Here’s How Much AOC and the ‘Squad’ Would Personally Benefit From Student Debt ‘Cancellation’

Advocates of student debt cancellation may talk a big game about helping the poor, but the policy they’re pushing is really a taxpayer bailout for the American elite.

From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) to Ilhan Omar, members of the progressive “Squad” are some of the most prominent voices calling for student debt cancellation in Congress. Yet new reporting shows that they have a clear conflict of interest. They would see tens of thousands of their own debt absorbed by taxpayers if their policy push goes through.

What We Just Learned About AOC’s Student Debt Conflict of Interest

The New York Post’s Conor Skelding reviewed the financial disclosure forms of these various members of Congress. He found that they collectively owe somewhere between $180,004 and $400,000 in student loans.

Ocasio-Cortez had somewhere between $15,000 and $50,000 in unpaid student loans as of 2020, the Post reports. So, too, Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York had more than $100,000 in outstanding student loans as of 2020. Omar, for her part, had at least $15,000 in loans.

Yes, that’s right: The loudest and proudest advocates of a taxpayer bailout for college graduates in Congress would themselves see tens of thousands of dollars in financial benefits from this move.

What’s AOC’s Real Motivation?

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the Squad’s sole motivation is their personal finances. They may very well still earnestly believe in the cause. (And it’s just a nice perk that it will massively benefit their bank accounts.)

But this is clearly a conflict of interest. And, more importantly, it’s another reminder that despite all the rhetoric about student debt cancellation supposedly helping struggling young people, it’s mostly wealthy elites who benefit.

Student Debt ‘Cancellation’ Helps the Elite

After all, even many left-leaning think tanks have found that forcing taxpayers to absorb the loss for $1.7+ trillion in student debt, as the Squad has long advocated, would be a highly regressive policy. This means it disproportionately benefits the affluent and well-off.

Why?

Well, just think about it like this. The only people who benefit from student loans being “canceled” are people who went to college. And that group of people tends to be much wealthier than those who didn’t attend college. (That’s why people go!)

Yet all taxpaying Americans eat the loss and bear the financial burden of “canceling” student loans. So, it essentially forcibly distributes wealth from the working class to the affluent.

You don’t have to take my word for it. A University of Chicago study found that the top 20 of income earners would see five times more benefit from canceling student debt than the bottom 20 percent.

AOC and her pals are just a glaring example of this empirically-confirmed phenomenon.

Advocates of student debt cancellation may talk a big game about helping the poor, but the policy they’re pushing is really a taxpayer bailout for the American elite.

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Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and co-founder of Based Politics. His work has been cited by top lawmakers such as Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Pat Toomey, Congresswoman Nancy Mace, Congressman Thomas Massie, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as by prominent media personalities such as Jordan Peterson, Sean Hannity, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, and Mark Levin. Brad has also testified before the US Senate, appeared on Fox News and Fox Business, and written for publications such as USA Today, National Review, Newsweek, and the Daily Beast. He hosts the Breaking Boundaries podcast and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Many European countries make college tuition free for their citizens, but the quality of public universities where the tuition is zero is very poor quality. (They get what they pay for apparently.) Many wealthy Europeans pay to attend private colleges that are quite expensive – but give them a good education. In America, our colleges have raised their tuition, fees, cost of textbooks to the amount that the market will bear. There is a wide variety of scholarships (public & private), Pell Grants,tstudent loans, etc. since lots of wealthy people view education as a very worthy philanthropy to which to donate.

    One Idea I suggest is to end all federal aid to colleges and universities. (There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that explicitly authorizes Congress to fund education.) Let the states, cities, counties, private charities, wealthy private individuals pay for all levels of schooling.

  2. I have to take exception to the idea that US higher education functions as a market. Government involvement has massively distorted the economics and real competitive pressures don’t exist. Witness the last many decades of administrative bloat.

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