College Debt

Canceling Student Debt Would Be an Insult to Trade Workers

"The push for college came at the expense of every other form of education," says Mike Rowe.


Americans took out $1.7 trillion in government loans for college tuition.

Now, some don't want to pay it back.

President Joe Biden says they shouldn't have to. He wants to cancel at least $10,000 and maybe $50,000 of every student's debt.

"They're in real trouble," says Biden in my latest video, "having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent."

Poor students!

But wait: Shouldn't they have given some thought to debt payments when they signed up for overpriced colleges? When they majored in subjects like photography or women's studies, unlikely to lead to good jobs? When they took six years to graduate (a third don't graduate even after six years).

Shouldn't politicians also acknowledge that it's taxpayer loans that let bloated colleges keep increasing tuition at twice the rate of inflation?


But they don't.

Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe points out that students' demand for loan forgiveness is "kind of self-involved."

"I know guys who worked hard to get a construction operation running. Some had to take out a loan on a big old diesel truck. Why would we forgive the cost of a degree but not the cost of a lease payment?"

It's a good question.

"For some reason," continues Rowe, "we think a tool that looks like a diploma is somehow more important than that big piece of metal in the driveway that allows the guy to build homes that you…are in."

The political class does focus on subsidizing college.

"Now everybody is armed with a degree. What kind of world is that?" asks Rowe. "Everybody dreams of being in the corner office, but nobody knows how to build the corner office?"

Lots of good jobs in skilled trades don't require a college degree, he points out. "The push for college came at the expense of every other form of education. Shop class was taken out of high school. We have denied millions of kids an opportunity to see what half the workforce looks like."

It's a reason America now has a shortage of skilled trade workers.

Yet, plumbers, elevator mechanics construction managers, etc., make $100,000 a year.

MikeroweWORKS Foundation gives young people scholarships to schools where they learn such trades. He seeks to make skilled labor "cool" again.

One Rowe scholarship recipient, Chloe Hudson, considered college but was shocked at what it cost.

"I was like, 'I can't afford this!' I don't want to be saddled with student debt the rest of my life!"

Instead, thanks to her Rowe scholarship, she learned how to weld, and now she has no trouble finding work.

"I've been under nuclear plants…been in water systems," Hudson recounts. "Those jobs make me appreciate what I have now so much more."

"What do you make?" I ask Hudson.

"$3,000 a week," she responds.

She's appalled by today's college student's demand for loan forgiveness.

"There is not a single loan I have ever taken out where I didn't have an expectation put on myself that I was going to repay it," says Hudson. "That's getting up at four o'clock in the morning and making sure I'm at work on time. That's staying late. That's working weekends."

But now she will have to help pay for all those college students who won't pay their debts.

"I am taxed heavily," complains Hudson. "It's not a good feeling to know that the government thinks that they can spend my dollars better than I can."

Right. Government doesn't spend our dollars better than we do. "Forgive student loans" really means workers must pay for privileged students who don't.


NEXT: Biden Hedges on His Promise To Free Pot Prisoners

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  1. So people who made a mistake at 18 should basically be screwed the rest of their lives?

    Any other debt can be discharged via bankruptcy

    The people who should be paying the bill are the colleges. They are the ones that have benefited from this. They’ve been able to keep charging more and more, knowing that students will borrow whatever they need

    And the lenders aren’t better. If you get a business or other loan, they make sure it can be paid back, and it’s used for something viable.

    1. Lots of people make mistakes at 18 that they pay for the rest of their lives. Why are college students so special?

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      2. As the OP mentioned, students are not allowed to discharge their debt via bankruptcy.

        1. For very good reason, and I’ll bet that’s a mystery to you.

    2. So people who made a mistake at 18 should basically be screwed the rest of their lives?

      If they were dumb enough to go through FOUR YEARS of college paying jacked-up tuition rates, yeah. They’re grown-ass men and women and should have the maturity to know what they’re signing.

      If what Science! says is true about the frontal cortex not fully developing until you’re about 24, I’m all for restricting college admissions to people who can actually rent a car from Enterprise without some sort of penalty.

      Any other debt can be discharged via bankruptcy

      Absolutely do not disagree here. The fact that student loan debt is not treated like regular debt is retarded.

      The lulziest thing about this “cancel student loan debt!” demand is that it finally acknowledges that a college degree is no longer worth on the back end what people are sinking in to it on the front end.

      Democratizing college education was the absolute worst thing that could have been done for its long-term health.

