Education Secretary Miguel Cardona openly admitted Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan will not benefit Americans who already paid off their debt or never used debt to pay for college.
The admission underscores what millions of Americans — those who paid off their loans already — believe is an unfair plan.
Speaking with Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy outside the White House, Cardona addressed criticism that says the plan is not fair.
According to Cardona, the aim of the plan is to “address the effects of the pandemic.” He claimed his responsibility as education secretary is to ensure that people are not worse off now than they were before the pandemic hit. The claim is confusing, because Americans who hold student loan debt have had a pause on repaying loans for 2.5 years.
“But to the fairness question, the people that are sitting at home having just paid off their student loans or having paid them off years ago, what’s in it for them?” Doocy pushed back.
The secretary, however, completely dodged the question.
“We should be proud that we’re able to help Americans that need help right now, just like we helped small businesses during the pandemic,” he responded. “It’s about making sure we’re taking care of Americans and investing in our economy and in our people.”
Miguel Cardona addresses legality of Biden’s student loan handout program
As the interview went on, Doocy got Cardona to admit that people who paid back their student loans will see zero benefits.
“Just the final one on this: The people that already paid their student loans, they don’t get anything out of this deal?” Doocy pressed.
“Right,” Cardona admitted.
Biden was also confronted about the inherent unfairness of the plan at a press conference on Wednesday and responded by sniping at the reporter who dared question him.
“Is this unfair to people who paid their student loans or chose not to take out loans?” asked ABC News correspondent Karen Travers.
“Is it fair to people who, in fact, do not own multibillion-dollar businesses if they see one of these guys getting all the tax breaks? Is that fair? What do you think?” Biden shot back.
What is the plan?
Biden announced Wednesday that he will forgive $10,000 of student loan debt for every borrower who earns less than $125,000 annually. For those who received Pell Grants, they will have $20,000 of debt forgiven.
The controversial plan will use a post-9/11 law, known as the HEROES Act of 2003, as the legal standing to unilaterally forgive debt and the supposed national emergency stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic as its justification.
The plan does not address the astronomically high price of college, which is a primary driving factor behind the student loan debt crisis.