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Biden is Already Spending Toward $1 Trillion in Student Loan Handouts

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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When the founding fathers gave Congress the power of the purse, they never anticipated the presidency could preside over a $1.6 trillion loan portfolio drawn directly from the U.S. Treasury. Nonetheless, the federal student loan portfolio places President Joe Biden in that exact position, and if he gets his way, he will spend more than a trillion dollars forgiving student loan debt, and do so without Congressional approval. 

Big ticket forgiveness proposals are taking center stage, but they obscure the hundreds of billions the president has already spent toward that mark.

The grandest of Biden’s proposals is his blanket forgiveness of up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning $125,00 or less, which comes before the Supreme Court at the end of February. The administration maintains the president’s authority to categorically forgive student debt comes from the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 to address “financial harms of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a pandemic whose public health emergency declaration Biden will end on May 11. The Penn Wharton Budget Model pegs the cost of Biden’s plan at $469 billion this year.

The court may rule against the president, at least in part because his plan violates the bedrock principle of separation of powers, but we know what the president will do if he can, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Less flashy, but just as consequential, are the administration’s proposed changes to Income Driven Repayment (IDR) programs. IDR ties borrowers’ monthly payments to their income, and after a period of successful payment, forgives remaining balances. Biden’s changes to the program will adjust multiple factors—the amount of exempted income, the minimum percentage of discretionary income, and the repayment periods required for forgiveness—all in ways that increase forgiveness.

The Urban Institute projects these changes would result in 49 percent of average Bachelor degree borrowers enrolled in IDR repaying half of their federal loans, or less. Such generous terms will not only increase forgiveness costs, they will increase future borrowing.  Penn Wharton projects IDR changes will cost $333 billion over 10 years, not accounting for the likely increases in borrowing. Even worse, the administration’s IDR revamp comes through regulatory changes that will not require Congressional approval, and will be difficult to challenge in court.

Still absent from this accounting is how much the Biden Administration has already forgiven. AEI’s Student Debt Forgiveness Tracker, which I produce, captures the amount of federal student loan revenues that have already been foregone by the US Treasury during the Trump and Biden administrations. This month, the total due to Biden’s actions reached $201 billion—from one-time discharges, Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waivers, and the pandemic pause on federal student loan payments. That total will grow $6 billion each month Biden maintains the pause. If he does so through August, as he promised, that total will grow by $30 billion.

Adding his immediate $469 billion plan to forgive up to $20,000 per borrower, the $333 billion cost of his proposed IDR changes over ten years, and the $201 billion he has already forgone, Biden could divert a trillion dollars in total forgiveness from the US treasury. Much of this could be returned to taxpayers, but even if not, $1 trillion could fund other potential priorities, including Build Back Better’s ten year proposals for Pell increases, Universal Pre-K, and Birth through Five Early Learning provisions, twice over.

Adding insult to injury, these forgiveness measures are far from progressive, benefiting many relatively advantaged Americans and almost none who never chose to attend college. The unimaginable amount Biden is working toward would equal to over $8,000 for every American household, and if Biden has his way, he will spend it without Congressional approval. Worse, these expensive measures will not stem the flow of student loan debt, and are more likely to increase the root problem in the future.

President Biden has quoted his own father saying “Don’t tell me what you value.  Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value.” Despite what he said in the State of the Union, his budgeting is clear. Student debt relief, much of it going to relatively advantaged Americans, is among his highest priorities.

The Biden administration is spending the people’s money, without action from Congress, and has attempted to avoid interference from the Supreme Court. Both bodies should stop this profligate spending and executive overreach where they can. The Court should rule against the forgiveness proposal, and Congress should right size adjustments to IDR. Longer term solutions will require Congress addressing the root causes of these challenges, including the rising cost of college, the increasing disbursements of student loans, and ultimately, the unrestrained presidential control of a huge loan portfolio housed in the U.S. Treasury.

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Adonis
Adonis
1 year ago

And all of it with borrowed and printed money, while already approaching national debt limit. House Republican must remain stern and not agree to raise debt limit without major concessions on spending. This illegitimate moron, who never worked one single day in private sector, has no clue.

Jeri
Jeri
1 year ago

Not surprised. Absolutely no one is stopping him. When no one stops you from doing something there is no reason to stop

SAMSON
SAMSON
1 year ago

How is he doing this without congress??

Seamus
Seamus
1 year ago

Buying votes with socialism.

Kay
Kay
1 year ago

You borrow you pay back. I have to pay my bills and I do not expect paying yours. If this puppet goes forward then every person holding a political office should be required to pick up $20,000 each.

