Biden is circling closer to a student loan forgiveness executive order

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Despite the lack of any definitive proof that the President has the authority to simply cancel student loan debt without congressional approval, Joe Biden is reportedly in talks to do precisely that and he claims a decision will be coming in a matter of weeks. The progressive lobby in Congress has been pushing Biden to take such an action, but he supposedly isn’t prepared to give them everything they want. The target figure for progressives is $50,000 in debt relief for everyone. Biden said he’s not going that high and there are expected to be income caps associated with any proposed relief. What the exact figures are remains to be seen. But if it’s anything close to what’s being suggested in this report from National Review, there are definitely going to be a lot of questions among the public.

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The White House is examining ways for President Biden to forgive some student loan debt through executive action — at least $10,000 per borrower — including a plan that would limit relief to undergraduate borrowers who earn less than $125,000 or $150,000 as individuals or $250,000 or $300,000 as a couple, according to a new report.

Sources told the Washington Post that no final decision has been made on the figure that will be forgiven, the income cap, or other specifics of the plan.

Ninety-seven percent of all student debt was held by people earning less than $150,000 as individuals or less than $300,000 as a couple in 2019, the report notes, citing data from Matt Bruenig, the founder of the left-leaning think tank the People’s Policy Project.

We can ignore for the moment the fact that this is going to cost a bloody fortune and that the disappearance of this amount of debt is going to drive inflation further upward. If Joe Biden signs this sort of order, it will almost certainly be immediately challenged in the courts and put on hold, assuming someone with standing to bring such a challenge can be identified. How long such a challenge would play out can’t be predicted, but it could conceivably take longer than the rest of Biden’s current term in office.

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But let’s just say he goes ahead and does it anyway. The Democrats seem to remain blissfully unaware that student debt cancellation is not as politically popular among some key demographics as they tend to believe. The reasons for this should be obvious.

The average monthly payment for loan holders with medium amounts of debt is roughly $350. That’s a big chunk of money to come up with if you’re only bringing home the median household income of $44,225. But as noted in the linked article, the average couple with at least a four-year college degree is bringing in something closer to $200,000. Loan forgiveness would apply to any families with incomes up to between $250,000 to $300,000. If you’re making $300K, should you really be struggling to make a $350 payment?

That’s one of the key elements of the political optics I mentioned above. There are plenty of working-class families out there today who don’t make anywhere near that kind of money. And many of those families have mortgages and car loans they have to make payments on every month. Nobody is talking about forgiving their loans. But as taxpayers, they will be footing the bill for canceling the loans of people with college degrees who have the opportunity to do much better for themselves. Any Republican with a minimal amount of common sense will be pointing out to their voters that this entire plan is a form of wealth redistribution that pretty much exclusively benefits the Democrats’ target demographic of more elite, college-educated young people. Meanwhile, all of those working-class families holding 9-5 jobs out in the suburbs who are likely earning considerably less will still be on the hook for their bills.

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None of this addresses the underlying question of why people who knowingly took out loans that they would be expected to repay should suddenly get a free pass. This seems to be yet another disconnect in the liberal thought process. Supposedly, a four-year-old is mature enough to decide “what gender” they are or sneak off and get a vaccination without their parent’s consent, but an 18-year-old isn’t capable of understanding the repayment terms of a loan? Further, not everyone has to go to an Ivy League school to have a chance at a good career. The minimum tuition at Yale is nearly $70,000 per year which can bankrupt you pretty quickly if your family is of modest means. But I just checked this morning and the closest community college in my area charges less than $6,000 per year. The state university near them costs just over $7,000. So you could get an associate’s degree in two years and then go on to get your bachelor’s degree in two more, all for less than the price of a new car.

None of this is a mystery for most people. And I can assure you that plenty of voters will see through this it will be in the backs of their minds when they go to the polls in November. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024
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