As President Joe Biden’s approval ratings among young Americans continues to plummet, the White House is toying more than ever with the idea of an unprecedented cancelation of student loan debt.
On April 25, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki laid the groundwork for what could go down in history as one of the most expansive (and expensive) executive orders in history.
First, Psaki made sure to remind the millions of Americans with outstanding student loan debt that, “Not a single person in this country has paid a dime on federal student loans since the president took office.”
That would be because Biden has twice extended the moratorium on student loan repayments, which was originally put in place during the panic-driven response to COVID-19.
Yet, here we are nearly two years later, and the “temporary” moratorium remains in place.
Second, and much more significantly, Psaki alluded to a potential move on all-out student loan debt cancelation when she said her boss “would make a decision about any cancelation of student debt before the conclusion of that pause on student loans.”
For those keeping track, the current moratorium is set to expire August 31.
Coincidentally (or not), Biden happened to meet with congressional Democrats on April 25, in which he was pressed by several members of his party to follow through on his campaign pledge to wipe away student loan debt via his executive authority.
Per The Washington Post, “Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), said Biden’s response to lawmakers’ requests to cancel at least some student debt was essentially that he would like to do it sooner rather than later. The president suggested he is looking to take the executive action in short order, telling the Hispanic lawmakers that they would be very happy with what he does next, according to aides briefed on the meeting.”
Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), who pressed Biden about the urgent need to act on student loan debt during the April 25 meeting, said he was “very confident that [Biden] is pushing on his team to do something, and to do something significant.” He added that he thought Biden was “incredibly positive” about the need to act soon on student loan debt cancelation.
Unfortunately, it looks like Biden canceling student loan debt could be a fait accompli at this point. However, this is purely a political play predicated on buying votes for the 2022 midterm elections.
There is absolutely no logical, coherent argument that can be made in favor of a president waving his magic wand and voiding contracts between consenting parties.
And, if Biden does decide to wipe out student loan debt, it will make inflation worse, add to the $30 trillion national debt, further divide Americans (after all, many of us did the right thing and paid our student loans back), set a terrible precedent that contracts aren’t iron-clad after all, and increase dependence on government. Then again, that all seems part and parcel to the Biden presidential legacy.