On Wednesday, Joe Biden took to Twitter to announce that the government will cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for millions of borrowers, and up to $20,000 for Pell grant recipients, with the forgiveness applying to Americans earning less than $125,000 a year individually or married couples earning less than $250,000 combined. According to the White House, almost 90% of the relief will go to those making less than $75,000 annually, i.e., the middle class. Naturally, Republicans are blind with rage.
Suggesting that only “elites” attend university and grad school, Rep. Jim Jordan, who has a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a law degree, tweeted: “Student loan ‘forgiveness’ will benefit the wealthy elites. Once again, Joe Biden forgets about Real America.” Senator Tom Cotton, who likes to pretend he didn’t go to Harvard for both undergrad and law school—and is just so in touch with the working man—wrote: “Biden owes Americans an explanation on why a truck driver who didn’t go to college is now responsible for the student loans of a rich lawyer.” Senator Rick Scott, last seen vacationing on a yacht in Italy, whined that the plan is a “burden on taxpayers.” Mitch McConnell, who’s never met a corporation or billionaire whose taxes he didn’t want to cut, called the move “student loan socialism” and “a slap in the face to working Americans who sacrificed to pay their debt or made different career choices to avoid debt. A wildly unfair redistribution of wealth toward higher-earning people.” Fox News dubbed debt forgiveness a “handout,” to which they shockingly didn’t add “for bums,” but give it time.
Obviously, all of these takes are hypocritical, misleading nonsense, starting with the idea that the forgiveness plan is an affront to hardworking/middle-class/“real” Americans. For one thing, as previously stated, the program is expected to overwhelmingly benefit the middle class. For another, while Republicans like to pretend that only members of the 1 percent attend college and grad school, that is clearly not the case. Then there’s the uncomfortable fact that the GOP absolutely loves “handouts” when they’re being handed out to the ultra wealthy and corporate America; as a reminder, Republicans couldn’t get enough of Donald Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which, per the Economic Policy Institute, “overwhelmingly benefited the rich and corporations” and “failed to boost US workers’ wages or deliver broad prosperity for low-income communities or communities of color.” (Our personal favorite stat: The average US worker’s bonus fell 22 cents between December 2017 and December 2018, while the average bonus for 2018 was just one cent higher than in 2017.” As in, it grew by a cent.)