The cost of free.

I was the president of a business that was incredibly fortunate to receive both rounds of PPP funding in 2020 and 2021 respectively. We were in a serious bind at those times as our work is seasonal and already prone to issues of inconsistency. The total of the two loans was north of 180,000.00, in line with the math for our payrolls of the requested periods.

Both of our “loans” we’re forgiven. The process to apply for and receive these loans was simple. The process to apply for and receive forgiveness for said loans was even simpler. We basically had to pinky swear (under penalty of federal perjury) that the proceeds of the loan had been used for approved expenses. We weren’t entirely sure how forgiveness was going to work (or if it would at all) but we had to take the chance.

We understood and accepted the possibility of tax ramifications later down the line because any time the government tells you something is free, they are lying.

Fast forward to President Biden’s decision on student loan forgiveness.

Much like the decision about PPP loans and their subsequent forgiveness, the concept of student loan forgiveness is completely sound. In fact, the underlying financials regarding student loan debt warrant an even more radical response. 

All student loan debt should be forgiven.

After this first insane, but necessary act, all educational institutions should cease operations for a time. Every single trace of government involvement in these institutions should be removed. The government shouldn’t be involved in this because anywhere the government shows up, the profit motive surely follows.  

If you use the PPP program as an example, there are sitting members of Congress who received millions in PPP funds and had the loans subsequently forgiven. These same members are now calling for the beheadings of Democrats (metaphorically for now) over a reckless handout.

…Are you fucking kidding me?

The PPP program was reckless on steroids and members of BOTH PARTIES got in on it. There were approximately zero barriers of entry and it practically had a neon sign over it that read “FREE MONEY”.

Students in this country face a much more insidious series of lies before they sign up for a loan. A student loan is sold as the guarantee of a proven path to success, allowing the person proper resources to repay the debt. Once a person graduates, they are placed on a career path that gives them ample resources to pay for whatever they like. 

Only it isn’t true.

College graduates arrive in an oversaturated job market and take the first job they can get, whether or not it requires their degree. The payments start the second you receive your criminally overpriced piece of paper. And they are the kind of payment you can’t just file bankruptcy on and start over. They are the kind of payments the government specializes in: the ones you have until you die.

Much like taxes, there is no reset for student debt. When you have it, you pay it or you die, and the government doesn’t give a shit how you get the money. The fact that they get involved and subsidize the debt only proves the point. They are propping up a decades old story about how life in America works with complete disregard for the evidence that the story is fiction.

Education should be a right, not a punishment. A more educated population would make a better world for everyone and allow the United States a place at the table of the best. As it stands, we prove time and again that we deserve the derision we receive from the rest of the world.

My company received a “handout” and it saved the lives of about half a dozen of my employees for several months while the world had a meltdown. It gave us stability in an insane time and I am completely grateful for that. Everyone who got an education and is terrified of the future because they had to borrow money for it should have the same relief.

The loudest argument about broad relief is about how this is unfair. How fair is it to sell someone who doesn’t know any better a future you can’t guarantee? 

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