Mick Rankin for NC House
The proposal to cancel student debt has some popularity, but not as much as portrayed in the media and by politicians. There are approximately 45.3 million people with outstanding student debt totaling more than $1.7 trillion. That averages to $37,7691 per person. Of course, the average does not account for the variations in degrees and debt associated with higher level degrees such as doctors, lawyers, etc.
There is crushing student debt, especially for the 48% who do not graduate. However, it only represents about 13% of the U.S. population. If we were truly concerned with “equity” there would be proposals to send every American “student debt relief”, regardless of student debt status. But we are not. Politicians are only concerned with creating an emotional narrative to drive votes. When they get the votes, the story changes. We have seen this recently in the ongoing discussions on what student debt really means and maybe we should study it some more. Kind of like going beck to school and driving up more debt, it never really gets resolved, until you stop the studying and pay the bill.
Rather than spending our tax dollars to cancel student debt for a relatively small percentage of the population there should be changes in the student loan regulations. For example, remove any interest during periods of dormancy (i.e., while attending school or prior to employment) or require student loan structure that minimizes interest/variable interest and focuses on principal. The best thing we can do is transfer the government guarantee to the education institution, so their tuition fees become a reflection of the student load and debt rather being driven up by government loan guarantees. Get government out of the advanced education business and let the market drive the costs.
We live in a country where education has become easy. The problem is the students are not getting educated as much as the schools are getting rich. We saw a small part of that during the COVID PPP programs where universities applied for relief when they had billions of dollars in trusts. Students and taxpayers deserve better.
Are we following the science? Since the start of the COVID pandemic we have constantly heard we need to socially distance, wash hands, and wear masks, because that is what science says works.
The 2019-20 flu season in NC saw 12,076 cases and 186 deaths. This year there have been 28 reported cases and 5 deaths. Yet, the COVID virus cases have spiked, fallen, spiked again. This year 10,766 people have died from COVID in North Carolina. In both, most deaths were in the 65+ age group.
A typical flu test involves a nasal swab, yet for COVID the swab must be inserted further up the nose. If the virus were so contagious it would make sense the test would be no more invasive than the standard flu test. We have just accepted what the medical experts told us what is needed for accuracy. That said, we also know there is about a 30% error rate in false positive and negative results.
In the mitigation and testing we have been following the guidance of the best guess of the scientists, not necessarily the science. Businesses and students have been crushed to stop the spread. Yet, the COVID virus has spiked, reduced, spiked again, and now declining again. A curfew has been ordered, without data supporting the reason. If the mitigation efforts are supposed to work, why have we not seen a consistent decrease? For those who believe people are not doing enough, again, I point to the flu season drastic reduction and that shows there is a concerted effort to mitigate. Masks, social distancing, and washing hands truly does work, but not very well for COVID.
The COVID pandemic has been heart wrenching for the loss of loved ones, loss of businesses, and loss of normalcy. People have died and families devastated. Too many people are out of work and businesses closed that will never come back. Fingers are pointed and politics played but science does not seem to be in the mix. Maybe it is time to develop a different strategy and follow some science instead of best guesses.