Politics

The Online Discourse Around Student Debt Forgiveness Is Unhinged and, Frankly, Quite Entertaining

A fiery, smoky yellow mushroom cloud rises against a dark background.
Live shot of Erick Erickson’s brain. The Image Bank/Getty Images

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that his administration intends to use a law covering executive authority during national emergencies to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for individuals who qualify under certain guidelines.

Now, as a matter of policy there are left-leaning critics who don’t think this is a good idea because it doesn’t forgive enough, or because it doesn’t address the underlying problems of higher-education cost inflation and predatory marketing by for-profit institutions. It could also incentivize colleges to raise prices even further, the idea being that potential students would be happy to pay more because they assume Johnny Fed is going to eventually write everything off anyway. There are also right-leaning individuals like David French who are trying to earnestly explain why the move is alienating to individuals of lesser means who had to make great sacrifices to pay off their own loans. And then there are others responding to those people to note that workers in “blue-collar” jobs may themselves have dropped out of college with debt, or may carry debt from technical institutions.

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This post is not about those people, or the actual blue-collar workers who might be upset about this policy. It is about the fancy-pants, white-collar, right-wing (and libertarian) guys (and gals) who are extremely angry about debt forgiveness on behalf of, to take one example, hypothetical Latino welders, and about the left-wing trolls who are winding them up.

Megan McArdle of the Washington Post:

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McArdle clarified that her debt was from business school and her parents paid her undergraduate tuition at the University of Pennsylvania. She also attended an institution called “Riverdale Country Day School.” So her failure to see any evidence that most student debt holders are worse off than she was might mean she didn’t look hard enough.

Erick Erickson of (apparently) Hell Magazine:

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Hell! HELL!!!

Batya Ungar-Sargon of Newsweek:

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“Work the railroad”?

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YouTube’s Steven Crowder:

That’s not even a joke! It’s just a collection of buzzwords written in a tone of indiscriminate sarcasm! Crowder’s business took out a $70,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan during the pandemic that was later forgiven.

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Finally:

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The clerisy? What century is this? Cooke has a degree from Oxford’s “Lady Margaret Hall College” and once wrote an article called “Of Grapes and Gaul: Childhood Memories From French Wine Country.”

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Here were some good responses from the other side of the aisle:

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Ha!

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LOL!

Hmm, that’s actually just a regular tweet about sports. But it’s funny that someone is named “Michael Penix Jr.” I’m off tomorrow; have a good weekend!

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