Student loan debt fallout: Yank out the root
Missing from talk about student loan debt being such a burden that it's causing young couples to delay having children, hindering the economy and exacerbating long-term Social Security and health-care dilemmas is the root cause of the problem — the pernicious, market-distorting effects of lavish government subsidies that provide cover for ever-rising tuition.
A Project on Student Debt survey estimated that 2011 Pennsylvania graduates owed an average of nearly $30,000 in student loans. The Pew Research Center says the U.S. birth rate has fallen since 2007, bottoming out in 2012 at 62.3 children born per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 — the lowest rate since 1920. Yet a recent Trib news story reported that “no studies demonstrate a clear link between rising student debt and declining birth rates.”
The same can't be said of the linkage between government subsidies and rising tuition, which drives crushing student-loan debt. A May 2009 Cato Institute paper traced such subsidies' growth from 19th-century federal land grants to today's student loans, which transfer wealth “from taxpayers to academic institutions” — and distort the higher-education market by preventing rising tuition from reducing demand, as it otherwise would.
Sadly, unless higher education's government subsidies are phased out, crushing student debt will continue. Those bemoaning its implications for birth rates, the economy and entitlement programs have little cause to complain if they don't attack rising tuition's root cause — academia shafting everyone.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- The revolving door: Washington’s ‘gift’
- U.N. Watch: Another jaded ‘inquiry’
- Expanding Medicaid: Gov.-elect Wolf embraces a false premise
- The regulatory state: EPA picks a fight
- Pension reform should not be linked to a natural gas extraction tax
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Holiday Gift Club: The spirit of the season
- Obama’s Cuba deal: More appeasement