Boots & Sabers

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0648, 15 Apr 24

Who Pays Student Debt?

In Biden’s America, we all do.

Biden didn’t mention cost, nor did his economists, but outsiders Thursday pegged the price of this gift to 30 million borrowers at about $85 billion for the new parts of the scheme, or about $560 billion if you include previously announced plans. For scale, that’s about what the government spent on Medicaid this year.


This money isn’t imaginary. Repayment is expected by the federal government, the sum budgeted as incoming money to offset planned spending. To the extent it doesn’t show up, it can’t offset anything. The government, where spending already outran income by more than $1,064 billion in just the past six months, will add it to the $34,581 billion it already owes — that’s about $103,000 for every woman, man and babe in arms.


That will be paid, somehow and someday, much of it by the other 300 million Americans who aren’t blessed by Biden’s magnanimity. Most of them didn’t go to college, and of those who did, many didn’t borrow or didn’t borrow much. More than a third of students who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2019-20, according to the latest figures from The College Board, had no student debt. Only a quarter had more than $30,000. This thrift and prudence will be rewarded by having to pick up the burdens incurred by others.


Many of those who benefit, in the meantime, are relatively old and affluent. Biden would cancel debts for borrowers who’ve been repaying for 20 years or more — so, people at least in their 40s. According to federal numbers, it’s borrowers 35 to 49 years old who owe the most — in Wisconsin, about 39% of the $23 billion in student debt outstanding here. This fits with how much of student debt comes from professional degrees, such as those in law, medicine or dentistry: 72% of those getting such a degree owe $50,000 or more. But it means that relief is going to people who’ve had years to ramp up their careers or who are in high-earning professions.


0648, 15 April 2024


  1. jonnyv

    No complaints when Trump cut taxes and didn’t touch spending. He made no concerns about future spending and the additional hole it would put us in. Because we can see now that the Trump Tax cuts didn’t do SHIT for us in the long run.
    No complaining when our military spends a rumored ONE BILLION dollars in one night shooting down Iranian Drones for a foreign country.
    Giving away PPP loans like candy. No complaints, other than the grift.
    Bailouts for banks, auto, airlines, etc.

    I am happy that we are giving forgiveness (bailouts) to regular tax payers. Regardless of if they truly need it or not. But the newest forgiveness has a stipulation of “experiencing financial hardship”. Now, that is a very squishy term. But it also includes people who have been paying for TWENTY years. And most of the long-term payers have ALREADY paid off the initial principal amount of the loan and are just now paying interest.

    But to say that we are “counting on that money” for future spending is such a BS complaint when the gov’t is basically working on a paycheck to paycheck basis year after year. Usually barely approving budgets until the moment before a shutdown. Counting on that money is like getting a mortgage that is too big, because you are very sure your old parents are gonna leave you a bunch of cash. That is not money we should be counting on.

    Ultimately we need to look at how we hand out these loans for students. Start to put more of the burden on the schools (which are funded by taxpayers anyway). Make the students loans a 10 or 20 year percentage of your income regardless and then CUT IT. Hell, even tier it based on the student’s income so that lower income students only pay 3% (for example) and higher income students pay 10%. And maybe you pay nothing if you go into public service? And have that money go directly to the schools. Maybe that would incentivize colleges to work with students to get them into higher paying jobs.

    If there were tax cuts that focuses on the middle class you would be CHEERING, but because you can frame this as some sort of culture war against the “college educated liberals”, you deride it.

  2. Tuerqas

    JV, when your rant began with Trump’s cuts your entire comment is already invalidated in my eyes. My taxes went down when his cuts hit and our combined income was about 100k. I don’t know your family income, but I would bet you had lower taxes too, you just don’t acknowledge it because, you know, Trump!!! Now since Biden and Evers, my taxes have gone up, but more importantly all expenses have gone up from their inflation boom as well. Your bark rating: Wrong tree.

    Trump not touching spending? What kind of idiot are you? If Trump was the tyrant of the US for 4 years, not POTUS spending would likely have been halved. No President has the power to cut the budget. Maybe a new day is dawning where Dem Presidents will get a court majority and just bypass the Legislature for that power like they are doing in WI right now, but that hasn’t happened yet and no Dem Pres will cut any spending anyway. Your bark rating: Wrong tree on the wrong planet.

    Many conservatives complain about the military budget. We are for supporting the troops we are employing, but I don’t think the majority of Republican Party conservatives (certainly not independent conservatives) are for keeping our military at its current levels, but I could be wrong on that. Some Republican want to chime in on that? Certainly Mr. Nobel peace prize didn’t cut military spending with a super majority to back him, Trump couldn’t even get a Republican majority for anything he wanted. Republican military support is certainly not at the levels that liberal media hype considers untouchable fact, where you take your believed information from though, so I know why you are saying it at least. Where all Dems are for all spending is never mentioned during your rant. Your bark rating: Wrong tree.

