Writer compares student loans to car loans and why the analogy fails


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Matt Walsh is a blogger for the Daily Wire, who I generally enjoy. Walsh recently wrote a satirical piece where he jokes about buying an expensive sports car that he can’t afford. In the piece, he suggests that the government should forgive his debts.

This is a commentary on the student loan crisis. Walsh did not go to college.

From the piece, Walsh says:

I have discovered, much to my shock, that it is quite unpleasant to be in debt. I have to make payments every month, according to the agreement that I knowingly and purposefully signed. Apparently, the lender really wants the money back. I thought maybe they were joking or being sarcastic when they sat me down and said: “This is how much you will owe and this is what your monthly payments will be.” I could have sworn I saw the guy wink

I’ve also read a lot of comments on social media, celebrating his argument.

It’s a bad argument.

Most obviously, it’s a bad argument because it’s a bad analogy.

The sports car analogy fails for several reasons:

(1) there are credit checks for expensive cars
(2) a car can be repossessed
(3) many other types of debt can be discharged in bankruptcy, student debt cannot.

You can have this attitude of “you took out the debt, deal with it,” and that’s fair, but this is something that is a trillion dollar issue that impacts a generation. Is there anything that should be done?

There are layers of complexity to this discussion. A lot of people have taken lower paying jobs and given years of their lives to certain industries after being misled about what would be forgiven. They took on debt and tried to do something about it. Should we have spite for those people too?

In many cases, you have private companies profiting off of servicing federally funded loans, and they jerk people around and generate billions in extra interest payments. That’s not right other. Companies make billions of dollars off of federal money that was never there’s in the first place. It’s become a major industry that’s impacting large swaths of an entire generation.

A silly little car analogy doesn’t address the enormity of the issue.

I also find it interesting that millennials are told that we need to be personally responsible, yet we also have to pay into a social security system that’s going bankrupt and will likely never benefit us. Yet, people suggest that nothing should be done on the student loan crisis. And it is a crisis. There are more millennials than baby boomers, yet the fertility rate of this generation is so low that it’s at level which make it difficult to maintain a society. There are many reasons for this, but a significant one is that people feel like they can’t afford kids.

I’m not suggesting that people should have no cost with college. Aside from the most progressive of socialists, that’s not what anyone is suggesting.

Things like loan forgiveness have been talked about but there’s a lack of assurance in those programs. Other programs were setup to benefit people who take public sector jobs where there was a need, but there are a lot of loopholes in those programs where a person is disqualified.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe! 

Josh Benner  has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.

Categories: Commentary, Culture, society

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2 replies

  1. Well said! I appreciate your take on this. Matt Walsh’s piece did not please me.

    I did not go to much college so student debt is not my issue, but my parents did. My parents spent years in college for practically nothing. Many people don’t understand that back in the day you would struggle to come up with 60 dollars for tuition, not 12 grand. Home ownership is another one, back in the day a mortgage could be a five year mortgage. Today we have fifty year mortgages. There are some things that have gone awry with the system and simply accusing people of being irresponsible or lazy just doesn’t address any of the problems inherent within the system.

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