Kamala pushed Biden into student loan scam; wife Jill and other top advisers objected, says NY Times

President Joe Biden doling out $10,000 to $20,000 in student debt relief to eligible Americans wasn’t an example of him making a premeditated move so much as it was one of him succumbing to pressure and not listening to wiser voices.

“Mr. Biden bowed to months of lobbying and overcame his own deep reservations, and those of aides, about the policy and the political implications of an enormous exercise of presidential power,” according to The New York Times.

Lobbying from whom? Vice President Kamala Harris, for starters. She was reportedly “one of the most persistent promoters” for canceling student debt. So much so that during Valentine’s Day week this year, she had her staff draft talking points to overcome the president’s doubts and spur him into pulling the trigger.

“On his concern that debt cancellation would benefit ‘private elite schools,’ they recommended in the memo that she counter by saying that ‘only 0.3 percent of federal loan borrowers attended Ivy League schools,'” the Times notes.

“In response to his worry that loans should be forgiven by an act of Congress, the memo urged her to say that similar executive authority was already being used to enact the loan payment pause.”

During a lunch together in May, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer meanwhile  “appealed to the president’s emotions, describing a young woman who had approached him with tears in her eyes, saying the crushing burden of her loan payments made it difficult to live.”

“The senator also sought to soothe the president’s fear that erasing some debt would be a boon for rich white students, telling him that ‘the vast majority are poor people and people of color,'” according to the Times.

That same month, Schumer and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Raphael Warnock, “presented data to Mr. Biden showing that debt cancellation would benefit borrowers who failed to obtain a degree, according to a person familiar with the meeting.”

These were all lies though, as student debt cancellation is poised to benefit wealthy elites the most.

The president’s Twitter-obsessed chief of staff, Ron Klain, also appeared to support student loan cancellation, reportedly on the basis that it’d “galvanize the support of younger voters, many of whom had grown frustrated with the administration.”

But to their credit, some of the people around the president knew better, including his wife, first lady Jill Biden.

“A college professor, Jill Biden had been vocal about her husband’s call for free community college. But she did not publicly endorse forgiving student debt,” according to the Times.

Even the president’s own Treasury secretary had serious reservations about canceling student debt.

“Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary and former Federal Reserve chair, was one of the chief skeptics among Mr. Biden’s inner circle of top advisers,” the Times notes.

“She, like others, worried that the economic effects of a giant giveaway could be profound, especially as the Federal Reserve struggled to keep inflation at bay, according to several officials. Her message was echoed by top Democratic economists, who peppered the White House with concerns about the potential effects.”

Meanwhile, Mike Donilon, one of the president’s political advisers, drew attention to polling data showing that Americans were split on the issue of student debt cancellation.

“Whatever its effect on those with debt, the move could alienate older Americans who saved money to pay off tuition for themselves or their children, he told the president. The plan could be seen as unfair,” according to the Times.

And indeed, that’s exactly the narrative that Libertarians and Republicans alike seized upon following the president’s big announcement this week.

But instead of listening to wiser voices, the president eventually buckled under pressure and sided with the more radical wing of his party.

What remains to be seen is how his cancellation of student debt — a move estimated to cost taxpayers anywhere from $600 billion to $1 trillion — will affect him in the polls.

Speaking of the move’s cost, the Times notes that the president’s announcement was made “before the Education Department could fully design how the program would work, and before White House economists could estimate its full cost.”

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Vivek Saxena

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