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Cancel All Student Debt?

With the transition to a new administration in the US under way, there has been more talk about the potential for all existing student debt in the US to be forgiven.

On one hand, it's easy to see how helpful such a measure would be for those who are struggling under a mountain of student debt with little to no hope of paying off their loans in the near future.  Those who support canceling student debt suggest that forgiving these loans will free debtors up to be able to pursue new business ventures, buy a home, and make additional contributions to local economies.  

Those who oppose this measure explain that the money used to forgive all student debt would have to come from all taxpayers, which is unfair to those who don't have student debt, have already paid off their debt, or chose not to pursue higher education they couldn't afford.

In a typical exchange, one side will say "I worked my tail off to pay for my education and chose to go to community college rather than to a big name university because these were the choices that felt most responsible to me - how is it fair to me and people like me to have others who made less responsible choices get bailed out by me and everyone else?"

Invariably, the responses from the other side will be in the vein of "Why can't you just be happy for others?" Which of course, drives the first side batty with frustration over the clear divide in acknowledgement of what entitled behaviour looks like.

My view is this:  if a government wants to relieve the burden of student debt, they should send the same amount of aid to every person whether they have student debt or not.  Be it 20, 50 or 100 thousand dollars, this amount can be used by each person as they see fit.  Some may use it to pay off their student loans, while others may put it toward a mortgage, starting a business, pursuing education, or even savings.  

Since the money has to come from the entire tax-paying population, to be fair, shouldn't everyone receive the same amount?  

The reality is this:  distributing "free" money to everyone will not address the root issues at hand.  When people are bailed out of the consequences of their own choices, somewhere down the road, a new mountain of unpayable debt will emerge.

A viable solution to the problem of growing student debt is for more individuals to decide that paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a brand name education isn't a responsible use of funds.  

This is why I have immense respect for organizations that are working to solve this socioeconomic issue by providing educational courses, credits, and even degrees that are highly affordable for the masses.  

The best example I have found of an organization leading this mission was founded by Michael Saylor, a highly successful technologist who created https://www.saylor.org/, an online academy that provides a wide range of college level courses that are free for anyone to take and receive credits for.  Through Saylor.org and their accredited college credit transfer partners, it's possible to earn a full undergraduate degree for free.  

Some might be wondering what the catch is.  There isn't one.  Michael Saylor is a self-made billionaire who graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering from MIT, and having fulfilled all of his personal needs and wants, like many other philanthropists, his intent is to make the world a better place.  

If you have family or friends who might benefit from knowing about Saylor.org, please share this message with them.  

The reality is that through YouTube and other free online material, we can learn just about anything we want to for the price of monthly internet access.

I have long been grateful to learn from others who have spent many years mastering a topic that they have passion for.  In reading a book written by a true expert on any topic I am drawn to, I figure I can gain about an 80 percent level of understanding that took the expert decades to master and distill for others to digest.

For those who share a similar view on the magic of leveraging time to learn more about the world, here is a short list of some works that I feel are truly worth the paper they are printed on:

Personal and Interpersonal Effectiveness:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen Covey
https://amzn.to/3nQeEJy
Canada:  https://amzn.to/3m1F6PV

Parenting and Creating Emotionally Healthy Children and Families:

The Conscious Parent and The Awakened Family, by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
https://amzn.to/398vZJD
Canada:  https://amzn.to/2V0WesY  and  https://amzn.to/33er7Pl

The Rise of Civilization - A Macro View of How Human Societies Developed:

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond
https://amzn.to/3788Hke
Canada:  https://amzn.to/360Ka1r

Understanding Money:

The Bitcoin Standard, by Saifedean Ammous
https://amzn.to/33dmWDu
Canada:  https://amzn.to/39c95Bd

Understanding Food:

In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
https://amzn.to/372MHr3
Canada:  https://amzn.to/2J8M877

With best wishes to all, and a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend to our American readers.

Ben

 
 

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