1406 (suite #201) West Lake Street Mpls., MN 55408
Solving the Student Loan Debt Crisis
It should serve as a perfect example to everyone that such asimple problem could present such a complicated issue. Solving this crisis should have been accomplished generations ago. There is only one reason why it has persisted, greed. (we'll circle back to that theme later...) I will make several fundamental points about this issue, including explaining in some detail how we can absolutely solve this problem. Before we start, let me encourage people to contact me anytime about his issue. I know how it affects the daily lives and living conditions of so many of our district residents and I'd love totalk with you further about this problems we're all facing. Your input and feedback is as importnat as anything as we work to perfect our overall resolution and include as many specific details as we can. (the only way to do that, is to somehow know everything about everyone's personal situation...) There are really, so many critical points that I can make, but I'll try to limit my comments to something that seems reasonable.
1.) Higher education costs have gotten out of hand. Much like prescription drugs, movie theater popcorn, nightclub drinks, etc., consumers have been conditioned into believing that these are "life or death" commodities and therefore the "manufacturers" can rationalize charging anything they want, or whatever they believe people will pay. This has to be addressed. We must start limiting the prices of tuitions and associated costs for higher education. Whether through govt. subsidy policy, market correction, or direct boycott. As a country we have to decide that the cost of college education is not only too high, the high cost is wrong and counter-productive. Frankly, it is a ridiculous hypocrisy to argue that public education is so necessary that the govt. must provide it to every living resident, and at the same time, justify ending it at 12th grade and insisting people pay exorbitant personal costs in order to continue. (and let us never forget that the use of cost as a determining factor in college choice, educational opportunity and ultimately life long financial success, is also at the heart of our income inequality discussion...)
2.) Lately we've heard the Bernie Sanders wing of the progrssive party talk about cancelling student debt. Let me state without equivocation that the very idea of "cancelling" student debt is neither reasonable nor realistic. I underdtand that to people with burdensome student debt, that option must sound like a miracle. But let me assure you it is more likely that you will win thelottery than thiscountry will ever agree to wipe away annyone's legally incurred debt. I'm sorry to be the person who tells the truth, in the face of so many politicians so willing to tell you fantastic lies in an effort to win your support. But, I don't care how long you live, that's all these lies will ever amount to. Tricks and political rhetoric designed to excite the masses into supporting people who have no legitmate solutions or ideas on solving this problem. Whenever you hear a politician discuss thae idea of magically "wiping away student debt", you can know for sure that they are selling you down the river. It is a fundamentally flawed concept and a total non-starter politically. Sadly, there are many politicians today who prefer to stroke people's fantasies rather than discuss realistic solutions. The good news is, there is a reasonable and realistic answer to this problem.
3.) The realistic solution is quite simple. (Of course, in conjunction with lowering costs and expanding school choice) END both the interest and term conditions on all student loans and make 100% of the loans totally NON-interest loans, payable over the LIFE of the borrower. (we'll restate this simple formula again to make sure everyone follows it...) Of course, there will be guidelines, and protocols and specific policies involved. For example, credit scores can still be adjusted and reflect the borrower's financial commitment to repayment. But whether the person pays the loan(s) back in 3 years, 10 years or 30 years is the borrower's choice and option and our bottom line fundamental principle in this nation going forward ought to be that NO FINANCIAL CHARGE, FEE or PENALTY should ever be assessed for education-based loans. Essentially, when the loans are paid back shouldn't really ever matter to anyone except the borrower themself. Right now, there's so much profiteering involved, everyone cares. That's just absolutely the wrong way to handle this issue. There are far too many ways to make money in this country to resort to profiteering off of people trying to better themselves, or attain a higher education. While it would be wholly unwise to offer free money to young people under false pretense, the wise and fair distribution of loans that must be repaid insures a calculated and understood acceptance of responsibility.
