September 29, 2016

Letter to the editor: Forgive student loans, vote Green Party

From Linda Featheringill, Green Party representative

The cost of education is going up and the ability to pay is going down. In 2000, tuition at Webster University was $12, 350. In 2014, tuition was $24,600, an increase of 99%. In the state of Missouri, median income in 2014 was 9% less than in 2000. Current tuition at Webster U is $26,100. The situation is getting worse. The way things are going, students will have to obtain larger student loans. Current college graduates are burdened with debt now, but it’s going to be even worse for students who are attending classes now. Debt servitude is a real possibility.

Can we do anything about this problem? Yes, we can.

Let us look back to the economic crash of 2007-2008. The US and the rest of the world were struggling to prop up the. In 2009, the US government bailed out the big Wall Street banks with TARP loans and quantitative easing [QE]. QE means that the government, through the Federal Reserve, purchased from the banks loans that were uncollectable because the borrowers were in financial distress. The Federal Reserve did this repeatedly, until the Wall Street banks were more stable. The TARP program involved ordinary money loans and these were paid back over time. The debts taken over in the QE process were never paid back. The government essentially wrote them off.

If we can do this for the big Wall Street banks, why can’t we do it for ourselves?

The Green Party, with candidates Jill Stein, M.D. and Ajamu Baraka, Ph.D., want to do exactly that with student debt. They propose that the government, probably working through the Federal Reserve, would buy the student loans from the holding entities [Sallie Mae, for instance], and then just forgive the loans. Wipe them out. This debt would no longer exist.

Such an action is bound to have results. The effect on the individual debtor would be immediate and clear. He or she would have a better credit rating because of less debt.

That would be a good thing. They would also have funds to actually make purchases. The effects on the overall economy would take a little longer to become apparent but would be inevitable. More people would be buying things, thus increasing overall demand. This would force more production, which would create more jobs. People with new or better jobs would also be able to buy what they need or just want. A boost to the entire economy would result.

We could do this if we put the right people into office. Only one political party has a plan to address the student loan debt problem. That is the Green Party.

Cast a vote for prosperity. Vote Green!

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