Conservative author and pundit Ben Shapiro pushed back hard on calls from left-wing Democrats for a Biden administration to forgive most student loan debt with a suggestion of his own.
On Monday, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), members of the Democratic-socialist “Squad,” both posted statements regarding the cancellation of student loan debt.
“Student debt cancellation is a racial justice issue,” Pressley, who is black, wrote.
Student debt cancellation is a racial justice issue.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) November 16, 2020
“Student loan forgiveness is good, actually,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, while adding that “tuition-free public colleges” should also be available using an “ultra-wealth tax to cover” the costs.
We should also push for tuition-free public colleges to avoid this huge debt bubble from financially decimating ppl every generation. It’s one of the easiest progressive policies to “pay for,” w/ multiple avenues from a Wall St transaction tax to an ultra-wealth tax to cover it.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 16, 2020
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) also weighed in.
I fought to cancel student loans for people cheated by for-profit colleges & made sure they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on those loans. And I'll fight to make sure @USTreasury & @IRSnews protect students from those taxes again when we #CancelStudentDebt. https://t.co/i518dW7hyU
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 16, 2020
Schumer says Biden can cancel up to $50,000 of people’s student debt via executive order https://t.co/c4GMdXMVS2
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) November 16, 2020
But Shapiro responded with a different idea.
“Those who paid their bills should be outraged. 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,” he wrote in response to a tweet indicating that Schumer is pushing Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt.
“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. Instead, I pay for that and some Antifa member’s degree in Anti-Racist Dance Theory. F*** that,” he added.
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. Instead, I pay for that and some Antifa member's degree in Anti-Racist Dance Theory. F*** that.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 16, 2020
Shapiro then made his recommendation.
“How about this: instead of forgiving everybody’s college debt, we force all the colleges who scammed millions of Americans into degrees in Useless Theory Masquerading As Valuable Life Skills to grant refunds. That would end the grift right quick,” Shapiro added.
How about this: instead of forgiving everybody's college debt, we force all the colleges who scammed millions of Americans into degrees in Useless Theory Masquerading As Valuable Life Skills to grant refunds. That would end the grift right quick.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 16, 2020
For his part, Biden — who is being referred to as “president-elect” but has not formally been selected by the Electoral College — has not expressed an interest in blanket student loan forgiveness.
Still, he has expressed support for various broad changes that would likely affect millions of Americans with existing student loans.
Besides targeted debt relief, “The Biden Plan For Education Beyond High School” supports the expansion of existing federal aid programs as well as cutting tuition for some.
One of his proposals is a plan to offer workers in public schools, non-profits, and the government, $10,000 of debt relief per year for up to five years. Also, workers nearing less than $25,000 a year will be exempt from making federal student loan payments as well as the interest that the loans would have accrued. People earning more than $25,000 would be required to pay 5 percent of their discretionary income excluding taxes and money spent on food, housing, and other essentials.
“After 20 years, the remainder of the loans for people who have responsibly made payments through the program will be 100% forgiven,” Biden’s campaign website says.
His plan also doubles the value of Pell Grants while making all public colleges and universities tuition-free for families with an income of $125,000 or less.
It’s not clear how much executive action Biden could take on his own to help alleviate student debt. But it’s clear, broad programs would have to be approved by Congress, which would be difficult if Republicans retain control of the Senate following two Georgia run-off elections in January.
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