AT A TIME when the college student loan debt is approaching $1.6 trillion and roughly 10% of borrowers are defaulting on that debt, Elizabeth Warren, the liberal Democratic senator from Massachusetts, has proposed a plan to forgive much of that debt and make public college free.

Warren’s plan would actually shift the debt burden to other Americans. It would cost $1.2 trillion over the course of 10 years and that would be paid for by higher taxes on households with a net worth of $50 million or more.

The plan calls for households with a net worth of $50 million or more to pay an annual tax of 2%. Good luck trying to nail down those numbers.

Many critics of the plan said the proposal is neither effective nor fair. It is flawed and flunks key tests. The whole issue of rising college costs is complicated, and Americans are faced with conflicting messages and mixed signals.

Warren’s plan doesn’t deal with the fact college is too expensive with no end in sight. We see colleges with swollen bureaucracies, professors working part time, money-losing sports, expensive building campaigns and an inability to use technology to become more efficient.

Remember, various other Democrats have proposed budget-busting proposals that target those deep-pocket households to help pay for free health care (Medicare for All), climate change schemes and a major part of the $2 trillion infrastructure initiative, as well as balance the $5 trillion federal budget.

We’re told about students overwhelmed by debt. Yet colleges keep raising tuition costs. In May, the Milwaukee School of Engineering joined a national trend of upscale campus housing because students are demanding lavish campus housing.

A plan was announced for a $37 million renovation and expansion of one of three residence halls. The report said the housing units are deemed necessary to attract students who expect lavish living spaces, coffee shops, study rooms with technology areas tailored for data-driven coursework. They demand dining halls, kitchenettes and that the rooms be air conditioned.

Attracting top students has become very competitive and schools need to emphasize marketing. In this example, the amenities will be financed by donations. The days of a sparse college experience are gone. Today, students expect a comfortable experience, even if they cannot afford it.

The ideas of debt forgiveness and free public college are well-intentioned, but, ultimately, counterproductive, said people who have studied the problem. Many liberal presidential candidates like the ideas because it allows them to pander to their audiences. Who wouldn’t like free college and loan forgiveness?

In these times of multiple debt crises: public, credit card abuse and the culture of simply spending what we don’t have, might it be wise to educate college students in the basics of economy and financial responsibility?

Under Warren’s plan, the federal government would forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt in a household making less than $100,000 annually. It would offer less forgiveness for families making up to $250,000 and nothing for those making more than that. It isn’t clear what would happen for those households with two, three or even four students with unpaid loans.

Even Democrats question the plan. The liberal-leaning Brookings Institution has said that wealthier Americans would benefit disproportionately from the plan compared to their poorer counterparts.

The ones who struggle the most with college loan debt are people with smaller loan amounts because they often never finish college. The average borrower in the class of 2017 owed about $28,500. Critics said Warren’s plan should lower the forgiveness maximum to $20,000.

That would cover many smaller debts, but still require those with larger debts to take responsibility. Many critics say colleges and universities need to be held accountable for a fair share of the student loan debt. After all, they have raised tuition rates to sky-high levels, have failed to graduate students (fewer than 50% finish) and have steered students into courses with degrees that have little or no income-earning value when completed.

Warren’s proposal is unfair to the parents who sacrificed to put their children through college, to the graduates who worked and saved before or while going to college and to those who lived a lifestyle after college to be able to honor their responsibility to pay off their loan.

Many public universities have endowment funds. Perhaps those funds could help the unqualified students who had absolutely no chance of ever graduating from college because they were misadvised by high school and college counselors, their parents and friends to take out student loans.

Many of those students were doomed to fail by being put into situations they were unprepared for and when they dropped out after one or two semesters, they were left with loans they couldn’t afford to repay.

While public colleges might benefit from the plan by attracting more students, the supporters of private for-profit universities may lose prospective students. There will always be winners and losers.

Any flawed loan forgiveness plan would be an easy target for people looking to game the system. The scam would become another runaway train that taxpayers would be asked to clean up.