This blog used to be about debt. Now it's about a few more things. But really, it all comes back to debt. Trust me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Student Loan Tax Code

So here's a proposal, perhaps radical, perhaps too moderate depending on your vantage point.

First, the pie in the sky other developed countries already have:

Education, even at the most prestigious schools, should be free (or close to free) for all citizens. Education is a right and has clear benefits to society: lower crime, higher income, elevated civil discourse, easing the class struggle...the list goes on.

Ok, that's never going to happen here. People believe in a tiered system of education (which, by the way, is fine with me as long as it's based on merit and not your family wealth at age 18). But perhaps we can do something radical with the tax code that, as a society, would promote the pie in the sky.

Why can't student loan principal and interest be fully tax deductible, regardless of income level? For those who had to rely on student loans, this program would reduce their taxable income and presumably give them a helpful refund each April. How's that for economic stimulus?

Why am I not excluding high income families from this? For the same reason you can get a free education in Europe no matter how rich you are. Education is a right. And in these times I would argue it's much more than that. It's a necessary expenditure that will create a generational shift away from a culture bent on destroying itself. Fine, that's an exaggeration because I'm tired. But I do believe what Al Gore has termed "the assault on reason" is an incredibly damaging and absolutely real phenomenon that is accelerating the decline of our civilization. And guess what. We might bring the world down with us....Global interdependence and whatnot.

Sorry, exaggerating again. But 80-plus percent of Americans think we're on the wrong track. I would say a lack of education is at the root of most of these years or reckoning. Why not just fix it already? To see real, world changing benefits, I bet we'd only need 20 years. And maybe some more text books.

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