Must say, kinda been taken aback with how persistent the back & forth out in the world has been about whether or not canceling up to $50,000 of student debt is a “good idea” or whether it is another sign of the “Elites” within the Democratic Party taking care of their own…which, okay…yes, a lot of college-educated people have student loan debt…but it sort of ignores just how many other folks have significant amounts as well.
I mean, I honestly don’t know anyone who’s really hopping mad over the thought of this? I presume they exist in principle, but most of them seem to be Republican-leaning conservatives who feel that you should have to work off those debts in order to learn anything…but still, it’s been popular for a lot of Progressive / Leftist to come out against Debt Cancellation for fear that it will inflame the Class divide even more… (these pieces are all from 2018, presumably when the cancellation plans were much larger in scope…than what is currently being discussed).
Still, I just struggle to see how this is going to cause some sort of major political backlash if moved forward with…but maybe I’m naive. So, if y’all have anecdotes about this from Democrats in your life, do share them…to me it all just seems like a fight folks feel they need to have because it feels odd to be on the same side pulling for the same thing, and so people have staked out these odd ideological stances based on some crude math on who owns how much debt and not on how limited our options are.
In terms of who owns the debt, plenty of people in the lower 40% of the income distribution own outstanding debt:
And while the majority of student debt is owned by people in the higher income bracket, limiting debt relief to the first $50,000 is only going benefit many more in the lower-income distribution on a percentage basis versus higher incomes (where a percentage of advanced degrees and loan amounts increase above $50k, etc)
Likewise, education debt is concentrated in households with high levels of educational attainment. In 2019, the new Fed data show, households with graduate degrees owed 56 percent of the outstanding education debt—an increase from 49 percent in 2016. For context, only 14 percent of adults age 25 or older hold graduate degrees. The 3 percent of adults with professional and doctorate degrees hold 20 percent of the education debt. These households have median earnings more than twice as high as the overall median ($106,000 vs. $47,000 in 2019).
Finally, a lot of the criticism of this policy suggestion seems to be that the money would be best spent elsewhere on other programs…which, while it may be absent of any context, ignores the fact that the only reason this policy is even up for debate is that that the Federal Government ended up owning most of the student loan debt in this country, rather than owning all the car loan debt or payday lending debt, etc.
I just honestly struggle to see what people are fighting about on the left…it’s not like we have very many other options for debt relief to even consider if the Senate is not in play…even this policy is going to likely face challenges from the Judicial branch.