Here We Go Again!

If there’s been one policy idea that President Brick Tamland has been trying to get off the ground, it’s student loan debt forgiveness. Even after the Supreme Court smacked it down, our boy Brick has continued to push for it. Recently, he rolled out new initiatives to help those with student loan debt to the tune of a measly $7.7 billion. In spite of the fact the Supreme Court said he doesn’t have the power to do it, as Nancy Pelosi noted.

But that’s not what this piece is about.

When announcing these new initiatives, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the following:

We must continue to protect borrowers from predatory institutions—and work toward a higher education system that is affordable to students and taxpayers.

Hmmm…now, where have I heard the term “predatory” used before…oh, yeah, the mortgage bank crisis!

Without going into the gory details, I was in the mortgage industry when the shit hit the fan. Through government fuck-ups disguised as helping people, lenders skirting the law to make sales, house-flippers whose only motivation was to make a quick buck, and borrowers being dumber than a bag of hammers about Economics 101 for Dummies, the mortgage industry was in a world of hurt. Naturally, people started looking for any kind of help.

Enter Big Daddy Government! They would fix the problem by going after the easiest of targets: the lenders themselves. Now, I’m not saying all of the lenders were working above board and even some of the more reputable ones had hinky loan terms that you would need to be careful to read and understand before signing on the dotted line. But speaking from what I saw more often than not, the problems blamed solely on the banks were (or at least should have been) a shared responsibility.

That’s one of the reasons I didn’t like “The Big Short” as much as everyone else did. In an attempt to create an entertaining movie-going experience, it left out a LOT of shady shit and utter incompetence. And that’s just within the federal government!

Anyway, the point is people looked to the government to help bring those predatory lenders to heel, and the government responded by…expanding itself. Up until the mortgage crisis, mortgage complaints fell under the umbrella of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. But those DC galaxy-brain thinkers didn’t think it was enough to make every mortgage bank jump through the OCC’s hoops, so they created a new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, thanks in part to Chief Running Mouth, Elizabeth Warren.

And having dealt with them on numerous occasions, we were better off with just the OCC. Of course, we would be even better off with monkeys and typewriters, but that’s neither here nor there.

At this point, you might be wondering what in the Wide World of Fuck this has to do with student loan debt. It’s all in the approach. Since Leftists had success in convincing people the mortgage loans they signed their names to were all a part of the evil cabal of Big Banking, they’re trying the same thing with student loan debt. They’re even using the same language. On the plus side, it’s one of the rare times Leftists actually recycle, so yay, I guess.

If the Social Media Platform Known As Twitter is any indication, this tactic is working again. Young adults who know there are 90 gajillion genders but think 2 + 2 equals potato (hat tip to Simon Miller for that turn of a phrase, by the way) are being allowed to straddle the line between being competence and incompetence simultaneously. You know, just like Kamala Harris. And invariably, they’re going to get what they want because Leftists are never ones to let a crisis (especially one of their own creation) go to waste.

Others have astutely pointed out President Tamland’s student loan forgiveness is a big gift to the banks who lent the money in the first place, which it most certainly is. And others have also pointed out the loan isn’t forgiven so much as being pushed onto other people. This is also correct. But what I don’t see too many people talking about is what the next step could be.

And having seen this shit play out before, I think I have a pretty good idea of what’s next.

I see this playing out in one of two ways. First, some DC douchebag with more vices than brains may try to put student loan debt under the umbrella of the CFPB. In a demented kind of way, this makes sense. After all, the CFPB is charged with holding big banks accountable for predatory loan practices (even if they don’t understand regular loan practices), so it’s not that much of a leap to suggest they devote a portion of their efforts on student loans.

Second, and the one I think is more likely, some DC douchebag is going to suggest the creation of a brand new federal agency like the CFPB, but with a focus on student loan practices. Remember, one of my Immutable Laws of Life is a bureaucracy’s sole purpose is to find ways to make itself more expansive and incapable of being removed. So, what’s to say a CFPB II: Electric Boogaloo is out of the question?

I mean, aside from me, of course.

In either case, expect the federal government to get more involved with fucking up student loans in the near future. Just try to act surprised when it happens.

In the Meme Time

I know this is one of Chris’ features, but I figured I’d give it a try. And boy do I have a doozy!

