Economics/Class Relations

Student debt’s macroeconomic shock

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February 25, 2023


Next week, the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments in two cases challenging President Joe Biden’s federal student loan forgiveness plan.

The outcomes of the cases—Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown—could have consequences far beyond just their legal ramifications, including an existential threat to our economy.

Student debt shapes the lives of borrowers in often intimate ways: Borrowers are delaying getting married, buying their first homes, and having kids because loan payments sap up most of their would-be discretionary spending and savings, writes Anna Louie Sussman for Fortune.

“The fact that so many young adults see the choice between finances and family in such stark terms underscores just how large and debilitating the nation’s student loan burden has become,” she writes.

“Borrowers’ hesitancy to start families is contributing to a falloff in births in the U.S., where fertility rates have hit their lowest level in half a century,” she writes. “A declining birth rate can cause an aging population, a smaller workforce and tax base, and the risk of unfunded pension liabilities. In that sense, the burden of student debt isn’t just dashing the dreams of some hopeful parents—it’s a macroeconomic shock that could be felt for generations.”

Read her full story below.

Millennials aren’t having kids because they have too much student debt. That could hurt the American economy for generations

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