So why are Biden and progressives trying to make the rich even richer, asks liberal author BATYA UNGAR-SARGON
April 11, 2022
Batya Ungar-Sargon is author of 'Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy'
President Joe Biden has again extended a pandemic-era freeze on student loan payments.
It's the sixth such extension of his COVID-era handout, which has spanned two years and two presidencies.
Why is this necessary? It's not really clear.
In fact, it really doesn't make much sense.
The Biden administration can't decide whether the pandemic is over or not.
For migrants entering the U.S. illegally at the southern border, the pandemic is over.
The administration is putting an end to Title 42, a policy that allowed Border Patrol officers to immediately turn back migrants thanks to the dangers posed by the pandemic.
But when it comes to highly credentialed, over-educated Americans, the pandemic's challenges apparently continue unabated.
These look like contradictory policies, but they are in fact two sides of the same coin.
The two policies demonstrate how progressive elites continue to line their pockets with the proceeds of policies that sound like social justice but actually buttress the economic interests of the rich.
Together they are an obvious and craven attempt, by a desperately unpopular president, to give disgruntled and unenthusiastic Democratic base voters something to get excited about ahead of the midterm elections.
And they reveal once again who the real base of the Democrats is—affluent coastal professionals.
It's this that solves the mystery of why the administration is pushing policies that benefit the people who need them the least.
From the beginning of the pandemic, it was clear that the response pushed by Democrats—to shut down the economy and schools—would serve only to metastasize the emergent class divide in America.
Now we know just how much it did.
A new study has found that the wealth inequality gap between college-educated and non-college educated Americans has absolutely skyrocketed.
The college-educated have amassed an estimated $23.4 trillion between 2019 and 2021, compared to just $3.4 trillion for those with only a high school degree.
In fact, as of the end of 2021, the share of national wealth held by U.S. households lead by someone without a high-school degree shrunk to a record low.
It's the most affluent of those college-educated people—the people with the extra $23 trillion bucks in their bank accounts—who have benefitted from the moratorium on student loans: doctors and lawyers and people with a graduate degree, as the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found.
Journalist Brad Polumbo has pointed out that the average doctor got $48,500 in loan forgiveness for undergraduate loans.
For the average lawyer, the amount of permanent loans forgiven was $30,000.
Meanwhile, the average person with student loans who didn't complete their college degree got only $2,000.
And of course, as Polumbo notes, the vast majority of Americans who didn't take out a loan for college at all – got nothing.
It's these Americans who are struggling the most right now as inflation (record high gas and grocery prices) eats away at their earnings.
And they're now being asked to foot the bill and bear the burden of a policy that benefits the rich—and is likely to make inflation worse.
It's a double-whammy.
This moratorium is costing taxpayers an estimated $4 billion every month—a cost directly imposed on taxpayers.
And as Bill Clinton's former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers put it, 'At a time when the economy is overheating the Administration s [sic] student debt action will be injecting money into the economy at a 100billion a year annual rate. This is a macroeconomic step in the wrong direction.'
Surely there are people more deserving of a $4 billion bailout than doctors and lawyers—perhaps some of their patients and clients, the millions of Americans living with crushing medical debt.
Instead, the so-called progressives and socialists of the Democratic Party advocate for total and unqualified student loan forgiveness, the benefits of which would go to the top 40 percent of American households.
Members of 'The Squad' including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have routinely called for canceling all student debt, including that of Americans who have attended the top schools in the country, ignoring the fact that the lion's share of such benefits go to doctors and lawyers and dentists and accountants.
There are of course people who have taken out loans who aren't making doctors' salaries, people who didn't complete college, for example.
And yet, no one pushing the moratorium on student loans or total cancelation of student debts ever makes mention of limiting this bailout to people struggling at lower-wage jobs.
The reality is that it is the doctors and lawyers and dentists and accountants (and congresspeople) are who this was really for.
It's who the Democratic Party now lives to serve—those who call themselves progressives and socialists most of all.
Whether it's student loan forgiveness or the Green New Deal (that seeks to replace high-paying unionized energy jobs with low-skill, low-wage green jobs and cheap wind turbines imported from China), or transferring billions of dollars from small businesses to Amazon, or having an open border with Mexico for migrants to stream into the U.S. unimpeded, the wish list of progressive Democrats is a literal tax paid by the working class.
Meanwhile, the over-educated elites stroke their own egos and coo to each other about their virtue while their bank accounts balloon.
The Biden administration's contradictory announcements for COVID-19 era policies aren't quite so confusing when you realize that both serve the President's base—affluent, over-educated coastal elites.
At a time when the college educated have never had a larger wealth advantage over the two-thirds of Americans without a college degree and as inflation and gas prices are crushing working-class Americans, the Biden administration is asking the working class to continue to help pay off the debts of the Americans least in need of assistance, at a time when the working class can least afford it.