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According to a recent article in The Hill, the current administration’s proposal to universally forgive student loan debt would perpetrate a massive injustice. 

The authors argue that lawyers, physicians and dentists are well-compensated and can afford to make their loan payments – in contrast to people who earned an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or graduate degree. They further argue that partial loan forgiveness (there are proposals to cap forgiveness at $50 thousand, for instance) are also skewed toward high earners.

There is some validity to their argument in terms of fairness, but they overlook one important fact: on a percentage basis, there are far more dentists who own businesses (roughly 70+ percent of all dentists) than the percentage of physicians who are self-employed. That doesn’t hold true for associate dentists, but dentist-owners as a group employ a significant number of people – some 750,000 people in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The authors also argue that the Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE) program is far too generous and needs to be revised to recapture more money. 

However, there is a solid argument against both of these arguments.

For Dentists, Loan Forgiveness Is A Stimulus 

Savvy business owners reinvest in their businesses, and dentists who are no longer saddled with an excess of student loan debt are likely to do exactly that – reinvest to help their business grow. 

One of the top priorities of the current administration, second only to getting the pandemic under control, is to get the economy moving again. From a tax revenue perspective, thriving businesses are the key to accomplishing that goal. 

While not arguing for or against the loan forgiveness proposal, it would seem that dentists will want to pay attention to the forgiveness proposal and to the proposal to amend REPAYE and ensure that their state dental associations are engaging appropriately. 

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