Canceling Student Debt Would Hurt US Economy: Survey

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been leading the pack of some two dozen Democratic primary contenders on a range of progressive issues. But here's one survey they probably don't want to see.

According to a survey from the National Association of Business Economists, canceling Americans’ student debt, one of the most pressing domestic issues for 2020, would actually have an adverse impact on the US economy - instead of unleashing the millennial generation's consumption power, allowing them to settle down, buy homes and start procreating again (remember, the US birth-rate fell to its lowest level in more than a decade this year).

On the contrary, 64% of respondents (most of whom are business economists) believe forgiving most or all of student debt in the country - as both Sanders' and Warren's plans would do - would be a net negative for the economy.

Americans owe about $1.6 trillion in student loans. That pile of debt is so huge, thousands of Americans will die before paying off their student loans. Progressives have argued that millions of students were pushed by their parents and, well, society in general, into taking out high interest loans to finance degrees at fancy private colleges that gave them little additional earning power while saddling them with six-figure loan balances.

Then again, it's hard to defend the decision to get an undergraduate degree in women's studies followed by a master's degree in gender theory. Anybody in this situation who is complaining about loans (assuming their family isn't secretly paying off their loans) is being disingenuous.

The progressive argument for cancelling debt, once again, is that it would help Americans reduce wealth inequality. The counter-argument is that, if students know they won't need to pay back the debt for their education, they might make more expensive, and more reckless decisions. 

The survey included responses from 226 National Association for Business Economics members and took place July 14 to Aug. 1.