Draze: Federal student loan repayment pause is a ‘pain killer, not a treatment’

Dec 27, 2021, 1:54 PM
student loan...
Students and supporters protest in California against a tuition hike. (File photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
(File photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Taken from Monday’s edition of KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show, by guest host Draze.

Student loan repayments have been in limbo since March 2020, with regular payments suspended periodically throughout the pandemic. In the latest update, President Joe Biden has extended that pause through May 1, 2022.

This is a bandage. This is a pain killer.

For seven million borrowers in default, such an extension will do little to aid their personal economic recovery. The time has come for President Biden to forgive much of those student loans, debt which disproportionately affects people of color. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Black borrowers owe, on average, $25,000 more in loans than their white counterparts.

We don’t need bandages, and we don’t need painkillers. We need treatment — surgery, if you will.

The interest rates on these loans have completely gotten out of hand. School in America might as well be a one way ticket to debtors’ prison. It’s a hoax, in the sense that teenagers are saddled with expensive loans with astronomical interest rates for education which isn’t even likely to be directly related to their careers.

Most of those kids would not be qualified to take on a mortgage or a business loan, which more than likely would have lower interest rates than what they’re subjected to from the federal government.

President Biden ran his campaign flirting with the idea of simply getting rid of the student debt. Now, we should call on him to have the courage to follow through on that conviction. I know he’ll find some way to walk around it, but the path to economic recovery from this pandemic lies with eliminating student debt.

That isn’t complicated. We treat student loan debt as tantamount to brain surgery, but it’s more a routine procedure. It’s an obvious economic solution when so many Americans are struggling to claw their way out of this pandemic.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Draze: Federal student loan repayment pause is a ‘pain killer, not a treatment’