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April 10, 2024

In Brief: Lawless Student Loan Forgiveness

He wants to write off hundreds of billions in student debt before the courts can stop him.

We’ve had plenty to say about Joe Biden’s lawless schemes to transfer student loan balances from the people who took out the loans to the taxpayers who didn’t. The Wall Street Journal editorial board makes some worthy observations about the latest:

The Supreme Court last year blocked the Biden Administration’s $430 billion student loan write-off, but who do the Justices think they are? King Joseph showed them on Monday by waving his royal scepter again and canceling debt for some 30 million borrowers. …

Although the details of Mr. Biden’s latest plan are new, it aims like the first to make college free on the back-end. For whatever reason you can’t — or won’t — repay your loans, the Administration has you covered.

Mr. Biden’s new plan eliminates accrued interest on loans for some 23 million borrowers. Generous repayment plans that cap monthly payments at a de minimis share of income have caused many loan balances to balloon owing to interest that accrues on unpaid balance. This is a major reason student debt has exploded.

Mr. Biden’s previous repayment plans prevent interest from compounding, eliminating the punishment for not making full and regular payments. Now borrowers also won’t have to pay interest they’ve racked up, which could total hundreds of billions of dollars. Wouldn’t Americans love to write off interest that accrues on credit cards too?

His plan also erases debt for some 2.5 million borrowers who “entered repayment over 20 years ago.” Current repayment plans forgive debt for borrowers who make monthly payments for 20 years. Mr. Biden is taking the payment out of repayment by canceling debt for borrowers who haven’t been making regular payments. This one’s for you, Gen Xers.

Borrowers who “enrolled in low-financial-value programs” will also receive loan forgiveness. The Administration isn’t targeting this benefit at community-organizing majors, but rather borrowers who attended proprietary schools that lose their financial aid eligibility because of Mr. Biden’s draconian gainful employment rule on for-profit colleges.

Nonetheless, borrowers who can’t find (or don’t want) gainful employment could get their loans canceled simply by claiming a “hardship.” One example the White House gives is child-care expenses. Get ready for an elastic definition of “hardship.”

Those are just niggling details, and Biden and Co. aim to portray as heartless any and all who object to his “generous” giveaway. The big picture?

The Administration is essentially turning college into an open-ended, taxpayer-financed entitlement by canceling loans on the installment plan. It even boasts that it has already “approved $146 billion in student debt relief for 4 million Americans through more than two dozen executive actions.” That’s $36,500 per borrower. It’s good to be the King.

Wall Street Journal subscribers can read the whole thing here.

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