What an outrage for Congressman Smith to call Biden’s executive order on the student loan forgiveness plan “immoral” (his Sept. 7 editorial): does Mr. Smith think Jesus acted immorally when handing out fish and loaves of bread? The real reason Smith and the rest of the GOP are putting out false information about the plan (which will forgive $10 thousand in debt relief for those earning less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for those who qualified for Pell Grants) is that it is VERY popular with the public. It could help Democrats in the upcoming election, so a disinformation campaign is underway.
Smith and other Republicans are putting out all kinds of misinformation, including a contrived notion that the student debt forgiveness is a “giveaway” to the wealthy. But guess who is really benefiting: it’s low-to medium income people who are teachers, black people, rural white people, and women. It is people who’ve gone to junior colleges and trade schools, taken on debts to enhance their job prospects but who for a variety of reasons are struggling to pay off a costly loan.
Nearly half of all grade school and high school teachers take on debt to finance their education: if Smith checked the salaries of teachers in Missouri’s 8th District, he’d know they are not undeserving scoundrels feeding off the public trough. Here’s another group that will benefit: black people who, for a host of reasons, are disproportionately poorer than white people: they therefore needed to take on more loans than white people. 70% of black college students were eligible for Pell Grants because they came from families earning $60,000 a year or less (30% of white students qualified), which reflects the simple fact that the median income of black families is about 2/3 that of white families.
Another group that will disproportionately benefit is women: this is because two-thirds of the country’s outstanding debt balance is carried by women. Is Smith unaware women earn less than men? That as single parents they have difficulty paying back loans? Smith asks why he as a taxpayer should help pay someone else’s debt when he is still paying off his own – I ask how is it that someone earning $174,000 a year on his DC job alone (to say nothing off his puppy-mill profits) hasn’t yet paid off his college debt and has the audacity to belittle those earning far, far less having difficulty paying off theirs!
Finally, low-income 8th District residents, white and black, will disproportionately benefit from debt reduction when compared to people around the nation because they have been disproportionately been recipients of Pell Grants.
The truth is most of the student debt relief will flow to lower-income Americans. Smith knows this, the GOP knows this. THEY gave millions in tax reduction to the super-wealthy are now plotting to stop Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan by taking it to their friends in the Supreme Court!
Smith’s opponent in the upcoming election—Randi McCallian—supports Biden’s plan. She thinks education should be easily accessible to all, and thinks it speaks badly that the college rate in the 8th District is half that of the nation-wide average. Talk to Jason Smith about higher education needs in the 8th District and he will give you a line about how ‘college isn’t for everyone’ (true enough, but Pell Grants are also good at trade schools) and some gibberish about the immorality of kindness. Seems like a play on morality to me.