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Douglas Andrews / April 18, 2022

Biden’s Student Loan Vote-Buying Bribe

Where the Democrats are concerned, desperate times call for desperate measures.

They must be feeling like chumps in Philly, where folks are used to selling their votes to local Democrats for “walking around money,” enough money for maybe a cheesesteak or a couple of 40-ouncers. Joe Biden, however, wants to up the ante a bit: to $50,000 per vote. How? By forgiving the student loan debt of those who, for whatever reason, have taken it out and failed to pay it back. As The Hill reports:

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told activists on Wednesday that President Biden and his senior advisers are warming up to the idea of forgiving student debt, insisting they are closer to pulling the trigger “than ever before.” Schumer, who has repeatedly called for canceling up to $50,000 in student debt per borrower, predicted that’s where the president and his administration will ultimately land.

Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki affirmed that an executive order to cancel debt is “still on the table,” though that would likely face a legal challenge. Biden’s political objective is to set up either a legal or legislative challenge to loan forgiveness and draw out Republican opposition. The current extension on student loan payments was deliberately set to expire in August, at which time Biden can then make that Republican opposition a midterm election issue. While that battle ensues, Biden can, as political analyst Byron York notes, “extend the payment moratorium as long as he wants — all the way to the 2024 presidential election, if it comes to that,” winning favor with millions of those holding loans.

And those numbers are staggering. According to the Education Department, more than 43 million borrowers have now piled up more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, with the average debt being more than $37,000. And all this for a degree that, as our Lewis Morris recently noted, is becoming ever more expensive and ever less appealing, or useful.

Political analyst Heather Mac Donald insightfully observed: “Higher education today resembles a massive Ponzi scheme.”

More than $17 billion in taxpayer funded student loan debt has already been canceled since Biden took office, and as Education Secretary Miguel Cardona declared, “Since Day 1, the president has been very focused on making sure we’re protecting our borrowers and putting them first in the conversations and decisions that we’re making.”

Translation: Since Day 1, we’ve been hustling to buy your vote.

“Not a single person has paid a dime on their student loans since the president took office,” crowed Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — as if that sad fact were something to brag about.

To be clear, it’s not as if these tens of millions of borrowers haven’t had time to get their financial houses in order. Throughout the pandemic, they’ve enjoyed a continuously extended moratorium on payments and an interest rate on federal loan balances of 0.0%. If only the terms of our mortgage were so agreeable.

But just as you’d have to be a good and decent person an idiot to go out and earn an honest living each day when the government will pay you not to work, or to abide by our nation’s immigration laws when the government is allowing millions of others to make a mockery of those laws, so too you’d have to be a moron to keep paying down a debt that the government may soon write off altogether.

Which brings up another point: Will Joe Biden be cutting $50,000 rebate checks to those many millions of his fellow Americans who did things the right way, those who paid back every last cent of their student loans? Don’t hold your breath.

As you’ve no doubt figured out, this isn’t a story about the age-old American virtue of individual responsibility. It’s not about paying one’s debts. It’s about a brazen attempt to buy the votes of a sizable share of the electorate. Or, as the Democrats and their media trucklings like to call it, “a fresh start.”

Nor is this a new idea for the least popular major political party in recent memory. Other such schemes — which have been kicked around by the Democrats but which are trifling by comparison — involve handing out free gas cards and printing more “stimulus” checks. All of these measures, though, involve printing and spending money we don’t have, which means all of them are inflationary.

Whether Biden can write off all this debt without congressional approval is unclear, but he and his fellow Democrats are certain to try. “Private student loans are held by private banks,” columnist Sydney Lake writes, “and there’s no real incentive or reason for those companies to cancel out those loans. They’d be losing out on that money and all the interest they expect to make on those loans over the next several years. Plus, the federal government can’t force banks to forgive private student loans.” No, they can’t, but that doesn’t mean the federal government can’t simply print the money instead.

Debt forgiveness is a bad idea all the way around. It sends a terrible message. And, as former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers put it, such a move would be “regressive, uncertainty-creating, untargeted” and “a macroeconomic step in the wrong direction.”

You’re telling us, Larry. Now tell Joe Biden.


UPDATE: As The Wall Street Journal reports, “The Biden administration said it plans to make it easier for lower-income student-loan borrowers to get debt forgiveness through an existing program that has enrolled millions of people, but provided few with relief.” The plan would allow “around 3.6 million people — nearly 10% of all student-loan borrowers — to receive at least three years of credit toward eventual debt forgiveness.” In other words, Biden’s vote-buying scheme is moving forward.

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