A person puts a coin into a plastic, transparent, piggy bank. Photo by Joslyn Pickens from Pexels.
Photo by Joslyn Pickens from Pexels

Pausing only pushes the problem away for a short time. People need student loan debt canceled.

President Joe Biden posted a Statement regarding student loans on December 22, 2021. In it, he reiterates the previous times that he was able to pause student loans payments. When that time limit expired, he paused student loan payments again. And yet, there are still many people who cannot afford to pay back their student loans. President Biden really needs to cancel student loans, instead of simply kicking the problem down the road for a little while longer.

From the Statement:

When I came into office, we were facing a number of unprecedented crises. Our economy was creating only 50,000 new jobs per month, less than 1 percent of Americans were fully vaccinated, many schools were closed, and Americans across the country were struggling to pay their bills and stay afloat. That is why on my very first day as President, I directed the Department of Education to pause federal student loan repayments through September. In August, my Administration once again extended the pause, through January 31, 2022. That pause has given 41 million Americans badly-needed breathing room during the economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, while our jobs recovery is the strongest ever – with nearly 6 million jobs added this year, the fewest Americans filing for unemployment for more than 50 years, and overall unemployment numbers at 4.2 percent – 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…

...Given these considerations, today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days – through May 1, 2022 – as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery. Meanwhile, the Department of Education will continue working with borrowers to ensure they have the support they need to transition smoothly back into repayment and advance economic stability for their own households and our nation…

Personally, this sounds like the Biden Administration is choosing capitalism over people. This administration has extended the “pause” on student loan payments through September of 2020, and then again through January 31, 2022, and now through May 1, 2022. None of this is solving the actual problem for people who cannot afford to pay their student loan debt.

I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted (on December 23, 2021) “No, getting an education should not mean that you are burdened for life with student loan debt. Yes, the time is now to cancel all $1.86 trillion of student loan debt in this country.”

Congressmember Pramila Jayapal tweeted (on December 27, 2021): “Extending the student loan payment pause was a great first step, but it is NOT enough. @POTUS must use his executive power to cancel at least $50K of student debt for more than 42 million Americans.”

Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted (on December 28, 2021): “Now would be a good time to cancel student debt @POTUS.”

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tweeted (on December 29, 2021): “Only one person has the power & authority to #CancelStudentDebt with the stroke of a pen, relieve millions of families across the country & put economic power back in the hands of the people. Looking at you, @POTUS [three pen emojis]

Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted (on December 30, 2021): “Nearly 4 in 10 student loan borrowers don’t have a degree. They tried college, but life caught up, they had babies, somebody got sick, they were working three jobs & then had to drop out. Now they’re getting crushed with debt. @POTUS should #CancelStudentDebt.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted (on January 1, 2021): “Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt”.

I want to point out that the majority of people whose tweets I posted here are Democrats. They are part of the same political party as President Biden. Senator Bernie Sanders is an Independent, but he has run as a Democrat in presidential campaigns.

According to CNN: …Biden has repeatedly resisted pressure to cancel up to $50,000 per borrower since taking office, making it very clear during a CNN town hall early in the year that he does not support the idea

Based on the last paragraph in President Biden’s statement, he has no interest in erasing student debt. Instead, he offers the following advice:

...As we take this action, 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.

It’s kind of a strange mix of messages. My take on this is that President Biden is trying to provide the help he believes that people with student loan debt want. Unfortunately, his message is a bit clouded, including “economic recovery” and the COVID pandemic, and a request that people get vaccinated and boosted. What people actually need is to have their student loan debt erased.

Pausing Student Loan Payments Is Not Enough is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites. If you enjoyed this blog post please consider supporting me on Ko-fi. Thank you!

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