      1. Red agreed 4 years is a long time you should be able to understanding debt a lot sooner, I think also before we talk discharging we also have to address admissions. It’s a failure on the government making/wanting/encouraging/paying schools to accept unprepared and unable students. For anyone that’s curious go to any public university and look at the graduation statistics you’ll see some eye opening correlation between feel good policy and student success.

        Also beside laborers above what about folks who were fiscally responsible and paid their debts? Do we (us who paid and laborers) get to use that new car you bought instead of paying your debt?

    3. What nonsense.
      So – are you proposing that if people signed up for college loans at 18 it should cost them zip?
      But if someone signs up for a student loan at 25 – that they have to pay full price?

    4. If you want to get at the root of the problem, start asking why university tuition has gotten so expensive in the first place.

      1. And the answer is found in the bloated staff that does nothing but play around with federal regulations.

        1. That, and a lot of colleges have gone on massive building sprees the last 20 years, rather than renovate and upgrade the existing buildings they have, along with opening up satellite campuses. It’s sort of a self-justifying loop, because they’re concurrently trying to get as many students admitted as they can, which requires more buildings, which requires more students, etc.

          So the result has not only been that tuition is WAY beyond what people paid on an inflation-adjusted basis even 20 years ago, at least 40 percent of college students now require some form of remedial instruction when they enroll–which doesn’t even count towards their college degree (nor should it, because they shouldn’t get college credit just for getting themselves up to an 8th-grade reading level). In community colleges, it’s around 70 percent.

          I suspect Biden’s brain trust wants to make community college free because they know it will basically be 13th-14th grade at this point.

        2. Long also you should check into the faculty – many aren’t paid to teach they are paid to write journals first and foremost for other peers to read to get awards and peer recognition which makes the university look more prestigious. If you try to cut just like grade school the union protects that bloat like a bear over a kill.

        3. No, that’s a symptom. The answer is found in the government student loan scam. It’s just a handout from the government/taxpayers/money printers straight to higher ed. To the tune of trillions.

      2. It’s a sorting mill that’s become an expensive racket. Employers started using the ability to endure college as a criterion, and colleges saw a good thing and cashed in.

      3. Yeah, my kid is fricken brilliant. ACT 34, 4.5 GPA and the minimum cost for him to go to a good school is 25k out of pocket per year. And he’s part negro ffs. The whole system is a fucking scam.

        18 yos dont understand what 80k means in terms of financial impact on their life and they are not capable of comprehending the consequences of a 30 year loan.

        Im fine with living up to my end of the bargain, even though I got screwed, but we should probably reign in that whole fucking system.

      4. “why university tuition has gotten so expensive”

        Because with federal grants and loans, the money was _there_. Colleges discovered they could jack up the tuition and other fees, so they did, and then they found ways to spend the money. It’s not only the admistrative empire-building. I was in both enlisted quarters on Air Force Bases and a college dorm back in the 1970’s, and they were pretty much alike – small 2-man rooms with a bathroom down the hall. The dining halls were similar, too. From what I see on-line now, even in an undistinguished state University the dorms look like a luxury hotel, and the food menus sound like a restaurant that’s too high-priced for me.

    5. No, an 18 year person should not in debt for much of their life. But no 18 year old should be making that decision on their own. I very much doubt that a bank would give this kind of money to an 18 year old person for something other than college. To get this kind of loan would require collateral or a co-signer.
      What if lenders treated these loans like or in a similar manner to other loans. The banks says we will loan you money based on what major you select? What if the bank demanded a college plan like a business plan, set goals that had to be met or risk having the loan stopped?

      1. Great logic. Now tell us about teenagers old enough to ‘change’ sex.

        1. No, let us try to keep to the topic.

          1. Best comment ever [from you]

      2. Mod I like that thought/point.

      3. That used to be the case, then the government got involved

      4. Banks run these checks to reduce the risk of making loans. Why would a bank bother to check out the borrower when repayment is guaranteed by the federal government so there is _no_ risk?

        OTOH, making an unsecured loan to an unemployed 18-year old in the expectation that he will enter college, stay in his declared and lucrative major, graduate, and find a good job to repay the loan is far too risky for any bank. Even a kid with a stellar high school record and 99-percentile SAT might discover drugs, alcohol, and video games and drop out. (Like I did. For a couple of years, the only difference between me and a drunken bum was well-off parents. I eventually straightened out, joined the Air Force, and got them to pay for the last two years of an engineering degree, but if I’d had loans, the bank would have been waiting a _long_ time for me to catch up on payments.)

