Two days before the first debate of the 2020 Democrat primaries, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is releasing a bill that would cancel all student debt and make most public post-secondary education tuition-free.
“We are going to forgive student debt in this country,” Sanders said Saturday night, according to CNN. “We have for the first time in the modern history of this country a younger generation that if we don’t change it, and we intend to change it, will have a lower standard of living than their parents, more in debt, lower wages than their parents, unable to buy the house that they desire.”
“This is truly a revolutionary proposal,” Sanders was set to say at a news conference Monday to officially unveil the proposal.
“In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education.”
Sanders is proposing a tax on Wall Street that he claims will raise $2 trillion over 10 years.
Not everyone is on board.
“The cost will march toward $3 trillion and benefit a lot of wealthy families and future high-earners,” Brian Riedl of the libertarian-leaning Manhattan Institute told The Post.
“Of all problems requiring a $3 trillion federal expenditure, the college costs of middle- and upper-class college graduates seem lower-priority.”
Why just student debt? Shouldn’t we forgive all debt, because TARP … or racism … or something?
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) June 24, 2019
Sanders’s plan is costlier than one proposed by Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has recently risen in many polls and now is running third behind consistent front-runner Biden and the second-place Sanders.
According to RealClearPolitics, some polls show Warren pulling ahead of Sanders.
Warren’s plan, which would cost $640 billion and be paid for by a tax on wealthy Americans, has some income eligibility rules.
Sanders’ plan has none.
Debate week kicks off with splashy policy drop from sanders, via @washingtonpost: proposes canceling $1.6T in student loan debt. All of it.
Bigger cancellation than Warren or Castro proposing. Let the “ok how much would be doable?” fights begin! https://t.co/mKhw6zruxp
— Danielle Kurtzleben (@titonka) June 24, 2019
The announcement of the bill was scripted to include other progressive lawmakers.
Democrat Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, were set to join Sanders at the Monday event to announce the bill’s formal introduction.
Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York also supports the plan.
I am one of the 45 million people with student debt—45 million people who are held back from pursuing their dreams because of the student debt crisis.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 23, 2019
Temple University professor Sara Goldrick-Rab, who specializes in college financing, gave the plan one thumb up and one thumb down.
“There’s a piece of me that has seen how widespread the pain is, including among people you might say are financially fine,” she told The Post. “But there’s a piece of me that knows what the pot looks like, and says, ‘That’s not the best use of the money.'”
More than 1 million Americans default on their loans every year, Bloomberg reported, citing Education Department data.
Bloomberg noted that roughly one of every nine borrowers are behind by at least 90 days on their payments.
Twenty of the Democrat candidates for president will gather in Miami this week for the first pair of debates, which will take place Wednesday and Thursday.
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