How Can We Afford to Bail Out Student Loan Borrowers When We Can Barely Afford to Bail Out the Airline Industry, Citigroup, Bank of America, Chrysler, and Then the Entire Airline Industry Again?
Here’s a brand-new piece, up on McSweeney’s today. Give it a click and read it there, or give it a click but then come back to this window and read it below! The more tabs open the merrier!
Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the court,
As I stand before you today, I need to make one thing absolutely clear: I’m a realist. I call things as I see them. And I just have to ask—how can we afford to bail out student loan borrowers when we can barely afford to bail out Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG, Bear Stearns, the entire airline industry, General Motors, Chrysler, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Savings & Loan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and then the entire airline industry for a second time? I just don’t see how we can swing it.
Besides, we recently forgave PPP loans for Tom Brady, Khloe Kardashian, and Jared Kushner—three completely average Americans. How many more run-of-the-mill citizens do we need to help? For God’s sake, when will it be enough?
Look: I care about people. I do. But people aren’t people. Corporations are people. And so when I say I care about people, what I mean is that I care about corporations, not people. Instead of bailing out American people, we need to save our money for the next time we need to bail out American corporations. Because American corporations are the real American people. Does that make sense?
In any case, I just don’t see how we can pay for student loan forgiveness when we’re on a very strict budget of spending trillions of dollars every year forever with no end in sight. It seems like we’d be turning a responsible, manageable situation into total and utter disaster. Heck, I think I speak for everyone when I say that money is completely made up, and we can add more of it at any time—except when it comes to helping people.
Now, I predict the defense will argue that student loan forgiveness is just a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of our spending. But I’m here to tell you that our bucket is already full to the brim. What’s it full of? Water. Where’s the water from? Eastern Ohio. And it’s contaminated. And they’re calling a hearing. This means at some point soon, we’re going need to use every penny we’ve got to bail out an entire rail company.
That’s right, a company. If you were listening earlier, that means a person. And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let a person drown in potential debt—unless, of course, that person is a literal person.
Behind the Writing
The US Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments in defense of—and against—President Biden’s proposed student debt relief plan. It’s not looking great for the defense. Chief Justice Roberts has repeatedly claimed too high a cost as one of his main reasons for disapproval. But the reality is that the program would cost about $30B per year for ten years. That’s close to nothing compared to our annual military budget (standing at nearly $2T per year), and far less than it cost to bail out any one of the many major banks involved in the 2008 financial crisis.
Today’s piece addresses the hypocrisy of Roberts’ “too much” argument, but readers may find that it doesn’t cover the “fairness” argument that is so highly popular in conservative circles. That argument usually goes like this: People who didn’t take out student loans, or who have already paid theirs back, should not be shouldering the cost of bailing out those who still owe.
One of my more toned-down responses to this selfish idea is, essentially, “Let’s remove all the ways in which we each shoulder financial responsibility for each other—across the country—and see how much we all like it.”
Of note, red-leaning states lead in federal financial dependence. For instance, Florida gets nearly $5 in federal spending for every dollar they send to the federal treasury in taxes. By comparison, New York gets less back than it puts in. Remove “unfair” spending, and Florida’s economy won’t last a year.
Maybe that’s another piece in itself. But that’s for another day.
I hope you’re enjoying these “Behind the Writing” sections, and that they’re not sucking all the fun catharsis out of the pieces themselves. I’ll try to add more dumb jokes to this section.
Why was the predatory fish feeling left out?
Because it was a loan shark.
That’s all for today—thanks, as always, for reading and supporting this newsletter. See you right here next week, or this Sunday if you decide to…
Fantastic piece, Eli. You do a masterful job of quickly and succinctly pinpointing where B.S. arguments fall apart. Good stuff.
Secondly, I really dig the Behind the Writing section. I'm just one reader, but to me it strengthens your overall messaging, plus I like juxtaposing your "humor" voice with your "serious" voice.
Finally, re: the "fairness" nonsense, my wife and I took out a LOT of student loan debt, but we were also fortunate to get 1% globalist douchebag jobs. We paid back every single cent of our loans and won't feel one bit ripped off if other people have their loans forgiven. The people who luckily find their way to the top (or more likely are born there) can help support the people who are less fortunate. It's called a society. You can tell I'm angry. But not at you.
"Look: I care about people. I do. But people aren’t people. Corporations are people."