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Sanders to propose canceling entire $1.6T in US student loan debt (stamfordadvocate.com)
118 points by spking 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 313 comments



This is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard suggested yet. It goes against every value of fairness we hold.

Bernie essentially wants to forcibly take money from everyone who was financially responsible enough to save and pay off their loans early, or who like me worked their asses off through college to be able to graduate without debt, and use it to pay those who were irresponsible enough to dig themselves into a massive debt hole.

I have little empathy for people with student or credit card debt. You took a deal knowing the terms full well, you have no right to complain that you owe the money you already spent but never earned.


> Bernie essentially wants to forcibly take money from everyone who was financially responsible enough to save and pay off their loans early

Bernie wants to take tax money and work out what the best thing to spend it on is. It's disingenuous to imply it's any more taken by force than taxes already are. Significant portions of your taxes already go towards people who have, by your definitions, behaved irresponsibly.

I don't know whether this is the best use of that money -- whether there's something else that would have much better effects on welfare and economics in general.

I also don't have any student loan debt from my university degree, though it's because I grew up in a country that doesn't charge money for education.

The system of being unable to discharge student loan debt via bankruptcy seems brazenly corrupt, though, such that demolishing the whole thing may be an appropriate response.


> Bernie wants to take tax money and work out what the best thing to spend it on is.

Bernie might leave me the money and let me work that out for myself.

I mean, look, I get that we actually need a government, and that we fund it by paying taxes. But every time someone like Bernie comes up with some grand new thing for the government to do, they take more money from me and from you to do it with. (Yeah, I know, "we're only going to take money from other people. That never actually works.)

Government programs aren't free. They cost you money. So the question I have for people, when I hear something like Bernie's grand ideas, is this: Given that you have to pay for it, how much more government do you really want?


it's a faceted issue: the idea is to subside people to attend university so they can have a more productive and happy life from which everyone benefits (trough taxes, reduced welfare, reduced health costs etc).

the issue is that not every student makes the cut and not every university has the same ROI, whether because the degree itself holds little value on the job market or because the degree costs are too high to ever recoup.

another question is do we want to finance liberal arts degrees that traditionally have a bad ROI or do we want only the wealthy to engage in those sectors?

it's not a simple question, and the angle "who pays for it actually" seems reductive.


Having the education and healthcare industries being in the middle of death spirals where costs increase every year and effectiveness decreases costs me money too. Fixing either sounds like a better use of taxes than whatever the $10Tn deficit increase under Trump is supposed to be achieving.


Do you think that Bernie's proposal is going to result in more money being thrown at education, or less? I presume more. (If it's free to them, more will decide to attend; the schools will charge the same as they do.)

Education is in a death spiral where costs increase and effectiveness decreases. Do you think throwing more money at the universities will make that better, or worse?


I'm not sure; it depends on the specifics of the proposal, and especially on what happens to student loan debt which does not exist yet, and like you say, how public universities charge the government once education is made free.

I agree that whether it's a good idea depends on that answer. I'm rejecting a stronger statement you made, about how any government program is suspect "given you have to pay for it".

In the cases of education and healthcare, it seems to me that there has been a decrease of governmental involvement (compared to other nations, if you like, or even internally to our own nation in the case where bankruptcy discharge became disallowed) that should not have happened, and that decrease is costing dramatic amounts of money. You can't tell whether a policy is a good idea just based on whether it expands or contracts the role of government. We can be suspicious of government under-involvement too.


Re your second and third paragraphs: Not all government programs are suspect because you have to pay for them. When the main selling point is that it's free, though... that may be time to look at it a bit more cynically, remembering that it's not free. Which doesn't make it a bad idea, necessarily. But it means that those selling it need a better reason for us to buy it than "it's free".

Back to fixing the education more-cost-less-results spiral. I agree that what this proposal will do will depend on the specifics. But this proposal, if it helps, probably will do so only accidentally, because it doesn't seem to be attempting to do any such thing. It's trying to address the cost to students, and that's all.

To address the overall cost problem, it has to do something to incentivize universities to be more efficient at delivering education to students. If it was something like "If you've got an e-learning way to get to a full diploma, we'll pay you (the university) enough that you should be making decent money at it, and we'll give the student a computer and broadband if they don't have it", that would incentivize the university to have such a program, because money. And it could scale easier than in-person, if implemented well. Even better, you could now have competition between universities based on quality of instruction vs. odds of passing.

I'm sure there are holes in that approach, but I think it's at least somewhat in the right direction...


>I grew up in a country that doesn't charge money for education.

Your country almost certainly does charge for education, you're just shielded from the immediate cost.

>The system of being unable to discharge student loan debt via bankruptcy seems brazenly corrupt, though, such that demolishing the whole thing may be an appropriate response.

Alternatively, going forward we could allow the discharging of student debt in bankruptcy with the knowledge that this would prevent many useless degrees from being funded and correspondingly would result in a large decrease in higher education spending. I'm fully in favor. For far too many people college is merely an extended adolescence and creates perverse signaling issues when it comes to getting a good job. As a nation, we should be more mindful of the degrees we decide to fund and the amounts dedicated to such degrees. Your nation, which "doesn't charge money for education," is almost certainly doing this.


"many useless degrees" is very thin ice to walk on. If there are people wanting to learn something then it's not useless.

Looking at it from economical standpoint only is just very narrow view. Education is not training for a job. There is value in knowledge. Even if you think only about economy it's very hard to predict what will be profitable.

Dont forget that if someone is studying "useless degree" than it's enough burden to know you might not get job in that field.

I think it's wonderful if anyone has a chance to have a try at higher education.

Also as many countries show education doesn't have to be expensive and putting financial limits on them keeps them efficient.


> "many useless degrees" is very thin ice to walk on. If there are people wanting to learn something then it's not useless.

Maybe so, but it's also not something I'm willing to pay for or subsidize as a tax payer. Sitting around reading books all day would also be enriching but no one is claiming we should pay people to do that with tax dollars.


i can't think of a better way to spend tax tbh


Infrastructure spending is worthwhile, but it still has "bridges to nowhere". Similarly, education is worthwhile, but it also has "degrees to nowhere". Not all degrees for all people are worth their cost.


Even if I agreed that some degrees are worth less to humanity, I'd still want to fund all of them, because I don't know (and don't think you know) which ones are which.


there is no way of telling which degree would lead to progress. Steve Jobs famously studied calligraphy after dropping out but still "auditing" classes. if he didn't study "useless" courses effectively tuition free, apple would never have come to pass.


Public transit? Functioning infrastructure? Lowering taxes and letting people keep their hard earned money? Paying for other people's entertainment is pretty much the lowest item on my list and I dare say it should be self funded 100% of the time.


This is essentially my problem with it. I did very well in high school, and had many many offers to attend very expensive universities, many of which offered no academic scholarships. I made a conscious decision not to take on that much debt, and had a much longer road to where I am now, and probably a lessened overall outcome. But I'm debt free. I'm too old to care now, but it's not fair to kids out there with mindsets like mine, to just start erasing student debt wholesale. In that situation, community colleges cease to exist and universities have incentive to skyrocket prices even higher.


If we disregard "its not fair to me, when i paid mine off" and "this reduces my buying power because everyone is as well off as I am" as arguments, my problem with this is that it excuses the schools for jacking up rates as loan money became available.

This is a bailout, and the banks / schools are the beneficiary. No more loans that will never be paid back. Schools get every inflated dollar from the last two decades. Instead of taxing everyone, shouldnt the schools who took the money be paying in for everyone they trained who is underpaid?

https://thehill.com/opinion/education/442497-colleges-need-t...


We should just call this a bank bailout and that will shutdown this proposal. I prefer Andrew Yang's proposal to give every American a $1000/month divided funded by a value added tax. You could use that money to chip away at your student loans and it's fair because every citizen gets it.


And rent/mortgages would instantly go up $1000/m. And then we are back to a bank/realestate bailout.


The logic of this "not being fair" sounds more to me like "if I couldn't have it, no one else can!" I for one would be happy even if they just made college tuition free without canceling the debt. I'd be happy if younger people could get an education without having to worry about things I had to. I want to see others succeed, I don't want to hold them back because they have to suffer like I did.


I don’t think it’s quite as simple as you say. This isn’t something like “my childhood was tough, therefore I want everyone’s childhood to be tough.”

Just because someone has paid off their college debts does not mean that the effects of that debt have ended. Obviously the effects of that opportunity cost still exist. That money could have been spent on other things, like a mortgage. So the idea of forgiving all current student loan debt without any consideration of people who are still living with the effects of their previous student loan debt is pretty crude, and I think there’s a strong argument for calling it blatantly unfair.


This can go either way, though. It's just as easy to argue that cancelling student debt is a highly effective form of economic stimulation. There are droves of people who are actively putting off large purchases like houses and cars, and delaying having children, almost entirely because of student loan debt. Removing a huge ongoing monetary obligation from a massive section of people who want to spend is a lot more likely to help the economy than more tax cuts for the already wealthy who are probably going to hoard that wealth away.


Why not just give everyone 100k, people could buy houses cars, etc.. it'd really help those who couldn't even dream of going to college, even with loans. It'd drive up housing and everything else.


That is candidate Andrew Yang's proposal. 120K to every American over 10 years. You should checkout his proposals. There are long form interviews on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTsEzmFamZ8


As someone with $40k in student loans remaining from my econ degree(after paying off $10k+), I'm fully in support of this. I don't know what "we" you're appealing to, but I certainly consider this "fair" in the sense that I'm more than happy to give back to my community, fellow students, and younger generations so that they don't have to struggle through the same things I did. It sounds like this position is that others be punished for/with student loans because they decided to get an education.

