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  • Beware the Incentives of “Forgiving” Student Loan Debt

    Reality has a habit of interrupting the stories people tell themselves.

    The 18th-century philosopher George Berkeley constructed complex arguments to prove that matter doesn’t really exist. In response, Samuel Johnson famously kicked a rock and said, “I refute (him) thus.”

    Like Berkeley, our politicians spend too much time imagining how they might shape society to achieve their preferred outcomes. But they don’t live in the real world. When you earn enough that you don’t have to ask how much things cost, and you’re surrounded by people who are afraid to tell you when you’re full of it, you won’t often know when you’re thinking stupid thoughts.

    But once in a while, someone like Samuel Johnson comes along, and with a few words brings reality back into sharp focus. We received two such welcome doses of reality this month. January opened with Ricky Gervais reminding the Hollywood glitterati who pontificate on economics and politics that they have no idea what they’re talking about. And now it closes with an angry father confronting presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren about her proposal to forgive student loans.

    The father, who worked two jobs so his daughter could graduate college with no debt, asked, “Am I going to get my money back?” Warren’s reply: “Of cou