WP Opinion: Student Loan Forgiveness = Stolen Valor

| August 31, 2022

In an OpEd that appeared in the Washington Post, commentator Marc Thiessen makes a case that Biden’s student loan forgiveness leverages a law that was intended to help servicemembers.

Opinion: Biden’s loan forgiveness is an act of stolen valor
By Marc A. Thiessen

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But here is the worst part of all: Biden’s plan is an act of stolen valor. He is claiming authority for student-loan forgiveness by invoking the 2003 Heroes Act — a law passed after the 9/11 attacks to support the men and women mobilized to fight terrorists and to make sure that they did not default because of their military service. The law explicitly states that it is designed to help the “hundreds of thousands of Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard reservists and members of the National Guard [who] have been called to active duty or active service” and asked to “put their lives on hold, leave their families, jobs, and postsecondary education in order to serve their country.” It authorizes the secretary of education to modify or forgive their postsecondary loans on a case-by-case basis “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency, regardless of the location at which such active duty service is performed.” In 2007, when Congress made the Heroes Act permanent, it explicitly reiterated that it was acting to address “the unique situations that active duty military personnel and other affected individuals may face” (emphasis added).

Now Biden is using a law designed for active-duty service men and women as a pretext to provide loan forgiveness for those who never wore the uniform. Indeed, he is giving students who did not serve broader benefits than those who did. In so doing, he is effectively turning an entire generation of Americans into military impostors — receiving the benefits of military service they did not render. Imagine if he found a loophole in the GI bill to allow students who did not serve to obtain the same military scholarships as veterans. There would be widespread outrage. This is no different. The bill is called the Heroes Act for a reason. Americans who take out loans they can’t afford to repay are not heroes — and should not be treated as if they were.

So yes, Biden’s plan is inflationary, regressive, unfair, unaffordable and unconstitutional. But worst of all, it is un-American — because it is an affront to all the servicemembers who risked their lives on the field of battle to keep the rest of us safe.

This is the first time I have heard this angle on this controversy.

This is a tough issue for me.  Full disclosure – I do have student loan debt and although I disagree with the forgiveness program in principle, I’m somewhat conflicted about turning the relief down if offered.  It doesn’t make me inclined to change my voting preferences, which I think was the program’s intent.

There were many years I was between jobs and couldn’t afford to make student loan payments, so they heaped on incredible penalties and interest, more than doubling the amount they said I owed.  Although I do not feel a sense of entitlement for any relief, I do feel I’ve paid off the original loan at least once over and maybe twice.  After that dark chapter in my life, I have been making consistent payments for almost twenty years so in my mind what I owe represents interest and penalties.

Far better to have just offered relief on the interest rate, in my opinion.

Another thing – when I went through an unemployment period many years ago I constantly had to field phone calls about my inability to pay the loan.  At that time, I wished they had a program to help me work off the loan.  I had time on my hands, but no money.  I often wished they had a program where I could check in at a library, school, police station, firehouse, or some state or federal agency and log hours doing a menial job.  No money exchange, but the time would be credited in dollars against my student loan.  It would be the equivalent of having a part-time job so who wouldn’t work a Thursday night to put a dent in their loan obligation?

Category: Politics

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5JC

The conflict you feel will intensify as the election looms and you worry that if Republicans seize congress you won’t get the money. That is why the program is aimed dead at the middle class.

Some other ways to pay off loans:

  • 3 years of military service (up to 60K, OCS is currently eligible)
  • 10 years working for a non-profit or GA – Created under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, PSLF allows borrowers who work full time for nonprofits and government agencies to have their outstanding debt forgiven tax-free on Federal Direct Loans, after making 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan.
  • Employee Benefit – The CARES Act allows employers to contribute $5,250 (tax deductible) per year toward each employee’s student loans

Or you can just do like I did and not borrow a shitton of money.

5JC

College financial aid advisors are a lot like drug dealers. They don’t really care about the student they just want to move product. They love tax season and the 1st of the month when the government checks hit. That is more dope to sling. This “free” money will get be calculated into their plans and the kiddies will borrow even more money and want a bigger handout next year.

26Limabeans

“College financial aid advisors are a lot like drug dealers”

My former GF ran the office at a small community college.
That would make her a Kingpin.

5JC

Community Colleges by and large aren’t in the madness. Their programs are designed to get people into skilled labor or make a 4 year degree cheaper than a 4 year school. I’m a fan.

5JC

It’s fair to say that neither of us will know for certain how you will feel come November. I can only tell you how politicians toy with people to get the results they want on election day. Then they go right back to doing whatever they want.

After the polls come in on this different pols will stake out their position and say whatever it takes to get people to vote for them.

