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Problematic Policy

While Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren may have promised to forgive the debt students have racked up, and provide them with free education, their plan is just as impractical much as Solon’s was. Sanders and Warren have gained support and popularity as they advocate for student loan forgiveness. It seems as though initially this policy would have extremely positive effects on the middle and lower class. The same was true for Solon. Those who had never ending debt that they could never truly repay, were suddenly free of this burden. In the case of ancient Greece, the upper class were at a loss under Solon’s seisachtheia. They would never be paid back they money and resources that they loaned. They were not the only ones who were dissatisfied. The poor who were borrowing from the wealthy no longer had a means of purchasing grain in order to plants their next round of crops should they have an unsuccessful season.  If a policy of student loan forgiveness and free education be implemented in the United States, similar problems would occur. Currently, under the proposed policies the expectation is that the federal government will pay off student loan debt and provide a means of achieving a free college education for all. The money to accomplish this however does not exist. As it is, the government will not be able to afford Medicare and social security for its aging citizens due to a disproportionate number of people entering the work force compared to those retiring from it. Higher taxes may need to be implemented in order to correct this. Estimates say that by the end of this year the United States will be twenty trillion dollars in debt. Elizabeth Warren has admitted that her proposal would cost approximately two trillion dollars. If it does not, then educational institutions will not be paid. Ultimately, this would cause many of them to decline and become unable to pay professors. High quality education will become even rarer, or more exclusive to institutions whose students come from wealthy backgrounds, and are able to afford tuition. Colleges will begin to turn away students unwilling to pay a high price for their education, or who will be relying on student loan forgiveness. In this scenario, student loan forgiveness will have the opposite of its intended effect. Warren and Sanders are proposing policies that would result in one of two outcomes. Either educational institutions go without being paid, or the federal government takes on even more debt. Should this policy be implemented under one of their presidencies, they will likely have to face discontent Americans just as Solon had to face angry Greeks.

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