The real reason the GOP opposes student loan forgiveness

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Most of the Democratic initiatives in recent years have been widely popular. More than 60% of the public opposed the overthrow Roe vs. Wade. Gallup’s long-running poll found support for same-sex marriage has inched up above 70%. Support for unions is the highest in 57 years, reaching 71% in recent surveys. Somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of Americans support the Equality Law, which would prohibit many forms of discrimination against LGBTQ people. Biden’s executive order to allow transgender people to serve in the military had the support of 66% of adults, and even Republicans were equally divided about the topic. Efforts to lower drug prices and the expansion of Medicare have also been very popular.

However, Biden’s executive order to forgive student loan debt has been far less popular than other initiatives. Biden’s move to cancel $10,000 (and up to $20,000 for those with Pell Grants, which are intended to help the poorest students go to college) of loan debt for those making less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for households) was met with tepid support. Only 48% said the plan was fair and 44% said it was unfair, and unsurprisingly, 56% of Republican respondents said debt forgiveness was “very unfair.” Never mind the fact that the cost of this is decimal dust compared to what the ultra-rich got from the Trump tax cuts.

Opposition to this usually comes from a “had to pay mine” place; “Biden should fix the cost of college instead”; and “Biden should only do things that are very popular.” This is all nonsense or a pretext to oppose forgiveness. I went into the military to pay for my education, but not everyone can or is willing to. the price increase of colleges and universities is due to things like administrative overload, reduced government spending on education, increased demand for an educated workforce, and ease of access to loans. The only lever Biden could use here is to make loans less accessible, which would also make it even harder for people to get an education and escape poverty.

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As for only doing things that are popular, yes, that is a very neoliberal, “Clintonian triangulation” approach to politics. It also ignores the fundamental reason why this doesn’t work as well as other things: namely, racism. Unlike almost every other law or policy in American history that is neutral on its face but benefits one group more than another, Biden’s student loan forgiveness benefits blacks proportionately more than blacks. whites (although many whites will also benefit). ).

And a lot of whites hate that. This stems from a similar impulse that made Reagan’s “welfare queens” rhetoric so effective. It’s also why Biden’s expanded tax care credit failed to attract more support than a tepid low 50, despite raising million children out of poverty Without the expansion, a loophole reappeared that prevented roughly one-third of the nation’s children and half of all black and Hispanic children from fully benefiting from the child tax credit.

As expected, when you delve into the crosstabulation data On who is most opposed to student loan forgiveness, you’ll find they are older, whiter, wealthier, and not college graduates. Which, not coincidentally, also describes the foundation of the Republican Party. These are the people who feel that whites and Christians are the biggest victims of discrimination in the country.

The problem is that these knee-jerk reactions to programs that benefit blacks perpetuate America’s worst racial problems related to poverty and economic inequality. The average white home in the US is worth 7.8 times more than the average black household, and the gap is only widening with a tax system that is increasingly skewed towards the wealthy. Rising wealth inequality also reduces social mobility.

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the great gatsby curve is an econometric theory that shows “the connection between the concentration of wealth in one generation and the ability of the next generation to move up the economic ladder compared to their parents.” This is a complicated way of saying that the worse the wealth inequality in a society, the more difficult it is for the poor to escape poverty. In the United States, earning a college degree is one of the safer ways to escape poverty.

However, because black students are much more likely to start out in poverty, they are more likely to rack up college loan debt in the process. So, after you graduate, student loans continue to drag on your income in a way that it doesn’t for students who started out with wealthier parents. Student loan debt is worse than most other types of debt: it’s almost impossible to downloadand annual interest rates are around usury (up to 7.54%, and not less than 5%). That’s why you listen so much horror stories of people who make their payments faithfully, and still see their student loan balances grow.

The government benefits immensely from this, to the sound of $197 billion per year in interest. For the sake of comparison, this would pay for more than a quarter of the huge US military budget, and about half of what the US collects from all corporations in taxes

Let that settle: The massively profitable corporations in the US pay $383 billion in taxes, and students with loans pay about $197 billion in interest. This interest is disproportionately paid by students who were initially poor. And not only that, but student loans also disproportionately punish people from generations now poorer than their parents.

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The average millennial is poorer than their parents when they were your age. Generation Z is now entering college, and widening gaps in wealth and income equality mean millennials are even more likely to be poorer than their parents. We are in a downward spiral, where it is getting harder and harder for people to get out of poverty. The average American is getting poorer and poorer, and those poor people are disproportionately people of color.

Biden’s loan forgiveness proposal won’t solve all of this, but it is a step in the right direction. It targets students who started out as the poorest and excludes those who have clearly escaped poverty. No, it does not lower the cost of college or raise taxes on individuals and corporations who would have to pay more to make up the difference in income. Nor does it address the fact that the minimum wage is nowhere near a living wage. It’s up to the fake populist republicans to join this and stop telling poor people that work will set them free.

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