        So if financing college education was left up to free-market loans, the only college students would be the children of parents wealthy enough to either pay the full cost or put up their house as collateral. OTOH, without easy federal loans allowing colleges to inflate their costs, perhaps it would still be possible to work your way through. (A friend of mine did work his way through pre-med and medical school in the 1970’s; his father died when he was a small child and his mother worked as a secretary, so he was getting no family help, and scholarships came up far short of paying everything. It took him about ten years, but he made it. Someone in the same situation today would probably have to borrow over $100K to pay for over-luxurious dorms and university “diversity” deans, and still would have needed to work to earn money to cover some gaps.)

    6. If this was 25 years ago when I was in school, I might agree with you more about kids making these decisions, but there’s this thing called the internet now. They can find out any and all information they want and make their own decisions. They can also research scholarships and find out alternative funding to ameliorate the financial blow. I did that without the internet by hounding my guidance counselor and ended up getting a couple scholarships which paid my tuition.

      Before you say “but they’re 18 year old BABIES”, when I was 18 I was taking honors and AP classes and had been working a full time job since I was a sophomore. When I went to college, I moved out, signed a lease, paid all my own bills, and worked for a living. This was also largely pre-internet (no online classes) so I had to show up in a building. “Kids” can do amazing things if you allow them their autonomy and refuse to coddle them until they’re 30.

      1. It doesnt matter how smart or mature they are. They dont have a frame of reference for the amount of money nor the time frames involved.

      2. I agree and we need to stop allowing the media to call them college kids. Legally they are adults, with the same legal obligations as any adult, 18 or 80.

        If we think “they’re 18 year old BABIES” then move the age of adulthood to 24 and call it a day.

    7. You can join the military at 18. You can vote. Why coddle college kids?

      1. They shouldnt be coddled. In fact extending a loan to an unqualified 18 is coddling them (with lots of dry anal in the future). We should stop that.

        Dont forgive the loans though.

    8. They could, you know, pay it off and not be screwed for the rest of their lives.
      I think the bigger problem is telling every teenager that they can go to college and study whatever they like and it’s totally worth it.

      1. “I think the bigger problem is telling every teenager that they can go to college and study whatever they like and it’s totally worth it.”

        That was, if not true, ok about 40 or so years ago; then it didn’t rack up a lifetime of debt. Now post secondary education has become as unsustainable as the national debt.

        I believe the day of reckoning for this profligacy is nigh.

        1. That’s why Biden will promise free college. Weee!

    9. We should stop them voting then if they can’t be make responsible decisions.

      My son is 16 and discussing School vs Trade with me, and this is somewhere the schools cost nowhere near as much as the US. He doesn’t need another 2 years to make a sensible decision.

    10. So people who make the “mistake” of joining the Army and get their legs blown off should basically be screwed for the rest of their lives?

    11. made a mistake?? for 6 years?? they learned from a POS like you watching their parents with 85K debt o 3 credit cards each then go bankrupt. how many times did you go bankrupt? not pay a mortgage for 5 years?

    12. YES. Stupid is as stupid does. I couldnt afford college. I went to trade school and retired comfortably after 50 yrs. I have no sympathy for those who made bad choices. Darwins rules apply. The grade schools are responsible for graduating idiots who choose college degrees in basket weaving because they lack the IQ for science, medicine or engineering. So they graduate with a C average in some degree for which no jobs exist and owe a quarter million. That was their choice. And taxpayers should not bail them out
      Let them learn to use a pick and shovel, cut grass and wait tables like the rest of us did.

      You are witness to the Marxist takeover of America and the communists are using the youth and illegals as their useful idiots. Well were not going sit by and watch Communist Joe and his handlers bankrupt America by programs our grandchildren will have to pay for. Whose “we?”. The Retirees and those about to retire who are hit with the inflation created by endless spending and borrowing by irresponsible communist politicians.

    13. “So people who made a mistake at 18 should basically be screwed the rest of their lives?”


      And those who didn’t make that mistake shouldn’t be forced to make it all better for the ones who did.

    14. “So people who made a mistake at 18 should basically be screwed the rest of their lives?..”

      Drag that strawman all the way from home?

    15. They don’t “make the mistake” at 18 – they borrow for years and spend the money on all kinds of things besides tuirion and R&B.
      And these people who balk at repaying several tens of thousands of dollars have NO problem buying on time (or leasing – even worse) every several years a new car that costs as much or more than their college loans.