    A bipartisan group signed the PPP deal and if it came up under Biden the only reason it would have been vetoed is because Biden would have said it was not enough. With all the small business closings, even I agreed with it. You think it was a bad idea, apparently. Dems were not against it either, though, so again your clear perspective from lib media that conservatives don’t want to spend money on anything is seriously skewed. Your bark rating: It is the right tree, but you are barking at the entire Gov’t, not at Republicans. So, is your position to forcefully close everything down during a pandemic and NOT give any of those businesses any monetary assistance to keep their business alive for the future?

    Bailouts? It was as unpopular under Bush as it was under Obama among the conservative people. I believe it was the Republican base that were the only ones to DISagree with any of the bailouts. Apparently what you read says it was a Republican led bailout rather than bi-partisan. Blaming the bank bailouts on Republicans, when the majority of the world economists say the bank bailouts saved the global economy is a stupid level of incorrect, everyone is up the tree except you barking at the foot of it, but at least it is the right tree to bark at. The auto bailout was all Dem, conservatives still call it the UAW bailout. Your bark rating: Right tree, but you are barking at all Dems and only some Reps.

    Like all Libs, you are for giving a bailout (again) to one specific class of people at the expense of the rest. My guess is that if it were truly shown what you are paying for it (like a line item on your tax bill) you would be a lot less for it, but that is beside the point. My guess on this was that it was another successful long term plan of the Dems. Give the Gov’t the power to lend to a class of people that normally end up voting Republican (because they have something to lose later in life) and then offer the ones that did not pay it back in a timely fashion the bailout to get them to vote Dem. The ones who paid it back right away will vote Republican anyway so giving them another reason to not vote Dem doesn’t matter anyway. Now you seem to have been against giving loans to businesses (the PPP), and against giving everyone a tax cut because some rich people could also pay less, but you are for (no surprise) giving specific members of the tax payer group another bailout.

    Question: What makes it okay in your opinion to make everyone else pay the student debts of about 13% of the people, the vast majority of which do NOT just owe interest, the recognized cost of getting loans for that bet? What makes people that gambled on their future through College more redeemable than people that gamble in Vegas, or gamble in the stock market, or starting a new business, or on criminal activities or taking apprenticeships in a trade that did not work out, or driving drunk and getting caught? Now I mean besides the obvious goal of just garnering liberal votes.

    >Ultimately we need to look at how we hand out these loans for students.
    Duh, but that won’t happen, Dems control it (unless you can find another Scott Walker). You can’t pay your most loyal followers, educators and students, as much Gov’t money as you are by taking away the loans. You do it by allowing the price of education to skyrocket, that pays your constituency, and then not making the borrowers pay it back, hopefully getting them to become loyal voters too. Libs created the spiraling costs of education on purpose with several objectives clearly in mind, none of which were to actually teach them anything about reality. College used to be another learning tool to becoming a responsible citizen, now it just builds upon public schools in how to become a liberal.

    >Start to put more of the burden on the schools (which are funded by taxpayers anyway). Make the students loans a 10 or 20 year percentage of your income regardless and then CUT IT. Hell, even tier it based on the student’s income so that lower income students only pay 3% (for example) and higher income students pay 10%. And maybe you pay nothing if you go into public service? And have that money go directly to the schools.
    Wow…just, wow. So many problems in one small paragraph. Want a breakdown? Just ask, but this is long enough.

  3. jonnyv

    T. I honestly have no clue if my taxes went down, they probably did. Between my wife and I, we make more than 100K, some years a lot more some years only a little more. But I also have 2 side businesses, one with a partner… so things get hairy with taxes and I just outsource them at this point, and pay what they tell me I owe. Last year it was 20K out of my pocket at the end of the year. And frankly I don’t care if they went up or down. As far as me not liking something if it is a line item. You are wrong. I live in Bayview. I see a brand new middle school just blocks from my house that I voted FOR. And I smile every time I see it knowing that my taxes are going to build that and my kid will get a year or so inside before going to Nicolet where they are completely remodeling thanks to that SAME referendum.

    Cutting taxes was a dumb thing to do without cutting spending when Trump did it. Much like Biden, he was trying to BUY votes. And if we are going to blame Biden for out of control spending, then you can blame Trump for it as well during his time. No president controls spending, but they are the head of their party and when you have the majority (like he did) it is on you, like it or not. Cause last time I checked the Republicans are no longer the side of fiscal responsibility anyway.

