Arthur Diaz: Romney’s hypocritical opposition to canceling student debt

Utah senator was educated at Brigham Young University, at the expense of church members worldwide.

(Sarahbeth Maney | The New York Times) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks during a briefing with the Senate Budget Committee about the Democrat’s tax and spending legislation, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.

Last week, Sen. Mitt Romney introduced the Student Loan Accountability Act alongside other Republican senators. The bill aims to prevent the cancellation of student loans by President Joe Biden.

In the official release, Romney states, “It makes no sense for the Biden Administration to cancel nearly $2 trillion in student loan debt.” According to the senator, student loan cancellation would be “unfair to those who already repaid their loans or decided to pursue alternative education paths.”

Romney’s remarks regarding student loan debt are riddled with hypocrisy, considering his education at Brigham Young University was largely funded by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All members are required to contribute tithes to the LDS church, but only a select few gain access to subsidized education at church-sponsored schools.

Since BYU is a non-profit corporation affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a significant portion of university operating costs are paid with the tithes of church members. This includes sacred financial contributions from members of the global faith organization who are currently living in poverty; many members of the church are in poverty, and this poverty continually creates challenges for these members.

When I started my education at BYU, I – like many others – was given a stern lecture which grossly weaponizes the parable of the widow’s mite into a story of guilt. The story, which comes from the Bible, depicts a faithful woman who, “from her poverty, contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” As students at BYU, we were told our education was made possible by members like this widow in the New Testament.

With the impending mid-term elections, I imagine this latest bill is an attempt to galvanize loyal Republican supporters, who select leaders against their own interests. What they fail to realize, however, is that Mitt Romney is a hypocrite who thinks it’s okay for others to pay for his education but calls student loan forgiveness “unfair.”

Arthur Diaz

Arthur Diaz, Murray, served an LDS mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and completed his bachelor’s degree at Utah Valley University after leaving BYU. He was named an emerging leader in Utah by the Division of Multicultural Affairs in 2021.