The Student Loan Shell Game

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

According to Open Secrets, during the 2020 election cycles, Democrats were beneficiaries of the largesse of the education sector, raking in millions of dollars in contributions. Joe Biden led the pack with $64,414,164. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), technically an independent but by no means a conservative, was second at $17,178,893, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) picked up a cool $11,648,514.


Donald Trump, the only Republican in Open Secrets’ Top 20, took fifth place with $8,870,799. Interestingly, Vice President Kamala Harris had the #18 spot below then-candidates Raphael Warnock and Pete Buttigieg. Harris received $2,188,895, edging out Andrew Yang with a paltry $2,056,508. For 2022, Warnock is at the number-one position with $2,236,052. Current Dr. Oz challenger John Fetterman sits in fifth place with $487,288. The inimitable AOC is at the bottom of the pack, with a bankroll of $230,938.

The Washington Examiner notes that since 2002, Democrats have accounted for about 70% of political donations from the education industry. Given the overall amount of money on the table, small wonder that Biden made his announcement yesterday. It is a win for Democrats and a win for the education lobby, who have apparently been “colleagues” for years now.

Of course, not everyone on the left was a fan of the move. On the day before the announcement, Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP, took aim at the idea stating that the plan did not go far enough. According to The Hill, he said, “President Biden’s decision on student debt cannot become the latest example of a policy that has left Black people – especially Black women – behind…This is not how you treat Black voters who turned out in record numbers and provided 90% of their vote to once again save democracy in 2020.”

Even after the announcement, some think the plan does not do enough. The Hill also profiles a man named James Alford, who graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in black studies, whose student loan debt has grown to $120,000 after he added a Master of Science in adult and higher education.


Political science is a legitimate degree. And I am not knocking black studies. I think that is important. The problem is that the job market for those degrees is not exactly wide open, and you probably have to find the perfect niche to make those degrees work. And those are probably pretty small and rare niches to begin with. This may be why Mr. Alford decided to get his master’s in the hope he could start making some inroads.

Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, it is not just black or brown borrowers who face this problem. I will admit, in the list of dumb things I have done, I took out two student loans in order to pursue ordination. That did not work out, but I was still on the hook for the money. My BA and MA ultimately turned out to be useless degrees. And expensive ones. Plenty of people over the years have graduated with impressive-sounding degrees, only to discover they could not get an actual job in Womynx Subterranean Dance Theory. But they still had those friendly reminders coming in the mail every month from their lenders.

By contrast, I know a young man, who incidentally is white, who decided he needed a college degree like another hole in the head. He became a plumber and started a side business creating duct work for HVAC systems. I’m not saying that minorities should only join the trades. If a black/brown person wants to be a doctor or lawyer, by all means, rock on. But this young man has no student loans, and aside from a mortgage and a vehicle, has very little debt and is well on his way to becoming a success. Until of course, he has to pay extra taxes for someone else’s student loan.


It is tempting to say caveat emptor and add that people are responsible for their own decisions. And this is true. But people like Mr. Alford bought into the idea that a degree was an automatic ticket to success. And the colleges made tons upon tons of money. Some of that money was given to people like Joe Biden to get elected and make tons of money of their own. And people like Joe Biden decided that people like you and the young man mentioned above get to make up the difference.

Congratulations. You lose. And you didn’t even play the game.


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