After months of pressure from members of his own party, President Joe Biden recently revealed he was “seriously considering” canceling some federal student loan debt – though perhaps not as much as some have. had asked.
“I plan to face a debt reduction”, Biden told reporters at the White House. “I’m not looking at a $50,000 debt reduction. But I am carefully considering whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness.
As for how long that “tough look” will take in terms of decision-making, Biden said he will have an answer on canceling the additional debt in the “coming weeks.” The remarks came days after separate reports surfaced that Biden expressed a similar sentiment during a meeting with the congressional Hispanic caucus. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-California), who attended the meeting, explained that Biden never mentioned a specific amount he was seeking to rescind, but noted that the president claimed, “You’re going to like this I’m doing.”
That remains to be seen, but as someone who has suffered greatly under the weight of federal and private student loan debt since graduating from college i hope that Biden will not only use this time to give him real consideration but to not allow greed to be his guiding light if he continues with cancellation plans.
Of course, Biden never made student debt a central issue in his campaign like the senses. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) did so in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, but their policy proposals to eliminate all or a significant portion of student loan debt prompted then-candidate Biden to commit to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt for each borrower.
So far as president, Biden has implemented various series of targeted student loan cancellations to a small group of borrowers who eliminated approximately $16 billion in federal student loans. yes it is more than any previous presidentbut when 45 million Americans carry a total of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt, forgiving less than 1% rightly sounds like a pittance. After all, student loan debt is the second largest debt held by Americans, behind mortgages.
Biden has repeatedly extended the freeze on student loan repayments and it has helped around 41 million borrowers save $5 billion in interest payments per month according to the Ministry of Education. This pandemic era the pause on federal student loan payments will last until On Aug. 31, but since 2021, the administration said it was considering the legality of Biden’s ability to cancel debt through executive action, but repeatedly failed to post the long-awaited memo. This is one of the many reasons Why I, like others who care deeply about student loan debt and its impact on millions of Americans, wondered whether the Biden administration planned to shackle borrowers.
It’s good to know that Biden will finally give Americans an answer in due time, but it’s been frustrating to see this administration take such a jaded attitude toward the kind of issue that would rally the kind of voters Biden needs most to to run in both the midterm and his impending bid for re-election.
In a recent Harvard University poll, 85% of a total of 2,024 people aged 18 to 29 surveyed said they supported some form of government action on student debt. A separate Morning Consult and Politico national tracking poll shows how roughly 64% of the 2,000 registered voters collectively support at least some amount of student loan forgiveness. A Economist and YouGov poll from January found that nearly half of all Americans and 70% of Democrats support canceling student loan debt from public colleges and universities while another Student Borrower Protection Center survey and Data for Progress found that 75% of black potential voters and 80% of Latino potential voters support the government canceling some student debt.
This is already a popular question, so if President Biden offered a consistent message about the importance of debt cancellation and sold it as a way to get millions of Americans out of a needless struggle, I think could only increase the popularity of debt cancellation and benefit from it politically.
Also, when it comes to the Democratic base, Biden owes black voters more than he’s offered so far and that’s one way to have a more meaningful impact in a tangible way.
According to a 2020 NAACP report, among 2016 graduates, nearly 40% of black students left college with $30,000 or more in debt, compared to 29% of white students, 23% of Hispanic students, and 18% of Asian students. And according to a Brooking Report 2016the average black graduate owes $52,726 four years after graduation, compared to $28,006 for the average white graduate.
A 2019 study found that $50,000 in federal student loan forgiveness would eliminate all student debt for 93% of low-income black households.
Black women in particular are disproportionately impacted by student loan debtand although the the payment freeze has helped to mitigate part of this burdencancellation would have an even greater impact.
Like Warren recently explained in a New York Times editorialdebt cancellation “would help the millions of women borrowers who take on about two thirds of all student loan debt, and for Black and Hispanic borrowers, a higher percentage of whom go into debt to attend college compared to white students, and have a harder time paying it back after school.
Not only would this be the right thing for Biden to do on principle, but it could also help him begin to atone for his own role in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act 2005 ― a law that made it impossible to bankrupt certain types of credit card debt and all student loan debt. Biden defended his role in bill during primary debate, but I agree with Sanders Evaluation of the bill that it “was a very, very bad bill. And as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) previously said“It’s outrageous that other people can declare bankruptcy, but not students.”
While not everyone shares the views of these Democratic senators, their arguments against student debt still fail to impress.
Senator Mitt Romney has suggested “desperate polls call for desperate measures” as the reason Biden wants to write off student loan debt and claimed that the move would constitute a “bribe”.
Romney forgot to include medical debt, but you would expect that kind of argument from someone who was born into privilege and made a profit through a job in private equity.
The same can be said for Fox News’ Laura Ingraham who also argued in a tweet against student loan forgiveness because her mother had to work until she was 70 to pay for college. “My mum worked as a waitress until she was 73 to help pay for our college, even helped pay off the loan. Loan forgiveness is just another insult to those who play by the rules.
Ingraham is a famous racist whose own brother condemned her. The “rules” are made for despicable people like her to take advantage of. And as unsurprisingly as she thinks everyone should suffer like her mom would have, no one should mirror that kind of selfishness.
Biden needs to ignore conservatives and wealthy people in his own party, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), on canceling student debt and thinking about the people who are hurting.
For many people struggling with student debt, it not only impacts their ability to buy a home, start a business, move for a new job opportunity, or start a family, but it helps also to their mental health and behavior. In a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers claim that student loan debt may impact heart health.
I wrote a whole book on the impact of my student debt on all aspects of my life. How at my lowest points, suicide was never the option as some feared for me because I was all too aware of the reality that my mother would always be responsible for my private loan debt as a co-signer .
I don’t share the selfish attitude that because I had to suffer, everyone else should. I didn’t take advantage of the pause in federal student loan repayments. I will not be eligible for any of Biden’s potential cancellation options. I still want student loan debt forgiveness because I would never wish this misery on anyone else.
In a new analysis, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated that canceling $50,0000 in student loan debt would cancel the entire balance of nearly 30 million federal borrowers, with an average forgiveness of more than $23,800 per borrower. , at a cost of $904 billion. For comparison, US military spending was $801 billion in 2021.
Then as Biden weighs his options on debt cancellationif all else fails, perhaps he can be convinced to view student debt forgiveness as a war he can win with a change of priorities and the stroke of a pen.