Recently, I’ve heard a lot of politicians talking about cancelling everyone’s student loan debt. Some people are for it, some people are against it, some people already paid off their loans and don’t want others to have better lives than them, but there’s one thing that no one is talking about: if all my peers’ student loan debt is cancelled, how will I personally have an automatic advantage over them?
Now, I left college with zero student loan debt. I’m not totally sure why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I was a stellar B student all four years, and also have inter-generational wealth. Everyone talks about how hard it was entering the workforce after college, but it was a breeze for me! And I imagine it has something to do with the fact that most people I work with and went to school with have to pay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in loans every month. This is bad for them, but good for me, since I now have a leg up in the world over them with the freedom of choices I have. What will happen to that freedom once everybody has it?
Just an example: When I graduated from college, I was able to move into a studio apartment in an adorable neighborhood. Without any debt, or any other regular expenses – Dad says the family phone plan is cheaper anyway – I was able to put a large amount of my paycheck into my rent. Now, if my friends don’t have those loan payments, will they stop living with six other people 16 subway stops away? It would be convenient, but it would also allow them to arrive to work less tired, and just as carefree as me. Most importantly, it would also make me wonder: how, exactly, am I better than them?
During and after college, I was able to take on unpaid internships and enroll in expensive classes, opportunities I deserved because I didn’t have to pay for college. These experiences have given me valuable skills such as research, administration, and improv. More people will be able to gain these critical skills early in their careers if they don’t have to make massive monthly payments. That just doesn’t seem fair (to me).
And what, I ask you, will everyone else do with the hours and days they spend trying to figure out why they’ve been locked out of the FAFSA website? If they’re not desperately trying to remember their mother’s maiden name, will they be able to get the promotion over me? Invest time and money into their own creative projects? Make an improv team? I shudder to think of the future some democrats are proposing.
So I have a question for all you #CancelStudentDebt folks: if no one has student loan debt, how will I be steps ahead of my peers (besides all the other privileges I enjoy as a wealthy white person)? And don’t waste my time with “a superior work ethic” or “innate talent.” That’s just not likely, hon.