STUDENT LOAN DEADBEATS

PRESIDENT REAGAN'S TRILLION-PLUS BUDGET, which some Democrats are characterizing uncharitably as dead on arrival, contains one interesting tidbit that undoubtedly will generate more discussion. It's a plan to charge all student loan borrowers 9 percent of the value of the loan up front to cover the mounting cost of defaults.

We don't want to downplay the problem. It rapidly has been getting out of hand, student loan deadbeats costing the government $1 billion plus in each of the last two years. Nor would we prefer that the government create a large new bureaucracy just to police student loans.But somehow we can't get with the idea of penalizing all borrowers - prompt payers as well as delinquents - for the sins of the few. We don't think taxpayers should be forced to bear the burden. But shouldn't the banks, which generate the bad loans, be forced to share in the responsibility? After all, they share in the profits.

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