Opinion | Ro Khanna: President Biden, cancel student debt

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Ro Khanna, a Democrat, represents California’s 17th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Student loan debt is personal to me.

When I was younger, I took out more than $ 100,000 in student loans to pay for higher education. After graduating, I struggled to pay monthly payments and had to take a year of patience and dig deeper into debt. I have repaid my loans thanks to promising career opportunities and luck, but I understand the anxiety caused by the student loan debt. I do not want others who have not had the same breaks as I did to struggle and feel that the American dream is out of reach. Millions of Americans who took out student loans and paid them off feel the same way I do. We are not a nation of Joakim.

Now, as a member of Congress, I have talked to young people across the country and asked them what Democrats can do to make their lives noticeably better. From San Jose to West Virginia, I hear the same answer: Cancel student debt. President Biden has the authority to do this with a stroke of the pen for borrowers struggling to make ends meet. The more forgiveness, the better.

It’s time to do it, Mr President.

Canceling student loan debt for working- and middle-class Americans is the right thing to do. No one should be prevented from taking higher education because they cannot afford the financial burden it poses. Furthermore, it makes economic sense: Relieving student debt would help young people buy housing, build wealth, and otherwise grow our economy.

Student loan debt was a crucial issue during the 2020 US presidential election. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Issued a plan to cancel debts up to $ 50,000 for those earning $ 100,000 or less, and would help 95 percent of the borrowers, and I am an original co-sponsor of the House bill based on this level. Late. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Said he would cancel it all. Even then-candidate Joe Biden told attendees at a Miami City Hall: “I want to make sure everyone in this generation gets $ 10,000 off their student debt.”

George Will

counterpoint$ 1.6 trillion in student debt is a monument to destructive assumptions

As president, Biden has the power to cancel student loan debt – in fact, he has already used this authority to do so, but only for a small group of Americans. Using the 1965 Higher Education Act, Biden eliminated nearly $ 20 billion in student loans to select borrowers cheated by for-profit schools, people with permanent disabilities, and those working in the public service. He also put the repayment of federal student loans on hold and forgave interest payments on those loans to ease the burden during the pandemic.

This is crucial step for our nation, but this is a moment that requires courageous action. If he can suspend interest payments, he can forgive the principal. If he can erase student debt for some, then he can erase it for all those in need.

Forgiving student loan debt is progressive economic policy, not regressive, as critics mistakenly claim. According to an analysis by the Roosevelt Institute, the people who would benefit most from debt forgiveness are those with the least amount of wealth. This relief would be especially meaningful to the millions of Americans who never received a college degree but incurred student debt – and who are more than four times as likely as their graduating counterparts to default.

Forgiveness of student loans is also crucial to overcoming the racial wealth gap. Black students are more likely than their white counterparts to take out student loans and struggle to pay them off. The Roosevelt Institute analysis found that canceling up to $ 50,000 in student loan debt would instantly increase black Americans’ wealth by 40 percent.

Another myth is that Americans without college education have to pay for student debt relief. This is simply not true. To avoid increasing national debt, we could pay for the cancellation of student debt with Biden’s proposed billionaire tax and impose a transaction tax on Wall Street speculation. In terms of implementation, the Department of Education has demonstrated the ability to provide Pell Grants and other federal student aid targeted at household income.

If Democrats want to regain the trust of people across the country, young and old, rural and urban, and across race, gender, and class, we need to deliver on the things that materially improve people’s lives. I am encouraged that Biden has committed himself to making a decision before 31 August on the cancellation of student loans and has told my colleagues that he is inclined to do something.

The best way to start the new school year for anyone burdened with crushing student loans would be for Biden to relieve them of this burden.

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