A trillion dollars of money, on the surface, seems like an insurmountable amount of money. And, for most current college students, and recent graduates, having to pay back their loans is a huge headache and one that may follow them for decades. However, to solve the problem of student loan debt, the solution doesn’t need to be extremely complicated. One simply needs to look at the current budget of the U.S government to see where our priorities lie. In the current president’s recent 2019 discretionary budget proposal, it is obvious that there are some areas where we are massively overspending. The total proposed discretionary budget is 1.19 trillion dollars, with 727 billion of those dollars being allocated to the military.
This is approximately 61% of the discretionary budget, while the proposal suggests only putting 5% of the said budget to the entire education sector. Furthermore, most of our military involvement overseas hasn’t even been approved by Congress, which is a direct violation of the constitution. Most other developed nations not only don’t have a concept of student loan debt, but they also don’t accrue as much debt in the first place because they have taxpayer-funded tuition-free college.
We spend so much on the military as a nation that it outcompetes with the next eight or nine largest militaries in the world combined. And, to make this even more ridiculous, most of those countries are our allies. It would easily be feasible to slash the military budget by 25% (and some people have suggestion more ambitious goals of cutting it by 50% or more). In doing so, it would be possible to completely cancel student loan debt with that funding alone in less than a decade. There are other ways we could also pay for student debt cancellation. Our president also decided to give massive tax cuts to the tune of 1.9 trillion dollars to the American people. The only problem is that 83% of those benefits went to the top one percent of income earners here, while the ones given to the working class were crumbs in comparison, in addition to being temporary. 1.9 trillion dollars is almost twice the entire student loan debt, and there was very little debate as to whether or not the tax cuts were a good idea.
We do things like this all the time, but when it comes time to discuss furthering the careers of bright, young thinkers with a little money to help them through college, the question of how it will be paid for always comes up. I think it’s important to point out that double standard, while also emphasizing that there does need to be a solid plan to pay for it. For now, it would be easy to cancel that tax cut and use the funds to cancel student loan debt, and perhaps even bring a bill allowing for tuition-free college to the table. We have the most wealth per capita in the world; we can afford what the rest of the developed world can, plus more.
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