Were companies given incentive in the form of a tax break, or even a tax credit, still more could be accomplished. For instance, they could adopt the debt of their employees.
The win-win of this Adopt-a-Student Loan program would take the form of focused employees who are loyal, which should have a huge impact on job performance and productivity. The extra cash in employees’ pockets would become revenue as it entered the economy in the form of increased spending.
Additionally, such a program would be both a boon to recruitment and retention efforts.
What the Federal Government Would Need to Do
Currently there is a $14,000 limit on non-taxable gifting, but that could be increased to facilitate this program, with the trigger being money that went directly to pay down student loan debt.
In addition to the possibility of an abatement or credit for corporations that pay down employee student loan debt, a government abatement on the estate tax might be popular, allowing regular Americans to pay down a third party’s student loan debt before the taxable portion of an estate goes to the IRS. In fact, if the federal government used these types of tax breaks to take on this trillion-dollar time bomb, one can envision a system in which anyone could crowdfund their student loan debt. It may be a crazy idea, but sometimes it takes a crazy idea to solve a crazy problem… and our student loan situation has reached insane proportions.
Whether you advocate a Hunger Games solution or something more real world-ready, I look forward to hearing your ideas for ending the student loan debt nightmare, so the odds can be ever in our future graduates’ favor.
Adam Levin is chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.