Leslie Crum
Leslie Crum
1 year ago

Wow. So glad I worked my butt off to repay MY student loans!

Charles Williams
Charles Williams
1 year ago

The Executive branch should have no funding that hasn’t been approved by Congress. The Executive Order needs to be re-thought. There is far too much allowance for one person to affect the lives of taxpayers and the extent of Executive powers needs have some kind of checks in place to restrict unbridled authoritarianism.

cindy martin
cindy martin
1 year ago

If the court let’s Biden do this we are done as a country. How can one person do all these things? It’s our money and I think this sort of thing must be approved by congress? What ever happened to checks and balances.

Catharine Noel-Repetski
Catharine Noel-Repetski
1 year ago

I paid my student loan by myself. I am not willing for my taxes to pay off someone who can’t get it together to pay their own!

JamesP.
JamesP.
1 year ago

This president, and his administration, has proven time and again, that they do not have this country’s best interest at heart. I am a Christian male who works hard for my pay, pays my taxes, and the only thing i want from my government, paved roads, clean water and protection from our nation’s enemies foreign (and unfortunately these days domestic).

DebS
DebS
1 year ago

I went to college full-time and worked part-time, never received any student loans or grants. My mother was a widow and she wanted us to go to college but we had to pay for it ourselves. I, too, am not willing to pay for some else’s debt. If they are working, let them pay off their students themselves!

Oliver Davidson
Oliver Davidson
1 year ago

This along should be enough to impeach him,but big mouth new speaker of the House had to give BIDEN the go ahead to do what ever he wants.My opinion is mid term Speaker of the house has to go for failler to do his job and protect not only the taxpayers money,but the taxpayers being held hostage for having to be the ones to pay for these bills.

Stephen Wagner
Stephen Wagner
1 year ago

This is out and out Biden Bribery. He is attempting to bribe the younger voters that most often do not follow the politics of this horrid president and the destruction he has brought to America!!

Marj
Marj
1 year ago

What is it that congress can do stop this? We need concrete ways we can work towards getting this rectified. I am one who often contacts my congressperson; but need better information to present to him/her.

Ann S
Ann S
1 year ago

Now we know how much it cost to buy one vote. $8,000.

Felix
Felix
1 year ago

Social Security and Medicare?

Luis Alvarez
Luis Alvarez
1 year ago

Democrat favorite game, buying votes.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

Higher education relief There is no education Lower or higher Only equal semi literacy

Wallace Hoffman
Wallace Hoffman
1 year ago

President Biden’s actions concerning student loans is strictly unconstitutional. The Constitution gave to Congress the power of the purse. However, President Biden hates the Constitution and has already violated the Constitution in any way he possible can. Another violation is the open borders, regardless of immigration law. He nominated and secured confirmation of the most anti-Constitutional judge ever named to the Supreme Count. If you vote for and elect corrupt officials, you reap the most corrupt government. As vice president, he was the most corrupt second in command in American history. He is now the most corrupt president in American history.

NewDay
NewDay
1 year ago

The Dems have no spending limits when it comes to getting re-elected.

Fred Noel
Fred Noel
1 year ago

Didn’t these dead beat people sign a contract stating that they would pay it back and in full in order to get the money. Their signature is worthless and no bank should ever consider giving any of them loans for anything.
Make the colleges and Universities pay back the loans. Not the American taxpayers!

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

I don’t understand why Biden is buying all the education votes when he has all the illegal voters flooding in. Oh, I forgot. Everything in America should be free!

David
David
1 year ago

Biden is not thinking rational which is a characteristic of dementia, this country is possibly on the verge of a world war, hasn’t anyone acknowledged this before choosing him as a presidential candidate or president of our nation of millions of people.

Spacey
Spacey
1 year ago

I am retired nurse and have a retired social worker friend, who never has paid a cent of her college loans back. When we were working together she would buy rings, buy the newest tablet and apple i- phone deal with her phone carrier, always running out of money, borrow money from friends, she did pay back so she could borrow again. Terrible credit slow or didn’t pay. I know because she talked about it like ,poor me! When I took her out to eat on her birthday she ordered the most expensive thing on the menu plus and extra, not free, specialty bread roll, and tea and dessert. I had water with my meal and no dessert. I was always frugal, and always owed nothing at the beginning of every month and did without to save. Do you think I want to see her student loans she has never paid forgiven??? Heck no. It’s insanely unfair.

