POLL: By 17-point margin, voters want Biden to forgive $ 50,000 in student debt

While President Joe Biden faces persistent criticism for rejecting calls to scrap $ 50,000 in federal student loans per borrower, new polls released Thursday reveal strong support for him to “go big “ and implement that proposal.

Data for progress found it (pdf) that 54% of likely voters think Biden should use his executive branch to cancel $ 50,000 in student debt, while only 37% said he shouldn’t cancel that debt.

“It’s almost as if the American people want the government to handle the scale of the crisis,” wrote Rep. Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.) – one co-sponsor of legislation introduced in December, Biden called for forgiveness of up to $ 50,000 in federal student loans – in a tweet that responded to the poll.

As Data for Progress’ wrote Prerna Jagadeesh a blog post In analyzing the findings, Biden should view student debt cancellation as “not an obligation but rather an opportunity, given how popular student loan cancellation is among the American people.”

The poll of 1,219 likely voters took place from January 6 to January 11. The margin of error of the poll is ± 2.8 percentage points.

The progressive group also asked respondents about forgiveness of just $ 10,000 in student debt per borrower. It turned out that 52% supported that proposal, compared with 38% who said Biden should not forgive that amount of student debt.

“As the chart shows, support was slightly higher in the USD 50,000 condition, although within the margin of error,” Jagadeesh wrote. “There is no evidence that shrinking will help Biden.”

The Data for Progress survey came the same week as Biden said at a CNN City Hall that he will not forgive $ 50,000 in student loans, telling the public that he objected to the cancellation of “ billions of dollars in debt for people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn ” and said the money instead thereof aimed “for early education for young children who … come from disadvantaged circumstances.”

“Who cares what school someone went to?” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), another co-sponsor of the debt cancellation proposal, tweeted in response to Biden’s comments. “Generations of working class children have been encouraged to take on more debt under the guise of elitism. This is wrong.”

“There is nowhere in it that we should exchange early childhood education for student loan forgiveness. We can get both,” she added.

Further evidence against Biden’s objection to the cancellation of $ 50,000 worth of student came Thursday released a report from the social sciences research group Jain Family Institute showing how the move would reduce the country’s economic inequality.

“With rising debt across all groups and states, coupled with the current pandemic-induced recession and the unemployment effects, any forgiveness policy is an opportunity to stimulate the economy in addition to the egalitarian effects,” the report said.

Passing the $ 50,000 waiver proposal would mean “[n]asked 85% of young borrowers in the poorest communities would be free of student debt. “

The research also shows that “general forgiveness is progressive: For lower-income communities, a cancellation of a certain amount of student debt in dollars means a greater proportionate reduction in outstanding debt, so such a cancellation reduces the differences between student debt and income. between the rich and the poor, “found the report.” That is more evident the higher the dollar amount of the cancellation, to the point that a total cancellation of all outstanding student debts most reduces the inequalities between debt and income.

Data for Progress’ Jagadeesh also noted that “canceling a full student loan of $ 50,000 per person through an executive order is not just a one-time award to highly educated people – it will also help people who don’t have college degrees.” went on:

Forgiveness of student debt will improve the economy in general and strengthen every part of President Biden’s pandemic recovery package. Each month, the average US student debt holder pays out $ 200 to $ 300 in loans. Forgetting that debt would be like giving those people an extra stimulus check every month. Not to mention that people who are drowning in student loan debt are significantly less likely to start a small business or buy a home. Forgetting $ 50,000 of their debt will allow these people to participate meaningfully in the U.S. economy for the first time in their lives.

Speak with Democracy now! On Thursday, filmmaker and Debt Collective organizer Astra Taylor emphasized that President Biden has the power to cancel all student debts. “It was granted by Congress decades ago. And he can clear all federal student loans. And he should,” she said.

Joining Taylor in the segment came Braxton Brewington, a digital strategist at the Debt Collective. He called the decision not to forgive student debt “policy attack” and said those who “would benefit the most from student loan debt. [cancellation] are individuals like me, black and brown borrowers, mostly black borrowing women, who are frankly in debt over $ 35,000, $ 50,000, hundreds of thousands of dollars. “

But, Brewington added, “this is an intergenerational issue,” noting that seniors can “confiscate some of their Social Security checks because of their student loan, which is insane.”

Taylor, in her comments, said student debt cancellation should be seen as “ a matter of economic justice, it’s a matter of racial justice, and student debt cancellation is also a matter of democracy, because we all have the right to to live in a society in which our fellow human beings can receive education. “

This article first appeared on Common Dreams. You can read it here.

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