President Joe Biden’s student debt announcement is public relations politics ahead of the midterm elections.
It’s not clear that a president has the power to unilaterally cancel student debt, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself said last summer.
The Biden administration is trying to use the Heroes Act of 2003, which was intended to provide relief to active-duty service members during wartime, not erase student debt from large swaths of the United States.
Penn Wharton’s budget model estimates a price tag of over $500 billion for this, possibly as high as $1 trillion. My opponent, Madeleine Dean, has said she wants even more student debt forgiveness, $50,000 for all borrowers.
And let’s be clear: it’s transference, not forgiveness.
These student loans will be repaid in the form of taxes, paid by farmers, plumbers and factory workers, whether they have attended college or not.
This would further worsen our already record inflation and put the government in a position of picking winners and losers.
Worse still, it does nothing to reduce the costs of going to college, as universities won’t feel any impact as the tuition has already been paid at the time of the loan.
If we want to help address the skyrocketing costs of higher education, why not encourage greater participation in trade schools and vo-techs, tie federal college funding to tuition, or develop and expand programs that cancel part of the debt in return for the public service?
Editor’s Note: Nascimento is the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in the 4th Congressional District, which includes parts of Berks and Montgomery counties.