Amacer
Amacer
1 year ago

Only an idiotic Democrat Party headed by idiot Biden would force Americans who had nothing to do with making unwise student loan decisions to foot the bill and make people who have never enslaved anyone pay for slavery reparations on people who have never been enslaved. I’m so sick of the stupidity of the Democrat Party.

Andrew P
Andrew P
1 year ago

The Supreme Court will allow Biden’s loan forgiveness program to stand, because the HEROES Act clearly gives that authority. While the law talks a lot about military service members in its preamble, the actual provisions grant the authority to modify student loans for anyone affected by a “national emergency” declared by the President. It just shows the President has too many emergency powers and Congress doesn’t exert enough control over the President’s ability to declare emergencies.

Dennis Belotti
Dennis Belotti
1 year ago

Where the hell is Congress to stop this madness ?
This demented Sociaist is killing our economy. He needs to be stopped by any means.

GARY J KIROUAC
GARY J KIROUAC
1 year ago

This story needs to wait until the Supreme Court hears this case. Anyone who is breathing is waking up to the fact all of this is a sham to take down our country… Absent from all of these reports is:
Treason, and other descriptive words which should now be stated in all of these stories. When the constitution is being violated we the people are prosecuted to the end. NOTE: January 6th people. Well I guess its time for AMAC to start to use this language in the subject lines. It’s about time we start using the same rules and tactics to win lawfully! Bring the discussion to the law, traitors, disloyal, untrustworthy, violation of the “oath of office”, and alike, I will leave the word salad to the writers of these posts. We must start calling them out for who they are by using the laws which they have sworn to uphold.

SAW
SAW
1 year ago

It’s not the puppet called Biden doing this. He is only the talking head and is completely oblivious until someone tells him what he is supposed to say and when to say it.

Soros/Obama and company are the ones taking this country/world apart.

They have already completed their mission goals and it is way too late now to ever turn it around.

A world war will just ruin the planet and those that survive will be no more than animals again if they can actually survive…

GDM
GDM
1 year ago

Agree with the puppet theory but it’s bigger than Soros/Obama. It’s the World Economic Forum funded by Bill Gates and his billionaire cronies pushing for One World Order after the USA is defeated economically.

Jackie
Jackie
1 year ago

This kinda shows me that the federal government has no business being in the student loan business!! But what did I expect because they make a mess of everything they touch!! That’s why we need a smaller government with Senators and Congressmen who actually have a job in their home town and they don’t spend all of their time finding more ways to interfere in our daily lives and to take more money out of our pockets!!

How much more student debt is there now than there was in 2003 when the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 was put into place?? This act did nothing to fix the problem any more than Biden’s executive order is not only an illegal action but it does nothing to fix the original problem!! I understand when people have had major hardships that loans can be forgiven but to simply give a blanket forgiving of “federal student loans” is unfair – what about those who borrowed elsewhere?? Joe, don’t you want to try to buy their votes, too??

So, Biden is doing this even though there are challenges in several courts as to his authority to do so?? That goes towards a president breaking the law!! Why didn’t he get this passed thru Congress while he had the majority and do it the legal way with the proper authority??

Randall L. Beatty
Randall L. Beatty
1 year ago

I would never want a handout from him when you make a loan you pay it off when you go to school you pay off your student debt when I went to school in Georgia for photography my loan is paid off did not need the government for help. What our great president is going to do any one that goes to school and does not want to finish they will expect the government to pay off there loan this is just a start. I do not need his help for that fact I do not need help from anyone in his White House to help me. He just wants to make himself look he is our savior in chief just to win votes.

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

It is totally wrong for Biden to pay off student loans with Debt Money & the same goes for Trump tax cuts that were estimated to increase debt by about 1-Trillion per year. What is wrong with White House leaders that are willing to increase our National Debt?

Smike
Smike
1 year ago

In the early 80’s I left federal service after 10 years for a non-federal job. The government sent me my retirement contributions of $10,000. I retired from my other job after 30 years and hired on to a job with federal service again. After working 10 more years, I retired with 20 years of federal service time. To get the full federal retirement I had to pay back the retirement funds they sent me. I sent them a check for the $10,000 they sent me. They rejected my check; I owed them $52,000 – they want interest. I took a 30% reduction in my federal retirement. So, what you ask? Well, if these folks borrowed money 5-10-20 years ago they own a lot more than the original amount too under the rules I was penalized with. If we’re going to play hardball, we should play under the same rules.

President Joe Biden departs after speaking at the NAACP Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mark Laws
Big Bend, Wisconsin, USA - Jan 22 2024: Kamala Harris delivering remarks at a political event
President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the nation after the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in the Oval Office.

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