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Forgive Us Our Debts . . . At the Point of a Gun

NOTE: You know Steve Baker as the photojournalist who has shared his experiences on the January 6 “assault” on Democracy when the U.S. Capitol was stormed. His videos of those events have been seen across the U.S. in local, state, and national news stories — not only here but also around the Globe. Steve and I will be working together for a segment to be heard hear each Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM Central on “TNN Live!” The feature will be known as: “D&S — Not BS!” Of course, the “D&S” stands for “Dan and Steve.” It will concentrate weekly on the largest and most controversial matters that are impacting the U.S. and the World. This new feature starts today: Tuesday, August 30, 2022. To access the live show, simply click on this link:

If you’ve been sharing memes related to student loan debt forgiveness and using the scriptural admonition of, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” in an attempt to imply that ‘religious wingnuts’ are somehow hypocrites for condemning Biden’s latest wealth transference scheme, you probably don’t understand either the teachings of Jesus or the basic economics behind student loan debt forgiveness.

To begin, I’ll offer a scenario even those who’ve never balanced a checkbook can understand:

If I forgive my neighbor of unpaid debt — whether he borrowed a cup of sugar or $100 he promised to pay back — I, alone, am bearing the cost of that forgiveness. What I’m not doing is claiming I’ve forgiven the debt while then going door-to-door throughout our neighborhood — with a gun — demanding the rest of our neighbors each cough up an equal percentage of that unpaid debt. Our neighbors could, and should, therefore, rightfully point out that I was the only one who voluntarily took on the risk of that debt and did so without first seeking the consent of the entire neighborhood collective that we’d all share in the loss should our neighbor default on his obligation.

But, That is precisely what Biden’s so-called “student loan debt forgiveness” scheme is doing. It’s not “forgiveness.” It’s the “transference” of the requirement to pay back the loan received by the original borrower, placing that payback obligation on those who never agreed to that obligation with the lender in the first place. And doing so at the point of the government’s gun, under the purview and threats of the collection powers bestowed upon the mighty IRS.

In short . . . even though YOU took out the student loan — doing so without MY agreement or co-signature — I’m now going to be forced to pay it for you, under threat of fines, imprisonment, or even death should I refuse to contribute to the liquidation of YOUR obligation and subsequently resist the government’s efforts to collect.

As to “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” . . . the entire context of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, which included those words from The Lord’s Prayer, was one of individual responsibility — not any implied collective obligation to the debtors, themselves. If I forgive another man of his debt or other transgressions against me, I bear the total burden of that act of forgiveness, just as the lesson of the Cross was that of Jesus taking on the weight of all mankind’s sin solely upon himself. All the teachings of Jesus focused on individual responsibility — feeding the poor or forgiving debt — and never the idea of collective responsibility enforced by the government’s sword.

This missive is not intended to be a Bible lesson (and I don’t care whether you believe in the deity of Jesus or that of any other god), but if you’re going to throw that particular meme around, you need to know you’re doing it wrong. As such, you’ll make no headway in your efforts to spread either the gospel of socialism or collective salvation to your own intended audience. If you wish to help unload your neighbor or family member of their student loan obligation, then go pay it off yourself. Don’t use mob power (your vote in a democracy) to forcibly transfer that debt obligation on those who didn’t co-sign one of those debt contracts, which clearly states, “the BORROWER promises to pay . . .” And, don’t expect to place that additional burden upon those who already paid off their student loans, fulfilling their own personal obligations to the lender — in full — without some justifiable, well-reasoned, and indignant pushback.

Student loan debt forgiveness is absolutely NOT “forgiveness.” Not when it’s the government’s money, because the government has no money it doesn’t already take from your neighbor. Only an individual person or private corporation can do that. The president is unilaterally executing the “transference” of millions of individual personal obligations upon the backs of those who never agreed to that debt — by both taxation and inflationary means — and doing so under full force and implied threat of violence by the government itself. (Oh . . . you never heard the president make that threat? Try picking out some government program with which you disagree and then deducting your share of that expense on your tax form. See what then transpires.)