      1. “tuition,” of course…

    16. This idea is an insult to every college student who worked their way through college.

    17. You do not understand. The only reason many student loans are being made is because they are backed by the government. If not, those students would not qualify for a loan and then no college. Maybe it is a mistake or bad advice. However, what should the government do to reward those who were responsible? Those who stayed home, worked and went to a community college? Those who worked and went through night school? Those who parents were responsible and saved through a 529 plan or some other plan that sacrificed their own retirement plans or other household items?
      There is nothing free regardless of what foolish politicians tout. Someone will pay. Your suggestion makes the responsible pay for the irresponsible. How is that fair?

    18. Somebody is going to lay for their mistake. Why the hell should be the one? I agree that there should be better underwriting of student loan approvals. Maybe disqualifying areas of study like sociology, the humanities, etc. will be a good start. Only lending money on degree programs that result in employability beyond the fast food industry.

  2. Rich people think they can appease the socialists by giving them free stuff – healthcare, education, housing, etc. But the appetite of the ‘needy’ is insatiable and they won’t stop until all the country’s wealth is squandered (on ‘mental illness’, complications from obesity, etc). Instead of government programs or charities, rich people should fund resort colonies where the ‘meek’ advocate for lower taxes and small government. The war today is online not at the capitol or in the courts or even in the voting booth. (Speaking of which, thank you Reason for not banning me (yet) today.)

    1. Aww, my first use of the mute button!

  3. It’s a pay-off to the elitists.

    1. It’s a payoff to try to get more votes.

  4. I worked my way through High School and numerous Colleges and Universities. I left College after 1 year, bunch a useless Liberal Education, joined the USMC ( Draft Era), saw the World and participate in Conflicts and a War. Good Education, returned and worked my way through Colleges and Universities. What I studied pertained to my Occupation. No Debts and Debt free then and Now. These friggen creeps want others to pay for their 4 years of Play School need to grow up and take care by paying off their Debts.

  5. Canceling Student Debt Would Be an Insult to Trade Workers

    Feature, not bug.

  6. I’m 54. If I go max out a bunch of credit cards on hookers and blow, I can declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy and walk away from the debt with little more damage than a hit to my credit rating. That may or may not be right, but that’s how it is.

    Naive 18-year-olds who got bludgeoned by their parents and teachers into taking out stupid loans promoted by the banks and the government should may not deserve to be treated BETTER than me, but they at least deserve to be treated THE SAME as me. Let student loan debt be discharged in bankruptcy.

    1. Why wouldn’t every student immediately declare Ch 7 when they graduated?

      1. Because declaring bankruptcy isn’t as easy as saying, “Oh, I can’t pay this off, clear my debt.” You have to go to bankruptcy court, and some finance officer crawls up your butt to look at your income and spending habits. The final decision is made off of several factors, not just an inability to pay back a loan.

        1. With no income and no assets and $100k in debt, I would think most will jump through the hoops and endure the exam.

          1. Then the entire student loan industry would collapse.

            1. What student loan industry? Since 2010 the federal government is the only player

              1. Long before that, actually. Government “guaranteed” loans were the same thing fundamentally. Lenders took no credit risk and never had to worry about the loan being repaid.

          2. Which is going to get dicey when the bankruptcy officer starts looking at their spending on non-essentials like Starbucks and meals at the trendy boutique eateries and craft breweries.

          3. The problem is we are the ones being stiffed not some bank or the schools as the government has guaranteed the loan. A more apt analogy would be I agree to build a school, take out a loan to build the school backed by the city and instead of building the school bulldoze the lot and then spend the time and money going to parties, getting high and end up building a garage that falls down immediately. Then after that I say woops, but don’t expect me to pay back the loan. If I did that I would be arrested and spend time in prison, not have the loan paid off by the taxpayer and given a pat on the head.


          – Michael Scott

        3. Do you know how overworked the bankruptcy court system is already? Either these bankruptcy’s will be shoved through, or take years (and they can’t do that second option because of statutorily mandated deadlines.) It would be a disaster.

    2. If they could declare bankruptcy, most probably would. Then the complaint would be how unfair it is for them to have bad credit for seven years.

    3. another POS deadbeat

    4. Why should people who were smart 18-year-olds be forced to bail out people who were stupid 18-year-olds?

    5. If they were dischargeable, loans would be much more difficult to get, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If one can’t afford to go to an expensive school, one shouldn’t go. I certainly didn’t.

