Mike Rowe Pens Must-Read on Folly of Student Loan Forgiveness, Ted Cruz Swoops in With the Alley Oop

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

The issue of “student loan forgiveness” is another on the long list of things Democrats and Republicans cannot find agreement on. Republicans generally argue that it’s not fair to make others pay for the expensive tuition costs that those who attended higher-ed institutions voluntarily signed on for, and that it’s especially unfair to those who already paid off their loans to then have to turn around and help pay off someone else’s.

Because in their warped mindset Democrats believe everything should be “free,” they have demanded anywhere from partial to full forgiveness of student loan debt. Some, including Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are now leaning in on Joe Biden to more or less at least partially erase federal student loan debt with the stroke of a pen.

While Biden has been deliberately cagey on the subject, those standing in opposition to the various Democratic ideas being floated are making their voices heard. That includes former Discovery Channel host Mike Rowe, who now runs a foundation dedicated to letting young people know that the path to success does not have to revolve around four-year degrees and crushing amounts of student loan debt.

Rowe weighed in on the renewed debate Monday on his Facebook page in what is a must-read. He said that while he doesn’t look down on anyone who decides to seek a four-year degree, that forgiving their student loan debt would only make matters worse:

Lots of people on this page have asked me to comment on the various proposals to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. Many it seems, suspect that I’ll be supportive of these efforts, since I’ve written at length about the outrageous rise of college tuition, and the scandalous ways in which hundreds of thousands of students have been conned into borrowing ridiculous sums of money to purchase degrees that never lead to an actual job. Well, for the record, I do not support student loan forgiveness.

My reasons for opposing student loan forgiveness are not a secret. I’ve written at length on this page about the fundamental unfairness of doing such a thing – especially to the millions of Americans who have paid their college debts, and sacrificed much to do so. I’ve also said that forgiving student debt would send a terrible message to the very same universities that already gouge their customers with sky-high tuition. Tuition will never come back to earth, if we bail out those who borrowed more than they could repay. Kevin Williamson, however, has summed it up better than I have. This paragraph in the attached article jumped out…

“The majority of student debt is held by relatively high-income people, poor people mostly are not college graduates, and those who attended college but did not graduate hold relatively little college-loan debt, etc. As the New York Times puts it, “Debt relief overall would disproportionately benefit middle- to upper-class college graduates.” Which ones? “Especially those who attended elite and expensive institutions, and people with lucrative professional credentials like law and medical degrees.”

Rowe also addressed a woman in the comments who said she was a fan of his who was disappointed in his position. Here’s how he responded:

I don’t think I’ve generalized at all, Rachel. I’ve simply tried for over a decade to discourage people from borrowing vast sums of money to attend a college. You, like many others, have paid a terribly high price to follow your passion. I wish you every success. But why should others pay for your decision?

In other words, how about more personal responsibility and less expecting the government to “help”? Because in reality, that government “help” is actually involuntary help from other taxpayers who have worked hard to provide for themselves and their families.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) saw Rowe’s piece and chimed in with his .02:

Read Rowe’s full piece below:

I went to two different community colleges for a total of five years. The first two years my mom and dad paid for, but after I was caught not attending all my classes, Mom told me I could start paying for it myself. So I had to work and put myself through college at the same time from that point on. I stopped skipping classes and started appreciating getting the value for my money. Though it wasn’t a fancy Ivy League school, it was expensive enough that I had to work a full-time job to pay my way through it. It was tough, and there were a lot of sleepless nights, but I did it.

The fact of the matter is that we’re more likely to appreciate our education and make better, smarter, and wiser financial decisions in the future if we pay for it ourselves (or pay it back, in the case of student loans). If our debts are just magically forgiven in these instances, what kind of lesson does that teach to future generations?

The other option in all this, as Rowe’s foundation urges, is to simply opt to make other career choices that do not involve expensive schooling that you will be paying for for years on end. There’s no shame in that, none at all, and that’s something Republicans in the House and Senate should make sure to emphasize in the coming months as the debate on this issue heats up.

(Hat tip: The Federalist)