1. According to the article Bernie is proposing a 0.5% tax on trades, and a 1% tax on bonds. Given that ~half of all Americans invest in the stock market[0] (and given how Wall Street has acted) this doesn't seem to be a big issue in my opinion (obviously others will disagree with me).

2. I do have empathy for those who have taken on such debt, because such debt should not in aggregate be so large as to impact the economy adversely (which it has, and will continue to do via consumer spending etc...). Additionally, I know very few, if any teens who are able to understand the intricacies of debts/loans, let alone adults(I'm sure this argument will be mis-characterized).

It may sound grandstanding, but I genuinely believe that we should care more about the medical, financial, and social/political well being of others in this country, and I think this is a good first step for that.

0: https://money.cnn.com/2017/10/20/investing/trump-stock-marke...


I mean, of course you support a proposal to wipe off 80% of your entire student debt. I don't think you get to call it "giving back to the community" when you're a net taker under the proposal.


I'm glad you seem so willing to engage in constructive/effective arguments regarding the proposal, rather than how the proposal should be framed/discussed in terms of individuals.

And I'm certainly glad you saw that my other points were reasonable and saw fit not to refute them at this point. :)

However, even under this proposal I would be a contributor as I invest in the stock market, which is the entire point of taxes/a community(it's literally giving back to the community/the cost of living in a society). So no, I would contribute my fair share, and arguably get less out(compared to others) since I've already paid $10k+, and I have no problem with that, at all.

Like I said, I'm happy to help others given the position that I'm in, which is better than some and worse than others.


What I, and others, find objectionable about your post is that you frame yourself as an altruistic contributor while downplaying the fact that you have orders of magnitude more to gain from this than you contribute. Implying that a 50bp tax on your personal stock trading comes even close to the $40k amnesty windfall you stand to gain is preposterous. Implying that you are giving back and helping others even more so. You are not helping, you are being helped. You are a net taker.


I frame myself as a contributor, because as I stated before, I would be contributing via the same proposed methodology as anyone else, via a tax on investments. Additionally, I haven't downplayed this, me downplaying it would be me either obfuscating my debt, or not discussing it at all, I haven't hidden the fact that I'd benefit from it, I'm arguing the merits of the proposed policy and why it would be good not just for me, but for society writ large(including you my friend)(benefits include increased consumer spending, increased GDP, etc...). Furthermore, given the potential timeframe on this, and any investments I would likely make in the future, it is well within the realm of possibility that I end up paying far more than the $40k that I might gain in the short term which would seem to reasonably answer "you're a net taker argument".

As I argued in my previous post, taxes are not altruism they are a cost of living in society, it's why we have a progressive tax system the more one benefits from society, the more they pay back. I do argue however that I'm more than happy to pay this tax so that current/future generations are better off, which doesn't seem to be a point that you've refuted at all. It seems that your argument is that because you struggled, everyone else should have to as well which seems fairly draconian to me(and ignores a basic sense of fairness, depending on how we want to define fair), and also seems to ignore the potential struggles of others and any questions of why they took on such debt (but that's another question for another time). I have no idea why you keep framing this as a means of "takers" vs everyone else, when I've kept bringing this back to the more nuanced point that yes I would benefit, and yes I would also contribute. It's also strange to me that you haven't seen fit to offer an alternative or any kind of compromise, but rather dismiss the whole proposal out of hand.

I suspect that you're going to come back to the point/continue belaboring the point that "you're a net taker"(while conveniently ignoring any other points) as if somehow: A. The only point of society is for no one to benefit from it. B. The only point of society is to make a profit. Neither of which is true, because frankly everyone "takes" from society in one form or another to varying degrees, we do this because everyone should have a reasonable shot in life. It seems unreasonable to ask people who are just starting out, to be potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt in the hopes of pursing them for the rest of their lives to make money. This is a question of lives/quality of life versus money, you seem to be fairly square on the side of money which is certainly a position one can take. Generally the point of society isn't profit, but to try and make the society a better place, and sometimes that comes at a cost, or with things we disagree with(I disagree with ag subsidies, but it likely helps rural farmers somewhere, so I'm OK with that in the end).


Look I understand where you're coming from but when you gain $40k now, it would be better to say 'thank you' than 'you're welcome'.


I can't decide if you're just trolling us or if you truly believe that your duplicitous position of both "helping society" and "pay off my student loans" is valid. What if we don't pay your student loan, but pay for those who are in default? You seem to be managing quite well, so let's help those who are less fortunate than you for the common good, but since you're doing fine, you can continue to pay your student loan, and maybe an additional 5% take to help those who are less fortunate.


I paid off roughly $70k in student loans. Can I have that back? Because if you're going to support the government paying off your student loans, surely you wouldn't deny me a check from the government to reimburse me for mine? Do you think it's better to not pay back the loans and just let it default with the hopes that someone with rescue me?


What about those middle class families who chose the financially prudent path of sending their kids to cheaper but low ranked state universities even though their kids had admission to expensive ivy league universities ? How would they feel about this proposal.


>Bernie essentially wants to forcibly take money from everyone who was financially responsible

"Financially responsible" has become a euphemism for "rich and assumed to be responsible".

I know a bunch of people who are not particularly responsible with their money (splurging) but they are beneficiaries of a lot of unearned income (interest, dividends, rent) and I have yet to hear a coherent argument for why this unearned income shouldn't be taken away and used to fund the kind of education that improves the overall wellbeing of society.

This is the point where somebody tells me that those people don't have enough money to fund this kind of thing (bullshit), or that Bernie won't target them he'll target you (bullshit) or that if you tax them they'll just run away to Panama (there was a study that demonstrated that when their taxes are jacked up they didn't even run away from New York to New Jersey).


This is extremely true. Financially responsible is also just "privileged."

They don't understand how different the state of primary education in the US is. Two school districts within 20 miles of each other are wildly different.

1. https://www.philasd.org/ 2. https://www.lmsd.org/


You post on a forum of rich techbros and you don't have any stocks that pay dividends? I make 20k a year, and I have dividend income, oh, and I paid off my student loans. Why bother being responsible if the government is just going to take away my savings/investments and give it to people who went to colleges they couldn't afford?


Of course some people fail to consider the privilege of family wealth, but wouldn’t student debt forgiveness also hugely benefit (perhaps unfairly) people with that privilege? I suspect that students with family wealth have considerably more student loan debt on average, because (among other reasons) they correctly judged that their family wealth would be a safety net for their future student loan debt.

I suspect that many students with less family wealth tend to take on less student loan debt, even if they would be accepted to the same college education opportunities. I would call this “financial responsibility,” and I would consider a blanket student debt forgiveness to be quite unfair to them.


>wouldn’t student debt forgiveness also hugely benefit (perhaps unfairly) people with that privilege?

The last thing these people want is meritocracy, because it forces them into competition with poorer people for the most prestigious and high status jobs.

If not having to worry about graduating with a crippling debt load is a privilege everybody has rather than a privileged elite, then the competition that privileged elite faces is greater.

>I suspect that many students with less family wealth tend to take on less student loan debt, even if they would be accepted to the same college education opportunities. I would call this “financial responsibility,”

Then you are also using "financial responsibility" as a euphemism for rich.


> Then you are also using "financial responsibility" as a euphemism for rich.

I am saying the opposite. The financially responsible ones I was talking about are the less wealthy people who choose to take on less debt because it would be a huge risk.


You are lauding the "financial responsibility" of 18 year olds taking what it usually the losing side of an enormous lifetime financial gamble that they are forced into? You're arguing that choosing tails on a bent coin is the "right" choice?

Just to be clear: 1) college debt is enormous 2) on balance it is worth the risk given future earning potential 3) it's not clear to the average person let alone the average 18 year old whether the gamble is correct.


I'm sorry, I don't think I'm arguing the things you suggest I'm arguing. I also don't know whether taking on college debt is usually worth it. If it is, then why do we need to forgive all the debt? If it's usually a wise choice to take on the college debt, then shouldn't we just have some programs for the minority of people whose post-college earnings were insufficient (something more like Warren's plan to means-test the aid)?


So the existence of financially irresponsible rich kids somehow disproves the idea that it's possible to pay back debt if you act financially responsible by running a sensible budget and cutting expenses?


It's possible for some; not for others. This isn't about what's possible, though, it's about what's fair.

It's treating the "right to untaxed unearned income entitlements" like interest, dividends and rent as intrinsically more fair ("financially responsible") than free education that bothers me.


Interest, dividends, and rent are all taxed in the U.S.

While we're on the topic of fairness...what about those people who will not go to college or send their kids there? Is it fair that they're forced to pay for other people's education?


I agree with one small point: Rent? Do you mean rental income? Because I feel like if a person can buy a place and then rent it out, that is an opportunity earned and converted into income. My husband and I own two rental properties, which took us about 11 years to acquire. We get decent rental income out of it but it took a lot of time and work to get to that point. I think we earned that income.


It's much easier to rob someone when you convince yourself that they didn't actually earn what they have.

This us vs them reductionism is seen in the early days of any communist system (the mass killings come a bit later)


Please don't take HN threads on generic ideological tangents. They're highly repetitive, therefore predictable, therefore off topic here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Ah yes, communism.

This isn't us vs them - this is us vs... us. Everyone should want to allow people to access education.


>I know a bunch of people who are not particularly responsible with their money (splurging) but they are beneficiaries of a lot of unearned income (interest, dividends, rent) and I have yet to hear a coherent argument for why this unearned income shouldn't be taken away and used to fund the kind of education that improves the overall wellbeing of society. This is the point where somebody tells me that those people don't have enough money to fund this kind of thing (bullshit), or that Bernie won't target them he'll target you (bullshit) or that if you tax them they'll just run away to Panama (there was a study that demonstrated that when their taxes are jacked up they didn't even run away from New York to New Jersey).

