President Joe Biden’s recent CNN town hall was quite revealing in many different ways. Once again, the event confirmed how much the mainstream media are behaving as cheerleaders and apologists for the current administration. It exposed the president’s racism and deception. But the network’s fawning get-together with Biden also spotlighted something else: The president is not willing to go through with every proposal put forward by the radical left wing of the Democratic Party, even if it means being universally loved by millions of college students and graduates who are handcuffed by $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Did President Biden accidentally trigger a war with the progressive base?
Biden Off More Than He Can Chew?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed canceling up to $50,000 in federal student loans per borrower. Schumer argued that “a flick of a pen” would stimulate the economy to allow people to buy cars, go on vacations (not Cancun, though), start families, and get desirable jobs. But the administration demands something more modest.
Biden dismissed the $50,000 proposal, telling Anderson Cooper, “I will not make that happen,” adding that “I’m prepared to write off $10,000 debt, but not 50, because I don’t think I have the authority to do it by signing an executive order.”
He also explained that his plan depends on whether you attended a public or private institution. The president does not want to forgive student debts of those who attended elite universities, arguing that graduates from elite schools typically earn higher salaries. Biden desires instead to place emphasis on childhood education for disadvantaged communities. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki clarified Biden’s position, telling reporters that he would “be eager to sign” legislation that offers $10,000 of student debt relief.
But the progressives do not think Biden is going far enough.
The Squad Fires Back
The radical leftists in the Democratic Party are ostensibly outraged by Biden’s more moderate tone.
Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) claimed that Biden has the authority to abolish student debt “with the stroke of a pen.” Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) wants him to “make college tuition-free so debt is not accumulated moving forward.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was irked by Biden’s town hall comments, tweeting that kids were “encouraged to go into more debt under the guise of elitism” so what school you attended should not matter. She also believes that the United States can offer and afford both early childhood education and student loan forgiveness.
In a recent letter to Congress, a group of attorneys general from more than a dozen states requested that Biden use his executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in education debt per individual. They wrote:
“The burden of insurmountable student loan debt has crippled the finances of families across this country and widened the racial wealth gap.
“This measure would help remedy predatory practices that have disproportionately harmed people of color, boost our struggling economy and create a viable future for millions of Americans.”
Has 46 done anything to 86 student loan debt? In the early days of his time on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Biden has taken some action to address this burdensome monstrosity.
Circling Back to Executive Orders
One of the first executive orders emanating from the White House requested the Department of Education to extend the freeze on federal student loan repayment. This has been in effect since March when Congress approved the first massive coronavirus stimulus and relief package. The move provided borrowers more time to repay loans without interest rate hikes. He has also proposed adjusting Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), canceling $10,000 of Americans’ debt after each year of performing eligible service. For now, according to Psaki, Biden is waiting for lawmakers to present him with a reasonable bill to sign.
What Happens to the Student Debt?
The United States suffers from a $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis because of the government. Decades ago, politicians were benevolent creatures when they erected a system of federally subsidized loans and grants to encourage more people to attend college, leading to the current situation where the federal government owns more than 90% of student loans. But this something-for-nothing mentality has led to unintended consequences. When he was vice president, Biden acknowledged that government intervention in the free market led to today’s environment of astronomical tuition rates and massive debt levels.
But what would happen if the Oval Office canceled student debt? The Department of Education’s (DOE) budget would spike, the federal deficit would explode, and it would take the nation one step closer to higher education nationalization. Nothing would fundamentally change because the policies that produced the immense financial burdens would remain in place. The DOE would not dismantle the loan program.
The fairness argument is also a legitimate one. Why should somebody who did not attend a post-secondary institution or take out a loan to study lesbian dance theory be penalized? For all the talk of equity on the left, this is a punch in the gut for the millions of Americans who either could not afford to attend college or paid their way without relying on the state.
Make Way for Kamala?
Could this be the beginning of tossing Biden to the wolves to make room for someone more progressive, more radical? Although conservatives have asserted for the last year that the socialist left would dangle the puppet strings from behind a White House curtain, perhaps Biden is getting a little too big for his britches, refusing to drift further left. It would certainly initiate a mutiny in the Democratic Party to oust Biden for Vice President Kamala Harris, who would likely be more than willing to forgive $50,000 in student loans and cave to every wish of the progressive base. Is this a realistic expectation in the Swamp, or is it too cynical? Anything can happen in the circus.
Read more from Andrew Moran.