Forgive student loans and save the economy

When the first economic meltdown hit in 2008, speculation and sub-prime loan debt were to blame. Now, with $900 billion in student loans, Americans are beginning to ask the question, is the student debt crisis next?

Students attend institutes of higher learning with the general understanding that making the commitment is going to ensure they have a productive future and more stability in the job market.

Unfortunately with college graduate unemployment the highest it has been in 40 years, the idea of a safe future for any American seems like a distant fantasy.

The Project on Student Debt estimates the average debt for 2009 bachelor’s degree recipients at $24,000, and with students graduating $100,000 in debt and even more in some cases the prospects for home ownership and making a comfortable life for one’s self becomes next to impossible.

Recently however there is now a call for one solution to both our almost trillion-dollar student debt, and America’s floundering economy. Petitions are circulating the Internet addressing House of Representatives Bill 365, which uses student loan forgiveness as a means of economic stimulus. And so far the bill has been sponsored by House giants like Representatives Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Keith Ellison of Minnesota John Conyers of Michigan, and Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed the petitions and the argument to forgive student debt seems to have some real weight. In one of the petitions that has almost half of a million signatures so far, Robert Applebaum the petitions creator, stated, “Forgiving student loan debt would have an immediate stimulating effect on the economy. Responsible people who did nothing other than pursue a higher education would have hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars per month to spend, fueling the economy now.”

He goes on to make the obvious argument that “As consumer spending increases, businesses will begin to hire, jobs will be created and a new era of innovation, entrepreneurship and prosperity will be ushered in for all.”

HR 365 was introduced by Michigan Democratic Rep. Hansen Clarke in a YouTube video posted on the representative’s page, he said “We need to cut, cap, and forgive student loan debt,” and that “That is the true debt that is burdening American families. We cut student loan debt we’ll have a freer more prosperous country.”

With debt and the economy being such buzz words in the media and the youth vote being so important in the 2008 election cycle, this bill just might strike a chord with Americans and with the dedicated work of student and labor organizations, this bill just might have a real chance of passing, but to win such a bill will require enormous pressure from below. More people than ever are being weighed down by student loan debt, the voices of the millions who are affected by it have the ability to put the pressure on Congress and the president to make that debt a thing of the past.

Photo: Butch Dill/AP




Jordan Farrar
Jordan Farrar

Jordan Farrar is a fan of European football, reggae music and camping, and played the bass guitar for a local garage band in Baltimore. He has been involved in youth and student struggles since high school and works with various groups aimed at fighting racism, sexism and homophobia.