What do you do when factual reality, sound economics, and basic fairness aren’t on your side of a policy debate? Accuse your opponents of racism and sexism, of course.
At least, that’s the approach that Rep. Maxwell Frost, a progressive Democrat, is taking. In a recent House floor debate over Republicans’ attempt to block Biden’s taxpayer-funded student debt loan bailout.
“My Republican colleagues are pushing a narrative that student debt relief is unfair,” Frost said. “If we legislated using the logic that you bring to this issue here today, women and black folks wouldn’t have the right to vote because it would be unfair to those who never got to vote before them. See, if we legislated using your logic, that because there was an injustice we can’t fix it because it’s unfair to those who never had it fixed, means we would progress on any issue in this country.”
“Why do you bring that bigoted logic to this issue as it relates to students but not any other issue?” the congressman concluded.
“If we legislated using logic that you bring … women & Black folks wouldn't have the right to vote because it would be unfair to those who never got to vote before them.”
— Rep. Frost (D-FL) on Republicans saying Biden student loan plan is unfair to those who paid their debt pic.twitter.com/KthKQwN5Z2
— The Recount (@therecount) May 24, 2023
There are too many problems with this to know where to start.
For one, asking people to pay their own bills is not an “injustice.” While progressive rhetoric on this issue often invokes the specter of young people struggling to put food on the table under crushing amounts of debt, in actuality, the median monthly student loan payment is about $287. Most borrowers actually have quite manageable amounts of student loan debt. And they’ve taken on this debt in exchange for a degree that will, on average, earn them $1.2 million more over a lifetime. So, Frost’s assertion that asking people to pay off their student loan debt is an “injustice” is, frankly, laughable.
The real “injustice” would be forcing working-class taxpayers to pay off the bills of relatively affluent, college-educated Americans. But there’s at least a legitimate debate to be had over the best way to address what are undoubtedly out-of-control college costs.
What’s not legitimate is casting the aspersion that opposing student debt bailouts is somehow akin to opposing civil rights or women’s suffrage. It’s apples to oranges: student debt bailouts take from one group to give to another while the other issues simply involve granting everyone equal treatment.
This comparison is a disgusting smear that’s frankly insulting to the communities that actually experienced such horrific violations of their rights. And it’s obviously intended to stifle debate and smear opponents, not advance any legitimate policy-based argument.
Shame on Maxwell Frost and all the progressives increasingly trying to shut down debates rather than win them.