Student Loan Forgiveness is Not a Working Class Priority

Photograph Source: Bryan Alexander – CC BY 2.0

It is no mystery why Democrats want to push student loan forgiveness.

The college-educated elite is today’s Democratic Party’s base. That’s why Joe Biden ran on the campaign promise of forgiving their student loan debt. (And like nearly all of his campaign promises he never had any intention of actually keeping that promise.)

Basically student loan forgiveness would be a big handout to the college-educated class (costing between $373 billion and $1.6 trillion, depending on the plan); if Democrats fail to keep this promise they risk alienating a substantial part of their base, which could mean even bigger losses at the polls in 2022 and 2024.

Democrats like to say that in pushing for student loan forgiveness they are only looking out for the working class, that student loan forgiveness will make it more likely for the working class to attend college (wrong, tuition-free college would), and to provide relief for those who have dropped out of college without a degree and are now strapped with crushing debt. Best of all, forgiving student debt would be remarkably easy to accomplish.

“Under the Higher Education Act, President-elect Biden [has] the executive authority to cancel the entirety of student debt for all 43 million borrowers nationwide with the stroke of a pen,” writes Amy Czulada, a research analyst for an east coast labor union, Czulada goes on to call recent college graduates, “working class by anyone’s definition,” though she provides no evidence that most college graduates are members of the working class, and in fact, the graduates themselves do not even think of themselves that way. According to this piece from the Associated Press, only 35% of graduates described themselves as working or lower class—and this is still only a feeling that they have, and not a reliable statistic. By its very definition, you cannot be working class if you have a college degree.

Let’s look at the real statistics. In reality nearly half (47%) of federal student loan debt belongs to graduate student borrowers. We are talking about the elite of the elite.

In other words, the key Democratic Party demographic. No wonder student loan forgiveness is such a priority for the Democratic Party.

The big mystery is why those on the Far Left have made student loan forgiveness such an important issue. For many on the Left, student loan forgiveness has momentarily replaced the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021, Medicare for All, an increase in the federal minimum wage, and Climate change as their top priority.

Traditionally, the Left is supposed to focus on the working class, but forgiving student loans to people with Masters Degrees and PhDs, is not something blue collar and service workers are excited about. In fact, this only reinforces the notion—proved time and time again—that the Democrats and the Left are out of touch with working class issues, and that they are deep in the pockets of the educated elite and Wall Street.

Of course, what many people who are pushing student loan forgiveness really want is tuition-free college, which is an entirely separate issue, and again, one that is not really a working class issue, because it involves moving people out of the working class, rather than making life better for those who remain in the working class.

In fact, people with college degrees have huge advantages over the working class. Experts say that over the course of a full-time career, the typical American worker with a bachelor’s degree earns about $1 million more than a worker with a high school diploma.

Making life better for the working class means unionization efforts, increasing the federal minimum wage, Medicare for All, mandatory family leave, and childcare subsidies. These are the things the Left should be fighting for, rather than pushing for handouts for the elite.