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Joe Biden Had a Horrendous Answer on Canceling Student Debt

This was some tired, disingenuous, factually dubious nonsense.

biden student debt

On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden did a town hall on CNN, where he was asked about whether or not he would cancel up to $50,000 worth of student debt for federal loan borrowers. Biden was forthright in his response:

I will not make that happen. It depends on whether or not you go to a private university or a public university. The idea that I say to a community, I’m going to forgive the debt, the billions of dollars of debt for people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn and schools my children — I went to a great school. I went to a state school. But is that going to be forgiven, rather than use that money to provide money for early education for young children who are — come from disadvantaged circumstances?


I’m prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not $50,000. Because I don’t think I have the authority to do it by signing with a pen.

This was a muddled, disingenuous, factually dubious, horrendous answer—which is to say that it was exactly the usual kind of thing we get when Democrats have to come up with reasons for not just giving people money like they should.

“It’s not fair to give money to rich people” is always the first place they go, but that excuse is especially weird in this instance. What fabulously wealthy person is taking out a bunch of student loans in the first place? Also, the vast majority of people are not going to Harvard, and, shock horror, not everyone who goes to a fancy school is filthy rich:

Canceling $50,000 of debt isn’t enough—all debts should be canceled—but it would go far, and it would benefit exactly the kinds of people Joe Biden and the Democrats profess to care about. From professors Naomi Zewde and Darrick Hamilton in a New York Times op-ed a couple of weeks ago (emphasis mine):

The $50,000 figure, while still less than the ideal, gets closer to addressing the problem: At this level, roughly 93 percent of the lowest-income Black households with student debt would experience total student debt relief. A $10,000 cancellation would leave the majority of these households still in debt.

And here’s part of an analysis of the $50,000 proposal from the commies over at (checks notes) CNBC (emphasis mine):

Women borrowers would greatly benefit from the proposal. That’s because women owe around two-thirds of the country’s outstanding student loan debt, according to the American Association of University Women. White women student loan borrowers owe an average of $31,300, compared with $29,900 for White male borrowers. Meanwhile, Black women borrowers owe an average of $37,600, versus $35,700 for Black male borrowers.

Black and Latino Americans would also be among the biggest winners from the proposal.

Nearly 85% of Black bachelor’s degree recipients carry student debt, compared with 69% of White bachelor’s degree recipients, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

And around 38% of Black students who entered college in 2004 had defaulted on their student loans within 12 years — a rate three times higher than their White counterparts.

Yep, that definitely sounds like a policy centered around rich white male privilege to me.

Oh, and the notion that Biden does not have the legal authority to cancel debt is also…not true.

So, in short, we have a fair, legal, progressive, just piece of policy that disproportionately benefits more marginalized groups. Sounds like a no-brainer. Too bad that Joe Biden is hiding behind the same old nonsense in order to block it.