Biden’s student loan debt stunt is a choppy game for votes


After teasing such an announcement for his entire administration and enacting years of payment freezes, President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the cancellation of student loans up to $10,000 for millions of borrowers and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

The message: Have no fear, your politicians are doing thingsand as such you should vote for them.

From the Cut Inflation Act to the pen-and-phone cancellation of student loans, the Biden administration is full of stock. And action, in the parlance of the Beltway and its media, is the stuff of momentum and feedback! Aviator Joe is back on his game! Dark Brandon outsmarts his opponents on a bike ride to Rehoboth Beach!

But is it true? In the BBC satirical series Dear Prime Ministerthe writers deftly skewer the “politician fallacy,” or as you may know, the operating philosophy of everyone in Washington.

“Something must be done.”

“It’s something.”

” We need to !

But are voters operating under the same logical fallacy? Not always, thank God.

In fact, “doing something” is just one of many measures that voters consider. When you think about things outside of the “do” rubric, the picture becomes much less clear on the conventional wisdom – which holds that all action is good action and only inaction is bad.

Before we get to the cancellation of student loans – whose fiscal largesse has just come off the mint presses – consider the Inflation Reduction Act, the most recent measure on which we have subsequent polls.

The ridiculous name of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was taken at face value by most media coverage in the run-up to the bill’s passage, and it was passed in Congress even before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to give it a score. He boasted of a doubt $305 billion in deficit reduction while doubling the size of the IRS over 10 years, offered subsidies for expensive electric cars to people struggling with the highest inflation in 40 years and, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation , raised taxes on many income levels below the promised $400,000 threshold.

After it became law, the democrats who adopted it and the media who covered it essentially admitted that it had little to do with reducing inflation, and more with overhauling the US economy in the style of Biden’s failed Build Back Better plan. The difference between the two being that the IRA was reduced just enough to overtake Senator Joe Manchin.

But despite the “But there is more!” pitch after the dissolution of the original rationale of the bill, the American people became even more embittered.

“When you think about things outside of the “doing” rubric, the picture becomes much less clear on the conventional wisdom, which holds that all action is good action, and only inaction is bad.”

A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that only 13% of American voters thought the Inflation Reduction Act would actually reduce inflation, while 42% thought it would do the opposite. Transformative and historic is no longer what it used to be.

NBC News asked voters whether the Cutting Inflation Act would make a difference in their lives. If you combine those who thought it would make no difference (36%) or make them worse (35%), you get over 70% of Americans who think this Aviator Joe action isn’t great, compared to 26 % who say it will improve them.

Now let’s do a student loan forgiveness. What does this action look like?

It looks like a bribe, coming as it does 10 weeks before a midterm election, and aimed at college-educated voters who make up the Democratic base. It wipes out every penny (and probably more) of deficit reduction that the Inflation Reduction Act was supposed to bring. It benefits a relatively small and affluent group of voters. A minority of Americans have college degrees, they earn more and are less often unemployed than their compatriots, and this forgiveness benefit is available to couples earning up to $250,000 in annual income.

It takes the voluntarily acquired debt of some and makes it a liability for those who have not assumed it, while offering nothing like mortgage relief, car loan relief, credit card debt relief or small business loan relief. This sucks anyone who has recently paid off their college loans or decided against acquiring them in the first place.

In response to a question about this element of injustice, Biden offered this: “Is that unfair to people who don’t own multi-billion dollar businesses? You see how these guys are giving all of them a tax break. Is that fair? What do you think?”

Honestly, I don’t know what that means, but it’s there if you want his take.

It also does nothing to address the real problem of rising education costs (whether it’s paying off student debt in bankruptcy or cutting interest rates or ensuring that colleges have skin in the game), and most likely makes them worse by further subsidizing bloat while protecting colleges from fees.

It’s also legally dodgy, but I’ll grant you that voters don’t care about that part at all, even if I do.

A recent CNBC poll found that 59% worried that this particular action would cause inflation to rise, possibly because many actions the administration said would not exacerbate inflation. A June NPR Poll showed majority support (55%) for $10,000 in debt relief, but more than 80% say “the government’s priority should be to make college more affordable for current and future students” rather than debt relief.

It’s too early to tell whether this action will give the Biden administration the boost expected by much of the Beltway, a disproportionate number of whom happen to be eligible for the benefit. But recent lessons from the Inflation Reduction Act suggest there is such a thing as doing the wrong things.


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