For the fifth time during the pandemic, the Biden administration has extended a pause in repaying student debt. This, despite the White House’s own admission that economic conditions don’t warrant the pause.
The pause in repayments will last for 90 days and expire in May.
The suspension of repayment for student loans was supposed to end in January. But now, “we know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments,” said Biden in a statement.
Why? What “impacts of the pandemic” are student loan borrowers “coping with” where they would “need more time” before resuming payments?
In his statement, Biden claimed the economy was roaring ahead with 6 million jobs added this year, the fewest filings for unemployment in more than 50 years, and overall unemployment at 4.2%.
But Joe Biden is in a heap of political trouble and needs the support of one of his main constituencies — college-educated professionals. Most of them are beneficiaries of student loans. It also doesn’t hurt that he temporarily gets the radicals off his back, who have been demanding total student loan forgiveness since he took office.
Republicans have slammed the administration for granting borrowers such a lengthy grace period. Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, called the August extension “a grave disservice to borrowers across the country” and a “dereliction of duty.” Foxx argued at the time that the administration should have worked with Congress to get repayments started by Oct. 1.
On Wednesday, Foxx reiterated that view. She accused Biden of providing “backdoor loan forgiveness through administrative fiat,” and said the president “is using the permanent pandemic narrative to bankrupt our country and bow to the progressive base at the expense of borrowers and taxpayers.”
Biden could continue to “pause” repayment of student loan debt as long as he remains in office. Since he will use the pandemic as a crutch at least through 2024, that’s more than likely to happen. As with other programs, like the child tax credit that some parents are whining keeps their children from starving and they absolutely, positively can’t do without, it becomes more and more politically difficult to end.
And, of course, give the radicals an inch and they take a light year.
“This is HUGE news!” the Student Debt Crisis Center, an advocacy group, said in a statement. “Extending pandemic relief for student loan borrowers avoids certain disaster for many families.” The group called on activists to push Biden for executive action to cancel student debt.
However, Biden said borrowers must get ready for a return to the normal repayment process. The administration urged borrowers to make sure their contact information is up to date and said they should consider enrolling in electronic debit programs to facilitate payments when the time comes.
“As we are taking this action,” Biden said in his statement, “I’m asking all student loan borrowers to do their part as well: take full advantage of the Department of Education’s resources to help you prepare for payments to resume; look at options to lower your payments through income-based repayment plans; explore public service loan forgiveness; and make sure you are vaccinated and boosted when eligible.”
This is another small indication of just who’s in charge in the White House and America. The moral hazard of simply making a trillion dollars in student loan debt disappear is never mentioned. Yes, it’s a burden on families that took out the loans. But it’s a burden they freely took on, fully cognizant of the consequences.
Whenever this issue comes to the fore, we should think of those who worked two or three jobs to get through college and are debt free. Are they to be seen as a bunch of suckers? Chumps?
That’s how the Democrats see them.