The Biden Administration seems poised to take major action in cancelling out student loan debt.
“Student loan debt disproportionately burdens Black and Brown communities,” tweeted Senator Chuck Schumer today. “@POTUS should #CancelStudentDebt to help close the racial wealth gap, provide relief to so many, and help give an immediate boost to our economy.”
In the tweet, Sen. Schumer shared a PBS article from April 11, 2022.
“Student loan debt has a lasting effect on Black borrowers, despite the latest freeze in payments,” wrote Hannah Grabenstein and Saher Khan for PBS.
“Among 2016 graduates, nearly 40 percent of Black students left college with $30,000 or more in debt, compared with 29 percent of white students, 23 percent of Hispanic students and 18 percent of Asian students,” the pair concluded. “Additionally, 86 percent of all Black students graduated that same year with debt of any amount, compared to 70 percent of white students, 67 percent of Hispanic students and 59 percent of Asian students.”
Anyone who follows Sen. Schumer on Twitter knows he is one of the most vocal and outspoken proponents of cancelling student debt in Washington. Schumer has done nothing if not use his social media platform to push a sea change in Capitol Hill policy.
“Today would be a great day for President Biden to #CancelStudentDebt,” Sen. Schumer tweeted yesterday, retweeting the news reported by Ed O’Keefe that “@POTUS Biden tells Congressional Hispanic Caucus he’s looking at forgiving most federal student loan debt (reported w/ the great @EwallWice )” .
“Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt,” Schumer reminded Twitter on April 21.
“This is another great step to help millions of student loan borrowers!” the Senator tweeted on April 19, sharing an NPR scoop: “JUST IN: The U.S. Department of Education will retroactively help millions of federal student loan borrowers who have been hurt by its income-driven repayment plans,” reported NPR. “At least 40,000 borrowers will see their debts cancelled as a result of the changes.”
“And I won’t stop working for President Biden to use his existing legal authority to #CancelStudentDebt,” Schumer concluded.
“Today would be a great day for President Biden to use his existing legal authority to #CancelStudentDebt,” the indefatigable Senator Schumer tweeted on April 18, April 13, April 6, April 5, March 31, March 30, and on and on. How many of Sen. Schumer’s 22.7K tweets aren’t about canceling student loan debt?
“Thank you @SenSchumer!” tweeted the Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC) @DebtCrisisOrg on April 13, “You are a tireless fighter for Americans impacted by student debt and have given millions of borrowers hope that change is near. Let’s keep fighting.”
Sen. Schumer has cheered each extension of the student loan repayment pause, but like some of his Democratic Party peers he has encouraged the Biden Administration to do more.
“I think some folks read these extensions as savvy politics, but I don’t think those folks understand the panic and disorder it causes people to get so close to these deadlines just to extend the uncertainty,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on April 5, after sharing the AP news that, “US official says While House to extend pandemic pause on student loan repayments through Aug. 31.”
“It doesn’t have the affect people think it does,” Ocasio-Cortez concluded. “We should cancel them.”
“The student loan payment pause has allowed Black women the economic freedom we’ve long been denied,” tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley. “@POTUS must make this relief permanent & #CancelStudentDebt.”
President Joe Biden, just like candidate Joe Biden and Vice President Joe Biden, has always been receptive to the idea of cancelling student debt. The Covid19 pandemic presented first the Trump Administration then the Biden Administration with an opportunity to explore the idea.
The decision by the Trump Administration during the first months of the pandemic to pause student loan repayment programs set an important precedent. President Biden, when he took over, was wise to continue to evaluate options and the loan extension.
Mr. Biden was also very wise to keep his options open with regards to resuming student loan repayments as Covid19 recedes further into becoming endemic. The pandemic has caused economic problems aplenty, at home at abroad.
Across the board, American consumers are taking a walloping, with the “Great Cancellation” being only the latest market indicator. Even streaming behemoths like Netflix are feeling the pinch as increasingly strapped households are cutting subscription services left, right and center.
With prices skyrocketing on essentials like groceries, gas and rent, lower-income households are suffering the most. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is correct: The prospect of another $300-$500 per month paying back student loans, on top of everything else, is a powerful financial stressor.
Both political parties have been failing in the previous years to address two major areas of widespread voter concern: College and healthcare.
The cost of higher education and the cost of healthcare are two metrics which haven’t kept pace with inflation, or market valuation or any other known system. Both higher education and healthcare costs have grown faster than the price of a gallon of milk, faster than a loaf of bread. The costs of each have grown faster than property has appreciated or value gains realized.
With the news today that President Biden has signaled he is inclined to wipe away a substantial amount of federal student loan debt, well beyond the $10,000 per borrower he pledged during campaign season, Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are likely thrilled, if cautiously.
Considering the pressures of inflation and rising prices, cancelling student loan debt might provide some much-needed relief to cash-strapped households and a longed-for win for the Biden Administration and Democrats.
According to reliable news sources, Biden is considering forgiving $1.6 trillion in debt owed by 43 million borrowers.
On Monday, President Biden is said to have told Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) that his plans would please advocates of cancelling student debt. “You’re going to like what I do on that,” the President told Cardenas. “I’m looking to do something on that and I think you’re going to like what I do.”
According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the Biden Administration is planning to announce plans to eliminate some student debt between now and the end of August, though no more details have emerged.
This is very savvy move by Biden and the Democratic Party. Cancelling student debt isn’t universally popular, but it might be very popular with the younger, more progressive Democratic Party demographic anxious about the failure of Build Back Better, among other setbacks.
This decision may prove just the boost the Biden Administration needs. Heading into what analysts say could be a difficult election season for Democrats, this kind of strong, compassionate leadership is certain to help incumbent Democrats at the ballot box- and cash-strapped households recover from Covid19.