American taxpayers could be footing the bill for up to $50,000 per borrower in student debt forgiveness — at least if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is to be believed.
On Wednesday, the Democratic leader in the upper chamber of Congress said the White House was closer to major student debt forgiveness “than ever before.”
“I have talked personally to the president on this issue a whole bunch of times,” Schumer said in a virtual address during the Student Debt Crisis Center’s “State of Student Debt Summit.”
“I have told him that this is more important than just about anything else that he can do on his own,” the senator said.
“We’re making progress, folks. We are making progress. The White House seems more open to it than ever before,” he said.
(Here at The Western Journal, we’ve documented how bad an idea student debt forgiveness is; not only does it create a moral hazard, it imposes a burden on those who decided not to pursue higher education because of the potential for debt and forces them to pay for those who chose poorly. We’ll continue to bring America the facts. You can help us by subscribing.)
What’s worrying isn’t just Schumer’s language. It’s also a certain number associated with New York’s senior senator: $50,000.
That’s the amount of student debt relief he has said he wants to see canceled for each individual. It’s also where he said the administration will end up going.
President Joe Biden’s administration already extended the pause on federal student loan repayment, already two years old, through August.
“Don’t get me wrong, the pause is a good thing, but it ain’t enough. It ain’t close to enough,” Schumer said during the summit, adding families would be paying $393 a month on average when the pause comes to an end.
“That is so much money. How does anybody live knowing every month I got to pay this $400 every month?” Schumer said.
“So the pause has stopped that, but make no mistake about it. This pause isn’t going to stay forever, and the canceling of student debt is the way to go.”
That’s why Schumer said he’s been pressuring the president to forgive student debt — and he would be willing to go even higher than $50,000 per borrower.
“You get out of college and you have all this debt,” he said.
“I have told the president this is one of the most important things he can do to help our economy grow. We all want the economy to grow. We all want people to have good lives, where you can provide for yourself and your family.”
“We want our young people to realize that they can have a good future. One of the best, very best, top-of-the-list ways to do it is by canceling student debt, by getting rid of $50,000, even going higher after that,” the senator said.
At the moment, Biden doesn’t seem to be where Schumer is; he’s signaled a willingness to cancel up to $10,000 in student debt, but only if Congress approves it. That’s unlikely, given that Republicans are already opposed to the payment pause.
However, desperate times call for desperate measures — and if you’ve seen the poll numbers for Biden and the Democrats in the run-up to the November midterm elections, you know these are desperate times.
Theoretically, canceling student debt would be one way to energize the youth vote that delivered big for Biden in 2020. Furthermore, Democrats like Schumer don’t believe the president needs legislation to act on debt forgiveness, which makes it attractive.
“We have come to the conclusion that President Biden can undo this debt, can forgive $50,000 of debt the first day he becomes president,” Schumer said in December 2020. “You don’t need Congress. All you need is the flick of a pen.”
The logic is that the Higher Education Act of 1965 theoretically provides Biden with the authority to cancel student debt via executive order, meaning the Republicans could stomp their feet and cry foul but nothing would come of it.
As you may have noticed, I used the word “theoretically” twice in the past three paragraphs. It’s not because I like repeating myself. Rather, it’s because the logic here hinges on untested, a priori thinking.
While young voters delivered for Biden in 2020, there’s a question as to whether they did this because they believed the Democratic agenda — including student loan forgiveness — was where they wanted to head, or whether they’d simply had it drummed into their heads that then-President Donald Trump was radioactive and must be voted out.
There’s evidence enough for the former when you consider that down-ballot Democrats — who tended to be more aggressive on student loan forgiveness overall — underperformed considerably in 2020.
Furthermore, Americans as a whole might not be so forgiving of this plan. According to Best Colleges, only 42 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have a college degree — and not all of those still have student debt.
Some of that, to be sure, involves students who dropped out or who couldn’t make it into college.
However, there’s no shortage of people who went to trade schools or straight into the workforce, believing that to be a better financial decision. They’re now being asked to pay for those who made a different decision — and, if the debt is too burdensome for them, presumably made the wrong decision.
Considering the Democrats are trying to woo back blue-collar voters, this seems like an awfully poor way to do it.
And then there’s the idea Biden theoretically could wipe out debt with the stroke of a pen. There are going to be plenty of lawsuits and plaintiffs that say otherwise — and the likelihood it would get resolved before November doesn’t seem good.
But the main issue is this: At a time when our debt is skyrocketing, the Democrats apparently want the United States to give out more free stuff, this time retroactive free stuff to people who signed promissory notes insisting they didn’t believe the money they were getting was free. As for the people who decided against taking on that debt — welp, suckers! Should have gotten some while the getting was good.
Student debt forgiveness doesn’t just create a moral hazard, it’s a burden our country can’t afford.
That’s why Schumer’s Wednesday speech should alarm every American concerned about fairness and fiscal continence.
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