    I said from the get go that the tax cuts during an economic boom that we had was a bad idea. Money was cheap, inflation was down, companies were doing really well… it was actually time to INCREASE corporate taxes slightly and take advantage of the window we had to try and get closer to closing the deficit. That isn’t the case now, although I think corporate taxes should be higher and we should be looking to cut spending. Specifically military spending. Then look at healthcare budget. Why do we spend 2-3x the average other country for our healthcare.

    I do think that Biden cutting all of the student loans are a means to buy votes. But it is also a campaign promise he is actually trying to keep… shockingly. No different than Trump telling the billionaires at his most recent fundraiser that he promises to keep taxes low for them. The gov’t bails companies out all the time. No mention of the 25 BILLION dollar Trump bailout of the Airline industry right after all the stock buybacks in 2020? I would probably be mostly for “bailing out” anyone that is attempting to better the economy and fail. Trade school loans, sure. We do allow entrepreneurs and most of the others who you mentioned to bail out of loans in the form of BANCRUPTCY. Can students do that??? NOPE. Maybe we should allow any student who doesn’t finish college to be able to claim bankruptcy like a failed business?

    FWIW. I was against the PPP loans. We would have been better off handing most of that money directly to tax payers instead of funneling it through businesses, many of which who used it as a slush fund or flat out grift.

    Frankly I think all state sponsored higher education should be free. An educated society is better overall for our country, but that comes with starting to seriously look at the degrees that are offered and cutting some of the fluff most likely. I wouldn’t mind seeing all athletics cut from colleges. Invest less in infrastructure and more in online learning. Find ways to trim administration. But sure, if you want to pick apart my thrown together idea, go for it. I think there should still be options for paying upfront. But making agreements with students who can’t pay upfront for a portion of their wages for XX amount of time… I don’t see much of an issue with it. There will be flaws to work out in any system. Maybe find a way for the money coming out of the salary to go to the state and then they are paying for the schools anyway. You will win some and lose some with students.

  4. Tuerqas

    You don’t care about how much in taxes you pay.? I will have to digest that, but it certainly changes the perspective of that person and I do try to look at all sides of an argument. That is a new one for me. And when taxes are direct and for a (hopefully) good cause I have no problem with your view. But would you really not care about a $1,000 line item for paying other people’s tuition if you first heard about it from your Doctor who was gloating about paying the minimum for 20 years in hopes of some day having it paid off by the Government, i.e. you the taxpayer? To each his own.

    Agreed Trump was buying votes, but only to an extent, because it was non-partisan. Dem and Rep voters all had the same cuts depending on their income. To me that means a lot more because he was getting a temporary easement for everyone, not just his voters. it is the use of Government power to literally pay for a specific Party’s votes that I find truly repugnant. And if you want to split that hair saying the majority of his votes came from the working middle class, I have little problem with it as they pay by far the most compared to what they get from Government. They are less represented than the rich, the poor, or the minorities and they pay the highest percentages of their earnings when it comes to the money buying a way of life.

    If Trump is promising to ease the burden on the rich, is it a campaign promise he should be admired for keeping? A bad promise is a bad promise. Staring in the 1990s there was a big push to get a much higher percentage of kids to go to College, but the IQ has been going down, not up. College is no promise of a bright future, but it was held out as one by Liberal Democrats. Your intelligentsia knew they were turning out worse and worse products as Profs now had to teach at sub 12 grade levels and class offers included more and more fluff classes, but it was mo’ money for them so it was all systems go. If school was actually still effective at turning out thinking citizens and had its collective head on straight, I would not think your attitude towards all public colleges having nominal fees being out of line, but first we would have to cut out ALL of the fluff. Europe has that part right. Trade schools are still honorable and favorable schools to go to and going to neither trade or College is no pariah either Kids are recommended for College based on intelligence and ability, much more than being pushed in by race, pipe dreams or sports. And bankruptcy as we know it is clearly one of the truly bad ways Government protects rich people. Adding people that can use such a broken law is a bad idea. If we are dreaming here, let’s get rid of them.

    FWIW from me, I was against forcing a shut down, but if you are going to stop millions of people from being able to work, then those people and the businesses they work at need to be provided for. So I was only pro PPP because the people who supply the jobs for millions were being forced to close down with no promises on how they would ever be able to open up again. No PPP probably equals 1-2 trillion added to Amazon’s bottom line and 2-3% added to the unemployment lists.