Emphasis mine


Calling the income "unearned" doesn't make it unearned. It doesn't make people any less deserving of keeping what rightfully belongs to them.

At some point in the past, a person (possibly an ancestor) took risks to create wealth. Part of the motivation is to later have an easy retirement or to support one's children. You'd kill that motivation, causing people to avoid the risks which would no longer create wealth, and thus prevent things like start-ups.


>Everyone should want to allow people to access education.

Why?



I think there are a couple of things that as a society we’ve failed to do to different extents;

1. Promote vocations and vocational schools (some people are better off here). It could be the traditional HVAC, welder, nurse or new types like front end development, aspects of IT.

2. Price loans according to prospects. Getting a loan for literature or writing should cost more than a loan for biology, informatics or medicine. Obviously predicting future demand is imperfect, but we also know what majors will likely have low demand into the future.


Especially since our federal loan programs have very generous repayment plans. 20 years paying no more than 10% of your disposable income and it gets wiped out.

I paid 264k plus interest. It’s bullshit to tax me further to pay off loans for people who can afford to pay it.


You paid 260k for uni degree? Thats insane. You could live with that comfortably in many countries (even developed ones) for 20 years!


Law degree but yea it was insanely stupid. But I didn’t have 264k dollar. The government loaned it to me.


This "tax" would not affect you in the slightest, unless you own an HFT firm.


He is proposing taxing all stock transactions .5%. I’d pay that and .5% I move my nest egg around adds up.

And his projections are pants-on-Fire stupid because he doesn’t account for the fact all high freq trading would move offshore if they taxed trades .5%.

Sanders is either an idiot or a bullshitter.


You may be a market timing genius and/or unicorn day trader but generally speaking nobody beats the market and nobody should be moving their own nest egg around, which usually only makes the brokerages money.


So the transaction fees get passed on to the people who buy into the funds (except, buying into a fund is also a "financial transaction" so may also end up being taxed).

Moreover this logic seems to assume HFT is useless. It's a source of liquidity. Everyone who directly or indirectly invests in the stock market ends up paying for higher liquidity - it's just a case of how easily you can see it.


But someday they might be a millionaire!!


> 20 years paying no more than 10% of your disposable income and it gets wiped out.

That's not quite true. The part that gets wiped out counts as taxable income for that year. In other words, if 100k of loans go away you now have a 10-30k tax bill depending on your income and state. I support closing that loophole, but otherwise I agree that it's a pretty fair system.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/09/24/public-...

Except that 99% of the people that attempt to do this via public service are rejected. Effectively, this program does not realistically exist for 99 of 100 people that try to do it.


LOL I wish you had to meet every single person who gets a break, and tell them with a straight face how some minuscule portion of your taxes "paid off" their debt.


To do this fairly it would have to be a kind of retroactive scholarship for all students, where you would be refunded your tuition as well.

Of course, then there are the people who chose not to study at university in the first place for financial reasons. I don't think there's a completely fair answer.


I agree this is straight up pork barrel politics, not good policy, and rewards poor behavior without anything preventing the problem from happening again.

A simpler, fairer proposal: give _everyone_ who attended college in the last X years $Y per year attended. At least that way the good actors aren't punished to subsidize the bad ones, and everyone is still drawn towards lower cost programs and valuable degrees.


It should be more of a sliding scale. Each year further from today gets less.


Sure, make it a chart. If you paid tuition during X year, you get $Y per month attended.


Thats about as close to fair as you can get. Maybe with some kind of interest reimbursement, for people who paid loans not cash. Also minus any tax credits youve gotten, for paying interest or principal.


This is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard suggested yet. It goes against every value of fairness we hold.

... I have little empathy for people with student or credit card debt. You took a deal knowing the terms full well, you have no right to complain that you owe the money you already spent but never earned.

What a load of horse shit. Once student loan debt couldn't be discharged through bankruptcy it fell to the perils of moral hazard. You want to pursue an English Literature degree at Harvard, by all means proceed, if that person footing the bill[2] then has skin in the game as to whether that debt can be repaid.

My solution to the student loan crisis, federalize all Sallie Mae [1] loans, let the lenders take a bath like when Washington Mutual was federalized during the Recession and then let a real market start underwriting student loans.

[1] https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/ [2] Edit: original was person/lender


I dunno what sort of message this is supposed to send to people. "Fuck you if you were a big enough sucker to pay back your debts"?


No. I have student loans, if next year all college students get free* tuition I'm not going to be upset that I had to pay. I'm going to be happy that they don't have my burden.

We as a society need to push the next generation up, not bitch that they don't have it as hard as we do.


I keep seeing this sentiment in this thread, but I'm not seeing the logic behind it explained. Normally the fact that other people have already committed their own time and money to deal with some issue doesn't mean we shouldn't address that issue going into the future. What's different in this case?


I think its interesting to apply the sentiment to other things.

Would a state funded levee system be a "fuck you" to people who lost homes in the flood that prompted them? It's being paid from their taxes, after all.

Is the chicken pox vaccine a "fuck you" to people who had it when they were young before it was available?

Are surgery advances a "fuck you" to people who previously got an amputation?

Was the introduction of the GI Bill a "fuck you" to everyone who served in the armed forces being it? After all, veterans pay taxes.


No, it's all just zero-empathy privileged people who don't want to share.


Yeah, I'm so privileged that I took on debt to go to university for a difficult subject and had to work and make lifestyle sacrifices to pay it back rather than voting for someone to give me a free ride.


Regardless of whether it would work well, the proposal is to help people who are suffering inside a horrifically broken system, not to give indiscrminate free rides to people who haven't even made the decision yet. The notion that massive tragedy is OK if the fault can be placed with the victims under the argument that they demonstrated financial incompetence is simply antithetical to civilization. Otherwise, why not ignore anything that can be placed under the umbrella of personal responsibility? High suicide rates? Who cares, it was ultimately the dead's decision. Don't look into it.

The idea that people deserve this and it's not fair to those who already made it through seems like a purely emotional reaction, and an extremely reductionist one, considering the dramatic complexity of higher education's actual value and how much risk is "worth it".


How is overspending on college any different than overspending on anything else? Is the guy who drives around in the BMW he can't afford "tragic"?

It's absolutely possible to pick an economically viable major, go to community college, go to a trade school... It's also absolutely viable to take on loans and pay them off through hard work. How important is that degree to you? If it's very important then expect to sacrifice, almost everyone else is.

I know so many peers with degrees of varying quality that spend their money on international travel, eating out almost every night, living in the most expensive cities in the world yet they complain about their student debt constantly. Now they're presenting themselves as true victims and acting like anyone who doesn't support this bail out is a hateful wretch.

I'm sorry but I worked hard and made good decisions and I absolutely expect the same level of competence from my fellow citizens. People make dumb decisions all of the time and you have to learn the hard way that your life is your's and there's no fairy godmother that will come waive your poor choices away.


Well, perhaps there could be. You just sound determined to never even countenance the possibility that things could be different.

MAGA, amirite?


Well, I don't think there can be a fairy godmother. Someone has to pay for all of this.

I do want things to be different though, and it starts with people taking on a lot more personal responsibility. Our whole society needs to reintegrate that concept into who we are and how we're raised. A lot of people are very quick to blame others for their mistakes and look to them to fix their problems.


> The notion that massive tragedy is OK if the fault can be placed with the victims under the argument that they demonstrated financial incompetence is simply antithetical to civilization.

It is, however that may be, fundamental to the modern conservative position on a wide range of issues.

> Otherwise, why not ignore anything that can be placed under the umbrella of personal responsibility?

That is, indeed, the point of the argument. (It is, of course, less consistently applied to corporations and the investor class because “job creators”, but still...)

> The idea that people deserve this and it's not fair to those who already made it through seems like a purely emotional reaction,

It's not, it's cynically manipulating emotional reactions. The motivation is more coldly considered defense of the privileged position of the already successful than any kind of emotional reaction.


Apples and oranges. Most of those things aren't fungible like money is. There's no moral hazard involved with someone receiving a new elective surgery. There's no opportunity cost to someone not receiving a non-existent vaccine.

GI bill is a disingenuous comparison because those people made pretty tremendous personal sacrifices in service of the country.


The hypothetical levee system and the GI bill are both very much the same situation, involving taxes assisting someone else. Why should citizens who lost property in a flood be responsible for ensuring that others in the future don't?

Why is the GI bill comparison disingenuous? The veterans who served before the introduction of the GI bill made exactly the same sacrifices as those who were eligible for it, and yet their taxes sponsored it. The fact that one group was put in personal danger doesn't make the comparison invalid.


Some would argue that the levee system creates moral hazard by incentivizing development in dangerous areas.

And the GI bill comparison is disingenuous because it's disgusting to compare the millennial English literature major whining about being unemployable to men who fought and died in Europe and the Pacific. It's not a comparison of pre-GI bill veterans to post-GI bill veterans that you are actually making.


>And the GI bill comparison is disingenuous because it's disgusting to compare the millennial English literature major whining about being unemployable to men who fought and died in Europe and the Pacific. It's not a comparison of pre-GI bill veterans to post-GI bill veterans that you are actually making.

Sorry, is it still "disgusting" to compare those English majors "whining" to American war criminals that murdered 2 dozen Iraqi civilians [1] and then faced no real punishment? Why do they get to reap the benefits of the G.I. bill? That isn't even getting into the dozens, maybe hundreds of war crimes committed by American soldiers that then get to go home and go to college for free. Why do my tax dollars have to pay for some overgrown manchild with the emotional intelligence of an alligator snapping turtle to go to college because he couldn't make it in any other field than killing people? Explain to me why I should support and reward murderers.

By your logic, the GI Bill incentivizes young people going to fight in jingoistic US wars (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, and hey look, maybe Iran) and somehow you think that people studying English literature is more morally hazardous?

