Biden dishonestly smears Republicans who oppose his agenda

It's a simple matter of fact that the White House is wrong.

Today’s a day that ends in y, so President Joe Biden is making a bad-faith critique of his political opponents. The president’s effort to unilaterally “cancel” (aka transfer to taxpayers) hundreds of billions in student loans looks doomed at the Supreme Court and is actually facing pushback in Congress.

So, in response, the White House is taking cheap shots at individual Republicans who voted to repeal his student loan bailout.

“President Biden just vetoed a bill that would have blocked this Administration’s one-time student debt relief plan,” the official White House Twitter account tweeted. “Some of the Republican in Congress who are attempting to block student debt relief had their own [Paycheck Protection Program] loans forgiven.”

The White House then recirculated a list of (supposedly) “hypocritical” Republicans who oppose Biden’s student loan bailout but had business loans “forgiven” under the bipartisan pandemic-era Paycheck Protection Program. They directly called out Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Vern Buchanan, Markwayne Mullin, Kevin Hern, Mike Kelly, and Matt Gaetz who had PPP loans forgiven for their various personal businesses.

It’s not just the Biden administration, we’ve seen this “what-about-PPP-loans” retort invoked by countless progressives when they’re confronted with the many arguments against the bailout. But this isn’t the slam-dunk “own” Democrats think it is. Not even close. On the contrary, it’s a complete red herring rooted in an apples-to-oranges comparison.

And I say this as someone who was actually critical of the Paycheck Protection Program from its inception. The massive government spending program turned out—shocker—to be rife with fraud and astoundingly inefficient as a form of economic stimulus. (One MIT economist actually estimated that it cost $170,000 to $257,000 per job protected and that most of the money went to support jobs that wouldn’t have been eliminated without the aid. Great job, Congress!).

But as a simple matter of fact, PPP loans are nothing like student loan cancellation.

For one, most PPP “loans” were never meant to be paid back. They were really intended more as grants, and from the beginning, a clear path was laid out in the program where companies wouldn’t have to pay them back as long as they met certain requirements. The only reason they were ever called “loans” was that the feds wanted to reserve the right to make companies that misused the money pay them back. But from the beginning, they were really grants, not loans.

So, too, the PPP loans were a form of compensation given out by the government in response to a harm that the government imposed on them. The government locked down the economy and required businesses to close and/or lose business. The PPP loans were an effort made to compensate business owners for the losses inflicted upon them. That really bears no similarity to student loans, where the government is financially helping students obtain a positive investment—a degree that will earn them $1.2 million more on average over their lifetime—rather than compensating them for a harm imposed upon them. And, of course, student loans were explicitly intended to be paid back in most circumstances.

So, anytime you hear someone whip out the “but PPP loans!” canard, you can rest assured that they’re either operating in ignorance, bad-faith, or, as in the case of the White House, both.

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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.