thrown overboard somewhere in the North Atlantic.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2019 6:47 a.m.

    My personal anecdotes involving college debt is pretty much the opposite. They are people who earnestly believed that borrowing money was the only way for them to attain a higher education, who worked and studied hard, got the degree, and got a job only to discover that the job didn’t pay as well as advertised and who now can’t buy a home because of their student debt burden.

    Keep in mind the massive problem of student debt sold to students by for-profit colleges that are in fact little more than debt mills. These are really predatory financial institutions masquerading as educational institutions.

    Erasing student debt would be an insult to everyone who’s paid off their student loans in the same way that finding a cure for cancer is an insult to everyone who ever died from cancer.

  • dulce et decorum est , 00
    April 30, 2019 9:44 p.m.

    Evelyn Scott,

    I'm not saying your anecdotes about a couple of acquaintances who used student loans frivolously are not true. But there are a LOT of good people who worked jobs during school, many who also earned scholarships, but who still cannot now afford to pay for basic necessities or start families all because of the debt they acquired when trying to become useful citizens. Our society has been somewhat unethical in requiring a college education as a barrier to entry in the modern economy and then gauging, with so much debt, those who have worked so hard just to put themselves in a position to contribute. I do, therefore, think significant debt relief is appropriate.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 30, 2019 8:46 p.m.

    I somewhat agree. We don't get to forgive college debt. We can come up with a better plan. Many students have paid off 100K+ of their student debt. We should address the issue of ridiculous college costs. They took advantage of college loans and jacked up the costs. Local, state colleges now charge what medical schools charged 15 years ago. Book costs are legalized theft. SLCC junior college now costs more than State universities did not too long ago. You want an educated future workforce? Then work and fund programs that don't get kids starting in a hole that will take decades to get out of. Many other countries have figured this out. We don't need to reinvent the world, just take a page from other progressive countries.