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OpinionLetters

Should student debt be forgiven?

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer holds a sign at

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer holds a sign at a news conference Tuesday with the amount of student debt he said an the average Long Islander carries. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A slew of letters recently lambasted Sen. Chuck Schumer’s proposal to forgive up to $50,000 of student loan debt and other methods of loan help, including proposals only targeting students who attended public universities ["Readers on forgiving student loans," Letters, Dec. 1]. The arguments range from "it’s unfair to people who paid them off" to "millennials need to learn a lesson." For the former, should we also not eat cooked meat because our ancestors didn’t have that luxury? Just because an injustice has been going on for so long, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop it. A study reported that millennials simply don’t have the cash that former generations had at their age, and a large reason for that is the student loan crisis. Millennials have been through a pandemic, two recessions and a housing crisis, all before age 40, when they’re supposed to be getting the good jobs. Millennials were told that college is the way to get a good job, then get criticized for going to college, and finding jobs weren’t there at the other side of it. The loan forgiveness idea is an important step toward fixing a broken predatory college system, giving our economy a much needed shot in the arm.

Joseph O’Hara,

Smithtown

To me, the plan advocated by Sen. Chuck Schumer to forgive up to $50,000 of student loan debt is wrong-headed and unfair ["Benefit of forgiving student debt," Letters, Dec. 8]. Legislation without regard to socioeconomic status only further widens current income disparities. Debt forgiveness must be tiered to afforded opportunity, ability to pay and future earnings potential. I suggest the first to receive relief should be those unable to afford college, then in order: vocational schools, community colleges, public colleges, private schools, graduate programs; then, law and medical schools. At each level, both the student’s and family’s ability to support debt must be ascertained. Our nation’s economy only prospers when opportunity is afforded to those greatest in need.

Clifford D. Glass,

East Rockaway

Four smart Newsday readers raise critical issues with a proposed blanket write-off of federal student loans up to $50,000 ["Readers on forgiving student loans," Letters, Dec. 1]: It is a nearly random payoff to some, a tax on others and will likely encourage students now facing college to attend more expensive schools than makes sense for their long-term financial security. Financial institution loans are not addressed. Many loans were taken out by students to attend fake "colleges," some of which have slipped into the protections of bankruptcy. They did not provide the promised education or training that would have made their graduates employable. Many who have struggled to pay off their college loans from banks are trapped in labyrinthine systems that block valid attempts to pay them off. These loans are not forgivable in bankruptcy. Their interest rate is 8%, a rate many times what interest rates now are. Most banks are paying on $250,000 insured deposits all of 0.01% interest. No wonder lenders want to frustrate attempts to pay off these loans.

Helen H. Updike,

Greenlawn

Editor’s note: The writer, a retired professor at Stony Brook and Hofstra universities, has a doctorate in economics.

Trump still turning morals topsy-turvy

According to "Dad fights to stay with child" [News, Dec. 1], the father of a severely disabled young girl is at risk of being deported after being allowed to stay in this country since 1999. He has been working and supporting his family. Yet, suddenly, he must be sent back to India, having done nothing wrong. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, broke laws, told lies and endangered this democracy. They have been pardoned by Trump. So now in America, hard-working honest people are punished and criminals are set free. This is Trump’s America. I find it despicable. It’s not who we are. It needs to stop. President-elect Joe Biden can’t be sworn in fast enough.

Carmine Mascia,

Garden City South

Pseudo-patriots are not loyal Americans

Kudos to William F.B. O’Reilly’s op-ed in which he properly chastises those self-righteously indignant Americans placing the safety of themselves and others at risk by refusing to take simple safety precautions to stop the spread of the pandemic ["Masks, U-boats, and our responsibility," Opinion, Dec. 6]. By not wearing a mask we are just as guilty as those ingrates who willingly neglected to abide by blackout orders, placing Americans and American ships at risk to German U-boat attacks during World War II, some who paid the price with broken windows due to air raid wardens throwing rocks at houses that violated the "turn out the light" orders (my mother’s Brooklyn home being one such victim). The anarchistic "I can do what I want and no one can stop me" attitude is as un-American as spreading unsubstantiated rumors of election fraud, or condemning a free and fair election process. Pseudo-patriots espousing grandiose conspiracy theories, be they political or scientific in nature, in my view, are not loyal Americans but rather harbingers of extremism and disloyalty.

Lowell F. Wolf,

Farmingdale

Editor’s note: The writer is associate professor of history at Farmingdale State College.

I wear a mask, not because I like doing it, but because I am protecting myself and others around me. I also wear a mask so doctors and nurses do not have to go through a living hell treating all the patients who get COVID-19. The medical staff at hospitals are full of amazing people who have dedicated their lives to treating sick people. Many go to work scared, knowing they might catch the virus from a patient and bring it home to their family. Many medical staff members start their shifts crying because they know they will face many bodies during the day. Wearing a mask is not about civil rights. Wearing a mask is about caring for others and keeping other people safe.

Roger Kaufmann,

East Northport

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