See how easy it is to derail the discussion when you aren't interested in actually talking about the topic at hand?

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haditha_massacre


>It's not a comparison of pre-GI bill veterans to post-GI bill veterans that you are actually making.

That's precisely the comparison. You can't remove something from the argument space simply because it was a worse situation, that's a textbook logical fallacy. The thing being compared here has nothing to do with the sacrifices of soldiers, and everything to do with a specific proposal: a group of people being asked to contribute to the greater good via a benefit they were not able to have.

By the way, reducing this to "millenial english literature majors whining about being unemployable" simply makes people stop listening to you, because you clearly haven't been listening to them. Insulting, belittling, and making assumptions will always harm your point.


I disagree so very much!

Default rates on student loans are about %40. Home mortgages are about 4% and auto loans are about 6%, for comparison.

I've lived this too. My family was able to send me and my siblings to college on our own dimes. We worked our butts off to help the family pay for our schooling. I spent many hours after school in the family business, and many summers too. I had less of a teenage/childhood due to this. I contributed my income after graduation so my siblings could get through without debt too. I sacrificed my time and money for the betterment of my family. My family did the same for me.

Hopefully, I have proven that I have sacrificed enough to be considered a real voice in this conversation.

I would LOVE to cancel all these debts.

I've seen my friends and other family members struggle with these $800/mo debts for nearly a decade now. It does nothing for nobody but some rich jerk. I'm tired of seeing the people that I love struggle and be punished for trying to help the world. Yes, fine, I'm better off because of my sacrifice and my family's. And yes, fine, wiping out that debt would 'invalidate' that sacrifice, whatever that means. But I'd much rather sit on my porch my friends and drink a beer, rather than sit alone on my porch and drink 2 beers while my friends drive for Uber on the weekends.

Enough is enough. This pain is unnecessary and thus is cruel.


Let's unpack a few statements here:

> financially responsible enough to save and pay off their loans early

What if you are financially responsible and you don't have enough to save and pay off early?

> like me worked their asses off through college to be able to graduate without debt

I did too. How much debt did you have? As a college student, I could pay off $30k in debt with a few CS internships. No number of Google summer internships could pay off $200k in debt, though. Especially if you tack on more debt for medical school. Do you think it's feasible that there are people who bust their ass and still can't graduate without debt?

> irresponsible enough to dig themselves into a massive debt hole.

This is the real part I question. Who dug themselves into the hole? The parents? The kids? What did you know at 18? If you can barely drive, vote, or drink, how could you possibly predict the future that your financial choices might cause ruin to you and millions of others of your generation?

Can you, at the age of 18, as the world is telling you to go to the best college you possibly can, truly grasp the gravity of the decision you're about to make?

> I have little empathy for people with student or credit card debt.

Then you have little empathy. At 18, you didn't know the terms "full well." Most kids were duped. Most parents were fooled. The news said "if you get a college education, you're going to make more money." It still says that. So they make a connection and they don't question it. Even if you have to go into debt, you still make more money. The problem is, does making more money actually net you more money. Not a lot of people really thought that through.

So that said: is that worth punishing them? Is punishment the right thing? Why can't we look at this from compassion and caring, rather than punishment and justice?

A generation was tricked into a bad ride. My generation. I graduated (with debt paid off in a year) when the economy tanked, in 2009. It couldn't have gotten worse for me. And even though I'm part of the cohort that should most want to have everyone suffer the way I did and pay off debt, I don't.

Cause I don't want suffering. For anyone. Even if they get a better deal than me.

That's how progress goes: we give the younger ones a better chance than we did.

Education shouldn't be slavery. You shouldn't want this for others. This is a way out, and it likely won't come to fruition this way, but it is a way towards compassion.


Plenty of people at 18 have the personal responsibility and financial awareness to not get a useless degree in exchange for a massive amount of debt.

> That's how progress goes: we give the younger ones a better chance than we did.

Culture matters. Instilling a sense of personal and financial responsibility in the next generation is the best thing we can do to help them. Giving the most irresponsible people of our generation a massive handout is the opposite of that. Think about it, if an entire generation of people who came before you were absolved of tens (or hundreds!) of thousands of dollars of bad debt, why on earth would you think it was a good idea to pay off your debt and instead not just wait around for the same handout?


This is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard suggested yet. It goes against every value of fairness we hold.

Is there any chance this will really happen?

If the answer is no, don't waste your precious keystrokes.

If the answer is yes, ask for more: not only they cancel the existing debt, but they also give you your payments back.

Problem solved!! :)


This would be paid for by taxes on investments, and the result of this would be increased consumer spending. Which leads to good results for investors


I have some empathy for them because having a college degree is becoming less optional if you want to partake in today's economy, especially if you want to move up relative to your poorer parents who probably don't have the support and/or network for you to find your way to a good career. Sure, it's not required to have a financially stable background and college degree to make it but saying that forgoing them is a reliable path is not honest.

So, in that light, I would say that I don't think all debts should be cancelled but I do think we should remind ourselves that during the New Deal there were plenty of people who said that it would be unfair for the government to fix jobs and social security for lazy bums. We don't have to go to either extreme, cancelling all debts or showing no sympathy what so ever.


Like you, I have hard time empathizing with people that put themselves in debt "knowingly". It is hard to not think they are just stupid. The issue is, I was lucky to have the opportunity to be educated about these risks early enough. I have hard time blaming people of not knowing something that was never alluded to when they were growing up (e.g. credit is not free money). Otherwise I agree with you, this is a ridiculous solution to an otherwise real problem.


Maybe Bernie should fix the fact that our education system does not even include financial literacy courses instead of just mass forgiving debt.

EDIT: Apparently down voters on HN are against financial education in our public schools.


The etiquette is to not discuss votes on your comments. For what is worth, I suspect people dislike the snideness and lack of effort in the comment, not the notion of financial education.


Not to mention that the beneficiaries are by definition college educated, meaning they are currently or will in the future be among the highest income groups in the country!


It's important to understand that the government can't make loans disappear, all it can do is transfer the burden of the loans from one group to another. In this case, we have transfers from those who did not go to college or went to college and did not take out loans to those who did. A regressive transfer.

Then there is the issue of creating more imbalances. We send far too many people to college. Germany, for instance, sends 1/3 of its population to college (which lasts only 3 years and is quite strict) and 50% to trade schools. We have no trade school program and tell everyone to go to college, yet we struggle teaching useful skills to people. Something is broken in our college system, costing twice as much as the OECD and yet not doing a good job of producing skilled workers. This is not a system that should be further subsidized, rather we should spend much less on our universities and divert resources to trade schools. A bloated, dysfunctional system is not deserving of a bailout.

Then there is the basic issue of fairness. Colleges have huge endowments, employ excessive number of administrators in make work jobs and hold substantial real estate holdings -- these should be depleted first in any bailout of the system before we start tapping taxpayers. If a college is graduating large numbers of students who can't repay their college loans, that college should be liquidated as it is socially harmful. Liquidate the endowment, sell off the real estate and convert it to trade schools.

Finally, college educated kids are pretty privileged. We should focus on those who did not go to college.

On a personal note, my family did not have a lot of money. I was a decent student and had good SAT scores -- I got lots of brochures for Tulane, Brown, and other universities that I knew I couldn't afford. Instead, I lived at home and worked, and went to a community college on full scholarship. I got good grades and then lived at home and went to the local state school, also on a transfer scholarship. I worked. Then I went to an "elite" grad school, also on scholarship. I graduated with no debt. I could easily have gone to a private uni and been saddled with lots of debt, and then maybe clamoring for a bailout. But that would be irresponsible. There are plenty of low cost community colleges and state schools that offer scholarships to even half decent students. I am not looking to bailout anyone who made worse choices. I understand that people can suffer misfortune, in which case the school they went to should bail them out.


>By the numbers: Sanders plans to pay for the action by hitting Wall Street with a tax his campaign says will raise $2.2 trillion over 10 years, according Vox.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_financial_transaction_...

This is some relevant background reading for anyone who thinks Bernie's tax revenue numbers are realistic.


>The volume of futures trading fell by 98% and the options trading market disappeared

You have to wonder what the second-order effects of the options trading market disappearing (or being severely reduced in volume) would be.

I know there are some pretty important businesses that depend on options to hedge against commodity prices. Airliners and oil come to mind.


i would say getting rid of this market makes the financial system healthier. 2008 crash could have been avoided with something like this


Would it? It wasn't options trading that caused 2008; it was bad home loans.


yes. the derivatives built on top of bad home loans caused the contagion. it would have been close to a non-event if there were no derivatives based on the bad homeloans.

https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0210/did-derivat...

https://www.thebalance.com/role-of-derivatives-in-creating-m...


The derivatives were traded in massive blocks, not in high-frequency transactions where fees adding up matters.


As we learned in 2008, taking $2.2 trillion from "Wall Street" will have major effects on "Main Street" (we nearly had a total economic meltdown over Wall Street holding a "mere" $0.5T in toxic assets). Wall Street is not some wholly separate entity from the rest of the economy.


Some argue that this debt that has to be repaid 'no matter what' is part of what is wrong in today's societies and economies. Here read this book Debt: The First 5,000 Years https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6617037-debt


You're right but you're wrong. You're blaming students for an outrageous situation and saying they should have chosen simply to be poor.


But isn't this the definition of socialism: Taking from one and giving to another?


"...forcibly take money from everyone who was financially responsible..."

I am no fan of Bernie's but this description is completely wrong. A transaction tax would have little to no impact on ordinary savers/investors. It would have zero to do with credit card debt. It would at most represent a slight redistribution from assets generally controlled by the 0.1% to the top 50%.

