In response to a question about how student debt cancellation would benefit people who have already paid off their loans, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) suggested that while individuals who have already paid down their student debt will not benefit from debt cancellation, they might benefit from another program — “It all comes around,” she wrote.
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“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Not every program has to be for everybody. People with apartments pay for first time homeowner benefits. Young people pay for Medicare for our seniors. People who take public transit pay for car infrastructure,” Ocasio-Cortez noted.
“Maybe student loan forgiveness doesn’t impact you. That doesn’t make it bad. I am sure there are certainly other things that student loan borrowers’ taxes pay for. We can do good things and reject the scarcity mindset that says doing something good for someone else comes at the cost of something for ourselves.
“An example: If a person is blessed enough to be in a position to have paid off their loans, maybe they have a home now and benefitted from first time homeowners programs that people crushed by student loans help subsidize when they aren’t able to buy a home because of student debt. It all comes around. It’s okay. We can support things we won’t directly benefit from,” the congresswoman concluded.
Last week, the president said that he is “considering dealing with some debt reduction,” though he indicated that forgiving $50,000 of debt is not on the table — many Democrats have advocated for Biden to nix up to $50,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower.
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“Canceling $50,000 in debt is where you really make a dent in inequality and the racial wealth gap. $10,000 isn’t,” Ocasio-Cortez said, according to the Washington Post.
But a move to cancel any amount of student loan debt would likely be highly controversial because many Americans would be outraged such a policy.
“I just worked my butt off to pay off my very expensive student loans a few months ago. If Biden forgives student loans, I’m going to be livid,” Kassy Dillon tweeted last week.
But while many people would likely share Dillon’s sentiments on the issue, Democrats continue calling for Biden to cancel student debt.
“Canceling student loan debt for working- and middle-class Americans is the right thing to do,” Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California asserted in an opinion piece. “No one should be prevented from pursuing higher education because they can’t afford the financial burden it poses. Furthermore, it makes economic sense: Relief from student debt would help young people buy homes, build wealth and otherwise grow our economy.”