Today’s a day that ends in y, so Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing out socialist propaganda that doesn’t make any sense. In a new video making the rounds on social media, the Vermont senator renews his calls for “canceling” student debt and makes some particularly weak arguments for this taxpayer bailout.
It is time to cancel all student debt. pic.twitter.com/hdrEGEIaGi
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 16, 2022
“At a time when so many of our younger generation are struggling, we should cancel all student debt,” Sanders begins.
This already doesn’t make much sense. College graduates aren’t struggling amid the pandemic, and haven’t been. It’s the working class that has mostly suffered. The unemployment rate for college grads is now down to just 2%.
Sanders’ video then pans to Dr. Becca Merrifox, a resident at the University of Vermont, who argues that taxpayers should have to pay off the loans she acquired to become a doctor.
“I graduated medical school with about the average amount of medical debt for a graduating physician in this country, which is $240,000,” Merrifox says. “It is a burden that is on me and that I think about it every day. It definitely affects my plans for my future.”
This part is pretty absurd. Of all the possible examples, a doctor is about the least sympathetic and least compelling case you can make for forcing taxpayers to pay off student loans. According to Indeed, the average doctor makes $229,000 a year!
Merrifox and her fellow doctors can afford to pay off their own loans, which are an investment into an education that will enable them to earn vastly more than the average taxpayer over their lifetimes. “Canceling” student debt would put the burden onto the shoulders of working-class taxpayers, including those who never even went to college, let alone medical school.
Next, Bernie argues that college graduates shouldn’t be “punished” by having to pay back the loans they committed to.
“Why are they stuck with student debt?” he asks. “What did they do to get this punishment? Did they blow their money on gambling, on drugs? What did they do? They went to get a higher education. Not exactly a crime.”
This entire screed is a bit of a non sequitur. No one ever said it was a crime to go to college. In fact, we already spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing and encouraging it as a social good!
Yet it’s not “punishing” people to ask them to repay the loans that enable them to earn millions more over their lifetime. Am I being “punished” by having to make my mortgage payments on my home? Of course not. This is just another cheap rhetorical ploy by Sanders in lieu of actual policy arguments.
Next, Bernie’s video pans to Dr. Jalil Mustaffa Bishop, an Assistant Professor of Education at Villanova University.
“Black borrowers are borrowing more student loans than any other group, but they’re not borrowing to go to Harvard or your flag-ship public institution,” Bishop says. “They’re often being funneled into institutions that are already underfunded.”
He’s making a common argument: That “canceling” student debt is somehow an issue of racial equality and social justice. But this isn’t born out by the facts.
The segment of the black community that went to college (and therefore holds student loans) is much better off and much more affluent than the majority of African Americans. Even if one wants to combat racial injustices, affluent black college graduates aren’t the ones in need of saving.
No matter how you spin it, student debt “cancelation” is a taxpayer bailout for affluent liberal voters. One study even found that the top 20% of income earners would get six times more benefits than the bottom 20% from Bernie’s plans. No number of well-produced propaganda videos can change the fundamental realities that expose the cancel student debt cause for the fraud that it truly is.