The place where that tax would pull from in the financial system is currently mined by HFT bots. To the extent that this impacts you, you are already being skimmed by them, you just don't know it.

The financial system is REALLY REALLY big. Hundreds of $T change hands DAILY.


It's your description that is completely wrong.

A transaction tax has been tried before in Sweden[1], had disastrous effects on their stock markets, and had to eventually be repealed.

I don't think most people appreciate how efficient the US markets are today, relative to what they were like 20 years ago. HFTs do make a lot of money, but its a extremely small amount compared to the total size of the financial system [2], and it is decreasing rapidly each year as the competition increases.

If we impose a transaction tax, market makers who are already on razor thing margins will increase bid-offer spreads, volatility will increase, and it will become way more expensive on average to trade. There's a reason why you can trade virtually for free on your personal account today, vanguard is able to offer you 0.1% in management fees, etc. These things did not exist 20 years ago.

Its a common myth that HFT's are "stealing" money from investors, but if these firms were not in the markets, it would almost certainly be detrimental to the ordinary saver/investor.

Bernie definitely wouldn't be able to raise nearly as much money as he would need from this tax, and it would hurt the economy. Him and his advisors know it, but he just wants to pander to the anti-wall street sentiment while also making it seem like his proposal isn't completely fiscally irresponsible, which it is.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_financial_transaction_...

[2] https://www.ft.com/content/d81f96ea-d43c-11e7-a303-9060cb1e5...


Frankly I don't disagree, in the sense that this is largely a BS (pun intended) proposal from someone who does not understand how finance works. I am not a fan of Bernie.

But these particular counter arguments, such as they are, miss the forest altogether.

Sweden is...not the US. It's basically Ohio. Trying something in an Ohio that is not on the dollar does not tell you anything.

Some kinds of efficiencies in the US system are laudable, others are deeply problematic. Solving for e.g., humans trading on their personal accounts is a demonstrably terrible idea from a retirement savings perspective at scale.

The fundamental point is that in the US and in most of the world there is a deepening imbalance between capital and labor. And labor is going to have its say unless capital figures out how to share.

There are lots of ways this can go horribly wrong. Lots of current events rhyming with bad moments in history. Trump is this gone wrong. Bernie would be too.

A redistribution of wealth is coming, one way or another.


Money is fungible. Saying that the expenditure is funded by a tax on Wall Street is just clever bullshit to make it look like the taxpayers aren't on the hook for this absurdly expensive amnesty. The truth is those are two entirely orthogonal issues that affect the federal budget. If not this amnesty, the tax could fund something else. If this tax isn't enough, the money for this bill will come from somewhere else.


Money is a lot of things. It is fungible. It is also an asset.

The amount of wealth- assets- outside of their houses that taxpayers who are not in the .1% hold has become an increasingly tiny fraction of the overall total asset base- which VASTLY exceeds the tax base that people are accustomed to thinking about (taxes on their income).

Taxing the trading of these assets between one huge asset holder and another involves flows of money that generally speaking have nothing to do with most people. An analogy is- you're here in a nearly empty swimming pool a block from the beach and Bernie is talking about bringing in a pipe and a desalination plant to refill it, because there's a lot of water in the ocean.

Regarding the budget, to a first approximation, these loans do not have an impact at all. Where the Govt actually holds the asset, it is merely a fiction on the balance sheet. There is no "student loan interest payments" line item on the Treasury's income statement (https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/files/reports-statements/mts...). Where the govt is a guarantor, then there are private entities that do expect to be paid, and it would be good for the govt to not be put in the position to have to pay them without another source of revenue.

And it is absolutely true that from a particular perspective a transaction tax can provide an extremely useful source of revenue in the future, perhaps even offsetting personal income taxes.


If it's clever messaging and it works, it works. Some cohort in the country is going to be on the hook; it's up to democracy to pick which cohort that is (congressional representation, all that jazz).

Right now, Millennials are on the hook (carrying the debt). They're also now the largest voting cohort [1], having edged out Boomers this year [1]. Do you think they're going to stay on the hook? It's unlikely (~1.6 million Boomers die each year, about 1.3 percent of the Boomer cohort); Millennials will continue to reshape state and federal government each election cycle.

I imagine the cohort of voters who took on large amounts of student loan debt and successfully paid it off in a short duration of time is exceedingly small (but vocal!). Life isn't fair.

[1] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/millennials...


This makes me very angry. I went to college twice, both times I got a federal loan, and both times, through blood sweat and tears, I paid it off myself. Why should I be penalized for choosing a major that pays, getting a job, and knuckling down to pay these loans? People must be held accountable for their poor decisions, even if it is $100,000 in student loans to get an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women's studies [1]

I also take offense to general tone of liberal policy these days of "giving" something away, or making something "free." Someone has to pay for it. There's a lot to be said and agreed upon for the common good, but there's more to be said for just paying your own damn bills and stop waiting for someone else to rescue you.

[1]. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/your-money/student-loans/...


I respect your comment, and your viewpoint. But I often hear versions of this: "I had it hard, so we shouldn't let these soft youngsters get off any easier."

I'm not saying you don't have a point (college education has a cost), but on some level it's really just an argument for never making anything better.

I prefer to think, "Are we really so backwards and impoverished as a society that we don't even have the resources to educate our citizens?"


>"I had it hard, so we shouldn't let these soft youngsters get off any easier."

No, they are presumably angry because they are still paying for being responsible enough to pay off their debt in the form of opportunity cost. If they paid 100k off in debt in the past, that's money they don't have now to invest or spend.

Also, having taxes imposed on you for something you didn't get to benefit from at all (but easily could've) is pretty angering.


Yeah, I totally get the sentiment. It's absolutely valid and reasonable. But at some point we have to get to a place where newcomers to the system start getting a 'better deal' then the people came before them.

That's good news! That means the system is improving!


Well, the sentiment aside there's also the issue of the fact that you are subsidizing people that made less financially sound decisions and punishing those who made financially responsible decisions. What about the moral hazard?

i.e. if two people had identical student loan balances with $500 minimum payment per month and one person decided to pay $1000 monthly to pay it off quickly and the other person paid $500 and YOLO'd the other $500 monthly into instagram vacations, takeout food, Bitcoin at 19k, etc, you are effectively subsidizing the second group of choices.


Look at it another way. In the case of universities, the costs are the tuition/fees and the value is the income earned from skills obtained. The reason we are in this student loan crisis (and it is a crisis) is because universities charge too much and the value of what they provide is too low.

So the fact that students are not able to repay the loan is telling you something important -- university education is too expensive.

All of this is above and beyond our existing subsidies of 10K/FTE -- which in many OECD nations would be enough to fully fund university education.

So like healthcare, this is a cost crisis rather than a government funding crisis. You do not decrease costs by increasing subsidies. That is not making the situation better for anyone. Subsidies may be part of the solution, but we are already subsidizing enough, what we are not able to do is control costs and increase the value of the education for our students.

And the fact that in the past, students were able to go to university and pay off their loans without it being a national crisis but now they can't does not mean things have gotten better, it means things have gotten worse.

We need to get back to a state where university education can be provided cost effectively, rather than continuously increasing subsidies, because as long as universities can charge whatever they want and know the government will step in and pay for it, then that is a recipe for declining value, not increasing value.


That's a great point. A much better argument, I think, than the other ones I've heard against student debt forgiveness. Thanks!


I know at least a few upper-middle class families whose children went to get some easy, "artsy" degrees at $70K/year.

The parents had their children take on student loans, and bought themselves BMWs at the same time.

Now these kids graduated, are (predictably) struggling to make ends meet, and they may not be able to pay back their student loans.

Should the loans be forgiven in these case, as well? Who decides when and when not?

Also, the loan money did not only go to pay for tuition - I saw students doing homework on their top-of-the-line MacBooks sipping their $4 lattes all day long. Expensive vacations in some cases, too.


I don't think this slippery slope style reasoning captures interesting disagreement. Imo we should look at the majority of cases and not get lost in edge cases. Which category does what you describe fall into? My intuition says the latter.


"If I suffered then everyone must too!!"

I didn't get any student loans when I went to college, but I see the economic benefit of freeing up that revenue to be spent else where. This is just an indirect way of saying that turning education into an "investment asset" for banks was a mistake.


Certainly, but why would you jump to "take from; give to" rather than reforming a system of universities that vastly overcharges for an education - that at best is half-wasted on classes that are forgotten and unnecessary to a major? Would it not be a better use of taxpayer money, time, and policy to reform the university system, the loan system, rather than taking from one and giving to ...yourself? You're not a bank robber are you?!


"I paid my bills so everyone must too!".

Should we wipe out credit card debt next? Surely that's more of a burden than student loans since you can't defer payment and the interest rate is higher. How about mortgages, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt is definitely "suffering" levels.


You are being disingenuous when comparing spending too much money on your credit card to spending "too much" on education. I put "too much" in quotes because determining what the "right" education to get for the future is impossible. There are some educations that are more reliable (economically) but we have no clue what the job market will look like in 20 years, yet alone 30-40.

Also don't even get me started on how we turned a literal requirement to survive (housing) into a "investment" asset (mortgages).


Why is that disingenuous? People put food and rent on credit cards all the time, do they not need those things? You need a place to live (as you say) so by your logic we should forgive mortgages right?

It's crystal clear right now that "an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women's studies" has little to no economic value. That's always been the case and if you took out a huge loan to get that degree, you made an obviously poor financial decision that you alone should be on the hook for.


> You are being disingenuous when comparing spending too much money on your credit card to spending "too much" on education.

Nothing disinenguous about it when 'student loans' can be used for 10s of thousands of dollars worth of 'cost of living' type expenses. I refuse to take any student debt proposals seriously until someone puts forth one that excludes non-tuition expenses.


