Last Wednesday, President Biden made his big announcement about how he plans to handle America’s $1.8 trillion (and growing) student loan bubble.
Biden’s plan grants $10,000 in relief for everyone with outstanding undergraduate student loans making less than $125,000, plus an additional $10,000 in relief for anyone who used a Pell Grant to attend college. The announcement cancels all remaining student loans for about 20 million people, and more than 20 million others will have at least part of their debt removed.
President Biden also extended the pause on student loan repayments, begun by Donald Trump in 2020, for another five months, but insisted this extension will be the last one and that payments will resume come 2023.
What to make of all this?
1. If you’re a responsible member of the middle class, then get f*cked.
Suppose you followed the playbook of middle-class, so-called “bourgeois” values: careful planning, responsibility, thrift. When it comes to America’s bloated college industrial complex, this creates a lot of options. Some people work a job on the side so they can attend school without taking out loans. Some people choose a cheaper or less distinguished school so they can get a scholarship, potentially hobbling their long-term career prospects for the sake of avoiding debt. Some people do a stint in the military to get G.I. Bill benefits. And of course, millions of parents save for decades to enable themselves to pay for a child’s education without them using loans.
The message of Wednesday’s development is, screw all of those suckers.
Bourgeois values are values that look to the long term. They are ideal for a stable, functional, healthy society whose institutions reward good behavior and punish or discourage poor behavior. For centuries, America was a country like that, and so those with good habits thrived.
But America is crossing the tipping point, where the most politically rewarding path is to provide handouts to the less capable, less responsible, and less worthy. In the decay of the American Empire, we are firmly into the “strip it for resources” phase.
This isn’t your country anymore, bud. Enjoy the $500 billion bill.
"we did the right thing and we got screwed"
Yes—middle-class values are no longer viable in the Globalist American Empire
A hard, but important lesson https://t.co/sAIdMNm1I2
— Darren J. Beattie ? (@DarrenJBeattie) August 25, 2022
2. Never expect gratitude.
So, are all the beneficiaries of America’s largesse grateful in the slightest? Haha, dream on.
President Biden literally went before the country and announced that he was giving away $10,000 to millions of people, and $20,000 to millions more, as long as they were poor enough to have received a Pell Grant. Like any current Democratic proposal aimed at the poor, it was intentionally designed to heap subsidies upon black Americans. Forty-six percent of blacks who attend college get a Pell Grant, so Biden basically just gave $20,000 to half of America’s blacks who ever attended college. The White House’s announcement even bragged that the relief had been carefully designed to disfavor whites versus other groups.
What was the response? From many, sneers.
Canceling $10,000 in student debt when the average white borrower is $12,000 in debt, while Black women hold on average over $52,000 isn’t just unacceptable, it’s structural racism.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) August 23, 2022
The Hill collected several hundred words of whining for a Thursday article, “Biden student loan plan leaves Black borrowers wanting more.” Several people complained that the Biden administration had not explicitly given extra money to higher-income blacks while excluding whites based on skin color:
In 2016, South Side Chicago native James Alford proudly became the first in his family to graduate from college.
But that sense of pride was marred by student loans. When Alford graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in Black studies, he was around $50,000 in debt.
Now, at 30, with his Master of Science in adult and higher education, that number is closer to $120,000.
“It’s cool, but it really doesn’t mean anything,” said Alford. “I feel like there were promises for more, and I feel like more could be done to ease the burden on people of color and first generation students.”
Leonard, who asked for his last name to be withheld, went to college with the help of Pell Grants. But he now makes an annual salary of $140,000, disqualifying him from this round of loan forgiveness.
“While I am a higher earner and am better off than someone making a fraction of what I make, I still live paycheck to paycheck in NYC and am already freaking out about the repayment pause ending in December,” Leonard told The Hill in an email.
“I come from a low-income family and sometimes help family members financially,” he added. “There should be some kind of forgiveness for recipients who are ‘high earners’ but are economically disadvantaged compared to the large majority of high earners (i.e higher earning white people).”
The whining continued over at Time Magazine:
Black people, once again, are shouldering an outsized burden. In addition to making disproportionately less money than their fellow white Americans, Black Americans have one-sixth the wealth of White Americans on an average, per capita basis. It is no surprise, then, that Black families borrow at higher rates than their non-Black counterparts, and that they owe more. According to the Brookings Institute, “differences in interest accrual and graduate school borrowing lead to Black graduates holding nearly $53,000 in student loan debt four years after graduation—almost twice as much as their white counterparts.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that ten-thousand dollars of relief will benefit white people more than Black people.
American taxpayers (that is, disproportionately whites) are giving away $20,000 to low-income blacks, and in return what they get are screeds that it isn’t enough, and that more — far more — must be taken from them.
Get used to it. That’s life as a kulak.
