Why are people paying back student loans yet welfare recipients don’t owe anything? There are millions of people on welfare and the same paying back student loans. But only one is a loan. That doesn’t make much sense. There are two types of public goods in America, nonexcludable and nonrivalrous. Nonexcludable meaning no one can be excluded since it’s for the good of all. Nonrivalrous meaning that a good can be consumed by one without excluding another from having the same thing. Student loans and welfare appear to be both types at the same time. It’s time we redefine their true meaning in a democracy tying them together as mutual loans to the entire society.
In 2018 the government spent nearly $212 billion on vast welfare programs. The programs we will focus upon are nonexcludable which are mainly the cash-out programs. The American government distributed $21 billion for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, $75 billion for food stamps and $18 billion on housing vouchers. At the same time, student loan debt had ballooned to nearly $1.5 trillion dollars. All of these programs can be deemed temporary and nonexcludable due to their sheer size-the government is the only entity that could possibly distribute this amount of money. The similarities continue.
The three welfare programs are needed to encourage the wheel of capitalism for temporary relief. That’s the key-temporary. Whereas student loans are a long term fix to maintain colleges and universities rising costs while opening the doors for a better-educated leadership in all areas of life. If we were to disseminate both of these programs they should both be considered loans since both are utilized to prop up the economy.
Student loans like welfare are supposed to give students the ability to attend school to enhance their education to create long term careers that will oil capitalisms wheel. Welfare to work programs is similar in that education and training are used for the same reason. But welfare to work training isn’t a loan nor is the food, medical and housing vouchers extended during the “unemployeds” duress time. Unlike student loans, an entire family can be fed, clothed and sheltered while they are going to school. While 42% of reported students on loans are living in poverty. Even though both groups are preparing to return to the workforce as a better employee, only one pays for their time in training. The numbers of people with loans compared to people on welfare are distinctly similar-52.2 million vs 44.7 million.
Any public good that is nonexcludable is a free distribution from our government. The number of people with student loans makes it impossible for the good (loan) to be deemed nonrivalrous or a private economic decision with government assistance. People must survive to thrive in the workplace meaning loaning themselves out. The stark difference in welfare and student loans is the indentured servantry that is a result of overbearing loan payments. As of 2019, only 53% of student loan bearers were paying the loans back due to excessive interest that made payments higher than the stagnant salaries allotted American workers.
The Founding Fathers created public good costs for the government to encourage a progressive growth for the population. The similarities between welfare and student loans should impress upon our government leaders to recall all student loans due to Constitutional protection as a distributive good. If not, then it’s time that we all pay our way back whether it’s food stamps, job training, housing or vouchers.