Warren claims she could wipe out student loan debt with the pen and the phone

As her ardent fans like to frequently boast, no matter what pressing issue of the day you’re worried about, Elizabeth Warren’s got a plan for that. That supposed axiom can now be applied to the question of what, if anything, to do about all of the people in this country without outstanding student loans they can’t seem to pay off.

But this is a controversial subject and one that not nearly everyone agrees on in terms of what to do about it or even if the government has any role in “fixing” things. How would Warren, as president, get the various divided factions to buy into her vision and go along with the plan she proposes? The answer is… she wouldn’t! On her first day in office, she would just sit down at the desk recently vacated by Donald Trump and sign an executive order making all of that debt go away. (Reuters)

Democrat Elizabeth Warren outlined on Tuesday how, if elected to the White House, she would on the first day of her presidency cancel federal student loan debt by using the Department of Education’s pre-existing authority.

Warren had previously called for the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt for each of about 42 million borrowers, but had not outlined the specific steps she would take or the timing.

Warren, writing on the website Medium, said that she would act without waiting for Congress because the Secretary of Education can “use its discretion to wipe away loans even when they do not meet the eligibility criteria for more specific cancellation programs.”

So Warren has a legal opinion from someone at Harvard saying that she can just wave a pen at the problem and make the debts owed by more than 40 million people simply vanish. And the author supposedly found this information buried in the Higher Education Act of 1965. But if you look at the details of that bill, it’s not entirely clear where this authority is derived.

I’m guessing they’re referring to a couple of paragraphs from Section 455, but that seems a bit murky. Most mentions of loan forgiveness are restricted to people meeting certain qualifying criteria and the act specifies in most instances that the borrower should first seek a debt consolidation loan. There are exceptions for teachers and those engaged in public service, but I don’t see anything about the Secretary of Education being specifically given the power to issue a general amnesty on loan repayment. I mean, perhaps it’s there, but I couldn’t find it.

And what happens if this claim is somehow upheld and Warren wipes out all of that debt? Do the lending institutions just take it on the chin or are the taxpayers on the hook for all of these loans that were guaranteed by the government? Most likely the latter. And a quick bit of scratching on the back of a cocktail napkin shows that we’d be looking at $2.1 trillion in debt that would suddenly be heaped on the taxpayers’ shoulders. (And that’s after we finish paying for Medicare for All and the rest of her socialist pipe dreams.)

And finally, wasn’t Elizabeth Warren one of the Democrats constantly screaming about Donald Trump doing an end-around on Congress with all of his executive orders? I’m sure I recall that from somewhere. But if she gets elected, apparently executive orders are just fine and dandy again. In this case, what’s good for the goose is literally not so good for the gander.

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