"In 2 minutes, primary charges will blow base charges and a few square blocks will be reduced to smoldering rubble."


You should get a check too. Everyone who paid student loans in the last ~20 years should get some amount of money. We could afford it for less than DOD accounting fraud.


An interesting position, but why 20 years? How did you decide on twenty years worth of student loans?


Why not just a straight refund for all tuition payments in the last 20 years?


or 40


College has gotten a lot more expensive lately. Anecdotally, after the recession my in state tuition doubled because of less funding from the state.

I agree it's a great question of what should be done but I'm mostly happy to reframe Sanders' proposal as a minimum.

Further reading - I'm a big fan of the schedule idea: https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2019/04/23/providing-re...


> Anecdotally, after the recession my in state tuition doubled because of less funding from the state

No, your state tuition doubled because of rampant spending increases underwitten by a limiless supply of student loans. Your state may have reduced funding somewhat, but that's not the primary cause of higher tuition.

Ask your state school system what it's employee:professor:student ratio is now vs 10 years ago. How many new buildings have been built in the past 10 years? And how do the construction costs compare to those built 20 years ago?


Better get $100k


well then we should probably pay black people reparations too then right? same logic?


You're saying this facetiously but actually yes, absolutely they should.


I'm not saying it facetiously. i mean it but the person i responded to it would never agree so they shouldn't expect their own reparations.


I think this response is hugely selfish. I also paid off my own debts. But why does that rule out even considering a different approach, where colleges (or maybe just public colleges) are paid for by the country? Because I don't want anyone to have it better than I did?


how are you getting penalized? where is the penalty that you will pay if this legislation goes into effect? were people that died before vaccines penalized in someway once vaccines were discovered?

edit: why does it make sense to be angry about this - it's not about you nor affects you except marginally. i will never understand why people get upset about other people getting lucky. like what a waste of a nice day.


>where is the penalty that you will pay if this legislation goes into effect?

Someone has to pay for that $1.6 trillion. So the GP is going to get it twice. First by having to pay off their loans and then again by having to (help) pay them off for everyone else.


You design a system for the citizens you're representing. Not for citizens you ideally want to be representing.

Are these debts using people's ignorance about financial terms to make money? AKA Are they predatory? - If so then that's a bad thing.

You might not care - but I care about the well being for people I'm sharing a society with. I don't want people taken advantage of. I don't want education to have capital associated with it. I want people to be able to get education without "oh will i be able to pay off the loans for this education."

So you might think you did a good job working your ass off affording education. People like Sanders and I think that getting a quality education should be completely unrelated to "working your ass off."

I've also worked my ass off to afford my education. I still think it's a bad system and I don't care if my taxes are rerouted from killing people in foreign countries to helping my society get stronger and better.


> Are these debts using people's ignorance about financial terms to make money? AKA Are they predatory? - If so then that's a bad thing.

They are predatory by definition, since they involve interest (usury).

It could be made fair that the debtors only pay back what they owe, without interest.


I guess the real question is if people are willing to pay those higher taxes needed to cover this expense.


We already pay a ton in taxes - let's see if he's ready to divert funding from other places.

I think most people who also think they'll have kids would also be fine with a percentage point or two increase if it means there won't be any more loans.


If you essentially aim to make all education free you'll have Nordic level taxes as a consequence.


Not if you don't implement the rest of the Nordic model.

Denmark used 13% of its combined government budget on education in 2017. 44% was used on welfare.

Permille combined public budget of Denmark in 2017 (in Danish): https://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/bagtal/2017/2017-08-31-hvord...

Translated: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=da&tl=en&u=https%3...


From what I understand the US tuition fees are significantly higher than what the Nordic countries spend per student at colleges. Making all US schools free would likely incur much larger costs than they do in the Nordic nations. Welfare is also a part of the free education promise in the Nordic countries as students are paid a monthly student allowance for studying.

Imagine asking the tax payers to pay students' Ivy League education tuition fees. Tax raises would be unavoidable.


You don't need to make all schools free. Just public schools.

If any school wants to be free, they need to implement the federal pay bands.

Get rid of subsidized student loans as well. There's no reason we should be subsidizing predatory tuitions.


Is a case by case thing, some maybe predatory, some ignorant, but some are not. You can’t just say everyone gets off Some bad apples are there


Right, but who cares!

Why do we want to preserve this system that doesn't allow everyone to have a fair chance of progressing? Why does education need to be artificially limited?

It's not difficult to imagine a world where education isn't limited by the amount of money in someone's bank. Think about all the possibilities if everyone can go learn whatever their heart desires without worrying about paying something back?


> Think about all the possibilities if everyone can go learn whatever their heart desires without worrying about paying something back?

They can do that online and or in a library. Once you start paying someone to teach them, it starts costing money and that money has to come from somewhere.


A bad apple would be somebody who could pay back the loan, but doesn't. But if you have income, the IRS will take some to pay your loan. So, no bad apples.


I, too, care about the well-being of people I'm sharing society with. This is why I'd rather have my money spent on realistic things like educating kids about management of personal finances and passing legislature to curb ridiculous tuition hikes instead of cancelling debt for people who should've done better job planning and screwing everybody else over for doing everything in their capacity to be a good citizen and pay off their debts.


Bernie and Warren are currently in a race to see who can unrealistically promise the most things to shore up the youth vote. I'm getting tired of unrealistic proposals that are akin to political grifting. These would never pass congress, even if Democrats controlled both chambers with super majorities. We can't get anything done in Washington because neither party puts forward anything realistic that can actually pass. It's tiresome. No one is willing to compromise and everyone puts up nonstarters.


The Affordable Care Act was absolutely a compromise. It's not difficult to imagine a compromise being reached on a pledge like this in a similar fashion. It's primary season after all, candidates are laying out their philosophy as much as they're laying out actual legislation.


How are this and ACA even remotely similar? This proposal doesn't even address the cause of high costs of education. So, we pay it all off and then wait for the next bubble. That's like implementing TARP in 2008/2009 to buy up bad banking assets and doing nothing else to prevent it from happening again.


I didn't say they were similar, I said that the ACA is an example of legislation that was passed through compromise.


The ACA was only voted for by one party hardly a compromise, and because of that it had been crippled on the state level where it absolutely needed support. So, still a poor example.


The ACA wasn’t a compromise between parties , it was a compromise between the conservative and progressive wings of the Democratic Party - Senator Joe Lieberman’s (a former Democrat who had run and won as an independent) vote was crucial to passing the act and also to the removal of the public option from the bill.


...and it doesn't really work because it wasn't a compromise between parties...since the GOP controls most state governments, they have stripped out the Medicaid portions. So...it is largely a failure in many regards. If there had been real party to party compromise, the bill might have actually helped cut costs. Instead it was just something to pass quickly to notch as an accomplishment. The Democrats aren't the only ones who have done that...the GOP is equally guilty. It's time to start compromising across party lines, and things like what Warren and Bernie have put forward do the polar opposite.


Medicaid has been expanded in the places where the vast majority of Americans live. Even in some red states.

Issues with the ACA are hardly limited to the Medicaid expansion. And labeling it as “something to pass quickly” does a disservice to the negotiation involved in the bill and how it almost didn’t become law in the end when the democrats lost their 60 seat majority in the middle of final negotiations and passing.

Not sure how anything new gets passed though. Even if warren or Bernie win, it’s unlikely they get 60 senate seats.


The reason I mentioned it is because the OP said:

> These would never pass congress, even if Democrats controlled both chambers with super majorities.


The way of dealing with the cost of education is in the article. College is made "free" for students, meaning the government becomes the single payer.


Right, and how does that address costs? It doesn't. It just shifts it to one entity. Unlike with healthcare the economies of scale don't apply as well to education. It just encourages the "bad actors" (ie Universities) to keep hiking up prices. Per capita spending per pupil in the US for primary schooling is close to the top, if not the top, in the world...but outcomes are poor. Not sure how this would be different in higher education.

This also assumes that college is necessary at all, and delays workforce entry.


Right now you can’t pay down employee’s student loans without it being considered taxed income. Even if the money goes from the employer to the loan servicer. It’s ridiculous. This does not need to result in a cancellation of all debt to result in progress.


Why should not that not be considered taxable income?

If it wasn't taxable income, you'd incentive students taking unnecessary loans senior year so they could get tax free income the subsequent one. Which accomplishes nothing but reduced government revenue and additional government money going to loan servicers.


So what you're saying is... there's a compromise to be made?


... It's not a compromise if you're negotiating with yourself.


"Unrealistic" is how most popular, realistic ideas that every other industralized nation has managed to put in to practice are put down.

Single payer healthcare is similar.

I still remember Chilean right wing commentators declaring free tertiary education as unrealistic not that long ago, before it became reality. Once it became reality it was declared "unfair". America will be no different.


Warren's suggestions seem more practical/plausible/informed. Any particular reason you are lumping them with Sanders'?


I think Warren knows when her unrealistic ideas are unrealistic. She has a background in econ, after all. She also knows that she has to negotiate, which means she has to open with an offer the other side won't accept. Her track record in Congress shows she's capable of that; she's gotten major bills passed before.

And I have a hard time thinking of someone more qualified to lead the Dems -- you've got the foot-in-the-grave (Biden, Sanders), the foot-in-the-cradle (Harris, Buttigieg, O'Rourke, Castro), the memes (Yang, Gabbard) and the anaesthetic (Hickenlooper, Klobuchar, Delaney etc). That leaves Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.


> I think Warren knows when her unrealistic ideas are unrealistic

Does she? Because this seems extremely unrealistic:

https://twitter.com/SenWarren/status/1141705066656751616


Are you sure you linked the right tweet? I thought you were going to be complaining about the wealth tax (which I think is an intentional, rhetorical oversimplification of the real plan) or some social program, but not a minor tax cut that affects less than 2% of the population!


