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What They're Saying: Biden’s Irresponsible Student Loan Pause

Last week, President Biden tweeted about our nation’s “historic recovery.” This week, Biden is trying to keep the pandemic going by announcing a fourth student loan repayment pause. What a confusing contradiction. This pause was intended to give borrowers a safety net when COVID-19 and uncertainty were at their heights. Two years later and not a single borrower has been required to pay a cent. So while borrowers continue to rack up student loan debt, millions of Americans who don’t have a college degree have been forced to pay $5 billion EVERY month this pause is in effect.  

Here’s what they’re saying about Biden’s irresponsible student loan pause:

“The Administration's postponement yet again of student debt payments is very hard to understand on policy terms. Wherever one stands on student debt relief this approach is regressive, uncertainty creating, untargeted and inappropriate at a time when the economy is overheated.” – Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and Director of NEC for President Obama
“Continuing the current payment pause would be even more regressive, benefiting high-debt, high-income borrowers significantly more than low-debt borrowers. It has already cost the federal government over $100 billion and would cost another $50 billion per year to continue. If the payment pause is continued through the summer, it will have cost half as much as forgiving $10,000 per borrower outright. At the same time, it will worsen inflation.” – Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
“If the White House believes most borrowers are not in a strong enough financial position to repay their loans, it should also produce a serious plan to curtail new lending.” – Preston Cooper, Research Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity
“The government has already cancelled $50,000 of student debt...for doctors. Lawyers got $30,000 of debt cancelled. The student debt pause is highly regressive.” – Marc Goldwein, Senior Vice President and Senior Policy Director, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
“This may or may not prove to be good politics for Biden. But it is undoubtedly bad policy.” – Beth Akers, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
“There is no economic excuse to extend the student debt freeze. College grads weathered COVID better than anyone else, we now have near record-low unemployment, and inflation is worse with more dollars in the economy. It’s time to repay taxpayers.” – Neal McCluskey, Director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute
“I think this makes student loan pause the longest lasting pandemic policy for households. Outlives stimulus checks, higher UI benefits, child tax credits. Perversely, it's the only one of these with absolutely no means test or income limit. Right? Strange policy priority IMO.” – Jason Delisle, Senior Policy Fellow at the Urban Institute
“Also just gonna point out, as a reporter who covers ED: All these leaks are coming from the WH, not ED. Meaning, each of these extensions is more inextricably intertwined with politics than the last one.” – Cory Turner, Education Correspondent, NPR 

“You can never go broke betting on Washington cynicism, and the Administration’s latest extension timeline suggests a political calculation. Could it be teeing up even more sweeping loan forgiveness, to be announced in August as the new school year and the fall election campaign begin?” – The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
“More deferral might also just be a mistake. It could be electoral pandering. It may satisfy some intraparty politics. But none of those things makes it defensible or a good idea.” – Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
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