Leftists have been circulating the following meme to attack Republicans who opposed President Biden’s Executive Order to forgive $10,000 of student loan debt.

On the surface, this looks like a slam dunk for the Left, but as you might expect, there’s a little more context to the situation.

Due to a little thing the kids like to call COVID-19, businesses were hurting with many struggling to meet payroll for their employees. As a result, the government passed the Paycheck Protection Program which offered loans for business owners to keep their doors open and hire back employees. Built into this program was a way for these loans to be forgiven, provided certain criteria were met. Keep this in mind because it will become very important later.

Now, for the list. I’ve done a bit of research into the names and figures and found some…interesting facts the meme doesn’t mention. I apologize in advance for some of the Leftist sources I had to link for information.

Matt Gaetz – I was unable to locate where he received a PPP loan, but a business his father is involved with received between $350,000 and $1 million in PPP loans. The only connection is the fact the Congressman owns stocks in the company.

Marjorie Taylor Greene – Taylor Greene did receive a PPP loan…for a construction company her husband and she own.

Greg Pence – Pence received a PPP loan…for a family business.

Vern Buchanan – Buchanan received a PPP loan…for three car dealerships he owns.

Kevin Hern – Hern received a PPP loan…for a company held in a family trust that controls 5 McDonalds franchises.

Roger Williams – Williams received a PPP loan…for a car dealership he owns.

Brett Guthrie – Guthrie was a director of a manufacturing company that received a PPP loan.

Ralph Norman – I don’t have firm data on this, but it’s my belief Norman received a PPP loan for a family business where he was a real estate developer.

Ralph Abraham – Abraham received a PPP loan…for two businesses he owns.

Mike Kelly – Kelly received a PPP loan…also for car dealerships.

Vicki Hartzler – Hartzler received a PPP loan…for farms and equipment supplier businesses her family own.

Markwayne Mullin – Mullin received a PPP loan…for plumbing and contracting firms he was tied to.

Carol Miller – Miller’s husband received a PPP loan for, you guessed it, car dealerships.

Although these Republicans or their family members had PPP loans forgiven, they voluntarily requested the loans and received them. Now, remember when I said earlier that PPP loans could be forgiven if certain criteria were met? Well, there’s a problem with the logic suggesting the aforementioned Republicans are hypocrites.

Federal student loans typically don’t come with forgiveness terms. The only exceptions to this prior to President Biden’s Executive Order were death or disablement. Granted, willingly going after a degree in some of the shit Leftist students major in these days would make a pretty convincing argument they are disabled, but I’m not sure the federal government would sign off on it.

Put simply, the expectation prior to the Executive Order was students taking out federal student loans was…they paid them back. There was no “pay it back unless an elderly President decides he needs votes to help his party during the midterm elections” clause in the loan documents that would make it okay. You either paid it back or you didn’t.

As a result, comparing PPP loans to federal student loans is like comparing horse shit to dog shit. Yes, they’re both piles of animal shit, but that’s where the similarities begin and end. To try to equate the two on the basis of one point of commonality is an example of intellectual dishonesty that has become the norm with political memes like the one I posted at the beginning of this piece.

And now you know, and as any kid of the 80s will tell you, knowing is half the battle.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

The big news this week involved President Joe Biden finally making good on a campaign promise to forgive at least some student loan debt. Many Leftists were overjoyed (mainly because I’m sure a number of them would be the beneficiaries of the President’s generosity), but there are more than a few people who are expressing concern about whether the student loan forgiveness initiative would be as effective and as expensive as promised.

Regardless of the boondoggle…I mean efforts to address student loan debt, there are a lot of questions to be asked. And I’m just the killjoy asshole to ask them.

student loan forgiveness

What the Left thinks it means – a compassionate move that will help college students and the economy at the same time

What it really means – the start of a lot of economic, Constitutional, and legal chaos with the stroke of a pen

On paper, student loan forgiveness sounds good. By forgiving up to $10,000 of loan debt, debtors and former debtors would have more money at their disposal, which could then be recirculated into the economy in all sorts of ways. And 10 grand will buy a lot of Starbucks and avocado toast!