Last edited 3 months ago by 5JC
5JC

Some voices were screaming for loot. They were already voting left. I know lots of good people with student loans who feel the same as you.

You do know that after 20 years student loans can be forgiven?

KoB

“…Biden’s plan is inflationary, regressive, unfair, unaffordable, and unconstitutional.” Hell, that sums up his entire administration. Meeting those parameters is easy peazy for him. It’s what he does. All part of the plan, Comrade.

Not just NO, but Hells to the NO.

Av8or33

Had kids take 10k in loans just in case this stupidity became reality. It’s not going to make any of us vote democrat, but if you’re going to throw money around I’ll take it. I can’t stop this lunacy.

Av8or33

You’re not a hypocrite, you’re being pragmatic. You can’t stop what bullshit may be coming but turning it to your advantage is the smart move. Remember when the democrats tried to call out Trump and others for taking advantage of tax laws? Trump said I only take advantage of the laws you make, I’d wouldn’t be a very good businessman if I left money on the table.

poetrooper

Look at it this way, sbalm, the Covid checks just helped offset what increased gas prices and other inflation has cost you… 🤔 

SFC D

The former MRS D had around $28K in student loan debt when we split. About $12K of that debt is penalties and interest. Why, you may ask? Because she’s never made a single payment since the debt was incurred in 1992. I wasn’t even aware of it until we divorced in 2014. A GS-12, married to a SFC, receiving BAH for a paid-off house. It wasn’t for lack of money, she just didn’t give a fuck. One of the happiest days of my life was when I got a call from a debt collection agency after the divorce was final. I gave them every bit of her personal information I could think of, and offered to drive them to her house. They garnished her wages and confiscated every tax refund. She deserves zero relief from her debt.

5JC

What fuckery is this? You aren’t even supposed to eligible for Federal employment if you are in default.

SFC D

She probably didn’t mention it and nobody checked.

LC

I can certainly understand an opposition to student loan forgiveness on broad principle, but in your situation, you’ve clearly stated you’ve paid off the original loans at least once over. You’re in a position where you still owe due to aggressive interest and penalties. Your situation is covered by the same bill that allows someone who hasn’t paid a cent on their loan for their underwater basket-weaving degree, but it is a different scenario, clearly.

Take the forgiveness if offered. You and millions of other Americans will be in a better financial position. And if you really wish to, you can even use some of the future savings or relieved debt to put towards conservative causes.

My two cents. I don’t love this bill wholesale, but I have a lot of sympathy for people who’ve done things right and yet are still saddled with interest, penalties and larger-than-expected loans.

5JC

That is how interest rates work. When I was in school the interest rate on student loans were 9.5%. If I had paid it back on their schedule than I would have paid back around double. Instead I busted my hump and paid it all off in the first year and saved 89%. all while being the sole income earner with a wife and baby.

Good decisions and willpower carries the day. Luck too, but we can’t count on luck.

Anonymous

Heck yeah! 🙂

jeff LPH 3 63-66

I attended DooWopp University, no loans/tuition involved just a good singing voice, so why should I have to pay for someones school loan/tuition.

Av8or33

Have my own kids to pay for. Not responsible for the bad decisions of others. I’ll take the money because it’s foolish not too, but will never vote for these communists.

Anonymous

I don’t recall many green-haired, nose-pierced transgender studies majors who can’t get a job at Starbucks actually served.

Last edited 3 months ago by Anonymous
Berliner

Already one group (NAACP) is saying “Hold my beer”:

You voted and rallied – and it’s because of you we’ve seen this first step in student debt relief. Let’s keep going. Find resources, statistics, and stories below. $50K Data suggest that cancellation policies beyond $50,000 would benefit all demographics, eliminate racial disparities in student debt, and boost our struggling economy.

Where will it end?

Roh-Dog

I guess we’ll all be millionaires by 2024 then, presuming we make it that far.

Lord help us.

Smitty

My neighbor is an army recruiting sergeant. He told me he has already lost three potential recruits due to this. They said why enlist for the GI Bill when I can borrow ten grand and party for a year. I called U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office (no one answers the phone but you can leave a message), and told them she let her fellow vets down- treated them like suckers for serving. Ask not what you can do for your country, just gimme dat.

A Proud Infidel®™

Tammy Duckworth? I respect her Military Service and that’s it nothing else about her, she’s become just another swamp creature.

SFC D

You can enlist, qualify for the GI bill, the Army College fund, tuition assistance, and party all over the world.

bmorgan

Par – tay!

Anonymous

The soju experience in Korea is da bomb!

Last edited 2 months ago by Anonymous