In another articulate and insightful Facebook post, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame explained why he doesn’t support student loan forgiveness and why he pities those who were “possibly sold a bill of goods” by going into debt for a four-year college degree.
“Lots of people on this page have asked me to comment on the various proposals to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. Many it seems, suspect that I’ll be supportive of these efforts, since I’ve written at length about the outrageous rise of college tuition, and the scandalous ways in which hundreds of thousands of students have been conned into borrowing ridiculous sums of money to purchase degrees that never lead to an actual job,” Rowe wrote. “Well, for the record, I do not support student loan forgiveness.”
Democratic politicians such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have recently championed the idea of canceling up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for each individual with government loans. Rowe argues that such a policy is fundamentally unfair, “especially to the millions of Americans who have paid their college debts, and sacrificed much to do so.” He also says that American colleges and universities will be incentivized to increase their already skyrocketing tuition rates because now the government is sending a signal that it will pay off student loan bills even if students can’t.
“Tuition will never come back to earth, if we bail out those who borrowed more than they could repay,” Rowe wrote.
He cited an article by National Review’s Kevin Williamson that pointed out how canceling student debt is a boon to the wealthiest and most privileged Americans, not to the poorest.
“The majority of student debt is held by relatively high-income people, poor people mostly are not college graduates, and those who attended college but did not graduate hold relatively little college-loan debt, etc. As the New York Times puts it, ‘Debt relief overall would disproportionately benefit middle- to upper-class college graduates.’ Which ones? ‘Especially those who attended elite and expensive institutions, and people with lucrative professional credentials like law and medical degrees,'” Williamson wrote.
Rowe concluded by expressing sympathy for those struggling with student loan debt.
“You were quite possibly sold a bill of goods,” he wrote. “You were very likely pressured by your friends, your parents, or your guidance counselor, to attend the ‘right’ school. You were perhaps a victim of this persistent, pernicious, and preposterous push to peddle a four-year degree to every person with a pulse, and for that, you have my sympathy.”
“But that’s not my fault. Nor is it the fault of the American people,” he added. “The fault belongs to you, and so does the debt.”
That’s why, Rowe explains, he has worked for more than a decade to encourage people to pursue alternate career paths to obtaining a four-year college degree and why his foundation, Mike Rowe Works, funds work-ethic scholarships to help people get training for skilled jobs.
“I don’t want to see more people borrow money they can’t afford to pay back,” Rowe wrote. “But nor do I wish to pay it back for you. I will however, encourage you to apply for a work-ethic scholarship, and wish you every success in the future.”