Student loan debt has been a topical question for the past decades, and the U. S. government has tried to address the issue in different ways. One of the latest steps discussed is debt cancellation, which evokes quite contrasting emotions and views among Americans. This paper includes a brief comparison of two editorials published in The Washington Post and The New York Times on this matter. Both articles are characterized by the focus on racial inequality, use of figures and references to particular policies, but they support opposing views and place emphasis on the benefits for different groups.
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As far as the similarities between the two articles are concerned, they have a considerable amount of data regarding the financial aspects of the problem. The editorial in The Washington Post contains estimations of potential benefits to students and families given by experts (“Forgiving student loans,” 2020). In their editorial published in The New York Times, Zewde and Hamilton (2021) also provide some statistics to support their claim. It is noteworthy that they do not refer to the source of data, which makes the figures seem less reliable or accurate than in the other editorial in question. Both articles also refer to different politicians who support this or that perspective. Another similarity is also the focus on one of the central issues to the debate, which is racial discrimination and inequity.
Irrespective of these similarities, the articles under consideration are very different and support different positions. The editorial in The Washington Post aims at supporting the view that loan cancellation, as well as partial ($10,000) relief, cannot address the racial inequality issue but can become a considerable burden on the federal and local budgets. On the contrary, Zewde and Hamilton (2021) stress that student loan cancellation and even partial relief programs, although unable to solve the racial inequality issue but can considerably improve the situation. At that, the authors do not mention the effects this allocation of funds can have on the budget or overall economy of the country.
The two editorials also have opposing perspectives regarding the ethical facet of the problem. For instance, the editorial board of The Washington Post notes that the loan cancellation is rather unfair as it is likely to affect racial groups differently. For instance, it can be a substantial help for Black students from under-deserved communities. However, it can hardly be meaningful for middle-class white students who may still need help, so such programs offer “a disproportionate share of the total dollars” (“Forgiving student loans,” 2020, para. 2). Moreover, the cancellation of debt means that taxpayers’ funds will be allocated to cover the expenses of a group of people.
At that, while some try to save money and avoid any debts they cannot cover, others are not that responsible but will have a gift from the budget. Zewde and Hamilton (2021) concentrate on racial inequality and the need to “begin to address a history of discriminatory policies affecting Black graduates” (para. 1). Nevertheless, the hardships or needs of other groups are not mentioned.
In conclusion, the two editorials are devoted to student loan debt, but they have opposing stances, different highlights, although both provide a significant amount of information to support their claims. The article by Zewde and Hamilton (2021) mainly advocates for the needs of African Americans, while the other editorial sheds light on this policy’s outcomes for all groups. The former also does not contain any information concerning the economic consequences of debt cancellation, while the article in The Washington Post has particular arguments related to economic factors.
Forgiving student loans the wrong way will only worsen inequality. (2020). Washington Post. Web.
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Zewde, N., & Hamilton, D. (2021). Cancel student debt to shrink the racial wealth gap. The New York Times. Web.