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Report: Biden tells House caucus he's looking for ways to forgive all student debt

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

How do we think inflation will look in six months if the White House suddenly gives away another trillion dollars to American taxpayers?

Biden has already forgiven certain narrow categories of student debt but the left wants much more, even though he was conspicuous among a field of progressive candidates in 2020 in insisting that there’d be caps on how much he might potentially forgive. Bernie wanted to forgive all of it, of course; Elizabeth Warren didn’t go quite that far but still wanted lavish amounts wiped out. Biden said he’d consider forgiving as much as the first $10,000 in student loans that a person might owe, but no more.

Tat’s out the window now. And we all know why.

This policy will do him more electoral harm than good, I suspect, but it’s characteristic of a party that continues to prioritize the interests of educated (and therefore mostly left-leaning) voters over those of the working class. Liberal analyst Ruy Teixeira has begged his party for months to start healing its rift with blue-collar Americans, particularly on cultural matters. In a country where two-thirds of adults don’t have a college degree, it’s insane to give that gigantic bloc new reasons to hate you. Bad enough that Dems have lost working-class whites, but lately they’ve begun to lose Latinos too. That’s a calamity in the making.

So here’s Biden answering Teixeira’s criticism with a fantastically exorbitant giveaway to the one-third of the country that already leans Democratic at the expense of the two-thirds that doesn’t. Congrats to voters out there who didn’t go to college but will soon be on the hook for paying off the loans of those who did. If you find it unfair that your car loan or business loan or home loan hasn’t been similarly forgiven, too bad.

Vote Republican if you don’t like it. That’s Biden’s message here, essentially.

The president shared his plans during a 90-minute White House meeting Monday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, participants in the exchange tell CBS News. The move could affect more than 43 million borrowers who hold more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, the second-largest debt held by Americans, behind mortgages…

When Hispanic Caucus members mentioned student loans, the president said he’s asked aides to explore his options – a signal to lawmakers that he may be willing to go farther than he pledged during the campaign.

“They’re looking at different options on what they can do. On forgiving it entirely. That was our request,” said one of the lawmakers in attendance, who asked for anonymity to speak frankly about the meeting…

In a new analysis, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated canceling $50,0000 in student loan debt would forgive the full balance for nearly 30 million federal student loan borrowers. The average forgiveness would be more than $23,800 per borrower. The move would cost about $904 billion. But some of that money, advocates point out, has already been out the door for decades.

I read that and part of me thinks the White House is just giving lefties the runaround. “Will you forgive all student debt?” “Uh, maybe. We’ll look at it and get back to you, how’s that?”

But don’t be so sure. “The president suggested he is looking to take the executive action soon, telling the Hispanic lawmakers that they would be very happy with what he does next,” aides told WaPo of today’s meeting, and I believe them. After all, they have a compelling reason to do something on this subject. If you read this site, you already know what it’s about.

Simply put, Democrats are hemorrhaging support among young voters and have turned desperate in looking for ways to turn them out this fall. The problems that are driving disaffection among twentysomethings, beginning with inflation and extending to Manchinema’s refusal to bend on the filibuster to facilitate major reforms, are largely beyond Biden’s control. So, with a red tidal wave gathering, the White House going to try to do the one thing within its power that might shake things up with younger adults. It’s going to try to buy them off.

Judging by the latest polling, the coming bribe had better be awfully generous.

Morning Consult is out with new data today as well showing that Biden is now underwater on job approval in 40 of the 50 states. In none of the 10 where he’s net positive does he enjoy strong support; in fact, in his home state of Delaware, he’s barely afloat at 50/45. As for swing states, it looks like Dem doom:

Place your bets now on whether a gigantic bribe to younger college grads financed by older working-class voters is a net winner or loser politically. I know how I’m betting. But I also know that it’ll be hard politically to reinstate that debt once the GOP is back in power, which won’t happen before 2025. Would a new Republican president and a Republican Congress want to tell adults who had their loans forgiven and have since made other financial plans that they’re suddenly back on the hook for the amounts they owed earlier?

Exit question: If Biden’s looking to pander to young voters, why doesn’t he decriminalize marijuana instead? That’s broadly popular but particularly with young adults. And it’s a fine wedge issue given that Republicans are markedly less supportive of the idea than most of the population.