Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has a novel theory of governance. She apparently believes she can cancel a trillion dollars in student loan debt with the wave of her hand.
Warren believes that the presidential authority already exists to cancel the debt and that she’ll wave her magic wand her very first day in office.
Warren had already unveiled a plan to cancel up to $50,000 in loans for about 95 percent of student borrowers, but her plan, unveiled in a Medium post on Tuesday, details for the first time how she would accomplish it.
The presidential candidate said she would use the Higher Education Act, which gives the Department of Education authority “to modify, compromise, waive, or release student loans.”
I’m sure there are guidelines to cancel the occasional student loan, but I doubt Congress intended to give the president the authority to make a trillion bucks disappear.
“We’re facing a student loan crisis — one that’s holding back our economy and crushing millions of American families,” she said in her post.
“The Department of Education already has broad legal authority to cancel student debt, and we can’t afford to wait for Congress to act,” she added. “So I will start to use existing laws on day one of my presidency to implement my student loan debt cancellation plan that offers relief to 42 million Americans.”
“We can’t afford to wait for Congress to act” is probably etched on the tombstone of every dictator in history. If we can’t afford to wait, it’s already too late.
What five-year-old children and most liberals don’t understand is that “waiting” is what Congress is all about. It may be slow and messy, and no one is ever completely satisfied with the end product, but that’s because there are 300 million people in this country with almost as many points of view on any one issue. Which ones of those points of view will Warren ignore to run roughshod over the Constitution?
Warren also said she would use “all available tools to address racial disparities in higher education, crack down on for-profit institutions, and eliminate predatory lending.”
Eliminating predatory lending would be a very good thing. If some kid is dumb enough to take out $100,000 in college loans with little or no thought on how to pay them back, lenders should be prevented from taking advantage of that kind stupidity.
My guess is that Warren is not going to ask Congress to reimburse banks and other lending institutions for their losses. After all, they can afford it, right? They’re rich, most of them are white — why not just stick it to them and watch them squirm?
Perhaps most interesting of all is what taking a trillion dollars off the table would do to the economy. Making the debt disappear is one thing, but yanking a trillion dollars from the economy might prove to be disastrous. At the very least, it would be a risky experiment that an academic like Warren would find intriguing.
As for the rest of us…not so much.