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One Republican's Disastrous Plan Would Make Student Debt an Even Bigger Problem

January 10, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

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You won’t believe where he wants to get the money from.

Rep. Tom Garrett has a crazy new proposal intended to ease the student debt crisis, which appeared on Fox News shortly before the new year. His idea would allow young people to opt to have their student loans erased in exchange for foregoing Social Security payments until later on in life. In other words, he wants young people to sacrifice their future security for temporary relief from a financial burden they shouldn’t be subjected to in the first place. Personal finance experts and progressive activists agree that this plan could do more harm than good. Instead of helping young people jumpstart their future, it’s likely to jeopardize their stability later in life.

The point of Social Security is to provide older and disabled Americans with some financial stability so that they don’t have to work until the day they die. Social Security has kept millions of Americans out of poverty, and is estimated to have reduced the poverty rate among older people from 40 percent to under 10 percent. Economic forces can be wildly unpredictable, and nearly every reputable financial advisor recommends investing in the future for that reason. Even so, plenty of Americans make it to retirement without enough savings.

According to Social Security Works, “Sixty-one million depend on Social Security—more than 1 out of every 6 Americans; just over 3 in 5 seniors depend on Social Security for most of their income, and one-third of seniors rely on it for at virtually all (90% or more) of their income.” Revoking future security on behalf of current debt is like putting a band-aid on a bleeding wound.

As Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, told AlterNet, “Congressman Garrett’s bill …read more


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