Last week, just three months before the midterm elections, President Joe Biden announced he was moving to unilaterally implement a student loan debt forgiveness plan that “would cancel up to $20,000 worth of federal student loans for millions of people,” according to the New York Times.
Who will be on the hook for paying off such debts? You, the American taxpayer.
Biden was met with criticism on all fronts. Republicans correctly pointed out that not only did Biden not have the authority to do it but that it was also unfair to the millions who had paid off their debts without the government “forgiving” it. A surprising number of Democrats agreed while other Democrats and even some Democrat-friendly newspaper editorial boards pointed out that the “forgiveness” would mostly benefit people who don’t need the help.
In response to all the criticism, the Biden White House took the low road, first by insulting the intelligence of millions of Americans by claiming Biden had the authority to perform this action thanks to the 2003 HEROES Act, which was written after the 9/11 attacks in an effort “to grant relief to … [and] to address the financial harms of such a war, other military operation, or emergency,” according to an Aug. 23 memo from the Dept. of Education’s General Counsel.
The “emergency” in this case, according to that same memo, is the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a press briefing last Thursday, however, a Fox News reporter called the Biden administration out over their justification for the loan forgiveness plan, seeing as how in the spring of this year they actually argued before the courts that Title 42, a Trump-era policy designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 from illegal immigrants who came from countries with high rates of communicable diseases, should be allowed to expire on grounds that the pandemic was over and therefore the policy was no longer needed.
So what’s changed in the three months since that argument was made? We’re close to election time, and Biden — seeing a tiny bump in his approval numbers and a seeming rise in Democrat voter motivation after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — is moving to shore up his base of support, which has been clamoring for him to act on forgiving student loans since well before he took office.
Indeed, according to detailed a Washington Post report on how Biden reached his decision, “[Biden] became convinced that aggressive student debt relief would give Democrats a better chance of holding Congress in the fall through a badly needed boost from young voters and people of color.”
Further, congressional Republicans who took to Twitter to criticize the plan were met with “but you received PPP loans that were forgiven” messages from the official White House Twitter account, which is now being run by a “woke” 25-year-old.
Comparing PPP loans, of course, is an apples-and-oranges comparison. For starters, unlike Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, the PPP loan program was passed by Congress at a time when the government was forcing businesses to either close or severely cut back on their hours and services due to the COVID pandemic. The loans were given (and forgiven) to be used to keep the businesses afloat and workers paid.
That’s not the same thing as voluntarily entering into a student loan contract that you are bound to pay back.
Democrats think this is going to be a “winning” issue for them come election time. I have a hunch, though, that whatever supposed “momentum” they gained in June has been blunted over this move, which has greatly angered millions of Americans who have been struggling to make ends meet and to pay off their own debts who are now going to be on the hook for someone else’s, too.
North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.