04 Jul unHappy Dependence Day
The Biden Administration’s so-called plan to “forgive” federally backed loans to 43 million college students was rejected by the United States Supreme Court on Friday. That is a good thing.*
*In full disclosure, this blogger, his wife, and children had parents who saved money for the cost of college. Your humble blogger did briefly obtain a student loan in law school, but he quickly repaid the loan thanks to his wife working long hours at a job sufficient to cover that tuition. Nevertheless, we do understand that the majority of families are not able to do the same.
Many of you apparently agree with the Supreme Court, as the subject line “How can we forgive you?” drew a huge number of readers to our post last summer on President Biden’s plan. We bet you also agree that other forms of government bailouts should end as well.
Our nation did not sign the Declaration of Independence 247 years ago today with the idea of reverting to dependence some 247 years later.
The student-loan case decision actually did a favor to those students who now must pay off their own loans, rather than having the taxpayers do it for them. Among other things, young people go to college to learn how to live independently. Learning instead how to become dependent on government is a bad thing.
Very briefly, the case stemmed from the U.S. Secretary of Education’s plan, announced last August, to eliminate up to $20,000 in debt per student. President Biden long had been promising such an idea, which would have wiped out one-fourth of the $1.6 trillion in total student loan debt, costing taxpayers over $400 billion. Lawsuits to block the plan were filed in the names of six states and even a group of student borrowers.
The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the plaintiffs had legal “standing” to challenge the program and whether the Department of Education (a) exceeded its authority and (b) was “arbitrary and capricious” in basing its action on a federal law authorizing relief in the event of “a war or other military operation or national emergency.” And that is what the Court decreed — that such broad forgiveness would need to be authorized specifically by Congress itself.
Within hours after the SCOTUS ruling, the Biden Administration announced that it would try again to cancel the debts another way. Although we realize that financial aid is necessary for many students, we do not believe writing off student loans truly helps those students, nor is it equitable for millions of students who already have repaid their student loans. The proposed canceling of student debt appears to be a way to buy the votes of young, college-educated people.
Dependence is Not Freedom
The Fourth of July is a uniquely American holiday that celebrates our national freedoms. Foremost is the sovereign freedom from tyranny. In addition, we celebrate the freedom each of us has to lead our own lives, to make our own decisions, to worship our own God, and to pursue our own economic gain.
With those freedoms, however, must come the responsibilities to control our own lives, to be accountable for our own decisions, to respect religious worship beside our own, and to stand on our own feet economically if we are able.
Unhappily, the United States, like many other countries, has emphasized the freedoms instead of the accompanying responsibilities, and many individuals (and businesses) have become dependent on our government’s generosity.
Banks and their shareholders welcome bailouts when their own risks have endangered them. Cities and states overspend or under-tax in reliance on federal aid. Whether they were borrowers or businesses, individuals or institutions, employees or employers – all received “relief” and “stimulus” payments when a pandemic broke out, as our representatives sought favor by passing the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program under the Trump Administration and the American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden.
All of this breeds a habit of dependence. As our forebears did prior to and after July 4, 1776, Americans must fight for their independence. Success in that fight will be worth celebrating.
Happy Independence Day.
Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.