Why I Secretly Want The Government To Continue The Tax Break On Student Loans


As a libertarian, and a contrarian in general, legislation of any kind tends to elicit from my gut one and only one reaction:


As a minarchist who married an anarchist, I don’t really care much for legislative dalliances into what should be ruled by the laws of the market. And as a person who generally pays little regard to the authority of those lawmakers, I scoff with impunity at men and women who seek to interfere in my life through their law-making.

Except last week when my self-proclaimed impulse toward ideological purity received a swift kick to the groin.

There is currently a fight in Congress as to whether the tax break on student loans owned by the government should end – nearly doubling the interest rate for millions of folks like me.

My husband and I are in the midst of paying off nearly $45,000 of student debt from our combined three degrees, which I realize is chump change compared to what some folks rack up during their adventures in academia. But still, we’re working hard to get out from under the thumb of government debt, forgoing fun things like a home with more than 900 square feet and a car that starts every time the key turns.

Doubling the interest rate we’ll be paying from around 3.4% to 6.8% would mean thousands in interest payments over the next few years.

When I heard the news, I had the following reaction:

My heart’s telling me no, but my wallet, my wallet, my wallet’s telling me yes.

Yes, I know that I’m supposed to reject any interference in the free market, and that I shouldn’t lend credibility to the government takeover by groveling before Congress for them to arbitrarily let me keep this $1000, but for me, and many others, this is one of the few times a government intervention shows real, immediate repercussions on our bottom lines.

Then I am immediately humbled by the thought of Americans and non-Americans alike, who are frequently and significantly affected by the whims of US policy makers. People fighting for equality, peace, an end to the tyranny of a corrupt justice system that has torn their family apart. With those thoughts I become a little more sympathetic with those who are willing to let politicians be their heroes.

But I still dislike the government.