Student Loan Forgiveness: The Libertarian Response?

Someone just sent me this via transom letter (if you don’t know what that means, you little kid, look it up; okay, okay, it means “offered or sent without prior agreement; unsolicited”):

“I’d like your thoughts and my interpretation of this: If someone voluntarily agrees to a student loan, the loan is ‘cancelled’ and the borrower decides not to repay the lender, wouldn’t that be a loophole? Need to fill the budget by imposing debt on others? The moral problem is debt shifting, and accepting it guarantees that another wrong will be done by stealing the tax, debt, or devaluation of the taxpayer’s currency.”

Here is my response:

i am a professor We are not obligated to answer any questions directly. We are allowed to beat around the bush instead. So let me share my thoughts on this from a slightly different perspective than you requested.

I am a libertarian. I see all such matters through the prism of that political economic philosophy. So I ask, should libertarians be for or against student loan forgiveness? As you will see I am of two minds on this matter.

Along with Murray Rothbard and Lysander Spooner, I consider government to be a “gang of murderers and thieves.” So, I oppose anything that benefits them. They think that loan waivers benefit them, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, so I’m against their initiative if only for that reason.

Also, as you mentioned, this program will benefit those people who received subsidies in further education. Then the government will turn around and tax all People including non-beneficiaries to cover this loss. As a liberal, I rarely support the government taking money from one group of people, regardless of their characteristics, and giving it to another group of people, regardless of their characteristics.

On the other hand, if we look only at this program, and then avert our eyes from the government raising taxes to finance it, we arrive at a different conclusion. The less money the government has, the better. This initiative will make them destitute at least a little. Who will enrich it? Why are these students who do not have to pay their loans. Who is the biggest enemy of freedom: the government or these students? Well, that’s a no brainer. These students did not tax, regulate, kill, steal, cancel, etc. At least not to anything like the same degree. So, as a liberal, I’m in favor of shifting money from statistics to these relatively innocent students.

So, we have two effects, one for, one against. Which is stronger? How should we weigh them? This is an empirical problem, not one of deontology. Consequently, the path forward for libertarians is, in my view, unclear. If I am asked for an answer, my prudent judgment is to oppose this program.

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