Progressive Democrats have advanced a range of ambitious proposals throughout the 2020 election season, and the party’s presidential nominee might be poised to act on one of those issues if he takes office in January.
As argued in a proposal compiled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Biden should sign an executive order within his first 100 days in the White House that would forgive up to $50,000 in student loans.
“A subsidy to the aristocracy”
With President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign pursuing its options in response to alleged election fraud, it remains to be seen whether Biden will have the opportunity to pursue such an agenda.
If he ultimately does act unilaterally to write off a substantial amount of student loan debt, however, the move would be sure to generate substantial controversy.
While there is bipartisan agreement that the level of student loan debt is an issue that should be addressed, the disagreement stems from what form the solution should take.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, for example, reacted to the news of proposed debt forgiveness with sympathy toward the countless graduates who dutifully repaid their tuition costs.
“Those who paid their bills should be outraged,” he tweeted. “Those who never went to college now subsidizing the degrees of those who went to Wesleyan to major in Social Justice should be outraged. This is a subsidy to the aristocracy. It’s the reverse of progressivism.”
“I want a refund”
Furthermore, if the government is obligated to step in to assist Americans attempting to repay mounting student loan debt, the precedent is set for similar government intrusion into the repayment of other types of debt.
As Shapiro argued, such an executive order is a slap in the fact to those individuals, including himself, who worked hard to pay off their loans.
“I want a refund on the hundreds of thousands of dollars I spent on my law school education and my wife’s medical school education,” he tweeted. “Instead, I pay for that and some Antifa member’s degree in Anti-Racist Dance Theory. F*** that.”
Instead of focusing on loan forgiveness, many Americans want elected officials to address the underlying cause of rising costs for a degree that, in many cases, does not translate to a career in the field.
Aside from the controversy surrounding the issue, there are also questions surrounding whether a president would be able to use executive power to forgive student debt. If the issue is found to require legislative approval, even a prospective Biden administration would hit a brick wall with a Senate that is likely to remain under GOP control.