OPINION: Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness is a joke


Photo credit/ Autumn Bohner

While President Joe Biden campaigned on $10,000 in forgiveness, Senate Democrats are calling for forgiveness of $50,000 by executive order.

Emma Rushworth, Opinion Editor

Student debt in the United States is at an all-time high with no sign of slowing down. The total amount of debt owed from student loans alone hit $1.5 trillion in 2020, and one in every eight Americans has some amount of student loan debt.

In the past ten years, student debt has increased by 100%. This economic hardship inflicted on those looking to expand their education and broaden their job opportunities has put the younger generations at a disadvantage. Fewer Americans are buying homes, getting married or starting families. While this can be because of a shift in priorities away from continuing the bloodline and family values, it’s also greatly influenced by the burden of debt.

Student loan debt is also a feminist and racial equality issue, as women and people of color make less than white men. This issue makes it harder to pay back loans in a timely manner, if at all.

The problem is that a bachelor’s degree is the equivalent of what a high school diploma was 50 years ago. Most entry-level positions besides unskilled labor jobs require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum of education. Without a college degree, better jobs are harder to attain.

President Joe Biden campaigned on $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. Since Biden was a senator for 36 years, his style of politics is to hope that Congress will act so he can avoid using his executive powers. While this is a nice notion, it’s more of a pipe dream than a feasible option at this time.

Senate Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren have pressured Biden to extend his proposed forgiveness to $50,000. It is constitutional that Biden could cancel this much, or more, debt by executive order. Biden, however, has refused to commit to this.

Biden’s reasoning for only canceling $10,000 is to alleviate the burden of those who only completed a year or so of college but did not get a degree. He has also said he worries that extensive loan cancelation could favor the wealthier people with student loans.

With all due respect to the president, he needs to bring his thinking into 2021. Those who are wealthy are not taking out tens of thousands in student loans because they can afford to attend college and graduate virtually debt-free, or with a small amount that can be paid off within a few years.
Democrats are always vicious in fighting against progressive ideas or Republican proposals. However, when they have control over the legislative and executive branches, they are timid as a mouse to push forward meaningful agendas that could transform most Americans’ lives, and student loan forgiveness is one of those agendas.

There is no time to fight out the issues in the heavily divided Congress that Democrats oversee. Broad strokes are the only way to create lasting change to provide help to millions of Americans. The economy would be greatly boosted if the average American didn’t have a student loan payment to make every month. That money can then go back into the economy, into retirement plans or the stock market.

Despite what Democrats think, $10,000 is not enough, and neither is canceling $50,000 in debt. If Democrats want to show they are serious about helping everyday Americans, or if they want to keep control of the legislative branch in next year’s midterms, they need to cancel all student loan debt.

Americans are fed this story about how important higher education is, and it’s all the education system focuses on. Higher education is important, but until it becomes accessible to all Americans, the younger workforce is at a severe disadvantage.

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