The Cross Reference: student loan forgiveness

Commentary Opinion

Have you read “The 99 Percent Declaration” published Oct. 7 by the Occupy Wherever people? I have. If you would like to read it you can find it online. It’s about 18 pages long and covers the organization of the group, their intentions, their demands and a threat to create a new political party after their general assembly July 4, 2012, if these demands are not met.

Let me start by stating, I am a Tea Party Patriot and a local coordinator for the group. As you read this column, on its distribution day of Thursday, I am in Washington, D.C., receiving training. To say the least, I’m biased. I would like to think that as a journalist I could get above my convictions about politics, but whom would I be kidding.

I can find common ground with some of the ideas in the declaration. I agree that there needs to be term limits on career politicians. I also agree that corporate America has controlled politicians for far too long with large campaign contributions. Those contributions are, in some cases, followed by favorable legislation for those corporations. This is wrong and must be stopped.

Let’s not single out corporate America too much though. Large union organizations and other not-for-profit organizations also donate large amounts and have been receiving favorable legislation and cash payments for years. They screamed obscenities in Wisconsin loud enough for the world to hear when things didn’t happen the way they paid for them to happen.

STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS

I’ll bet that got your attention. I was afraid I was losing some of my readers so I figured I would get to the point.

Item 10 of the 20 topics in the declaration is labeled the same as this subheading, and it got my attention. Most students leaving college today take about $24,000 of debt into the real world of a dwindling job market.

The declaration states that the poor job market is “due to financial collapse directly caused by the unbridled and unregulated greed of Wall Street.” I don’t agree. Wall Street is regulated. Just take a minute and think of all the people that lied during the 1990s and cooked the books to satisfy greedy stockholders. Many are doing time now.

The financial collapse happened when someone decided to make the American dream of home ownership the American promise and started giving mortgages to people who could not afford a home. The unbridled greed came when the “have-nots” were given something the “haves” have worked for for most of their lives. That created an artificial real estate market that ended with bad loans that collapsed the financial market. That, in turn, made the banks stop lending, which caused corporate America to hold on to what they have and do nothing.

Who can blame them? They see no end to government regulation and growth. They see no clear answers on Obamacare or where employment and other taxation will be going. The President is in campaign mode and refuses to recognize or resolve any of today’s problems.

But, let’s assume, for the sake of the argument, that they are right: Wall Street has somehow run amok, and it’s to blame for the lack of jobs. Does it make sense to tax Wall Street corporations enough to forgive all student loans “as reparations for their [Wall Street’s] conduct” as proposed in the declaration?

I think, first of all, you could not get the $1 trillion student loan total paid in full without taxing some corporations out of business. This would dwindle the job market even more. When greedy corporations get taxed enough they take the money and leave the country. That doesn’t help.

I’ll be analyzing this document more in the future. I welcome your comments.

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