President Biden just forgave thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Student loan debt is a huge problem, but our Constitution doesn’t give him the authority to do something like this without Congress being involved.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Connor.

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So, President Biden and his administration recently, they made history, and not in a good way by canceling or just doing away with 10 to $20,000 in student loan debt for every person who took out a government loan for college. So, this might sound great, right? Nobody wants to be in debt and students and people are struggling to pay their loans back. But this is not necessarily, and by not necessarily mean, this is not a good thing, I should say that. And this plan is going to cost taxpayers at least 400 billion, at least a lot of money. So, student loans, I think you and I have talked about before, probably more than once, is that they’re a really big problem. Nobody would disagree with that. And when you add up every government loan that people took up or took out, it actually equals trillions of dollars. It’s hard to put a specific number on it because every day it just multiplies. And there’s something called interest, which I think Emma and I did an episode on a long time ago. That is for every year or for every month, you don’t pay or not for, let me rephrase that. So, every month if you have a loan out, they add a certain percentage on, so you’re always paying more and more. And so student loans get even bigger because you’re constantly paying all this interest that’s adding up. So, it’s a huge problem for a lot of people, and this is something a lot of people don’t want to hear. If you promise to take out the loans, it’s your responsibility to find a way to pay the loans. And right now, this is costing people who didn’t even go to college or maybe people who already paid their loans. So, this is a big, big problem, not only because there’s a lot of principled reasons why other people shouldn’t bail you out, but there’s some constitutional issues too, which is the way that you can fight back against these really bad ideas. So, Connor, I’m going to put you on the spot right now and ask you what separation of powers is.

Connor: Okay? Separation of powers. Well, it means what it says you have power and you separate it. And the founding fathers think of what they were doing. They were fighting the King of England in whom he had all this power. Now, there was parliament, and so some of the power in England had been separated into what’s called a legislative branch where you legislate or you create legislation or laws. And then there’s the executive, which was the king. And so the founding fathers were like, you know what? We can’t have a king. We have to separate powers. We need to make sure that no one person has supreme authority or heavy control. And so they created a system of government that they learned from Rome and the Greeks and their own experience in England and elsewhere to say, let’s learn from what other people have done and create a system that separates power. Even more importantly, when we think of separation of powers, we often just think of the three branches of the federal government. So, for the kids who are listening along, here’s your little pop quiz, I’m going to say two of them and we’ll see if you can guess the third. I’ve already said two. So, we’ve got the legislative branch and we’ve got the executive branch. So what’s the third? Hopefully, everyone just answered.

Brittany: Oh, I’m like, am I supposed to answer? I almost answered. I almost spoiled it for everybody. That’s

Connor: That’s for the kids. Alright, Brittany, you know what it is? What’s the third word?

Brittany: Judicial.

Connor: The judicial. Okay. So, now importantly, as I said, the founding fathers didn’t only focus on that because separating the powers at the national or federal level is one thing, but a better thing is to separate power between different levels of government. So, rather than the federal government having all the power and the authority, the power is separated also between the states and the federal government. And even within states, you have power separated between cities and counties and the state. Imagine if Connor was supreme chancellor of the United States of America, and I could boss anyone around, make any law that would be horrible, that any one person could control people no matter where they lived or anything. And so we have separate, well, in theory at least we have separated power both at the federal level between the three branches, and then we have separated power, federal and state and county and city. So, different levels of government, all with a hope that by doing that, it makes it harder for any one person or a group of people to just be able to do whatever they want, pass whatever law they want. Which brings us back to our topic today, which is how in the world, Brittany, can Biden get away with just canceling student debt?

Brittany: And that’s exactly what we’re kind of talking about today. So, like you said, Congress is responsible for making the laws. And no matter what you think about student loan forgiveness, if you’re very against or very for it, the way the Constitution is set up, if Congress were to draft a bill and vote on the bill and that bill about student loan forgiveness were to pass, then constitutionally again, we can have an argument for Wyatt. Morally wouldn’t be correct, but constitutionally that would be a legal way to go about student loan forgiveness. But of course, I think that’s not really likely to happen because there’s so much back and forth on that, on both sides. So, instead, the president just said, all right, I’m going to sign away this debt or some of this debt. But he doesn’t have the power to do that because the president’s not allowed to make laws. That’s not his job at all so that’s a problem. But what’s funny about this is we don’t usually agree with Nancy Pelosi on much, but even before, and she’s kind of stayed quiet during this final forgiveness, but she has said on several occasions like, Hey, the president can’t do that. And that’s funny to me because you think like, huh? So, even Pelosi who has not cared about the Constitution in a lot of other instances, admits that that’s too much authority. You can’t give the president that much authority. And it’s funny to me because if you challenge that, or if you speak out against that and say that President Biden doesn’t have that authority, people get very mad. How dare you want people in debt? How dare you want this and that and that. But that’s not really what anybody’s saying. What they’re saying is, if you give the president the power to do this, think of what else he can do. Governments and presidents especially, are not great at staying within their power. Leaders in general aren’t good at this. We know this. This is why the Tuttle twin’s books have to be written, right? Because people don’t understand power and the government gets away with it. So it’s not just student loan forgiveness, that’s important here. It’s anything that the president could decide to make a law on. He could just use executive power to do it, even though it’s not constitutional.

