Biden knows his student loan handout is such a loser, he wouldn’t even talk about it
During his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden played his greatest hits record of progressive policy proposals, ranging from more new taxes to an extended riff on combating “junk fees.” Yet one major administration priority was conspicuously absent from his speech: student loan forgiveness.
Biden’s order to liquidate up to $20,000 of student debt per borrower has been put on hold due to a lawsuit from Job Creators Network Foundation’s Legal Action Fund. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case at the end of the month. The fact that Biden didn’t use the pulpit to bully the court into issuing a favorable ruling suggests the administration knows its case is doomed to fail.
Indeed, the student loan handout is illegal, counterproductive and unfair. The Supreme Court can protect Americans from this unprecedented executive power grab by striking it down following oral arguments later this month.
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” said U.S. District Court Judge Mark Pittman in vacating the loan forgiveness program in response to our lawsuit last fall. “Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government.”
Even Biden and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have recognized the executive branch lacks the authority for mass loan forgiveness. “I don’t think I have the authority to do it,” said Biden in 2021. “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness,” said Pelosi. “He does not.” This backroom $500 billion handout also violates the Administrative Procedure Act’s required notice-and-comment period.
Biden claims his loan forgiveness authority from the Heroes Act of 2003, bipartisan legislation passed in the wake of 9/11 to allow soldiers to delay their student debt obligations. A group of legislators who actually passed this law, including former House Speaker John Boehner, recently filed an amicus brief stating that it in no way grants the executive branch broad forgiveness power.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC, who led a separate compelling amicus brief signed by 126 of her colleagues, that Biden’s “abusing” of the Heroes Act is “shameful” and a “political gambit.
If allowed to stand, Biden’s student loan handout would set a grave precedent that would result in widescale debt forgiveness efforts that the American founders recognized as an existential threat to the nation.
Student debt forgiveness also fails to address the underlying cause of the loan crisis: outrageous college costs. Average college tuition has more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, over the past 25 years. The total cost to attend colleges such as Bates, Skidmore and Kenyon now exceeds $80,000 per year.
As a result of this price gouging, American colleges are sitting on $700 billion in endowments. They have hired an army of well-paid administrators, created new degree programs of little-to-no value, and built luxurious campus amenities more suited for five-star resorts. Colleges, not taxpayers, should be on the hook for paying back this debt saddling 43.5 million Americans.
Student debt forgiveness fails to hold colleges accountable for their greed and gives them carte blanche to continue overcharging. Current and future students would have no incentive to pay back their loans because they’ll assume – now that the precedent’s set – they will also have their debt forgiven. Only by declaring the program illegal can policymakers come together to effectively reform the higher ed cartel and reverse runaway college costs burdening so many.
Finally, the handout is fundamentally unfair to the vast majority of Americans who either never went to college or already paid back their loans. Why should truck drivers in West Virginia be forced to pay for the degrees of film majors in Brooklyn? The millions of Americans who scrimped and saved to pay back their loans would be required as taxpayers to pay the debts of those who partied it up. That’s unAmerican.
The Supreme Court should put Biden’s illegal student debt handout, which the president won’t even take a moment to defend during his marquee policy speech, out of its misery. The court’s decision will provide a much-needed civics lesson for Biden and other Democrats and set the stage for meaningful, bipartisan higher education reform.