    I would agree with this statement: A good education is a benefit to society and worth investing in. Now all we need is a system that can deliver a quality education…

    I have heard of too many child support cheaters who get away with no payments to accept an idea where students pay a certain amount each year based on ‘salary’. The baby daddy of one of my grand nephews never paid a dime. His family owns a huge seasonal business for Christmas trees (100s of acres), but it is all a cash game and comparatively little is reported and he takes unemployment every year to boot. If you are so okay with giving us all a line item of student debt from others, why not just add the line to the debtors that can afford them. Sorry, but better them having to spend more than they want, that delays a better lifestyle for them than for myself, who paid my own debt promptly for my useless degree. If everyone who owes that can afford it were forced to do a 2-5 year repayment program I bet it would cut the debt by 30-40% in 2-5 years.
    Thanks for the thoughtful response.

  5. dad29

    Interesting that JonnyV cannot remember the name of the town he lives in, no?

    Just to set you straight, JV, I objected to Trump’s drunken-sailor spending. Not every day, but I was clear about it. Look at his policies and record and you’re looking at the policies and record of a typical Democrat of the 1970’s. That’s who he is in essence. But things have changed. The Democrat Party leadership is now full-bore Marxist.

    T is correct, by the way: the country was doing very well under Trump’s regime, ginormous debt notwithstanding. But that party is coming to an end; even the ULTRA-gigungous spend of Biden cannot stimulate any more. It’s productivity, but there’s no time to get into that.

    As to the loan giveaway, let’s start at the beginning: it is totes un-Constitutional, just like the last one, and the one before that.

    T: while no POTUS can ‘cut the budget,’ a POTUS can perform “recission,” choosing NOT to spend dollars on any given program outside of the entitlements. Face it: Trump was very ill-served by Paul Ryan, the little-boy face of the Blob, and McConnell was providing Ryan with fresh knives for T’s back whenever needed.

    Just for fun, watch Evers bleat and beg for Mo’MONEY to bail out UW campuses which have serious student population problems. At least 4 of them should be closed, but Vos doesn’t have the balls to do it, and Evers…….well………he’s a perfect example of Why Higher Education Doesn’t Produce Higher Results.

    The loans should not be forgiven. Children (including mine) who took them out without thinking of the consequences will have to pay them off. Frankly, I told mine that they were on extremely thin ice, but by that time they were……..ahhh……free and 21.

    Too bad.

    One more thing, T define “good” education. Advanced trade-school stuff like engineering, computer “science,” and Biz Ad don’t count, for the obvious reasons. Maybe apprenticeship “education” such as MD, RN, or law should count, but let’s call them what they really are.

  6. jonnyv

    Dad29. HA, you are right. I said Bayview, when I meant to type Bayside. I have been here 3 years and I still screw that up when I am going fast. If I wanted to live in Bayview, I would have to learn how to juggle and ride a unicycle… but maybe I could be friends with Milverine! Pros/Cons.

    T, correct. I don’t really care what I pay in taxes (within realistic reason). Honestly, I don’t know what tax bracket I am in. (I just looked, the 22% bracket) Like you, I do care what we do with those taxes. I am ok with bailing out people in certain situations. I am ok with building schools, especially when I know that the school district is 2nd to none. If you told me my taxes were going up 2%, 4%, or 6% and we could have universal healthcare, I wouldn’t bat an eye.

    SIDE NOTE: I think we should eliminate all “married filing jointly” tax advantages as well. No reason to give one group of people a tax benefit and not others, right?

    And for your scenario of a doctor paying the minimum. Sure, but most likely they are on an income based payment plan. And if they want to sit in the 60K a year area for the next 20 years with that degree… Um ok. But the average Dr in Wisconsin make 250K a year. So, take 5% of that for 20 years and that is 250K. When the average in-state medical college currently costs about 170K. Seems like the tax payers would get a good deal. And I believe that most income based plans are 10% of your discretionary income, not 5%. Maybe even offer an early buy-out clause. Money now is better than money later for everyone.

    There will be people who game every system. It is impossible to stop. But, I will take the majority of good with the few bad apples. If someone is going to take a job where they get paid cash under the table for 20 years just to avoid paying back college, I can’t imagine that is a very lucrative choice.

    I do think there would have been room for something like the PPP plan. But I wouldn’t have lumped employee paychecks in there. That money should go right to the people, and business owners with physical establishments could get some other payment option to cover expenses, etc. It would have cut down on the grifting quite a bit. Hindsight 20/20. Everyone was eager to get something passed at the time. I think the PPP loans are a direct reason for the inflation we saw and are still seeing. People were handed money with nothing to do but spend it and companies took that opportunity to raise prices. And then throw in supply chain stuff. Bad recipe.

  7. dad29

    If I wanted to live in Bayview

    You would also have to learn that it is two words: Bay View.

    I think the PPP loans are a direct reason for the inflation we saw and are still seeing.

    You get partial credit for that. But the Biden Spend is also “a direct reason.”

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