    6. Do you know hookers and coke dealers who take plastic?

      Asking for a friend.

    7. That isn’t automatic. I know a few people who just didn’t want to pay back some business debts. However they made enough money to afford the payments, so the court kicked the filing and said “tough luck”.

    8. That isn’t automatic. I know a few people who just didn’t want to pay back some business debts. However they made enough money to afford the payments, so the court kicked the filing and said “tough luck”.

      In other words, no you can’t just go and do what you’re talking about.

  7. I think JeremyR got this one right: The colleges themselves should be forced to make good on defaulted loans. Then they would be much more fiscally responsible. Currently, education inflation far outstrips core inflation (at least double the rate).

    And what about those who did take out loans, and we paid them back. Can we get our money back?

    1. How does this work with public universities?

  8. If you can graduate from college with a worthless degree, no job skills, and a crushing debt burden, it’s a pretty good bet you bought the government indoctrination and now buy into the socialist idea that the world owes you big time. You should be rewarded for your refusal to develop independent critical thinking skills and willingness to toe the party line.

    On the other hand, if you avoided piling up debt by learning a useful trade so you could make good money, pay your taxes and pay off the student loans for people who did the opposite, well, who’s the dumbass here? You! You’re the idiot here and you deserve to get screwed for being an idiot.

    1. Another dumb take from Jerryskids, big surprise.

      Most of those kids were told from the day they were born to go to college and get a good job. It’s not really fault they were basically indoctrinated into thinking that if they didn’t go to college they’d be a failure.

      Sure, I’d expect anyone going now to be more wise to it but c’mon. But hey, jerryskids never made a mistake in their life. No sir eee bob. Perfect person right there.

      1. The fact that you admitted these kids were brainwashed by your ideological peers into believing that college was the only way to get a good job is the lulziest self-own I’ve seen in the last few days.

        1. She is pretty dumb.

      2. It’s not about never making mistakes. It’s about owning your mistakes and not making other people fix them for you.

      3. And it’s not the fault AT ALL of the people who didn’t go to college.

      4. “Sure, I’d expect anyone going now to be more wise to it but c’mon. But hey, jerryskids never made a mistake in their life. No sir eee bob. Perfect person right there.”

        Hey, steaming pile of lefty shit, I made a mistake at 18! Please send your bank account access numbers; I’d love to have a steaming pile of lefty shit once pay for something rather than be a parasite.
        Fuck off and die; your dog is looking for a place to piss.

      5. A cornerstone in your sociopolitical philosophy is a complete lack of accountability. This is why democrats fail upwards, and why the people who run your party are some of the worst idiotic, sociopathic scum imaginable. The rest of us generally pay for our mistakes.

        So if people don’t want debt from student loans, don’t borrow the money.

  9. I see the problem as one of a fail of colleges to provide a return on investment. There is a need on all levels by the government, by the colleges and by the students correct this problem. There is no “free college” panacea.

    1. Don’t disagree…but why should I pay off the debt of a Harvard post-grad? The kids with the really high debt, rest assured, aren’t from poor families.

    2. Great, let’s fix this. Eliminating most sociology programs, and much of the humanities will be a good start. Or at least make worthless areas of study ineligible for student loan programs.

      This will also go a long ways towards getting rid of campus leftist activists.

  10. Yeah, just the same as a cure for cancer would be an insult to all those who died from it. /s

    IF canceling some debt resulted in actual long term structural reform to what colleges charge and how student loans can be given willy nilly, then it’d be worth it. That’s a big if though.

    If you’re not going to attack the structural reasons for this then you may as well not bother. And I love Reason attacking this but have no issue with giving tax breaks and loopholes all over the damn place to rich people and businesses. Money for me, not for thee. Two sides of the same coin you assholes.

    1. “IF canceling some debt resulted in actual long term structural reform to what colleges charge”

      Why would it? Only solution is ending the moral hazard and getting govt out of the loan business

    2. Tax breaks = you keep your money. Loan forgiveness == you keep someone else’s money. So yes, money for me (my money I earn’t), not for thee (unless you are prepared to earn it yourself).

      1. Im not in favor of forgiveness. You may have come upon a good compromise… Being able to write off a portion of principal paid.

