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As I See It

Allow students to refinance student loan debt



Lots of people have taken advantage of falling interest rates in order to keep more money in their pocket. Millions have refinanced their mortgage to take advantage of today’s more attractive rates. That makes sense. They continue to owe the same principal, but can save hundreds of dollars a year in interest costs. That leaves them free to spend that money on other things, which helps the economy. But millions more are not allowed to refinance their debt. Those who have student loans are not allowed to refinance them. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson thinks that is the way it should be. In fact, Johnson went so far as to insult the more than 800,000 holders of student loan debt in Wisconsin when he proclaimed “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Every time Congress has voted on the idea of allowing federal student loans to be refinanced, Johnson has voted no. But these aren’t people looking for a free lunch. They are simply looking to lower the amount of interest they owe, not the principal. Just like people have done with their mortgages. That is not looking for a free lunch, it is simply being a smart consumer. Congress should ignore Johnson’s insulting comments, and vote to allow those with student debt to refinance. With student loan debt nationwide now topping $1 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt, allowing students to refinance would be a boon to our economic recovery.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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