How Politically Beneficial Is Student Loan Forgiveness? : NPR

President Joe Biden speaks about student loan loan forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Wednesday as Education Secretary Miguel Cardona listens right.

Ivan Vucci / AP

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Ivan Vucci / AP

President Joe Biden speaks about student loan loan forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Wednesday as Education Secretary Miguel Cardona listens right.

Ivan Vucci / AP

President Bidens Announcement It has ignited the enthusiasm of progressive Democrat lawmakers to waive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. But the high cost of the plan has put some moderate Democratic candidates on edge.

Wednesday’s announcement builds on momentum from Biden’s summer successes of passing key legislation on climate, health care and veterans’ benefits. And it comes months before the midterm election – at a time when Biden’s approval rating hovering around 38%, although according to Gallup polling in the days just before the announcement, he’s enjoying up to 44%, their highest in a year,

The move affects 43 million borrowers, and specifically targets black borrowers, who, on average, need to take out more credit to pay for higher education, and to pay it back, than their white counterparts. It takes more time. Overall, it is a politically popular decision.

“Democrats needed this,” Andre Perry, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told NPR. “I am confident that policy-giving days will win. … We are months away and Biden is building momentum at the right time.”

Republicans immediately spoke out against student loan forgiveness after Biden’s announcement.

“President Biden’s student loan socialism is a slap in the face to every family who sacrificed to save for college, every graduate who paid off their debt, and every American who chose a certain career path or volunteered to survive.” Served in our armed forces. Taking debt,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “This policy is surprisingly unfair.”

Biden has told Republicans he will not apologize for taking steps to help middle- and low-income Americans. And the White House took their stand even further with a viral tweet thread Posted Thursday night, targeting Republican lawmakers who took out Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans earlier in the pandemic. Those loans, however, were not designed to be paid back,

But the skepticism isn’t just coming from the GOP. Moderate Democrats, especially those in the tough race for the Senate this year, have also expressed concern.

Ohio Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat, said Wednesday that the plan “wrong message” For Ohioans who do not have a college degree. Ryan is up against Trump-backed Republican JD Vance in one of the toughest Senate races in the country.

There are also concerns about how much the plan will cost.

have another concern sheer cost To forgive student loans. Estimation from the University of Pennsylvania Show that the plan could cost nearly $1 trillion.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett, who is up for re-election, said Wednesday That the White House should have worked out a more targeted plan and a way to pay for it.

“While immediate relief to families is important, one-time loan cancellation does not address the underlying problem,” Bennett said, “Moving forward, we need to reform the system that got us here in the first place with solutions to reduce the absurd costs of college. … and give us career paths to economic security for every American. We need to continue our work to create, including those who do not want to pursue a two or four year degree.”

Bennett’s rival, Joe O’Dea, wrote in an email to supporters: “Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan doesn’t wipe out debt. It puts $300 billion of new debt on the backs of working Americans. Debt is a national crisis . It mixes it up.”

Some experts say it’s still Biden’s political victory

Despite backlash from Republicans and some Democrats, Perry says the loan waiver will make a significant difference to the election to young voters. And he adds to the argument that forgiving student loan debt is “unfair,” potentially not causing voters to flip over the candidate.

“It certainly energizes young people and people with student loan debt,” Perry said, which includes many Republicans. I think it will have a more unifying effect than any negative political consequences that they face. “

“Overall, it’s a political victory for Biden because he’s delivering on his promises, he has a chance to take on some liberal Republicans who have debt. … It’s a universal issue.”

Perry also says that even groups and lawmakers who are demanding cancel more debt Biden’s announcement will have to be applauded and the president clinging to, which he says is a “cunning” move by the president.

Dominic Baker, professor at Southern Methodist University and an expert on education policy, Said that there isn’t enough research to say how this loan cancellation policy will play out politically, with previous research showing that student loan forgiveness leads to a “material improvement” on people’s lives.

“We see people are able to move around the country more easily, they’re making more money, they’re able to reduce the share of defaults on things like credit cards and other types of loans,” Baker said. “It seems that one of the best ways to govern is to try to work to improve people’s lives, and then make people believe that you have worked to make their lives better.”

Baker said that since Biden specifically includes more loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients, the benefits will extend more to Black and Latinx borrowers.

And among some borrowers, it’s providing little hope — and potentially motivation — to move to the polls.

“It’s like a beacon of hope in a field of despair, when everything else is going wrong,” Shawn Wiggs, a junior at UNC Charlotte and a digital strategist for Gen-Z for Change, told NPR.

With Biden’s announcement, some of Wiggs’ debt will be forgiven and he says it’s a good first step – and one that he thinks will inspire his teammates to vote.

“Many people who may have been indifferent to vote, saying that if the government really works for me, why won’t I go and vote?” he said. They said.

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