Sailer knocks another one out of the park:
The current system is a machine for creating Democratic voters. But Republican politicians have been bought off by its semi-privatized nature, which creates a lot of for-profit opportunities for firms employing Republican lobbyists. The solution is perhaps to let the Democrats de-privatize the system, and then the Republicans can oppose it on general principles.
As the economists are fond of saying, incentives matter. If you want a future-oriented, fiscally prudent, stable populace, in short, a conservative populace, you have to increase the incentives for being conservative. Men have to earn money in order to to carve out a little slice of land for themselves, attract a wife, and start a family. Ergo, keep land cheap and wages high. Eschew credentialism in favor of meritocracy.
On crucial policy issues, for Republicans (the nominal "conservative" party) the way forward is clear. Immigration needs to be sharply reduced to boost worker wages and reduce demand for land and public goods. Taxes on business entities need to be reduced if not eliminated as business taxes are ultimately regressive. Unstack the deck in favor of large, publicly traded corporations by reducing the regulatory burden and tell them to figure out their own ways to protect "intellectual property."
Specific to this topic, the Republicans should outbid Obama on the student loan issue. As Vox Popoli points out, the Obama plan to reduce student loan payments is just a stopgap to make valueless assets appear valuable. But for central bank intervention, these loans would never be extended much less collected. Make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. Dissolve Sallie Mae and flat out tell the Fed they can no longer print money to buy student loans. Two-thirds of colleges and their atrocious Departments of Cultural Marxism vanish overnight.
This should be pretty obvious to any thinking person. If you hit your prime marrying years $50K in debt acquiring a credential that signals nothing more than that you are reasonably intelligent and focused, you are obviously less attractive to prospective mates. The hottest date around at that point is Uncle Sugar. Likewise, if you open the borders, all you do is put your citizens in a race-to-the-bottom with the global poor for wages and the global rich for housing, and provide a big, fat raison d'etre for the national security state.
Instead, student loans are trumpeted as a purported "free market" solution to the pseudo-problem of the fact that a minority of people get a bachelor's degree. Immigration becomes recast as freedom of contract rather than privatizing profits and socializing costs. Bought-and-sold Republicans are naturally unable to articulate a single principled reason to oppose both.
The easiest conclusion is that the Republicans are not actually a conservative party but the party of certain non-Democrat moneyed interests. If anybody has another explanation, I'm all ears. I will also give a courteous and completely skeptical hearing to the claim that Democrats are actual economic populists.