President Obama can add $1 trillion to the Social Security trust fund with an executive order ("$30 trillion in red ink," Comment & Analysis, June 11). According to the U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, student-loan debt is $1.2 trillion. The confluence of student-loan debt and the underfunded Social Security trust fund creates an opportunity.
Borrowers should be given the option of transferring their college loans to the Social Security trust fund. Interest and principal payments would help the trust fund grow in value. If a borrower elected not to repay their student loans, this decision would reduce their Social Security payments.
A recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York report stated that, "the under 30 age group has the most borrowers at 14 million, followed by 10.6 million for the 30-39 group, 5.7 million in the 40-49 category, 4.6 million in the 50-59 age group and the over 60 category with the least number of borrowers at 2.2 million for an overall total of 37.1 million." The option to receive less Social Security may be a reasonable choice for many borrowers.
A recent U.S. Census Bureau report stated that over the course of his working life, an adult with a bachelor's degree will earn almost a $1 million more than an individual without such a degree. Holders of master's degrees can expect to earn almost $1.5 million more. Surely, some borrowers would use their higher income and monthly savings from not paying student loans to buy consumer goods and real estate. Others may choose to save and invest more in their retirement account.
What's best for taxpayers, an additional $1 trillion in the Social Security trust fund or $1 trillion less in future government spending? You decide.
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