“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy.” Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813)
The news is buzzing over President Biden unilaterally forgiving student debt. Some of the most privileged people who were afforded a college education by borrowing money from the public treasury to attend college will benefit. Statistics show that college graduates earn considerably more over their life time than less educated.
In 1976 Congress made it clear that they intended student loans to be repaid. What they did is make student loans non-dischargeable under bankruptcy laws. That’s right, even the most unfortunate of student borrowers who would normally be relieved of debt through the legal procedure of bankruptcy protection, now are forced to repay or take their debt to the grave. Like the lyrics of the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song, “St. Peter don’t you call me cause I can’t go…I owe my soul to the company store.”
It would be perfectly understandable for Congress to rescind the 1976 Congressional Act that makes bankruptcy protection for student loan illegal or even put a cap on the burgeoning accumulated interest on the unpaid balance. Our Constitution gives Congress the ability to control the purse strings. Never should a president be able to give our taxpayer dollars to a selective group of citizens by executive order. In fact, executive orders are intended to carry out the laws Congress passes.
Biden’s executive order didn’t forgive loans owed by just the least fortunate; he put a threshold at $125,000 a year per person and $250,000 a year for couples, hardly the people living on food stamps. Forgiving debt is an honorable deed if the money loaned came from you personally. This money came from the public treasury. Congress, in statute, has stated that under no circumstances, including bankruptcy, should the loans be forgiven. Only Congress has the authority to change laws it enacts.
In July of 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Joe Biden does not have the executive authority to issue “debt forgiveness,” arguing that such action would be illegal and that it has “to be an act of Congress. Miraculously, Pelosi’s tune has changed. Last Tuesday she said: “Well, we’re excited about the president, because we didn’t know what — what authority the president had to do this. And now clearly, it seems he has the authority to do this: $10,000 for those making under $125,000 a year.”
I don’t want to sound suspicious but do you think the November election has anything to do with this urgent Presidential Executive Order and the Speaker of the House’s change of heart of the legality of such an order?
Our republic is designed with checks and balances to protect us from tyranny. When our 3 branches of government stay within the authority granted to them by us in the Constitution, laws are deliberated and passed in the legislative branch, carried out in good faith by the executive branch and judged on constitutional merit by the judiciary. It’s up to “we the people” to keep them accountable.