    3. Yeah, just the same as a cure for cancer would be an insult to all those who died from it. /s

      Good insight into how the Democrats view themselves when they bail out their constituents. To them it’s just like they are curing cancer. The egomania is breathtaking

    4. “IF canceling some debt resulted in actual long term structural reform to what colleges charge and how student loans can be given willy nilly, then it’d be worth it. That’s a big if though.”

      It’s not an “if” at all. At best it won’t change anything, but most likely the expectation of another round of forgiveness will simply lead to colleges charging even more and more loans being given out, encouraging ever more risky behavior on the part of borrowers and universities alike

      In principle I’m not opposed to forgiveness as part of a package that will actually solve the problem, but I haven’t seen any actual solutions, just offers to kick the can down the road a few more years

    5. I paid off all of my debt. Sucks that Buffy is unable to do so, but the parents are likely quite loaded (poorer kids don’t have the luxury of spending a decade in higher ed).

      Or seize the endowments of colleges and use that.

  11. One of the reasons that the government doesn’t support trade schools is that the trade schools will take candidates away from the military. If the kid can make good money right out of high school and is an apprentice working towards Journeyman, he/she/it will forget all about the military.

    1. Yeah, but people join the military for a lot more reasons than just the pay. Some do it because they want the GI Bill, some because they want that sweet Tricare, some because they’re carrying on a family tradition, some because they know they’ll have a steady job for the next 4-20 years, etc.

      There’s something to the notion that the draft was kept in place for so long because people could walk down the street and get a job at the local factory right out of high school, but that’s changed somewhat as the culture has come to see blue-collar jobs as menial labor for immigrants, not a high-skill trade that is mostly in demand and will provide steady work as long as you continue to improve.

      1. No need for the GI bill if they learn a trade. The GI Bill isn’t a great deal for everyone anyway. Most people never even use it.
        Never forget, the GI bill is through the VA, and GI bill students get screwed regularly. Many people that try to get through the GI bill nonsense end up walking away when they realize that it isn’t worth it to spend 4 years fighting for the benefits they have already earned. You may have heard about the VA’s legendary, affirmative action hired, utterly useless, union protected workforce. Now that Biden is in office, they can never be fired no matter how bad they screw the GIs. When you start school in August and you don’t receive your first check until December, you will get the idea. They screw you until you can’t keep up with your bills. Then they blame you.

  12. …that day Gov-Guns were used to threaten you into paying for your neighbors careless financial choices.

  13. Yes it will.

    And people need to remember that canceling student debt already happened. The programs of IBR, PAYE, and so on, already provide that the debt is wiped out at 20 or 25 years. 10 years if you’re in public service under PSLF.

    So this has already happened, it just hasn’t been executed yet. The time frame is still a few years out. All of those loan agreements, trillions in government student debt, already provide for this. There is nothing to be done about what’s already done. There is only the need for reforming what we are still doing.

    First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that these trillions of dollars are first and foremost a handout to higher education. It is a trillion dollar grift, a scam. The “prices” of tuition are imaginary. Without the student loan scam, those prices would not exist. Nobody would pay them because virtually nobody can, and nobody would lend those sums. Higher education is not providing a commensurate value, they are rent seeking. The scam talking point is “but look at the higher lifetime earnings of college grads/advanced degrees!” Correlation/causation error. If higher education was forced to go back to charging prices near what a teenager could pay with summer earnings, higher ed would look a LOT different, but the observed differences in lifetime earnings would be the same. In fact, there have been studies that showed that once you controlled for SAT scores and the like, the difference in earnings between an Ivy League school grad and your local community college grad disappeared! The difference in earnings reflect intelligence and work ethic and other elements, rather than value-add by the rent-seekers.

  14. I recall somebody (can’t remember who – Friedman?) saying something like the following to a graduating group of MBAs: “Instead of wasting $50,000 and two years of your life, you could have spent it opening a business. More than likely, you would have gone broke, but you would have learned a lot more about how to succeed than in business than in all your classes.”

    1. Yeah, why should kids not going to some woke U, not get their $50k to start a business? I see nothing fair about this to anyone.

      1. One of the more hilarious complaints about student loans is how the interest rate is “too high.” Fucking for real? Years and years of rock-bottom interest rates have spoiled these idiots into think that 0% interest should be the norm on a loan. 6.5% is not that high, and I’m sure if they saw what interest rates on average loans across the board were like from about 1975-1985, they’d probably shit themselves.

  15. My own general practitioner M.D. is from a poorish ranching family. She went to community college for two years for 101s and 102s paid with a part time job. CC is cheap. She transferred to Duke, then Duke Medical School.

