Millions of Americans didn’t consider themselves rich yet, but they were already less poor. Since the Biden administration announced major student loan restructuring late last summer, sixteen million borrowers have received the happy news that $10,000 or $20,000 will be forgiven. Ten million applicants are still awaiting results.
But the question is whether the party will continue. Two cases against the government’s plan have now reached the Supreme Court: one on behalf of borrowers who feel they are ineligible, and another on behalf of some states who fear the debt restructuring will eventually hurt their finances. At a public hearing on the cases this week, the six conservative justices in the court’s majority expressed strong skepticism about whether the Biden administration has the authority to issue large-scale pardons.
The independent Congressional Budget Office estimates that this will cost the government about $400 billion over the next few decades. In the United States, Congress ultimately has the final say on government finances. But this exemption is a presidential decree, not a law; It was already clear that it would not pass the Senate.
Act since 2003
The government argues that it is factually correct. He cites a 2003 law that allows the government to cancel student loans in an emergency. The Corona pandemic and its economic consequences, now a state of emergency by the government.
Chief Justice John Roberts held that this was too far-reaching an interpretation of an old law and involved a lot of money. “I think most people would say that if you’re giving that much money and you’re going to affect the obligations of so many Americans in a very controversial area, that’s really one for Congress,” he said.
Other conservative judges largely agree with him. In the last one year, they have repeatedly shown that they are not afraid to blow the whistle on the government if it usurps too many powers to their liking. For example, they reduced the authority of the environmental authority EPA to impose strict rules on industry, and argued that they must first be approved by Congress.
Incidentally, it won’t be too bad for President Biden and the Democrats if the Supreme Court strikes down the settlement. That gives Democrats a clear campaign theme: If the waiver can only be passed through Congress, the millions of people who already rely on it should vote for it, and vote democratically.
The student loan problem is also looming large on the minds of many Americans. In the fifteen years since 2006, national student debt has quadrupled from $481 billion to $1.75 trillion. The average debt per borrower is $40,000, which is a financial burden for many Americans.
Incidentally, repeal does not change the structural reasons for that growth. This is because colleges and universities have drastically increased their tuition fees. Legal objections aside, the plan has an important political criticism: It temporarily removes the plug from a bathtub that’s nearly overflowing with debt.
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The U.S. Senate today begins hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who could seal a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court for decades. The population as a whole is becoming more progressive.
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