The New York Times is facing backlash for running a report seemingly suggesting young Americans may escape their student loan debts through death.
Titled “Ways You Can Still Cancel Your Federal Student Loan Debt,” the report evidently sought to give young Americans options now that the Supreme Court has struck down the president’s student loan debt forgiveness plan.
“The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to block President Biden’s loan forgiveness program will be an enormous disappointment for the 43 million people who might have benefited from having up to $20,000 of debt canceled, but millions of borrowers have already gotten relief thanks to a grab bag of methods that are still available,” the report reads.
“That’s because the Supreme Court’s disapproval of the plan does not change laws and regulations that already give many federal student loan borrowers an escape hatch,” it continues.
So far so good. Even most of the suggested methods were pretty decent, including “income-drive repayment,” “public service loan forgiveness,” “borrower defense,” “bankruptcy discharge,” and “disability discharge.”
But then came the final method: “death” (*Language warning):
NYT what the fuck are you doing bro pic.twitter.com/mK6WbLLsPZ
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) June 30, 2023
“This is not something that most people would choose as a solution to their debt burden. Still, if you’re a young adult wondering about the federal PLUS loans your relatives took out to pay for your education, you may be wondering whether the debt dies with the person or people who take it on,” the section reads.
“It does. The federal government will not make a claim on their estate, and you will not inherit the balance,” it continues.
And so the section was basically saying that Americans won’t inherit their parents’ loans. But that’s not how it came off, especially given the report’s headline and the really weird first sentence.
Below is a sample of the backlash and mockery that erupted following the report’s publication:
Disturbing, esspecially since I legitametly thought about doing this to escape them in the past.
— Danny ”Elon Musk” Kelly (@dcarnys) June 30, 2023
Is the @nytimes recommending students kill themselves to avoid paying back student loan debt?
— Derek (@dmoto01) July 1, 2023
“This is not something that ‘MOST’ people would choose…” Insinuating that some will. This is outrageous.
— Director.Of.VOYAGE (@TheSoundChekGuy) July 1, 2023
My god, the Times completely forgot to disguise their contempt for us and our lives.
We. Are. Human. Capital. Stock.
Stop putting up with that.
“Death: This is not something most people would choose as a solution for their debt burden.”
Can’t get past the “most people” part.
Hard to read it as anything other than @ronlieber saying it’s an option for at least some people.
— Tio Paul (@UnclePaulyMath) June 30, 2023
The Times apparently took notice of the complaints, because the paper decided to rewrite and retitle the part about “death.”
“Debt Won’t Carry On,” the new section title reads.
“If you’re a young adult wondering about the federal PLUS loans your relatives took out to pay for your education, you may be wondering whether the debt dies with the person or people who take it on. It does. The federal government will not make a claim on their estate, and you will not inherit the balance,” the section itself reads.
However, the Times chose to edit the report stealthily, meaning without leaving an editor’s note revealing that a correction/change had been made.
Nice stealth edit they did too. This is really, really gross. pic.twitter.com/vaDAOXapXS
— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) June 30, 2023
Hilariously enough, the stealth edit triggered another round of recriminations, with critics bashing the paper for not being more upfront about its error.
One critic also slammed both versions for allegedly being poorly written.
I hate it when the NYT goes “oops, they caught on, better go change it and pretend like it didn’t happen”
— flashbulb moment (@flashbulbmomen1) June 30, 2023
In addition to my moral objections to including this in the article, both the original and the revised are poorly written.
— Bryn Donovan – Author (@BrynDonovan) July 1, 2023
All this comes after the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to nix President Biden’s unconstitutional plan to forgive millions in student loan debt.
“In a stinging defeat for President Joe Biden, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s student loan forgiveness plan Friday, rejecting a program aimed at delivering up to $20,000 of relief to millions of borrowers struggling with outstanding debt,” CNN reported.
“The decision was 6-3 with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the conservative supermajority. Roberts said the government needed direct authorization from Congress. ‘The question here is not whether something should be done; it is who has the authority to do it,” CNN added.
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