@DownWokeness - the "what's your solution" crowd is always (willfully) blind

There are a million reasons to oppose forgiving college debt and only one (bad) reason to support it.

Down With the Wokeness (apologies for putting this song in your head) is referencing one particular reason against: like all tax money, the funds being given to college students was stolen from a productive worker who actually did something of value. That's his choice and we shouldn't fault him for it.

Where I think he went wrong though is not taking Kim Ivesen to the woodshed over her use of the intellectually lazy "what is your solution" canard. When Down accused Ivesen of blindness regarding the source of the money, there's a bigger blindness here.

Specifically, the "what's your solution" question is far too often a way to try and deflect a (typically successful) argument against a proposed policy by trying to force the debater to construct some sort of new system or framework to address a problem (or at least a perceived problem).

On one level the "what's your solution" isn't entirely terrible. In the case of the college loan forgiveness, the issue is there's a lot of student debt. On the face of it, the President * plan (at least partially) solves the problem: there will be less student debt. "We all agree X is bad, Y reduces X, so why not support Y?" If the answer is "don't do Y but do Z instead" the presumption is that the debater can articulate what Z is, how to enact Z, and why Z does a better job than Y.

However very often, and very often implicit in the opposition to Y, are two premises that Ivesen is (to use Down's terminology) blind to:

  1. Z is defined as "don't do Y"
  2. I never agreed that X was bad

When Ivesen wants to complain that people who oppose President *'s plan "don't have a plan of their own", that's not entirely true. Their plan, as it is relevant to the topic of discussion, is not to do Y. The argument as to why Z is better than Y is that Y is terrible, and therefore the current state of (X Not Y) > (Y Not X). That's the argument that they are making and that should be good enough. Who cares if they don't have a plan? The debate now comes to a question of X>Y versus X<Y, and that's the only thing that needs to be addressed. If the solution to the problem is worse than the problem, then the solution isn't a good idea. Injecting patients with hydrochloric acid can cure them of their AIDS. What's your plan, Kim? Which type of acid would you add intraveneously? As a result, Kim would spend her time coming up with some elaborate Grand Unified Theory of Ending AIDS rather than just the prosaic "don't kill people to prevent their eventual death" argument.

This is especially true in the case of the partial/temporary student loan forgiveness which introduces a new state of (0.9X + Y) where X will eventually rebound back to exactly its current state. In that argument, the notion is that Y is worse than doing nothing on the basis that if X truly is bad and Y only temporarily suppresses it then Y needs to stand 100% on its own merits.

The question about X itself, of course, may be open for debate as well. The global warmmongers are notorious for this: what's your plan for stopping hurricanes from getting more and more common and deadly? The answer they hate most of all is I don't need a plan at all. This isn't just the question of (X>Y), but whether or not (X=0). As a practical matter it functions the same as the second scenario in my footnote above: if X doesn't change no matter what you do, then any plan to purport to change it now has to be measured up independently of whatever manufactured crisis the question-poser is trying to get you to panic and sign on the dotted line over. We all remember that goofball "what if we're wrong and we make a better world for nothing" cartoon, but it's already trying to get you to move past the sale and implicitly make that claim that their Y (no more plastic bags, eating bugs, cars which randomly catch fire and kill you) is good on its own, which is of course something they can never actually do.

Again there are times where the "what's your solution" does mandate a response, typically when somebody is complaining about a policy long after the fact. Those who complain about Residential Schools need to be asked how, since the treaties they insist we follow mandated education, how that needed to be put into practice. Obviously if the two parties both agree that X is really horrible and needs to be stopped, one side shouldn't just keep saying "no" to every solution. It's also fair play to bring forth a little turnabout: when somebody insists on electric cars to solve the energy crisis, suggest instead mass genocide of asians. The kicker here is that conservatives often have a ton of solutions to the student loan problem, but because they boil down to "you people who have the ear of popular culture made bad decisions and we'll let you suffer for them while reducing the burden of future bad decisions on blue collar taxpayers" they are routinely denounced or kept hidden from the public consciousness.

Ivesen's take on the student loan problem isn't particularly productive. In general, "what's your solution" is a lazy way to push bad public policy on expediency grounds. I've mentioned "politician's logic" many a time and this is a prime example of it. If the only defense Kim Ivesen can mount to a partial one-time student loan forgiveness plan that "it's something", then it has no defense at all and deserves to die.