Student Loan Cancellation Needs Democratic Energy From Biden White House


This morning my newsfeed reported that now there are 26 House Democrats not seeking reelection to Congress. That is certainly a driving narrative of what the tea leaves are forecasting for the party now in power as the midterm elections approach. I feel the Senate can be held by Democrats, but the House will fall to Republicans.

Already, more Democrats have called it quits this year than in any cycle since 1996, when 29 members newly in the minority decided not to run again. The same number of Democrats, 29, retired in 1994, the year Republicans reclaimed control of Congress for the first time in four decades.

There are many issues that deserve attention in this calendar year as Congress ratchets up campaign efforts while keenly aware there is a shortening window to address national needs. One of the most pressing and also widely popular is the cancellation of a portion of the student loans.

This is not a new issue, but one that did drive much discussion in the 2020 presidential race when Joe Biden campaigned on forgiving $10,000 in federal student loans per person. That was a proper stance to take in the election, and should now be one that is addressed in the form of governing. The reason to put some energy and verve into implementing this idea is that it is smart policymaking and smart politics.

While I have urged for a portion of loans to be canceled, I still hold very much to the realization that incentivizing education by having students pay a share of the burden makes sense. When personal effort is required to gain an education a more strict adherence to the books results.

So why then do I support President Biden making a move to end at least $10,000 of loans per person? At a time when our economy is weakened by an ongoing pandemic, there is a need to find whatever juice is available and inject it so to stimulate job growth and GDP. By freeing up money that would be paid to some student loans it would instead be invested in everything from homes to cars to perhaps even starting a new small business.

The second reason I urge action is due to strongly and continually advocating for education. It is not always possible or easy for young people to take the classes they want or need, but we know the power of skills attained and the revenue it produces in taxes and investments. This underscores why the federal action of loan cancellation would make long-term sense. We need to let young minds constantly know we value their interest in education.

I am confident that the majority of rank-and-file citizens well understand the benefit the country receives from educated young people moving into a wide array of jobs. A December poll released by the Morning Consult/Politico found over 60% of voters surveyed support student debt forgiveness. Polling research up and down the line point to national public approval for assisting people burdened with educational loans.

It has been strongly advocated, so to make this policy happen, that Biden uses his authority under the Higher Education Act of 1964 to enact wide-scale student loan cancellation through an executive order. The other option, of course, is for Congress to act legislatively and do the work. One way, or the other, this policy move needs to take place.

Intellectual strength is not something we talk openly about in this nation. But we should.

When some voters feel a resume is to be snickered at and expertise is not something to be valued we need to be reminded of what took Americans to the moon. It was not just rocket thrust, but the science and technology that allowed our flag to be placed on the moon. That effort was made possible by students first sitting in a classroom and learning.

Late last year a shocking amount of money was spent on our national defense. The House passed an authorization bill costing $768 billion. Certainly then, a person in middle America should feel the federal government can lessen the student loan burden by $10,000.

And it can be correctly argued that a keen mind and skills learned are as valuable to a democracy as a missile.

And so it goes.

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