In today’s print edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there is a front page article about how Democratic nominee for Governor, Stacey Abrams, and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock are pushing President Biden to forgive large amounts of student loan debt – now. The article is online now and you can read it here.
Last week, Washington Post columnist James Hohmann appeared on The Bulwark Podcast and told host Charlie Sykes this:
Stacey Abrams has been browbeating the White House on this (student debt forgiveness), and says that this is the only way she could win — that this is going to be a base turnout election. This isn’t about persuading people in the middle, it’s about getting the base to turn out. And the base isn’t going to turn out if they don’t do this, and that they have all sorts of stats about how a lot of graduates from HBCUs have all this debt. And so there are a lot of people very close to the president who privately understand that this is a complete disaster for them. But the president is being pulled really hard by these woke leftists who … believe it’s all about the base. They just don’t get it because they haven’t spent time in the WOW counties or in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
Set aside from the inflationary pressure pumping billions more federal “money from outer space” into the economy would result in. Ignore the moral hazard of rewarding colleges and universities for the jacking up tuition and fees at an insane pace for the past twenty years. Consider this tidbit from Bloomberg and Charlie Cooke of National Review about student debt owed by many of Biden’s staff:
Collectively, they owe as much as $4.7 million, the documents show, including one legislative aide who reported owing between $500,000 and $1 million. Generally, only senior or well-paid White House staff have to file financial disclosures, and they don’t have to report debt less than $10,000, meaning the total number of Biden’s aides with loan balances is certainly higher.
The gall on display here is astonishing. A few weeks ago, we learned that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who makes $174,000 per year and drives a Tesla — wants you to pay off the $17,000 she still owes in student debt. Now we learn that there are several AOCs within striking distance of the Oval Office. There’s a word for this sort of thing: Corruption.
Indeed, polling shows that many Americans view forgiving student debt is simply unfair.
Abrams and Warnock may be correct, that elements of their base desperately want it, but this ignores the many other voters who consider it unfair, and the ability of opponents to point out numerous examples of the well off who benefited at the expense of the rest of us.
There’s no doubt going to college is becoming more and more of a challenge for more and more people. This is an issue that most certainly needs to be addressed, but for the President to simply waive a wand and make debt disappear for certain people (and make other people pay for it) is likely illegal and will likely be halted by a Judge somewhere before check show up in people’s bank accounts.
This of course could be the point. Like so many other things his base demands, such as a CDC rental housing payment moratorium, or a vaccine mandate as a condition of employment imposed by OSHA, President Biden seems perfectly willing to comply with the wishes of his base, knowing others will prevent the bad policy from going into effect. Thus Abrams and Warnock will dangle student loan forgiveness to voters knowing it will likely never never happen. It’s a cynical ploy, in keeping with our cynical political times. We get the politics we deserve.
Or Biden could actually do it, and Democrats will suffer even more electoral losses in November.