3. Biden’s announcement isn’t just about debt. It’s about providing colleges free money, forever.
Coverage of Biden’s announcement has focused on his $10,000 loan jubilee. But far less attention has been given to far-reaching changes Biden is making to the loan repayment process going forward. As listed in the administration’s announcement:
[T]he Department of Education is proposing a rule to do the following:
- For undergraduate loans, cut in half the amount that borrowers have to pay each month from 10% to 5% of discretionary income.
- Raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary income and therefore is protected from repayment, guaranteeing that no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level—about the annual equivalent of a $15 minimum wage for a single borrower—will have to make a monthly payment.
- Forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for borrowers with original loan balances of $12,000 or less. The Department of Education estimates that this reform will allow nearly all community college borrowers to be debt-free within 10 years.
- Cover the borrower’s unpaid monthly interest, so that unlike other existing income-driven repayment plans, no borrower’s loan balance will grow as long as they make their monthly payments—even when that monthly payment is $0 because their income is low.
These adjustments, taken together, will make it so that Americans at lower income echelons pay essentially nothing on their loans. The Administration’s announcement lists some examples: a public school teacher earning $44,000 will have to pay barely $600/year to be current on her loans, with forgiveness arriving after ten years. A nurse earning $77,000 might pay less than $800/year.
The biggest winners from this arrangement? It’s not necessarily student loan recipients, who will pay little if they make low salaries but will see their loan bill climb sharply if they try to ascend into the upper middle class. No, the biggest winners by far from this arrangement are colleges.
While Biden’s announcement includes some rhetoric about controlling costs at schools, the incentives don’t lie: schools can continue drastically raising their fees every year while telling students that whatever loan figure they rack up is essentially fake — as long as they just pay their tiny monthly bill, they won’t accumulate interest and the bill will all eventually go away. But of course, the colleges still get the money.
4. The GOP remains incredibly bad at political tactics.
Biden’s debt jubilee will be enormously costly, will likely fuel inflation, and will strike millions of Americans as profoundly unfair. But sadly and predictably, the Republican Party has been terrible at responding, just as they were incompetent at handling the issue of student loans prior to the announcement. Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana was a fitting symbol of this political failure, moaning that Biden’s debt jubilee would make it harder for the U.S. military to find cannon fodder to die in overseas wars.
Student loan forgiveness undermines one of our military’s greatest recruitment tools at a time of dangerously low enlistments.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) August 25, 2022
Student loans may seem like an issue inherently favorable to the left. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The chief beneficiary of putting young Americans into debt peonage was never the federal government. It was universities, which could get tens or hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to “educate” any student, even if the degree being offered was useless or grossly overpriced, or if the student had a minimal chance of graduating at all.
Republicans had many years of opportunity to reframe the student loan debate to make colleges the villains. There were many ways to do it. The Trump Administration could have aggressively wielded their power to deny federal loans to schools with poor student prospects. It could have fought to make colleges co-sign any loans students take out, so that if a graduate goes into default the school is on the hook instead of getting off scot-free. It could have forced a national conversation about funneling so much money into colleges in the first place. Anything putting the heat on colleges would have been good, considering virtually every one of America’s colleges is a jobs program for the left.
But instead, Republicans were content to moan about universities being left-wing, while doing nothing, and falling back on comfortable tropes about making kids pay their debts. They missed a golden opportunity to put heat on an enemy stronghold; even worse, it seems like they didn’t even see the opportunity.
5. Accept the system is rigged against you — and pay the system back in kind.
Americans must realize that their government’s approach to student loans and other problems is not improving. Biden’s student loan strategy isn’t making the problem going away. It’s just kicking the can down the road. New college students will still take out loans, and in fact they now have reason to take out bigger loans. That likely means more loan jubilees in the future, but as point #2 shows, future debt forgiveness may very well be even more explicitly designed to help non-whites while disfavoring whites, particularly white men. And along with taking on more loans, young white men in America today have to compete in a market where schools and employers explicitly and proudly discriminate against them at every step of the process?
So what is a young American kulak to do? Refuse to play by the rules. Identify as a minority to benefit from the affirmative action system, as Revolver has repeatedly encouraged. And what about student loans? Perhaps the best method for Americans to troll the system is to get out at the best possible moment.
Somewhat unjustifiably, American schools still enjoy global prestige. So consider the expat life: take on as many loans as you need to gain a genuinely valuable skill, then go abroad to work and never pay the loan back.
Some would say the boss move is to take a ton of student loans, graduate with a non-junk degree from University, leave the United States and don't pay the loan https://t.co/qC3mwiBUCC
— Darren J. Beattie ? (@DarrenJBeattie) August 24, 2022
Not only will you embarrass a system that exists to hurt you, but you’ll have a hope of raising children in a country where they aren’t automatically second-class citizens.