Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Student Loans

Higher Ed Watch reports that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is leading a fight to prosecute people who have defaulted on student loans as a way to bring money into the government.

Should this really be a top priority? I totally agree that people should not default on their loans. But most of these people want to pay them back. They just are poor. Shouldn't the government be working with them rather than prosecuting them?

Moreover, in a time when we are giving bailouts and stimuli right and left, it seems that one might consider a bit of relief on student loans. If you wanted to raise my consumption, you'd take that $450 a month off my plate. That would raise my consumption in some serious ways. Now, I'm not saying that would be good government policy. But I'm not sure it would be worse than many other ideas.

Moreover, I'm not sure that coming after the poor, regardless of their education level, is the best policy in times of hardship. Hopefully the Obama administration rethinks this idea.

For those who actually can pay the loans back and are not for some reason, that's a different story.