Well, President Joe Biden has done it. The federal government will be forgiving a considerable amount of dollars in student loan debts for millions of borrowers.
On Wednesday, the president announced that individuals who earn less than $125,000 per year are eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness if they received Pell Grants. Those who did not receive Pell Grants are eligible for $10,000.
Biden claimed the White House’s “targeted actions are for families that need it the most: working and middle class people hit especially hard during the pandemic making under $125,000 a year.”
The president stressed that “about 90% of the eligible beneficiaries make under $75,000.”
However, not everyone was happy with Biden’s decision. In fact, he’s been criticized by folks on both the left and the right.
On the left, so-called progressives argue that this move does not go far enough. They would like to see taxpayers wipe out all student debt and foot the bill for higher education going forward.
But people on the right argue that the move is not fair to those who already paid off their student loans. They also point out that people who didn’t go to college should not be forced to pay for those who do.
However, some have argued that conservatives are missing the point on this issue. While the aforementioned arguments are true, it would be more politically beneficial to focus on the fact that Biden’s actions do not come close to addressing the root problems that led to this situation in the first place.
Once again conservatives take the wrong road in debate
Instead of saying "pay your own bills", we should all be united in pointing out the system is broken, and this makes it worse. It's not the right first step in fixing a broken system.
— Renegade Poet (@PoetAshes) August 25, 2022
Even the Brookings Institution notes that while this is a positive step in its opinion, it will not deal with the long-term issues involved. Author Andre M. Perry wrote:
A more substantive problem with the plan is that it doesn’t address the massive tuition hikes that have become the norm in postsecondary education. Colleges and universities take advantage of society’s need for people to go to college by capitalizing on a student loan program that floods the market with cash. As taxpayers, we’ve decided to subsidize what we consider a “basic education”—i.e., public elementary and high schools. But for the good of the economy, a college education is now just as basic. We don’t ask people to take out a loan for elementary school; we shouldn’t require it for college either.
Of course, the author’s socialist suggestion is not the way to deal with the root issues, but the assessment of the problem remains valid nonetheless.
But the reality is that Democrats will never bother to deal with the root causes of these problems. The reason why is simple: They can continue using it to buy more votes.
If this problem is ongoing, Biden’s actions will not be the last time a Democrat offers to forgive tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt as a way to curry favor with the electorate. Why would they deign to fix the system when they can continue profiting from it politically?
The only way this dilemma will be addressed is if Republicans deal with it when they have the power to do so. Implementing policies that would alleviate the issues that make it harder for those who wish to go to college would not only help more Americans but it would also take an important weapon away from the Democrats, who benefit more from keeping the issue alive than solving the problem once and for all.
This should be how Republicans approach the matter. Yes, it is necessary to point out the unfairness of Biden’s actions. But while doing this, they need to propose a viable alternative to prevent the issue from persisting.