NYT Columnist Suggests 'Death' as an Option to Avoid Student Loan Repayment, NYT Fumbles Stealth-Edit Attempt

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Among my favorite amusements about the left-wing media is when they cross the line of decency, all hell breaks loose, and the offender(s) scurry to stop the bleeding—forgetting a key reality:


The Internet lives forever. Oopsie.

Such an episode occurred on Friday when a New York Times columnist wrote a piece about Joe Biden’s now-dead student loan wealth redistribution scam.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court Friday announcement of its decision to strike down Biden’s unconstitutional student loan “forgiveness” plan, in which he tried to cancel up to $10,000 in federal loans per borrower, NYT columnist Ron Lieber dropped a column (originally) titled: “Six Ways You Can Still Cancel Your Student Loan Debt.” He began his column thusly:

There are still plenty of ways to get your student debt wiped away.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to block President Biden’s loan forgiveness program will be an enormous disappointment for the 43 million people who might have benefited from having up to $20,000 of debt canceled, but millions of borrowers have already gotten relief thanks to a grab bag of methods that are still available.

That’s because the Supreme Court’s disapproval of the plan does not change laws and regulations that already give many federal student loan borrowers an escape hatch.

Readers have likely surmised by my headline that one of Mr. Lieber’s suggested “methods,” while true, might be termed a “final solution.” Disgusting? You bet.

**Strong Language**

MNSBC columnist Katelyn Burns tweeted:

NYT what the f*** are you doing bro

Click the image to see the whole screenshot.


Excellent question.

What Mr. Lieber was doing was allowing his narrative-driven leftist brain to get out over his responsible journalism skis.

The columnist expressed sympathy for the “enormous disappointment” felt by affected borrowers who won’t be able, after all, to shirk their contractual obligations on thousands of dollars of debt they willfully incurred— by shifting the burden to taxpayers who had zero decision in taking out the loans.

Needless to say, Lieber didn’t put it quite that way [sarc], as he proceeded to suggest one or more of six options that poor, distraught borrowers could still use to escape their responsibility to repay their loans:

“Income-Driven Repayment,” “Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” “Closed or low-performing schools,” “Bankruptcy Discharge,” and “Disability Discharge,” before getting to the final option, Death.” Moreover, Lieber didn’t specify options for how death might happen to a borrower, leaving readers to come to their own, obvious conclusions.

Following a predictable public outcry, the NYT attempted a stealth edit of the column, but as I said at the top, the Internet is forever. “Death” was removed as one of Lieber’s options, along with the term in the body of his piece. Instead, the edited column reads (emphasis mine):

Debt Won’t Carry On

If you’re a young adult wondering about the federal PLUS loan your relatives took out to pay for your education, you may be wondering about whether the debt dies with the person or people who take it on.

It does. The federal government will not make a claim on their estate and you will not inherit the balance.


Setting aside the awful sentence structure, the edited version clumsily attempts to remove prior students who took out their PLUS loans, by ridiculously focusing only on his or her [faux apologies to those offended by my two-genders-only “inclusion”] relatives.

While I can’t know what was in the irresponsible New York Times columnist’s mind when he wrote his column, I do know it doesn’t require a whole of rational thought to know that Lieber’s column, before editing, could easily be interpreted by some to include suicide.

The Bottom Line

Let me be clear: I’m not accusing Mr. Lieber of suggesting offing oneself as an option to escape a contractual agreement to repay student loan debt. However, as any experienced writer knows, the more vague the words, the more those words are open to interpretation by readers.

On that basis alone — if not worse — Ron Lieber was guilty of inexcusably sloppy “journalism.”


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