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Sorry, Joe, but Student Loan Forgiveness Won't Get Your Approval Rating Up

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Joe Biden is strongly considering $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness, with conservatives standing against it and some liberals saying it will not go far enough.

If Biden thinks that this would be both a positive policy and political move, he is sorely mistaken.

For starters, it’s important to recognize that the motives are almost explicitly political, especially when one considers that the Democrats are at a disadvantage for the midterms and Biden’s approval is at an abysmal 36 percent, according to a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll, Nick Arama reported. By alleviating a financial burden for a chunk of voters, the White House is hoping it will lead to an increase in votes at the ballot box.

Well, let’s just say the Americans who either paid off their loans or did not attend college might not be so thrilled that the United States government will be spending their taxpayer’s dollars to wipe out somebody else’s debt. Many voters are already aware that they are footing the bill for the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is one of the numerous factors playing into sky-high inflation, the Wall Street Journal explains.

A University of Chicago working paper even suggests that wealthier Americans would benefit more from student forgiveness, adding another layer of irritation for the working class, Fox Business reported. Democrats already struggle with an out-of-touch image crisis, so any policy that is more likely to benefit those who are doing financially okay will leave a bad taste in average America’s mouth.

Even among those who are likely to vote for Democrats, far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) suggested that they will be insatiable when it comes to forgiveness:

“$10k means tested forgiveness is just enough to anger the people against it *and* the people who need forgiveness the most.

“$10k relieves most the people who owe the least. What relief is there for the most desperate? For them, interest will undo that 10k fast. We can do better.”

This is not a time for fiscal irresponsibility from the federal government on such a hotly debated issue. While one can make the argument that the stimulus checks and the infrastructure bill had greater universal benefits for Americans, the same cannot exactly be said about loan forgiveness. If inflation worsens after another spending spree like this one, voters might not connect the dots, but they will notice the increasing prices.

Regardless of what happens, the entire situation serves as a classic example from the Democratic playbook: If voters are unhappy, make promises like it’s a high school student council election. These promises end up being lofty, unrealistic, and sometimes downright embarrassing. They’ll occasionally sound good on paper, but once put into action, it’s the American taxpayer that gets hurt.

Biden and his team should be well aware that their administration is a sinking ship, and this is a deflating life raft. A temporary financial reprieve via government action does nothing except alter one’s economic mindset. Some of us could benefit from the forgiveness, but make no mistake that we’ll be paying that money back in other ways.