Right now, the biggest problem with school loans is that there are too many companies wildly profiting on the backs of people who just want to become better and more productive citizens. This is an insane and quite backward juxtaposition of principles. It should be the govt's job to ensure that students have access to reasonable employment and a standard of living commensurate with their education and training. So if the govt. does its job, there will be every incentive and opportunity for all students to pay back all student loans. And while it would be impossible not to conceive that some loans won't be repaid, (for a variety of reasons) that number will be far smaller than the current default rate. Again, obviously, there will be intelligent and fair codes, guidelines and policies, (and this framework needs to be bourne of proper legislation and constitutionally validated law, not some fly-by-night executive order, that can be rescinded with every new administration...) but the bottom line is, whether you borrow $10,000, $50,000, or $250,000, then that's precisely how much you have to pay back. Not 1 dime more. And if it takes you 5 years, 10 years or even 40 years, that won't change anything.
Imagine current debt holders finding out that not only is their interest wiped away, but they now have an unlimited amount of time to pay back their principle. Many consumers would have no debt left if interest payments were erased. Many others would be freed to make serious life changes that would positively impact them right away. Others might take a break from paying on their debt, until they improve their job status and have a lot more disposable income.
This is a real, reasonable and worthy solution that makes sense and promotes the type of fairness our society should have already instilled into its core structures and institutions. Yes, America is a capitalist society, but we are also the wealthiest nation on the planet and we don't have to suck the blood out of every last citizen especially when it's so clearly counter-productive. In plain point of fact, it is the unfair efforts of greedy financial institutions that jeopardize our status as a wealthy nation and bring into reality the possibility of default, downward economic trends and longterm recessions. Rather than always seeking to take advantage of 100% of all capitalist-based, money-making opportuities, we should be actively looking for chances to create self-sustaining institutional upgrades. A system where nearly 100% of all student loans are repaid and more people can graduate faster, with less overall debt, and a more flexible framework of repayment makes sense for almost everyone. Admittedly, there will be some rich, financial institutions who see the elimination of interest payments as a financial loss. (But, if we consider how much less lobbying costs they'll incur...it may well equal out in the end...)
It's important that everyone who supports me and our overall effort to uplift and revolutionize the manner in which Congress people are elected and district residents are represented truly understand that I get it, and that we as a country do have a reasonable solution to this issue available to us. This solution is only a sacrifice by the giant, super wealthy financial companies who have been getting rich for generations by unfairly squeezing the system. Also, it's important for eveyone to remember that the only reason no one talks about this solution is because the politicians and political leaders are bought and paid for by the lobbyists, financial supporters, and Political Action committees who work for these same giant, super wealthy financial companies. Quite frankly and honestly, it will take more than just 1 independent, non-partisan, unbiased, unrestrained elected Congressman (meaning me) to challenge this particular status quo, but we have to start somewhere. With the platform of an elected leader, we would work to inspire others to see this truth. When we have enough like-minded individuals in Congress, we can make these necessary (long overdue) reforms.
I want to remind everyone that it's highly unlikely that this is entirely my idea. (there's no question, I'm a genius...) But while I've never actually heard anyone discuss it in this manner, I'm sure some highly intelligent and thoughtful financial person came up with something close to this plan a long, long time ago. Maybe even some naive legislator drafted a bill with this basic framework. (right before he was never heard from again...) One thing I keep telling people is, despite how completely broken our current system is, there have always been solutions. Some are very simple, some are less simple. We have always had in this country, non-profit organizations, philanthropic foundations and just plain smart, and good-hearted people working solely to fix problems that we have. We have never had a lack of solutions. What we lack is the political will to turn solutions into meaningful legislation and real reform. We don't need to find and elect "special" people who are the only ones who know some about secret fix, but rather, we need new leaders who are willing to work together for the good of the common citizen. Not beholden to partisan politics, not obligated to fatcat fundraisers and rich financial backers, not self-impressed with their own ideas or personal political ambitions. Just regular people, willing to do what is necessary and smart to benefit our constituents.