Should an 18 year old be responsible for signing for a student loan?
Elizabeth Warren just announced her campaign promise to forgive student loans to the tune of over $400 Billion. She doesn’t think people signing up for this kind of debt should have to pay it. This is very motherly of her, but it begs the question. Is an 18 year old, old enough to commit to signing a loan for $100K for college?
This is a very good question. In America, we consider someone an adult when they reach the age of 18. Some say this is too young to make life-changing decisions. Others say that we should LOWER the age of adulthood to 16 years for the purpose of voting in a national election.
But at 18 years, one makes some very weighty decisions.
At 18, you can buy cigarettes, which, for a certain percentage of folks becomes a lifetime addiction. Turns out they are old enough to become a smoker, which on average costs over $1 million over a person’s lifetime, along with a great amount of suffering in their final years.
They are old enough to enlist in the military. In addition to the risk of going into combat, this is a major life changing experience.
They are old enough to vote, which, in addition to having a share in controlling the most powerful country in the world, it means they will buy into either Democrat or Republican philosophies. This is a major fork in the journey of life that can have far reaching consequences.
They are old enough to get married and/or have a child (which many 18 years olds still do…). The average cost of raising a child is over $230,000. That’s a heck of a commitment!
And, of course, they are old enough to choose a college major, be it engineering, which has great earning potential, or “gender studies” which has almost none. This is a decision that really does determine the course of one’s life; it determines where your intellect, 8 hours a day, for the next 40 years, will be focused. If you make a bad decision, then you will either be miserable for a long time, or you will be wasting your time and money at an expensive university.
And of course, back to the original question, should they be accountable when they sign a large student loan to get to the next phase of their life? How does an 18 year old, with limited life experience have the where-with-all to make these life decisions?
It doesn’t matter, they HAVE TO MAKE THEM.
Unless you want to raise the age of adulthood to 30 years old and let their parent make their decisions for them, 18 years olds have no choice but to make decisions that determine permanent directions in their lives.
This is an exciting, exhilarating, frightening time in the life of an 18 year old. With the decline of the family in America, the support of wise and experienced parents is often absent. The lack of emphasis on responsibility and work ethic in our education system often leaves a young adult woefully unprepared.
But in my view, to forgive student debt, whether it was wise or unwise at the time, is to deny the adulthood of the 18 year old. If this is the age where one becomes responsible, this is both a right and a privilege. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, also includes the right to fail, the right to make mistakes and the right to learn and grow from those failures. Without those failures, there is no success!
Part of the socialist doctrine is to take the responsibility of earning a living away from the people. Is Elizabeth Warren right? Do we assume that our kids are too stupid to take care of themselves like we adults do?
Author’s P.S.: I agree that the student loan situation is a problem. It has been “socialized” separating the customer from the price and quality of the product, which means that prices will continue to skyrocket (i.e. tuition will keep going up), because payment is guaranteed. Forgiving the loans is not the answer.