But when Biden was asked at a CNN town hall on Tuesday night if he would commit to paying off $ 50,000 in debt, he replied, "I won't be able to do this." Instead, Biden said he was open to legislating down to $ 10,000 in debt.
"I understand the effects of debt, and it can be debilitating," he said, noting that some of his children had taken out six-figure student loan debt. "I'm willing to write off the $ 10,000 debt, but not $ 50 (thousand) because I don't think I have the authority to do so."
This position is a mistake politically as well as economically. Politically, this is one of the quickest ways to demoralize a energetic group of young voters, many of whom first voted in 2020 and did so for Democrats. With this group of voters, paying off student loan debts is very popular for obvious reasons. A poll by Civiqs this week found that 58% of voters aged 18 to 34 support the Biden government's cancellation $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt. It's also hugely popular with Black (83% support) and Latin American (69%) voters – demographics that both bear the greatest debt burden and are hardest hit. As a report from last year The Student Borrower Protection Center found that racial differences in the effects of student debt perpetuate "a vicious circle of racial and economic inequality." At its core, this is a civil rights issue – or rather a "crisis" as the report put it – and debt relief is a relatively straightforward way to reduce the systemic racism that has plagued generations of people of color.
In economic terms, liberating a generation of people unduly burdened by the exorbitant costs of college education today is also one of the fastest ways to revive the economy. After years of coverage, an entire generation of young consumers have postponed marriage, home purchases, and even having children because they are too ailing to do so.
"Paying off student loan debt is the most effective measure President Biden can take to improve the economic prospects of tens of millions of young Americans," Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said recently. In a statement released after Biden's City Hall declaration, Warren added that the $ 50,000 cancellation of student loan debt would "help fill the racial wealth gap that benefits 40% of non-college borrowers and stimulate the economy."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will urge the Justice Department to review the legality of the student loan debt elimination and how it is being operated. She added that Biden did not believe that $ 50,000 debt relief should be "unconditional" and he "continues to believe that over $ 10,000 debt relief should be sought".
If the Justice Department looks into the problem, Biden has some time. So far, however, this is one of the first real stumbling blocks for Biden as President on a hugely important progressive issue that affects around 45 million Americans with a total debt of around $ 1.6 trillion. ""The Federal Reserve Estimates The typical monthly payment is between $ 200 and $ 299, "Vox said.
It is a reminder of how President Obama claimed for several years that he did not have the executive power to create the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program until he decided in the summer of 2012 that he had that authority. It's worth noting that DACA has withstood the test of time in court. It is also worth remembering that Obama's change of position came after years of an inspired and coordinated print campaign by young immigration activists.