None of this is even close to what Jesus had in mind during his Sermon on the Mount, when he prayed, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Oh, yeah. Some of you have even posted memes about “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” just to twist the hypocrisy accusation in a little deeper. Well . . .

Using that inconvenient little thing known as “context”’. . . Pharisees and Herodians went to Jesus with the specific intent of entrapping him into using inflammatory words against the Roman occupation of Israel. They fully expected he’d speak in opposition to Roman taxation of the enslaved Jewish people. Instead, Jesus cleverly responded to the query of those “spies” sent by “teachers of the law and the chief priests” by pointing out Caesar’s image on a Roman coin and saying, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Jesus not only left them speechless, but he also lived to teach another day — so to speak — by not falling for their entrapment scheme. (He also didn’t answer their question without them figuring that out.)

So . . . are there any viable solutions for those who may actually need relief from having taken on too great a burden of debt? I’ll quote a recent post made by Spike Cohen — former Libertarian Party VP candidate (who I was very critical of during his 2020 campaign) — because he nailed it, perfectly:

“The solution to the student debt crisis is simple: Let people who can’t pay their student loans have it discharged in bankruptcy court. That would force lenders to be less predatory in their lending practices. It would also force universities to make their tuitions more affordable, as lenders refuse to make risky, overly-expensive loans. Guess who made that nearly impossible?”

See how forgiving I am? 😉(Actually, Spike has been on fire since the 2020 election, and I find myself in agreement with him about 99% of the time since then.)

The answer to Spike’s closing question is, obviously . . . the federal government. It’s not impossible to have student loan debt discharged by bankruptcy, but pretty damn close to impossible. One only needs to briefly contemplate the cronyism and collusion between the government and the university systems to understand why that is. (Really . . . do I need to expound upon that? If so, save it for the comment section.)

Bankruptcy, in this case, doesn’t fully relieve the taxpayer or the borrower’s neighbors, as the government (i.e. the taxpayer), is still the guarantor of those loans, but taking individual bankruptcy has more far-reaching financial consequences upon the borrower in default, and most will instead choose to continue paying down their loans. The better long-term solution is to make those universities back their own student loans with their massive endowments. THAT will then force the entire higher education system to become more fiscally responsible and cost-competitive. The opposite of what happens with any entity or industry feasting off the government teat.

In review:

  • -The Babylon Bee is infinitely more reliable, by simple meme, than is the mainstream media in long form, on most any topic.
  • -If you don’t understand Jesus, don’t quote him. You don’t have to believe he’s the Son of God, but the literary context of his words takes care of the message’s actual intent.
  • -If you think it’s okay to force your neighbors to pay your bills — at the point of someone else’s gun — you are, at the very least, a selfish, cowardly piece of thieving scum. At worst, you’re the quintessential enemy of liberty, and we will not forget you . . . when the time comes. Or . . . we may even find it in our hearts to forgive you for having stolen from our children and us. We’ll just have to wait and see if you’ve put down that gun when the time comes.

Oh. You do realize there has been no reference to a “figurative” gun or sword in this article? (Hmmm?) There is a quote oft attributed to George Washington — but traceable back to only 1902 — though no such proof has ever been discovered, and Washington died in 1799: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.” (Whoever actually said it, is right.) We do know that In 1890, Kansas Senator John James Ingalls was quoted as saying, “Government is force. Politics is a battle for supremacy.”

The politics of student loan debt forgiveness is nothing more than a vote-buying scheme — by one side of the American political landscape — in their own “battle for supremacy.” $10,000 here, or $20,000 there, is only the beginning, adding up to hundreds of billions of dollars. Already, there are demands for more. There is seemingly never enough in that battle. There’s currently $1.58 trillion in that student loan vote-buying treasure. The United States neither has it to spend nor “forgive” without burdening all your neighbors with increased taxation or expanding inflationary pressures. Any such claims to the contrary are lies.

 

Steve Baker

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