Although U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, is correct in that the student loan debt is a major issue for young people entering life and the workforce, we need to be more proactive than reactive. IRA and 401(k) savings were never intended for short-term use but long-term goals – in particular, retirement.
This is another kick-the-can-down-the-road approach. The tax consequences and penalties are in place to discourage unwise use, such as parents baling out kids to their own future detriment. Additionally, why is it fair tax policy to give a break for those who make choices to borrow money beyond their means and those that are content with their lifestyle and save for the future? That's not even considering the lost tax revenue.
A better solution would be to return to the roots of the problem, such as the cost and value of an education, how to make postsecondary education more affordable, teach our children the value of money and the art of saving – and, yes, working while in school to replace excess borrowing. Borrowing for school is a choice, not a requirement. Contentment and responsibility is a lifestyle, one of the best gifts we can give our children. A lifestyle that will pay dividends for a lifetime.