Which some of these students complaining about the amount of loan debt they have to pay off are already buying in the first place, but we’re not supposed to know that…

Although the thought of more money going towards iPhones and gaming consoles is tantalizing to the capitalist in me, the long term implications are scarier than having Bill Clinton show up at your doorstep to pick up your daughter for a date. (Hey, at least it’s not Charlie Sheen!) And knowing how our friends on the Left aren’t known for planning any further out than the length of a TikTok video, you can bet few, if any, of the loudest proponents have given much thought to what I’m about to lay out for you.

Then again, it might be because I’m a weirdo. Either way, here goes!

The Constitution may not grant the President the powers necessary to make this happen. President Biden’s actions came to pass because of an Executive Order, which is pretty much the President saying, “Do this because, fuck you, I’m the President.” Well, the Executive Order isn’t exactly a one-and-done situation because it can be challenged Constitutionally. And that brings us to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…” Now, last time I checked, President Biden was no longer in Congress, even though he spent most of my life in it. That means unless Congress signs off on it, it ain’t happening for long before the Supreme Court gets involved. And with the current makeup of the High Court, you can bet Biden’s Executive Order will get smacked down harder than Mike Tyson beating up Richard Simmons.

It has the potential to fuck up contract law. A loan is a contact between a lender and a borrower. With student loans, the lender is often the government. And, we all know how fiscally responsible it is, amirite? Anyway, forgiving even a portion of the debt affects the existing contract. Even though the government is one of the particulars of the loan in this case, it has the potential to set precedent once a court gets involved. Get the right judge in the right court to rule in a certain way and before you can say “habeas corpus” the government has the authority to alter any contract it wants, possibly even if it’s not a party to the original agreement. Welcome to Legal Chaos Land, population…well, us.

The economic impact isn’t as cut and dried as we’ve been told. It seems intuitive that if you give people more money they will spend it. That’s been borne out with tax cuts and credit cards for decades, although the Left still isn’t convinced of the former. Now, add in a little thing called inflation, which all of us are enduring right now. If you have to take out a third mortgage to get groceries, no amount of money from the forgiving of existing student debt will help for very long.

It doesn’t fix the underlying problems. There are a few reasons why student loan debt is so high. Part of it is the rising tuition costs. Since 1980, average tuition costs have risen by 1200%. And, no, that’s not a typo. And since tuitions have gotten higher than Willie Nelson on 4/20, the federal government has had to lend more money to students. And that includes interest with rates and conditions that make payday loan sharks look legit. Of course, once colleges and universities know the government will keep forking over the money, they will find reasons to keep raising tuition, and the cycle begins anew. And there is no incentive for either party to change that dynamic after some of the loans are forgiven. The college/university still gets its money, and the government gets to look like it cares about people. They don’t, of course…

Once you get a bite of the apple, you’ll want more. By nature, humans tend to be greedy, self-serving, and always looking to push the limits to see what they can get away with. Right now, it’s only $10,000 that will get forgiven, but does it end there? Judging from recent government boondoggles…I mean programs like TARP and PPP, it’s likely there will be more demands for other and more financial assistance. Next, it will be $20,000, then $50,000, then it will be because free range artesian goat cheese costs have gone up, and before you know it, just about every whim will come with a federal grant. You know, like the National Endowment for the Arts?

There are others drawbacks, but I think you get the idea. Now, if you could explain it to the Left, we might be getting somewhere.

Right now, the Left is counting on the compassion card to get us not to think about the nagging questions of the wisdom of student loan forgiveness. For most of the population, it works. We don’t want to see people suffer, but there are also limits. If people suffer as a result of dumb decisions, our compassion tends to go the way of David Duke Appreciation Night at the Apollo. It’s the old “hand up, not hand out” mentality, and it still works today. I’m all for giving people a chance to apply themselves and earn some scratch from the sweat of their brows. Being allowed to have a chunk of your student loan that you’ve accumulated by studying Post Modern Albino Inuit Gender-Queer Photography in 16th Century Burma without even chipping a nail? Not so much.

And it’s not because I want college students to suffer under excessive debt. It’s because I want them to understand the feeling of earning something instead of just being granted it. Yes, not everybody will win a trophy under this mindset, but it will mean more when you do because you learn what you’re made of and what you’re worth. Platitudes and payoffs don’t teach you anything but how to whine until you get your way. That doesn’t make you anything but an asshole with the potential to be a Karen when you grow up.

And God knows we have enough of those as it stands.