Debt Forgiveness, But Never Forgotten

Ike IkokwuThe Blog

You almost never hear “student loans” and “Social Security” used in the same conversation, let alone the same sentence. Until now.

It seems there are a lot people who’ve fallen behind on their student loans.

Way behind.

How far? Some of them are grandparents old enough to receive Social Security benefits. Except that some of them won’t. Not all they expect, anyway. The federal government is withholding up to 15 percent of the monthly checks from a rapidly growing number of recipients, according to the Treasury Department,.

Some of the student debts don’t date back to when the retirees were young adults. Some are from loans taken out for a child’s or grandchild’s education, while others came from a midlife return to college. But all of that is beside the point. When enough individuals get into a financial predicament, it becomes a crisis that we as a country are forced to deal with.

Taken from a micro-economic standpoint, it’s easier to understand the particulars. If you borrowed $100 from a friend a year ago, and then treated him to a movie yesterday, you couldn’t possibly expect him to pay you the 10 bucks for the flick today. He’s been gracious enough not to break your thumbs for taking this long to pay him back in the first place. You should never borrow money unless you know when and how you’ll pay it back.

People nowadays use loans (and credit cards for that matter) irresponsibly. They spend the money now with no thought to paying it back. And with terms like forgiveness, amnesty and bailouts, why shouldn’t they? Where’s the risk? If your neighbor can simply declare bankruptcy, why should you bust your hump to pay the bills?

No doubt this story will inspire calls to forgive grandma and grandpa their federal student loans and be done with it. No big deal, the money is guaranteed and the government will get it from somewhere.

They’ll get it from the rest of us.

Is it any wonder that a federal government that spends money it doesn’t have, accrues debt it can’t pay back, and as we’ve seen recently, suffered a drop in its credit rating, has a growing population who behaves the same way?

We need to take responsibility for our own personal success, our failures, and most importantly our debts and debtors. Otherwise we are destined to get crushed under the weight of our own good intentions.