Student loan debt forgiveness? Great notion: now move on, citizens...


The city council of Albany, N.Y., recently passed a resolution that "urges the federal government to consider forgiving student loans as part of a stimulus package for young people and to move forward on reforming the student loan process."

Does the unanimously passed resolution change anything? No. Does Albany have the authority to forgive student loan debt? No. Is there anything even remotely newsworthy about this? Not especially. It's a nice gesture, but that's about it.

And yet for some reason, it's getting significant press. The New York Times wrote about it on its blog, and numerous other media outlets have picked up the story. It's a nice PR move for Albany and gets the issue of student loan debt some much needed attention -- but that's about it.

One of the resolution's suggestions is that the United States government should forgive student loan debt as part of a stimulus package. Doesn't that seem incredibly unfair to the students who worked their way through college and bypassed expensive private options in favor of community colleges and public universities because they were determined to graduate debt free?

I -- and most other people -- support the idea of providing relief to graduates who are really struggling with their loans, but debt forgiveness isn't the way to go about it, any more than using taxpayer money to completely pay off people's mortgages is the way to rescue us from the housing bust.

Originally published