Monday, August 29th, 2022

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


I’m sorry to say that President Biden does not pay much attention to me.  I wrote in my weekly column back in early July that forgiving federally guaranteed student loans was bad fiscal policy, and unfair to all of the rest of taxpayers. Despite these objections, the President last week announced that he would forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt, and more if the student received a Pell Grant.  Louisiana members of congress, with justification, shapely criticized this new policy.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, generally a more moderate republican, lashed out at loan forgiveness saying: “President Biden didn’t ‘forgive student debt,’ he chose to shift the burden of the well-off onto the backs of the 87 percent of Americans who chose to not go to college, already paid off their loans, or saved to not take them out in the first place,” said Cassidy. “This decision is a spit in the face of Louisiana families who are struggling to get by.”

Senator John Kennedy also expressed his opposition tweeting: “Americans who already paid off their debt, worked through college, went to a trade school, or chose to not go to school will pay off the loans that other people incurred. On what planet is that fair? The President’s plan doesn’t forgive debt- it transfers it to people who don’t owe it.”

Even Kennedy’s democratic challenger Luke Mixon said loan forgiveness was a bad idea. “We need to solve the problem by making college more affordable,” Mixon said, but he still joined other democratic voices in saying that a deal is a deal and students should not be allowed to renege paying back their loan.

And what about the legality of the President doing this in the first place?  Shouldn’t congress have to approve such huge financial debt increase? Biden used a provision of the federal law that few have head of called the post-9/11 Heroes Act, that allows loan payments can be forgiven in times of a national emergency. So what’s the “national emergency.”  No one is saying.

Is there any justification for loan modification or forgiveness?  Yes, if the borrower gives service back.  Here are a few examples of where loan forgiveness makes sense.

Institute a much stronger Teacher Loan Forgiveness program.  Louisiana is far short of the number of teachers needed in elementary and high school.  I suggest forgiving 20% of the loan each year for five years.

National Guard Forgiveness.  The Louisiana National Guard has been a critical component protecting the state during hurricanes and floods. Quite frankly, the Guard needs to be used even more for intervention in high crime areas like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. New Orleans right now is a hell hole of criminal activity. We should use the National Guard more, but give student Guard members incentives through loan forgiveness for a six-year commitment. I paid my $75,000 student loan over 13 years. Every penny with no forgiveness. I served for 12 years the Louisiana National Guard, and would certainly like to have had such a program in place during my time of duty. I paid my $75,000 student over 13 years. Every penny with no forgiveness.

Active Military Service– About 75 percent of America’s 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for military service due to being overweight, lack of education, or criminal history.  If a military applicant is otherwise eligible, then forgive his or her student loan after a three-year commitment.

AmeriCorps offers an opportunity for public service both nationally and internationally, for citizens to work in healthcare and other important public venues. The program should be publicized more and should offer loan forgiveness for those who sign up for extended periods. These are some of the ways for those former students who give back and qualify for a loan forgiveness.

And what about all the students just entering college?  Will we forgive their loans too?  Millions of parents sacrificed and saved so their kids would not have large college debt.  And millions of students worked their way through college, then spent years paying off their commitment.  It’s a mistake to saddle taxpayers with the bill of those who want another governmental handout.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also look over a list of books he has published at














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