President Joe Biden doesn’t have the legal authority for wholesale forgiveness of loans. By executive fiat, he’s violating both the Higher Education Act and the Federal Claims Collection Act that set strict limits on modifying or waiving loans. Blanket cancellation of debt is forbidden without congressional authorization, not that unscrupulous Joe would care.
In attempting an end-run around those laws, Biden’s Justice Department claims he can forgive loans under the Heroes Act of 2003. The DOJ apparently didn’t bother to read that law. It applies to war, military operations, and a national emergency. No such exigent conditions exist right now. Even if they did, the president’s authority to act unilaterally is limited to a payment pause or interest waiver on loans, not abolishing them altogether.
Biden knows what he’s doing is lawless. He previously admitted publicly that he did not have the executive power to do it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the same thing a year ago. Now, Biden is ignoring the law —and himself— by doing it anyway.
Pelosi was correct when she declared that only an act of Congress can eradicate debt. This is because the legislature, under our constitutional structure, holds the power of the purse. Congress is vested with the exclusive authority to tax and spend (see Article I, Sections 7 and 9). This includes assuming or disposing of debts, which encompasses the bearing of costs by the federal government. A president cannot spend money not appropriated by Congress.
Congress doesn’t have the votes to pass debt cancellation. So, Biden is usurping its authority and laying waste to the separation of powers that is so fundamental to our Constitution.
This constitutes a dangerous pattern of authoritarianism by Biden. He is deliberately defying the law and the Constitution. You’ll recall that he well exceeded his authority with his COVID mandates, his eviction moratoriums, his race-based farm program, and his moratorium on deportation. All of these were reversed by federal courts that declared Biden’s actions lawless.
When a president ignores the rule of law, it is tantamount to tyranny.
Biden’s power-grab will be met with the inevitable legal challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court will likely be asked to resolve it. I wouldn’t bet on Biden’s chances. He’s set a modern presidential record for being slapped down by the high court.
It is obvious that Biden’s debt amnesty plan is nothing more than a disgraceful and blatant attempt to buy votes with taxpayer money in advance of the upcoming mid-term elections. The latest estimate is that it’ll cost half a trillion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Who pays for it? The government must absorb the exorbitant cost, meaning taxpayers end up footing the bill.
Whenever a politician bows to the demands of the far-left progressive woke crowd, it’ll backfire politically. Guaranteed. That’s what’s happening here. The groundswell of outrage is already building.
The people who are angry at Biden are the millions of responsible borrowers who faithfully paid off their loans, those that chose not to go to college because they didn’t want to incur the debt, and taxpayers who will be forced to pay for this. Even the Washington Post editorial board has blasted Biden’s gambit as expensive and inflationary. It’ll wipe out any gain made by the Inflation Reduction Act, which was an oxymoron anyway.
As former Education Secretary Bill Bennett pointed out, Biden’s forgiveness gimmick disproportionately impacts minority groups that didn’t go to college and favors high income earners who are white. Bennett called it a “terrible, idiotic idea.” He’s right.
But Biden is, as ever, clueless. He’s treating the symptom but not attacking the cause of our sick and broken educational system that has seen college tuition skyrocket. Government is to blame for that. Over the years, the profligate spenders in Washington have flooded the marketplace with easy-to-get loans. Colleges and universities cheered, “Great…let’s hike our tuition!” The more money the government doled out, the more tuition prices went up. Basic economics.
Even if you cancel student debt now, it’ll quickly go back up to the current level (and beyond) in a couple of years. Biden is not solving the underlying problem of too much government money infusing the educational system. He’s simply throwing more taxpayer money at it. It’s an endless and insane cycle.
Our president’s solution is, therefore, spectacularly reckless and stupid. So, it’s classic Joe Biden, who is both.