    My point is that so many parents (including my own family), will send their kids to private universities… for marketing degrees or some other non STEM field, all for ego. Debt slaving your own kids is a form of child abuse.

    1. And most of those kids will party for 4 years at someone else’s expense while doing the minimum needed to not flunk out of an easy major.

      Maybe the best fix for higher education would be to require that kids get out of school and work for two years between high school and college. Then they’ll understand why they are going to college.

  16. “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
    John Gardner, Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? (1961)

    True then. Even moreso now.

  17. Don’t let great be the enemy of good. Just because canceling the debt of college students does not help trade workers does not mean it is not a good idea. The bamboozling of kids that they have to go to college and then selling them predatory loans is a shame. The whole system needs to be overhauled…maybe by eliminating loans entirely, (watch how fast the price of college plummets) but let start by getting millions of people out from underneath absurd debt.

    1. “Just because canceling the debt of college students does not help trade workers does not mean it is not a good idea. ”

      I cannot fathom a more regressive policy than this.

      “Sorry Mike the plumber, you have to bail out Buffy the Harvard post-grad. Sounds fair, right?”

  18. And don’t forget the perverse incentives. I have an advanced degree in business and a good-paying job, along with about $40k in student debt.

    I could pay it off tomorrow – every penny – with ease. But I won’t. Why should I when they’re simply going to wipe it clean in a year or two? I know I’ll pay for it either directly or indirectly, so why set myself up to pay it twice, both ways?

    For those who have paid off their loans or made a living without taking on student loans, I am sorry. I’ll speak out against it, but I have no illusion of control. I’d keep my debt if they’d void me (and my progeny) from the taxes (including the tax of inflation) needed to subsidize the affluent. But they can’t. And wouldn’t if they could.

  19. The only result of “forgiving” 10 to 50K of student loans will be the cost of a 4 year degree going up 10 to 50K.

  20. To be fair, many students are pushed by their parents to attend college, and don’t have much opportunity to consider alternatives. Many start college before they are 18. In fact, in some states people between 16 and 18 can contract for student loans, while not yet being able to sign binding contracts for anything else. (Or at least that was the case some years ago. I doubt it’s changed.)

    So there is a case that can be made for forgiving loans for undergraduate tuition. (Certainly not for graduate school, though. But don’t some of those already contain clauses saying something like they only need to be repaid if the person is making at least $xxx a year within yy years of graduation?)

    1. “…So there is a case that can be made for forgiving loans for undergraduate tuition…”

      No, there isn’t.

  21. Government loans and grants for higher education (in combination with the shitty tendency of employers to screen via credentialism rather than actually train workers) is what drove the costs up too high and what eliminated a lot of jobs for the 18-22 group.

    In 1946 (before GI Bill kicked in), undergraduate tuition at UPenn (a private Ivy) was $475. Someone right out of HS could earn about $1200-$1400 per year – so 2-3x more than tuition. Every employer hired people out of HS. Trades employers had apprenticeships rather than requiring massive debt load. Farmers did not require decades just to get the downpayment to buy the land/equipment.

    Now of course everything out of HS requires buying in to the debt monster upfront. Got no choice now. Tuition is $54,652. Someone right out of HS will likely earn about $25,000 – so half of tuition. Most employers don’t hire out of HS. And if they do – hey we can require a big debt load too w no apprencticeships.

    It’s all a fucking scam and it is the only possible end-game of the money system we have. The only thing most of you commenters are even commenting about is which form of debt slavery you find acceptable – and turns out that usually is based on politics.

    1. “…The only thing most of you commenters are even commenting about is which form of debt slavery you find acceptable – and turns out that usually is based on politics.”

      Wave them arms, JFree! Build another pile of meaningless bullshit!

      1. It’s his way.

  22. Canceling student debt is a horrendous proposal both because it creates another accursed entitlement and discounts the self-reliance and initiative of those who graduated without it or paid off their own.

    Let’s stop these calls for the workers of the world to unite to kill the Kulaks. Both of the big, old parties are so loudly singing the Internationale and marching in this endless Mayday Workers’ Parade that we are becoming a zombie USSR, instead of USA. Rowe, OK, his whole shtick for decades has been that the dirtier your hands, and for a half a decade your knees, the better; but Stossel knows better.

