“When President Joe Biden announced his plan on Wednesday to forgive a portion of the federal student loan debt held by millions of Americans, he set off a fiery national argument from just about every corner of the ideological spectrum.
‘An entire generation is now saddled with unsustainable debt,’ Biden said at the White House. More than 44 million Americans carry more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt—a situation that economists and higher education experts cite as a pressing obstacle to upward mobility for many of them.
The Biden plan cancels $10,000 of education debt for individual borrowers making less than $125,000 a year, couples making less than $250,000, and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients at the same income threshold. The president also extended the pause on loan repayment until the end of the year, and instituted new rules to try to ease the burden on debt holders going forward. Notably, he launched an income-based repayment plan that caps borrowers’ monthly payments at five percent of their salary.
But just as the policy decision brought joy and relief to millions of people who had a weight taken off their shoulders, Republicans cast the decision as an executive overreach that was both morally unfair and economically catastrophic. It wasn’t necessarily a slam dunk with every Democrat, either. A number of frontline Democratic candidates distanced themselves from the proposal, and some prominent progressive activists criticized it for not going far enough.”