It now appears certain there will be some sort of student loan forgiveness enacted when Joe Biden becomes president in January. Biden last night called for "immediate" congressional action on the issue in the new year.

Biden's plan differs a bit from that of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer wants Biden to wipe out $50,000 of student debt per borrower through executive order. There are questions about the legality of such a move. Biden is suggesting forgiveness of $10,000 of student debt per borrower through congressional action.

For those of you who have still not mastered the reality of reality: there is no such thing as free. Should your student loans be "forgiven," it simply means that you do not have to pay back the money directly. But taxpayers, including you, will pay them indirectly. The loans don't just get ripped up and go away. They must be repaid.

Hey, I get that the cost of higher ed is unnecessarily outrageous. So let's do something about the high cost of higher ed. Real reform is the answer, not another temporary band-aid solution that involves throwing money at a problem.

When you applied for a student loan, you signed papers agreeing to pay the money back. Many people have already done so. How is forgiving your debt fair to them? What about next year's college enrollees? Will their education be "free" or will the process begin all over again?

My friend Tom Kennedy suggests that re-writing student loans could be a part of an overall plan to ease the financial burden on those with college debt.

Currently, there is an estimated $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt. Those who support student debt forgiveness say it would be a boon to the economy as strapped graduates would then pump dollars otherwise designated for loan payments into purchasing homes and durable goods.

I say a better boon to the economy would be to reform higher education and don't stick the taxpayers with $1.6 trillion worth of student debt.

You borrowed the money, now pay it back – and leave me out of it.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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