Joseph Sobran once composed an instructive parable that went something like this: Davis is listening to Jones speak of some injustice done to him by Smith. Davis waits until Jones runs down, and then says, “Oh, that’s all right. I forgive Smith for what he did to you.”
How do you suppose Jones would react to Davis’s proclamation?
Yeah. Me too. Davis has no authority by which he could exonerate Smith. He’s not Jones, the offended party whose right it is – if he so wishes – to forgive those who have harmed him. He certainly isn’t God. Jones would be affronted or worse by Davis’s assumption of authority.
We understand such things without having to reason them out step by step. But apparently the notion that only Jones has the temporal power to forgive Smith is opaque to those on the Left. Either that or they don’t care at all.
They might care if they were Jones, and Smith were someone who owes them money and refuses to pay up. But when the roles are reversed, Leftists applaud a Davis who’ll free them from obligation to Jones.
The past year and a half have been rife with third-party forgivenesses. The Joneses have been landlords, creditors, and others to whom various Smiths have obligated themselves. Davis, of course, has been the Usurper-captured federal government, which has blithely dispensed its forgiveness, whether temporary or permanent, to Smithian debtors of several varieties.
Really, this is all a decent man needs to know to condemn all such federal absolutions. If we were speaking of a state government, they would not occur, for the Constitution itself forbids a state government to “impair the obligations of contracts.” But the Founding Fathers didn’t think to forbid Washington from doing any such thing. They probably assumed that as the power to interfere in obligations between private citizens and private organizations doesn’t appear in Article I or Article II, the subject would never come up.
The Ninth Pillar of Economic Wisdom, courtesy of the American Economics Foundation, runs thus:
If not by the borrower, then by the lender.
Neither Congress nor the President nor any court can “forgive” a debt, as if such a ukase would make the debt vanish. They can transfer a debt from the proper debtor to an improper and wholly innocent one, but that’s all. In the case of the “educational loans” – many of which have not purchased educations worthy of the name – there are two possible “replacement debtors:”
- The financial institutions that granted the loans;
- You, me, and our posterity.
The Usurpers have quietly chosen us as the fall guys.
How else could it be done? Debts are always paid. If the original borrower doesn’t pay them, someone else must. As the federal government, which has arrogated all authority over educational finance unto itself, is the original creditor, the federal government is “on the hook” for the money. But Washington’s funding comes from our pockets, whether by taxation or the creation of new currency and credit: i.e., inflation. So We the Helpless, many of whom have never seen the inside of a college classroom, are stuck with the bill.
The Left is just fine with that. Delirious with joy, actually. Not only are they, with their “social welfare,” “gender studies,” and “black history” degrees, some of the most egregious debtors; it also fits nicely into their Leninist campaign to destroy the capitalist order:
It’s a done deal. There’s no going back. Both Houses of Congress have passed the “Inflation Reduction Act,” and sure as the sun rises in the East, the Vegetable-in-Chief will sign it. So we’d better brace ourselves for yet another round of tax increases and further deterioration of the dollar.
“There is a deal of ruin in a nation,” wrote Adam Smith. But then, Smith lived and wrote at a time when money was hard, backed by gold and silver. Also, governments weren’t quite as obnoxious as they are today. And of course, in that era far fewer people ever contracted a debt: effectively none did so to finance a college degree. Today…? How many more such burdens can the U.S., already groaning under the depredations of the “pandemic” just behind us – which the Usurpers are determined to prolong or recreate – accept before our economy ceases to function?
“Brace for impact.” – Captain Chesley L. Sullenberger.
A cheaper solution would be to temporarily lower the interest rates of the student loans to 3% or so, BUT only for those making payments above the minimum. And, by making it clear that the lowered rate is NOT going to be continued forever, encourage them to pay off the loans as much as they are able to in that time.
Put out online calculators that help them understand what adding additional principal payments will do to the length of the loans. too many people are only making minimum payments – which work about as well in reducing debt as it does with credit card debt.
And, get the government out of the student loan business for good.