The rich get richer, the old saying goes. And President Joe Biden wants to keep it that way.
Case in point: The White House has announced a major move on student debt, canceling it for almost 40,000 borrowers and bringing 3.6 million closer to forgiveness. Yet student-debt relief mainly benefits the better-off.
Yes, like much of the progressive agenda, this is packaged as “equity” — with a massive contingent of Democratic legislators calling for relief late last month as a way to “advance equity as our nation works to rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy.”
But look at the numbers. A January paper from the left-leaning Brookings Institution showed just how unevenly student debt is distributed, with almost a third of all US student debt owed by the wealthiest 20% of households, while the bottom fifth of earners owe less than 10% of such debt.
Students with advanced degrees — doctors, lawyers and the like — hold 40% of the debt.
And another recent study shows that the universal student-debt forgiveness those Democrats legislators demand would benefit the top 10% of earners five times as much as those at the bottom.
The student loan freeze that has been in place since the start of the pandemic has already saved these mostly well-off borrowers $195 billion in loan payments, even as economic life has gotten harder for those lower down the economic ladder. Unemployment for the college-educated, meanwhile, is under 2%.
That forgiving student loans is a handout to the well-off can be no surprise to anyone with more than a passing knowledge of life in this country: The vast majority of American adults don’t have college degrees, and those who do tend to earn more.
So why the push for forgiveness? Well, a big chunk of those debt-burdened, well-educated voters are Democrats who live in suburban areas where the party is trying to shore up votes. Forgiveness would also appeal to younger voters, among whom Biden’s support has collapsed.
This is the exact opposite of equity: a wealth transfer to the already affluent to bribe key Democratic constituencies, and both insult and injury to the less well-off.