Op-Ed: Joe Biden should cancel student loan debt

Around+45+million+Americans+are+struggling+with+student+loan+debt.

Jonah Dietz

Around 45 million Americans are struggling with student loan debt.

Jonah Dietz, Senior Reporter

The day Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States, he signed an executive order that paused student federal loan payments, but was hesitant to contemplate anything more long-lasting and final. That is, until now. According to the White House chief of staff Ron Klain, Biden has spoken with his secretary of education, Miguel Cardona, in hopes of establishing a clearer picture of what Biden’s Presidential power allows him to do regarding student loan cancellation. Decades of Millennial anxiety and generations of oncoming Gen Z turmoil may just be on the precipice of disappearance. 

Nothing is set in stone yet. The issue of student loans is wide-reaching and highly contested. In truth, such a magnificent operation seems too good to contemplate. But I will still do so and I will still hope whatever debt-canceling resolution passes, because, and this is not a controversial statement among most college students, college is too expensive and these ridiculous loans can cripple entire generations for their entire lives. 

Student Loan Hero reports that 69% of last year’s college students took out loans and that they each graduated with an average debt of $ 30.000. Additionally, overall, Americans owe over $ 1.7 trillion in student loan debt. The parents of three out of every 20 college students are taking out roughly $ 40.000 in loans. All in all around 45 million Americans are struggling with this problem. These include my wife, close friends, and thousands upon thousands of low-income citizens that will be saddled with this life-altering, welfare-impending debt until they die.

The obstacles that the President’s potential canceling actions face are dire. The Senate is split and it’s not only Republicans who are staunchly opposed to debt forgiveness. Within the left-leaning members, there is also the apprehension regarding the forgiving  debt of already high-income earners. But with the right parameters, a debt cancellation bill could target and aid the deserving without giving yet further advantages to those already endowed with means.

When it comes to low-income families, the results of a debt-cancellation are innumerable and overwhelmingly positive. “Studies show that student debt cancellation can substantially increase Black and Latinx household wealth and help close the racial wealth gap,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren said last year. Additionally, they said canceling the loans could “provide immediate relief to millions who are struggling during this pandemic and recession, and give a boost to our struggling economy through a consumer-driven economic stimulus that can result in greater home-buying rates and housing stability, higher college completion rates, and greater small business formation.”

Education is a human right, as is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Placing that education behind a paywall so high it permanently damages a person’s life, impedes their liberty and fills their pathway to happiness with potholes isn’t the most effective way of facilitating those rights, and, despite what some may say, isn’t the best America can do. I sincerely hope that Biden goes through with this, so people who deserve an education without a lifetime of debt can have it and those privileged people like me, who have their college paid for, can joyfully watch. 

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