Connor: And I think that’s a big part of the problem is that a lot of people like this happening because they personally benefit, oh, yay, I don’t have to pay back those school loans. I support canceling school debt. And it’s this very kind of self-serving thing because they personally benefit. And so, they support the policy. And Frédéric Bastiat, who our listeners know, because our first book in the series was based off of his book The Law. So, the Tuttle Twins Learn about the Law is our version of that. And Frédéric Bastiat, who was this French economist, super smart guy, we’ve talked before about how witty he was. He just had fun poking at his ideological enemies. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a joy to read Bastiat. And he has this great quote where he basically says, I’m going to get this, I think 90% right? He says, the great fiction of government, or no, excuse me, he says, the government is a great fiction in which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. Government is a great fiction, like a pretend. This thing in which we are trying to live at the expense of other people. Put more simply, he’s saying through government, people try and make other people pay for them. Hey, I want healthcare. Hey, I want housing. Hey, I want a college degree. I’m going to use the government through the government. I’m going to make all of you pay for me. And that’s what the government has turned into the founding fathers envision. I should say most of the founding fathers, there were plenty who had different visions of things, but most of the founding fathers shared this idea, this vision that the government existed as the Declaration of Independence says, to secure our rights, our existing rights, not to be the creator of these pretend rights, these programs, these tax benefits, not to give us stuff. The government exists to protect our rights. No one has the right to go to college. No one has the right to be bailed out of a loan. That right does not exist. And let me add this tangent because I think this point is important. When we talk about rights, it’s important to understand what that means. When I have a right to do something, it means there’s a duty that someone else has. And so if I have the right to life, other people have a duty to not kill me. What’s called a negative duty, right? Because they don’t have to do something positively or proactively. They just have to not do something, which is why we call it a negative duty. They have to not kill me because I have the right to life. If I have the right to liberty, then others should not infringe on my liberty. No one should try and lock me in their basement or punch me in the head or steal my backyard chickens or whatever it is. People should not do these things, their duty. It’s a negative duty. They just need to leave me alone, which is why libertarians are basically, we just want to take over the world and leave everyone alone because our duty is to not do things. But when you get these government programs like Biden is pushing, and so many people before him have pushed things like this, they are creating positive duties. And so what do I mean by that? Well, they’ll say, oh, you have the right to a college education. Okay, well, if I have the right to a college education, then someone else has a duty. Because rights always have duties. So, if I have a right to free college or to a college education that’s affordable or however you want to say it, if I have that right, then what duty does someone else have? Well, professors have to be paid, buildings have to be built, curriculum has to be written. Cafeterias have to be stocked with awful food. Colleges have to be created. There’s a duty now that someone has to positively, proactively do things to give me my free college or my subsidized or college bailout or whatever we’re talking about. So, if I have that right, then others have a duty. Well, no one has that duty. If I have the right to healthcare, that means doctors have a duty to give me free healthcare services. Do they? Do people go to medical school because they think they have a duty to go provide this stuff for free? No, it’s because it’s a service and they want me to pay them, and they want to get compensated. They want to voluntarily offer their services to people, not because they have a duty. It’s because they have an opportunity to serve and through entrepreneurship, create this exchange. And it’s the same thing with college or housing or any of these things. They’re not free. There’s no right because that means other people have a duty, but they don’t. No one has a duty. I as a taxpayer, don’t have a duty to pay for Brittany’s College or anyone else’s college. I don’t have that moral duty. If God dropped me here on the earth and said, okay, your life is starting, and I looked around, my first thought would be, oh, I got to build a shelter. I’ve got to find food to eat, and I’ve got to pay for everyone’s college. That’s not a duty that you naturally have, therefore you don’t actually have it. It’s made up by the government. And that’s why Bos said the government is the fiction through which we try and live at the expense of other people. The government has turned into this mess where Biden and so of these other people are just exploiting it so that some people can live and benefit at the expense of other people. So, Brittany, you’re a taxpayer. Yes, I’m a taxpayer. How should we and those listening, we’re all paying taxes. How should we truly feel about these types of proposals?

Brittany: I mean, we should feel like we’re being stolen from essentially what’s happening. And we should also feel pretty confused because this doesn’t solve the problem. They’re still going to give out student loans. They’re not even canceling the program or reeling it in. They’re just going to keep handing ’em out and then keep forgiving. So we should be pretty angry about this because we already know taxation is theft. We’re already being robbed on all sorts of different fronts, and now we’re paying for people’s college for a program that keeps failing for degrees that don’t really help you get a job. And it just seems like we’re propping up a really bad system. So, I think we should all be pretty angry.

Connor: Well, I think so too. And it’s really sad how the government even thinks of Biden at the time. We’re recording this. It’s campaigns are gearing up and it’s another election season, and Democrats are struggling and the economy is struggling, and so they’re trying to buy votes. They’re trying to just buy more voters. Hey, support us. The ones giving you bailouts, and they’re literally just trying to buy support. That’s really all this comes down to. And it’s very frustrating when it’s your money when they’re using taxpayer dollars to do it. But this is a much bigger problem than just this particular proposal. There’s so many other programs in the government where they’re doing this and they’re buying votes, and they’re wasting money, and they’re subsidizing people for their poor choices. It’s a big problem. So, guys, important topic. Head to We’ve got all kinds of books. And I’ll also say, I have a non-Tuttle twins book called Skip College. So, for any of the teenagers listening, or for mom and dad, if you’re thinking about your kid’s future, head to Amazon and go pick up Skip College. We had a bunch of other people contribute to the chapter, including some friends of the show who we’ve had on before, including Brittany. She wrote one of the chapters, and we had Carrie McDonald, Isaac Morehouse, and a number of others. And so go check out that book on Amazon, and as provocative of a title as it is, ultimately the purpose of the book isn’t to say that everyone should skip college. It’s just that most people should, and because they should hear some steps and hear some tips to actually succeed and thrive without college. So, yeah, Brittany’s got an awesome chapter in there. Many others do as well. Head to Amazon and check out Skip College. We’ll see you guys on the next episode. Brittany, thanks for talking, and until next time, we’ll catch you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.