George Washington University students on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 20, 2012. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters )
This week, the Left has intensified its calls for President-elect Joe Biden to forgive student debt via executive order, perhaps as much as $50,000 per borrower. Such a move would constitute both awful policy and an abuse of the discretion that Congress has granted to the executive branch in this area.
It is often said that Americans’ trillion-and-a-half-dollar student-loan debt is a “crisis.” It is not. As Beth Akers of the Manhattan Institute has noted, the typical four-year college graduate who borrowed starts with a debt of $28,500, which he can eliminate with 20 years of $181 monthly payments. By way of comparison, bachelor’s-degree holders outearn high-school grads by something like a million dollars over the course of their lives. College costs too much, but not so much that we need to feel sorry for the most educated people in our society.
What about those with far higher burdens? These large sums normally come from graduate studies, not four-year degrees, and are disproportionately possessed by folks with relatively high incomes, including doctors and lawyers. Higher undergraduate debt is also often the result of