I'm not complaining about anything, I'm giving you an example of her being very unrealistic.


What exactly is unrealistic about that? It’s barely a blip on the radar in any economic sense. Politically it might not be popular right now (???) but that’s irrelevant for evaluating competence.


It's unrealistic precisely because it's unpopular and will not get support. It's the same as Sanders proposal. Offer free stuff in exchange for votes knowing that you won't actually get approval for the free stuff.


The thing is, given a large enough voting bloc, you can vote out everyone that disagrees with you and pass sweeping legislation without needing to compromise. The goal is to force every legislator in Congress to pick a side for the sake of knowing who to vote out.


Why exactly is this unrealistic? I think Trump's tax cut was $1 trillion annually. So a one time $1,5 trillion payments doesn't sound too unrealistic to me.

It can even be done without Congressional approval.

> "the Higher Education Act in 1965 gives the secretary of education the power to write off federally owned student debt unilaterally, under the “compromise and settlement” provision. Doing so would wipe out an enormous financial burden on the working and middle classes overnight. The Department of Education could also purchase the roughly $64 billion in privately held student debt, then use the same authority to write it off."

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/04/student-loan-debt-forgiveness...


If Sanders won the presidency on this platform, there would be some pressure to support the policies that got him elected.


And what evidence do you have that this is true? Someone can win the Presidency but it doesn't always mean that Congress falls in line. Even with a tremendous wave behind him, Obama barely passed ACA, with no bipartisan support. The people in swing states that voted for it were axed in the next election. People claimed this about Trump too, that people would be pressured to support his platform because he win...where is the evidence? The only person I can think of that this happened with in the past 50 years is perhaps George W Bush's tax cuts in early 2001.


Can someone else propose a bill to bar senators who are running for president from proposing bills?

I find this disgraceful. Most of these loans were taken by students and co-signed by parents / guardians. Meaning everyone knew what they were getting into. Presumably, because the parents / guardians are on the line if the students can pay their debt, they would / are providing guidance (i.e. thinking of the long-term impact).

Buying votes is the hallmark of American politics, usually with political favors; but this is a tad more than normal.

I'll take my $70k in loans over selling my soul.


Moral Hazard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_hazard

Who would pay toward their current student bill, if there were any chance of this passing? And what is the incentive for anyone to choose a cheaper public school, rather than a more expensive private one?


> And what is the incentive for anyone to choose a cheaper public school, rather than an expensive private one?

From the article

> as part of a package that also would make public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free.

There would be no incentive to pick a cheaper school because all schools would have the same price -- $0.00. Students should go to the best school they can get into. Schools should enroll the best students they can attract. It's better for both parties.


Most schools are private.


Huh? In what country? In the USA, most schools are public, if we go by students that attend public vs private universities and colleges.


I remember 26 year old me making this same argument in 2008 on Craigslist Message boards about the housing crisis.


The housing crisis that the government bailed out?


Interesting strategy. Clearly hoping to effectively buy the votes of those with debt but the flip side is he dramatically alienates himself from anyone even approaching the "fiscally conservative" portion of the political spectrum. I guess his gamble is that he had already lost all those potential voters. Not sure it's a winning strategy.

I would not have voted for Bernie before this, but it further reaffirms my fears of his election. The fears are probably largely unfounded as he would be likely blocked by the legislature but who knows.


I don't know why anyone even touching the "fiscally conservative" end of the spectrum would even consider Sanders. Anyone alienated by this proposal was alienated long ago, so I really don't think this is going to have a big impact on him.


I don't know why anyone even pretends there is a "fiscally conservative" end of the spectrum. A few writers at the WSJ and a banker or three does not a demographic make.

No one cares about that stuff. No one. Everyone wants the government to spend on their priorities. Everyone thinks spending on other people's priorities is wasteful and unsustainable.

Everyone is wrong. The galaxy brain end of things is the realization that, yes, US government debt is almost literally free money in every sense of the word and we're absolutely bonkers not to be spending it on objectively useful junk like education.


> I don't know why anyone even pretends there is a "fiscally conservative" end of the spectrum. A few writers at the WSJ and a banker or three does not a demographic make.

How does a perspective like that gel with a state like Texas?

https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/per-capita-state-s...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_GDP_per...

> The galaxy brain end of things is the realization that, yes, US government debt is almost literally free money in every sense of the word

How does a perspective like this gel with any of the numerous hyperinflation states that have tried this?


> How does a perspective like this gel with any of the numerous hyperinflation states that have tried this?

None of them were issuing US debt. Have you ever recommended a home purchase as an investment? US bonds are cheaper than mortgage interest.


So because mortgage interest > US bond interest, US gov debt is free money? The debt still needs to be repaid and that repayment has to either come from inflation or from taxes. Neither of those are "free". You can't treat it like it is and any perspective taken that it is free is one that clearly doesn't take into account the realities of other economies. It might be relatively low cost money on the margin, but you're just borrowing from future citizens or planning to default.

Unless you believe the US government has absurd returns on its spending which of course doesn't gel with US GDP growth in relation to US spending growth...

ajross 21 days ago [flagged]

> Unless you believe the US government has absurd returns on its spending which of course doesn't gel with US GDP growth in relation to US spending growth...

Citation needed. In fact US growth relative to revenue has been consistently and considerably higher than the rest of the industrialized world for effectively all of the past century.

But it doesn't really matter, because you're making a tribal point and not an economic one. A year ago, I'm quite certain you were nowhere to be found when the government decided to spend $1T of that same free money and hand it to wealthy taxpayers. But try to do that same thing for recent students and you all lose your fucking minds? Yeah. Tribal.

I said it up thread: no one cares about this stuff. You don't care about this stuff. You just don't want the government spending its free money on the wrong people.


AJ, letting people keep the money they earn can cause the economy to expand. It happened in the 80s, 90s, 00s, and it's happening now. Any engineer worth their salt should know that every choice comes with trade-offs. And finding the optimal mix of taxation, regulation, and free market capitalism is a difficult balancing act. If the economy stops growing, our huge debt becomes a huge problem. The only reason money is cheap is because the U.S. has a track record of growth. If that growth stops due to excessive regulation or taxation...money gets more expensive and long-term tax rolls go down...meanwhile debt stays static and the cost of servicing that debt consumes a higher portion of Federal tax revenues. Millions of people care about this stuff. Your arm chair observation proves nothing, says nothing.

There's no such thing as free money. It's beyond ignorant to say so.

ajross 20 days ago [flagged]

Citation. Needed.

That's just wrong. There's no meaningful economics behind the magic fairy dust notion that tax cuts cause growth. In fact where actual research has been done, the effect more often shows the opposite. Tax cuts go disproportionately into illiquid investment holdings, while spending end up in consumer pockets. Look. It. Up. Or, y'know, keep parroting what you hear on "business news" and FOX.

creddit 20 days ago [flagged]

Your level of discourse is not conducive to your points. You rant to get citations from others without providing any of your own (just telling people to look it up) and then you make unfounded assumptions about the behavior of those you converse with. If you want to get your point across, you’re rhetoric does you no favors.

Your economic arguments have so far been “debt is free and there’s no multiplier effect on tax cuts” which seems dumbfounding to anyone who studied economics. Tax cuts that aren’t associated with federal spending decreases are obviously going to increase spending. Also, if you really believe the US debt is free money, why have any taxes at all? Your arguments are incoherent, unspecified and full of ad hominema.

creddit 20 days ago [flagged]

Your arrogance is incredible. How you can call my arguments “tribal” and then proceed with this diatribe is baffling.

And if you’re referencing the “Trump tax cuts”, no, I was not in favor of that. You seem to think that because I implied I’m somewhere on the fiscally conservative spectrum, that I’m a full blown Republican. Comical coming from someone ranting about tribal arguments.

Also, revenue != spending.


There's no such thing as free money. The economy and the Fed does not run on magic. Financial ruin is a very real possibility for the United States.


Sure, but it does not seem that any conservative voters are troubled by the increasing debt when a Democrat is not in office. Otherwise approval ratings wouldn't be so high


So you haven't heard about the Libertarian party, which got close to 5% of the popular vote last election? There is absolutely a large demographic (which includes libertarians but also goes far beyond) which wants to drastically reduce the size of government spending.


> Everyone

I don’t want the government to spend at all. I don’t want a government at all.

Yes, I’d be happy to pay a toll on every other road and every time I cross a bridge. Yes, I’d be happy to carry a firearm at all times (the SCOTUS ruled that the police don’t really have the duty to protect you anyway).

Most ambulances are private already.


Agreed, hence my point "I guess his gamble is that he had already lost all those potential voters".


Fiscally conservative people have student loans too.


If they're truly fiscally conservative then they only have loans they can afford to pay off and a degree that was worth getting.


No one is truly fiscally conservative. Everyone likes free stuff as long as someone else is paying for it.


Raising taxes to pay for programs is more fiscally conservative than cutting taxes and raising the deficit


Not everything is about strategy. Bernie already wanted to make collage free. It would be unfair if he did not also want to erase student loans.


Fiscally Conservatives? Where are these people you speak of?

This is basically a tax cut for the college educated youth to give them more freedom and mobility. After a couple decades of spending on Wars, Banks and Billionaires, why not give handouts to this generation?


One good reason is that a $1.6T handout to the "young and educated but not quite poor" is the wrong demographic. If you want to spend that money on an inequality fix (and I agree, we should spend that money on an inequality fix) it should be aimed farther down the ladder. But it's better than nothing.


Are we trying to solve inequality? Look at demographics the millennials are the largest voting group now surpassing the boomers. Student Loans debt is killing them. Millennials are poor compared to their counterparts. Seems good politics if anything. This idea that democrats or republicans are looking for solutions to fix the country is laughable at this point.


