Ross: Should Biden cancel student-loan debt?

May 2, 2022, 7:31 AM | Updated: May 4, 2022, 6:25 am

U.S. President Joe Biden walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House (Getty Images)...

U.S. President Joe Biden walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Full disclosure, I’m a Boomer who graduated with no debt back in the day when middle-class parents could afford tuition, and when working at a radio station and writing a newspaper column – based on the assignments in my creative writing class – could pay for room and board.

So I am not going to scold millennials who are buried in debt. I don’t think anyone borrows for college just to rip off the government because there are easier ways to rip off the government than four years of homework and Powerpoint lectures.

However, there is evidence that some colleges started ripping off students to take advantage of the federal student loan program.

Once upon a time, it was so bad that the Education Department had to disqualify colleges that practiced predatory recruiting, had high rates of loan defaults, or conducted all their classes online.

But in 2018, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos removed those regulations – something about the government having no business regulating the free market – and soon more students were graduating into a job that could never pay off their loans.

The Brookings Institution found that, while for-profit colleges only enroll 10 percent of students, they accounted for HALF of all student loan defaults.

So here we are – with millions of students who borrowed money to learn stuff no employer wants to pay for. And who, we’re told, are angry enough to abandon the Democrats in November unless Biden cancels a meaningful amount of their debt.

But here’s the problem: it turns out a lot of that debt is also owed by well-off families whose kids decided to spend a lot of money on traditional colleges and graduate school. And being that the Democrats are all about social justice, forgiving that would look pretty bad. At the same time, you have Republicans warning that wholesale debt forgiveness would add to inflation.

So Biden seems to be considering forgiving about $10,000 – enough to make a big difference for poor families, but probably way too low to excite the young middle-class voters the Democrats will need in November.

I have two thoughts on that.

Young voters already have a pretty miserable voting record. Even in high turnout states like ours, about half still don’t vote. So, for young, indebted voters to show their anger by boycotting the November election wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Which leads me to my second thought.

If a Biden administration with a Democratic Congress is having trouble forgiving student debt – how much student debt do you think will be forgiven once Republicans are running that congress?

Hint– it doesn’t take a college degree to figure that one out.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Irs debt ceiling...

Dave Ross

Ross: IRS has new no-pursuit policy with debt ceiling deal

This debt ceiling deal means the IRS will have to adopt a no-pursuit policy. It means the highway is clear, and all the lights are green.

13 hours ago

book ban...

Dave Ross

Ross: Can anybody really ban a book?

For all the talk about a book ban, Dave Ross explains why he's never had any trouble getting any book he wants.

2 days ago

baby branding...

Dave Ross

Ross: Maybe more Americans should consider baby branding

According to Bloomberg, some anxious American and European parents have been hiring branding consultants to name their baby.

6 days ago

ross graffiti...

Dave Ross

Ross: This level of graffiti is like defacing the Great Pyramid

Dave Ross: Graffiti on the highways is bad enough, and to have it center stage at the city’s front door is taking tolerance too far.

7 days ago

low income housing homelessness...

Dave Ross

Ross: New Seattle low-income housing costs over $134M to address homelessness

If you’re wondering where you can find that low-income housing in Seattle we keep hearing about – I can give you the address. 

8 days ago

stop debt crisis...

Dave Ross

Ross: Nobody in D.C. is actually going to stop the debt crisis

I think I’m going to have to accept that the debt crisis is just not as big a deal as all the news coverage is making it out to be.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Ross: Should Biden cancel student-loan debt?