Forgiving Student Loan Debt Is Bad Policy—and Bad Politics

One good rule of thumb is to judge parties and politicians by their priorities. Politicians often pretend to be for every good thing under the sun, so the best way to judge them is to look at which things they actually work to achieve or spend political capital on.  This will tell you not only what they’re really for, but which constituents they really care about.   

By that metric, it will be very revealing if one of Joe Biden’s first actions as president will be to forgive student debt.  

That’s an idea swirling around Democratic circles—particularly among the progressive base, which is worried that Biden might actually mean all that centrist and moderate stuff he said during the campaign. The base turned out for Biden, and now they want their payoff—literally so, in the case of massive debt forgiveness. 

Last week, a coalition of 236 progressive groups led by teachers unions called on Biden to cancel student debt on his first days at the office. Biden himself has already urged Congress to cancel $10,000 as part of a pandemic relief package. 

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