And if's really justice driving someone, they should be angry at colleges who charges tens of thousands of dollars for degrees they knew going in were going to be worthless. I see forgiving this 1.6T in debt without correcting that system of injustice as compounding injustice even more.


I don't think the very poor make up much of the voting population.


A fiscal conservative would do what is necessary to make the economy strong, and keep citizens educated. If you think putting decades of economic onus on the future of the economy is a good idea, you're not fiscally conservative.


So they'd still be against giving people who recklessly took $200k in loans to study oil painting a free ride.


>...$1.6 trillion of student debt held in the United States...

According to https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/student-loans/student-..., $119.31 billion of the debt is private.

>Sanders is proposing to pay for these plans with a tax on Wall Street his campaign says will raise more than $2 trillion over 10 years, though some tax experts give lower revenue estimates.

So, a portion of the tax would go right back to the banks financing that private student loan debt. Interesting!


Hmm, that's less than 10% of the debt held. Given they as a whole will pay $2T over two years, wouldn't they be losing money as a whole?


The private entities that hold this debt are generally completely different from the entities whose activities would be taxed.


How does it go back to the banks?


It gets paid to some banks from taxes on other banks.


The new taxes on the banks pay off the loan balances owed to the banks


I understand moving the Overton window, but a plan like this just seems infeasible and dangerous. Like drug prices, the price of higher education should absolutely come down (or wages rise faster than the cost of higher education).

I actually think the Department of Education's strategy is a good step forward here. By publishing earnings data of grads by major it helps inform prospective students of what would be a prudent major.

My hope is that with the resurgence of the space sector with private space companies and going to Mars, that kids will have a new found interest in the sciences and move into more technical fields.


Right after I’ve finished paying mine off, of course. Do I (and everyone else in my position) get money back? Or did we spend all those years cost-cutting for nothing?


I wish college had been free for me too -- that would've drastically changed my relationship with where I could decide to attend.

But if we generally improve society in any way, it means that some of the difficulties / obstacles that people have faced so far will be more rarely faced (or maybe eliminated) by people who come after the changes.

It isn't fair any more than it was fair that people who learned to program in the 80s/90s had to buy their compilers and software and didn't have Stack Exchange. Or, more dramatically, it isn't fair any more than it's fair for people who suffered or died from infectious illness before antibiotics.

As the saying goes: we all sit in the shade of trees we did not plant, we all drink from wells we did not dig. If we're bitter about planting trees we don't get to sit under, we break the chain that lets society move forward.


As the saying goes: we all sit in the shade of trees we did not plant

Isn’t this more like Sanders taking a tree I planted and giving it to a treeless person and telling them it’s free?


I think you're hosed. Public consciousness is substituting don't oppress people for being in a position of weakness for let's subsidize weakness. Sanders is selling other people your money. Everything he says is "free" or "cancelled" is really taxpayer funded.


I'd much rather a politician sell my money to forgive student debt than to fund war, corporate tax breaks, and bank bailouts. It'd be a positive change of pace.


If student loans could be discharged banks wouldn't lend to unworthy creditors. Because the bank gets paid back written in blood you might as well just provide as many as people will sign for. Doing useless degrees in particular seems like a better deal from the financing side. If this were normal debt and the degrees people got were useful, maybe yes.


Throwing money at the first does not preclude throwing money at the other three as well.


It's not one-or-the-other. This is still America; you'll get both. There will be more wars, more corporate tax breaks, and more bank bailouts. You can count on that.


We've wasted $6 trillion (!!!) dollars on the "War On Terror". Forgiving $1.6T in student debt that shouldn't ever have existed if government policy had been properly implemented (appropriate funding levels of higher education institutions) seems like good policy; those student loan servicing dollars will go back into the economy for goods and services they otherwise wouldn't.

Fixing poor public policy in this case isn't subsidizing weakness; it's correcting an economic inefficiency. Somewhere between 60-70% of Americans support government funded higher ed; this is simply enacting it a bit later, retroactively (and based on polling, the support is there).

To put this into perspective, it ($1.6T) is less than 3 years of US military spending at current funding levels [1]. Pain is to be expected as the country unwinds poor decisions (education and healthcare in its current forms). Macro economic decisions should not be made emotionally, so squash the desire to argue moral hazard. We've burned up far more dollars as a country on far worse decisions.

Disclaimer: Sanders supporter, no college, no student loans

[1] https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-military-budget-components-ch...


>Fixing poor public policy in this case isn't subsidizing weakness; it's correcting an economic inefficiency.

If the government doesn't first fix higher education for people graduating highschool from now into the future, then they're not accomplishing anything. They're just buying votes.


I expect that to be a part of this initiative. It would not make sense to do otherwise.


Or those who skipped going to school because they did the math and figured out it was not worth the debt. Can those people go get free degrees too?

I don't know what the solution to correct the past problem is. But I don't like setting the precedent that if the masses fuck up and make poor choices that they should get a pass later.

I could 100% get behind student lone forgiveness if any degree issued was paid for by debt being forgiven was made null. This protects those who figured out how to pay them off, and those who did not get degrees because of the cost. Each person would be able to chose their degree over debt -- the same decision many of made in the past.

To fix the issue moving forward, guaranteed loans need to be done away with and lenders need to weigh risk and validate loans based off merit and a degree's likelihood produce a job to pay off the loan.


Isn't the masses fucking up basically the only time passes like this are given out? Don't get me wrong, it feels super shitty as someone who's paid off their loans but I'm not going to argue if people can make a good economic case that we would all be better off if the existing debt was just ersed.

A few people taking out large loans for degrees that didn't end up being worth it is an issue of personal responsibility. When an entire generation does it there's something more systemic going on.

I mean how many people on HN can say in good conscience that their Uni education was worth the money? I think mine had value in a life experiences sense but what actually landed me my first job was a passion for tinkering with code and systems that started in HS. Outside of the "having an impressive sounding degree" to put on my resume there's no way that the actual education dollar for dollar it was worth it. I had a few professors that were actually mind opening but it was the exception rather than the rule.

I realize that University education is super important to a lot of other fields but it seems like a weird argument to make in a forum of people with CS $50k-$200k CS degrees that probably got eclipsed by less than two years of work experience.


A handful of people make bad decisions, sure, but when large masses start making bad decisions, then there is a serious systematic problem that needs to be addressed beyond the specific financial burden on the students.

Just bailing people out without addressing the systematic problem is the worst possible thing you can do.

Here are just a few systematic problems:

- We send far too many people to universities and have no trade school infrastructure

- Our universities cost double per FTE than what other universities cost (per year). Universities are far too expensive with bloated admin staff.

- Our universities last far too long and are not selective enough

- Our universities allow students to graduate with unmarketable skills.

- Our universities are sitting on huge endowments and possess significant real estate assets yet these are not being tapped for the bailout

- students are given incorrect information or are not given accurate information about their future expected earnings and debt burdens.

- many students choose poor majors

- many students borrow too much, and the Federal government guarantees these debts.

I would be willing to listen to a comprehensive reform program. Clearly there is a problem that should be addressed. But just bailing people out to let this system continue? That's a terrible idea.


> Can those people go get free degrees too?

The article says yes.


"But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’"

This is a very bitter pill. But you get to choose how to swallow it.


I’m curious, where is that from?


'the parable of the workers in the vineyard', one of the weirder and more radical ones. It's a real hard thing to think about, which is probably why it sticks in my mind. It takes every normal rule about sensible economic practices and just stomps on it.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+20&vers...


Jesus [0]. Now if that 1.6T was the money that Bernie Sander's himself had loaned out to students, I could see the connection here.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Workers_in_the_...


Where else? The Bible. Jesus is trying to point out that it doesn't matter whether you were pious all your life or came to it late. You still get to enter the Kingdom of Heaven


and the Kingdom of Heaven does not have to have anything to do with “what happens to you when you die”.

Along with “son of man”, it’s one of the more undefined but well known phrases from the NT.

I tend to think it’s got vastly more to do with improving the life we know than it does with anything about “getting to go to heaven if you’re good”


The parable literally starts saying "The Kingdom of heaven is like"... so you can't really escape from that context.


What I mean is that the phrase itself is not well defined. Certainly the parable is meant to tell us something about its character, but not necessarily its nature.

Until I was in adulthood I figured it meant “heaven”; that is not at all clear, actually.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingship_and_kingdom_of_God#...


But in Sanders' case 1) it isn't his money (and no, that money doesn't just appear because he wants to spend it), and 2) it sets the expectation of future cancellations, promoting excessive borrowing (moral hazard).


I'd be interested in opposing views, as there must be some, judging by the reaction, but the above seems very apparent to me - I don't see why people would disagree or consider it controversial. Sanders wants to tax high earners to fund the debt forgiveness, and even if that would be sufficient, those funds would not be available for other spending (e.g., medicare for all, or the next "should be free for all" program - "housing for all", etc.)


you fulfilled your obligation. so, just carry on with your life.


So he shouldn't complain about unfair treatment?


What obligation? If this passes, student loans were never an obligation, so he can't have been fulfilling one. Instead he made a gift to the treasury.


that's like saying crimes committed before a law was overturned weren't crimes. should all the people jailed for pot (that have served their sentences) get time put back on the clock?


Yes, and that's what we're doing [0].

[0] https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/tns-s...


i said time put back on the clock, not formality that pretends like it didn't completely ruin their lives.


Agreed. I’m about $3,500 away from paying off the last of my private loans. And although I’m wondering about the implementation details, I’m still OK with it.


Same here. I know people who aren’t as well off as I am and need help, but I also know people (more than I can count on one hand) who could pay their student debt off by cutting expenses but aren’t because they are expecting amnesty.


Life is unfair. A polio vaccine can't help those who have died


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