Today the president finally released his plan for student loan relief. It’s never really been my plan to talk too much about specifics with politics on my blog, but I want to address this topic from a practical standpoint, not really a political one even though I know it’s hot politically.
His plan was in three parts. The first was the final extension of the federal student loan pause until the end of this year. The second was $20,000 of forgiveness for those who had been given a Pell grant in their undergraduate program. And $10,000 of forgiveness for anyone who makes under $125,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a married couple. Lastly, there was a change in what the minimum payment per month could be based on income, going from 10% to 5%.
The student loan pause seems more like a way to neatly tie up 2022 and start payments back up in 2023, but also gives the program enough time to give these automatic deductions to everyone who qualifies by January 1st. That seems like a lot of administrative work and a huge hassle. The pause is not a big deal, but my hope is that it will help borrowers who will still have payments. No one has been required to make payments since early in the pandemic in 2020. With inflation and rising costs, payments might be tough for a lot of people. I’ll be watching to see what happens with that.
The part that really irritates me is the number of people who are mad because they either paid their loans off already or chose not to go to college because they couldn’t afford it. They somehow think they are owed something because they chose to not have debt at this point in time. Yes, it sucks. You know what else sucks? That minimum wage wasn’t raised for decades in a way that correlated to inflation in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. That somehow fast food and retail jobs because “high schooler jobs” that don’t pay enough to live on. And that college costs rose way faster than available aid for needy students.
Nothing is more elitist to me than someone who didn’t need students loans looking down on aspiring students who needed financial aid in the form of loans to go to college. Yes, there are smart people who are poor. Yes, there are people born to poor parents who are capable of graduating from college and being contributing members of society. I’m so damn tired of people saying that McDonalds workers don’t deserve $15 an hour and if they wanted to make more money, they should work harder to improve their situation. How exactly are they supposed to do that, jackass? Especially if they shouldn’t bother to take out student loans that cost way too much money. Basically the people with the means to go to college debt-free want to keep the poorer people below them so they have someone to look down upon to stroke their own fragile ego.
You know who I’ve seen do the most complaining today about student loan forgiveness? White people. Freaking white people seem to want everyone to suffer in that privileged white way. Oh boo hoo, I got a job and paid off my student loans in 5 years. CONGRATULATIONS!! Clearly that means you got a great paying job and paid more than you needed to. Or maybe your loans weren’t as big as someone else’s who is still paying 20 years after they went to college. It took me almost 20 years to pay off my student loans. I didn’t even bother with the public service forgiveness program because that was bullshit. By the time the rules would’ve worked in my favor, I could not take advantage of it because I didn’t have 10 more years to pay. I paid them off 19 years and 9 months after I graduated. I made interest only payments for the first two years I was paying on it. I consolidated them once in like 2003 and lowered my interest rate. I watched them get sold to other providers 3 times in those 19 years and 9 months. I paid faithfully every month. I watched the balance go down way more slowly than it should’ve because Sallie Mae, then someone else, then Navient was making money off of my loan.
Stop and think for a minute. People are going to college to improve their situation in life, to get an education, and hopefully get a good paying job. If they haven’t saved up the $100,000 it will cost them to go to college, they will have some portion that will be loans unless they managed to get a full scholarship based on athletics, they joined the military or had a parent transfer them the GI Bill, or they got academic scholarships. If they can’t afford college without a loan, what should they do? They can’t make enough working at McDonalds or Target unless they live with their parents. It’s really difficult to do well at college while also working full time. So they get loans to try and make things better. And then there is interest on that loan, which is to improve their position in life. So someone who grew up poor is trying to pull themselves out of poverty and they are going to get shit on by an industry that is literally preying on poor people. Why the fuck haven’t we addressed this? Why is there such a thing as the student loan industry? Rich people don’t take out loans to go to college; they actually pay more money to get into Harvard’s secret back door for rich people. That’s shitty, huh? They may not be as smart as the thousands who were rejected from Harvard, but they grew up rich so they get to go there because their dad did and he’s rich. He wants them to network and make those same connections he had. So rich kid gets to go to Harvard and follow in Daddy’s footsteps and continue to be rich. He doesn’t need to be smart. He doesn’t have to worry about debt. But when he becomes a representative or a senator, he gets to tell you that anyone who doesn’t pay their whole student loan debt is the one taking something away from you while giving billions of dollars to Wall Street and companies who are just going to buy back their stock and not create any damn jobs. So more of your tax money is going to corporations and banks that don’t give a damn about you. Or foreign countries with human rights violations. Or sunk into some other stupid thing that is not an investment in the citizens of this country.
Yes, I paid off my loans, but I do not care that people who currently owe on their loans will get a small reduction that won’t even cover a semester’s worth of debt at these current prices, or even tuition costs 10 years ago. Maybe these people can finally take a breath and start moving in a better direction. Or maybe not, since most owe closer to $50,000+
So while the elite try to split the 95% of us by making you feel like you are somehow being robbed by someone who makes way less than you, think about how much of your tax dollars is being used by government officials traveling all over the world/country, how much time is wasted in Congress arguing about stupid things that we don’t care about, while we fight with each other for the scraps the elite throw back at us. We are not each other’s enemies. They want to keep you down just as much as they want to keep me down. While the rich pay way less in taxes than we do, and every dollar of overtime we work is taxed higher than any of their investment earnings, remember who the real enemy is here. It is not the millennial or zoomer who is just trying to be the first person in their family to graduate college. It’s the elite who is literally robbing you while your back is turned to argue with that kid.