    1. “…Rowe, OK, his whole shtick for decades has been that the dirtier your hands, and for a half a decade your knees, the better; but Stossel knows better…”
      Betting BGNBG has zero support for that claim. The TDS-addled asshole has yet to provide one bit of support for any of the TDS-addled asshole’s claims to date.
      TDS does that to you, right TDS-addled asshole?

  23. “They’re in real trouble,” says Biden in my latest video, “having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent.”

    Nobody should be put in the position of having to make choices!

  24. Part of the problem is also the companies/corps that all required degrees as a barrier to entry. I have five letters after my name (masters and certifications), and the job market is so competitive that it’s not enough.

    I work with many older professionals going back for MBA’s in their late 40’s and 50’s, trying to stay competitive with at least 10 years left before retirement and an ever-increasing gig economy for professionals.

    It’s sad how even masters level degrees don’t always earn six figures in 2021. You can’t get a job without at least one degree, yet most employers are phasing out any tuition reimbursement. They are slowly boiling a frog in water, and student loans/education is just another “big rock” that is becoming more expensive and challenging to achieve.

    More debt for everyone, until we are all leveraged to our eyeballs, as long as we can buy cheap crap that we don’t need on easy credit.

  25. I have absolutely no idea how this could be brought about, but it seems that having colleges only accept students once they are 20 would solve a lot of problems.

    1. A couple years in the working world and out from under their parents along with a couple more years of maturity would do much to burn away the wide eyed naivety of kids paying $200K+ for a liberal arts degree.

    2. It would give the kids whose high school failed them the opportunity to take dirt cheap remedial classes from the community college, rather than taking 5 years to graduate.

    3. With the vast majority of students at least 21, the issues of alcohol prohibition will be greatly reduced on college campuses.

    1. Little late at night, but looks good.

  26. Nobody’s gonna mention Stossel looks a bit baked in the lead photo?

  27. Why must we always only speak to the edges of the argument? Here in Kentucky, our community colleges (KCTCS.EDU) have partnered with Trade Unions\Businesses to train future\current employees and have worked out tuition reimbursement plans. It ain’t FREE because these ‘students’\’employees’ have to work for it….but an education is gained and a business succeeds. If YOU, dear reader, think a business needs to suffer due to your education then maybe you should mix in some more economics in your education pursuits.

    I pray other states have engaged industry as Kentucky has but even if folks can go DIRECT to Trade Unions to learn these skills IT IS STILL ‘AFTER HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION’….or Postsecondary Education…which is a not so fancy word for COLLEGE.

    You either WORK for your education or PAY for your education. Yeah, I’d love to see every state figure out a way for prospective students to WORK their way through their education regardless of their goals from the OMG OMG OMG CRAZY TECHNICAL right on down to the most mindless professions(if there is such a thing). Fact is…it is up to each State to figure that out. This is NOT a NATIONAL issue to be sorted out by the Feds. No one wants that or at least they shouldn’t.

  28. While canceling student debt is a terrible ideas, as its creating a new entitlement when we need to be reducing or terminating existing ones; we also need to be clear that vocational training and education are distinctly different things. They are complimentary with some overlap, but are not interchangeable. The uneducated but vocationally trained may be quite technically competent, but they are still largely uneducated.

    “We must abandon the prevalent belief in the superior wisdom of the ignorant.”
    ~ Daniel Boorstin

  29. This idea is an insult to every ethical person who ever worked their way through college and/or paid their debts.

  30. The 18 year old that made a mistake, and compounded it again and again will absolutely lose it once they get the idea that cost shifting that debt screws them even worse. What will you do when the IRS comes after you for the taxes you now owe on that sudden increase in your income for those years…and demands that you pay the entire tax debt right now? Or will you cry those huge crocodile tears again?

  31. And most of those kids will party for 4 years at someone else’s expense while doing the minimum needed to not flunk out of an easy major.

    Maybe the best fix for higher education would be to require that kids get out of school and work for two years between high school and college. Then they’ll understand why they are going to college.

  32. The truth is very simple.
    Student loan forgiveness is just a way to give a giant kickback back to the university administrators and professors that are hardcore Democrat campaign donors.
    By making it easier for students to get heavily in debt, universities can crank up tuitions, then pay the actual teaching faculty practically nothing while creating all sorts of highly-paid “diversity” and leftist SJW administration jobs and giving the university executives gigantic salaries and bonuses.
    It’s massive money-laundering on a grand scale.
    And as such, Mike Rowe can complain all he likes, but it will keep happening because it’s a sure-fire way to buy Democrat votes.

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