No one has student loan debt at Bourke Accounting. This is especially nice for me, as I’d feel kind of stupid spending 10-21 years paying off the ability to write a paper on Beowulf. Oddly enough, that’s not a talent most 9-5 jobs are really clamoring for (I know! I’m surprised, too!). Even though the current talk regarding the cancellation of student loan debt doesn’t affect us Bourkers outright, I think we’re all curious to see what happens.

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley is a big fan of cancelling student debt. She feels that this will help to both “address racial inequalities and stimulate the economy” (Forbes.com). If every student debtor could stop chucking monthly payments down a well worth $30,000, of course, that would ease a lot of stress. Considering that student loan debt now exceeds $1.6 trillion (Forbes.com), that erasure would free up many and many dollars to rebuild the economy. All right, I’m with you so far.

College educations are good for Americans. Not only does one learn critical thinking, time management and responsibility, there’s also a lot more money to be made after graduation; the Federal Reserve reports that “college graduates earn 80% more than high school graduates” (Marketwatch.com). Obviously, an educated populace, blessed with financial solvency, would benefit the entire country. So yes, loan cancellation and free college educations would be beautiful things.

You know I hate to be the malcontent in the back of the room, but I see just a few problems with these lofty goals. Perhaps I’m puritanical, but I think debt cancellation really amounts to theft of services. So, you go to a good school, you’re taught by good teachers, you receive a good degree and then say, “Oh, being in debt is hard!” And then, the government says, “There, there, we didn’t mean to hurt your feelings! All is forgiven!” Of course college is expensive! A Tesla is, too, but I don’t hear anyone knocking on my door to hand me one.

Another problem with cancellation is the fact that school tuition is used for many things, not just a professor’s salary. When you consider utilities, security, insurance, maintenance – well, these expenditures add up. Who is going to pay for the cafeteria ice cream machine when it breaks down? And, isn’t it possible that professors would be laid off indefinitely, if that $1.6 trillion in debt just goes “poof”? Now Bernie Sanders (whom I have a mild crush on) suggests what he calls a “speculation tax, a small levy on every stock, bond or derivative sold in the US” (NPR.com) to pay for all of this. I swear I’m not pals with Ayn Rand, but wouldn’t this be penalizing those who have made solid choices? Also, this sort of seems like investors would be taxed twice. Is that fair?

Finally, as I’m petty and jealous, it would annoy me that all these people are entitled to a free education when I wasn’t (yes, yes, my parents helped a lot, but that’s not how I’m remembering it). I think people should pay their own way, within reason. For example, in Australia, student loans aren’t repaid until the borrower reaches a certain income level and there’s no interest involved (Marketwatch.com). It could be argued that some will never reach that level, leaving the debt unpaid anyway, but if Australia is still doing it, it must work.

While education is important, it’s hard. Those who would be educated must be willing to sacrifice. Much like free medical and free housing – I would love to see both – it’s simply not possible yet.

Bourke Accounting knows that education benefits everyone. However, until your student debt is erased, Bourke Accounting also knows how difficult it is to make ends meet. While your Bourke Accounting bookkeeper or tax preparer doesn’t have a magic word to make your life easier, they do have a lot of knowledge and a lot of advice. Why not make your world a better place by sitting down with a Bourke Accounting expert?

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H.