Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren's Plan To Cancel Student Debt Helps the Well-Off

The unintended consequences of helping students with the brightest futures.


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Elizabeth Warren likes to say she's a champion of the little guy. But she recently announced a major policy proposal to provide more than a trillion dollars in aid. Much of that money would disproportionately benefit the relatively well off and well connected.

The idea is to eliminate student debt up to $50,000 for people with households incomes under $100,000, and more limited debt cancellation for households between $100,000 and $250,000 a year. By her own estimates, the full plan, which also includes funds for Pell Grants and historically black colleges, would cost about $1.25 trillion.

But the nature of college attendance and student loans means that Warren's loan forgiveness plan is actually a massive giveaway to the relatively well-off.

Only about a third of people over 25 have a college degree, making them a comparatively elite group, whose elite status is reinforced by, among other things, the connections they make while at college.

College graduates earn about $1 million more during their lifetimes than non-college graduates, according to a Georgetown University study. A separate study from Pew found college graduates typically earn about $17,500 more annually than people who only had high school degrees.

College graduates aren't, for the most part, super rich. But generally speaking, they are far more comfortable than the majority who lack such degrees. And while many of the people who would benefit from the plan currently have modest incomes, that's partly because many of them are young people with relatively high future earnings potential. This is a plan that would spend taxpayer money to benefit them.

Warren's defenders might respond that it's still a downward transfer, since the whole thing will be paid for by a new tax on the super wealthy.

There are, however, a few problems with using a wealth tax as a financing mechanism.

The first is that the tax might not be constitutional. Even if it is, another problem is that it's likely to raise far less money than projected. That's why most countries that have tried wealth taxes over the last two decades have abandoned them.

The third, as the The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein points out that, is that Warren has also suggested that this same revenue tax could be used to help pay for a whole slew of other progressive policy ideas. Those include Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and subsidized child care, which, all together, would cost tens of trillions of dollars—far more than even the most generous wealth tax would raise.

Ultimately, what Warren wants to do is tax the wealthy to help the merely well off, rather than prioritize programs that help the truly needy. Warren isn't helping the little guy—she's helping the folks already on top stay that way.

Music: Pomp and Circumstance, by Edward Elgar. Performed by Eastern Wind Symphony. Path to Follow—Jingle Punks https://youtu.be/CEek1N4wSHA

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written and narrated by Peter Suderman.

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  1. Yet another plan to buy votes with taxpayer money.

    1. Mexico’s going to pay for it.

    2. Yet another plan to buy votes with taxpayer money.

      It is worse than that. It is a plan to buy the votes of the stupid and incompetent. Arts and Social Science majors are the ones who take the longest to earn back what they spend on a degree (if they ever do) and as such are the primary benefactors of such a plan along with women who get a degree and then end up stay at home moms.

      This is communism. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The stupid and incompetent are very, very needy.

      1. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

        Except it isn’t even that. They are taking money from people who could use it and giving it largely to people who don’t need it, or to people who do need it for useless degrees.

        Also, suck my balls. I was a philosophy major and paid off my loans by the time I was 25.

        1. I was a philosophy major

          What is truth?

            1. Nobody knows.
              Some philosophy major. I’d ask for a refund.

          1. What is truth?

            Hillary’s emails were all wedding plans and yoga appointments.

            1. While we’re on a round of whataboutism, Trump is not hiding anything embarrassing in his tax returns.

    3. Most people shouldn’t be in college. Why make it painless from them, and at other people expense, for them to find that out? Look around you, how many people do you see during the course of one day are working jobs that require an advanced education? 30% would be a high number.
      Second, generally, it is only when you have skin in the game will you do your best. If college education is all-but-free, how serious is your average 18-year-old going going to take it?

    4. But Suderman and Krainin don’t say that. No, their concern is that the proposed system is not progressive enough for them.

      What they also do not mention is that it does not really matter which students get’s the ‘free’ tuition. Because the entire point of the enterprise is funneling more government money to reliably leftist supporting institutions.

  2. Largest benefits going to Ivy League students, of course. What do you expect from a Harvard alum? Students at the most expensive schools have the most to gain. Meaning local state and private colleges to be hardest hit as students realize they don’t have to go local to save money.

    This is truly welfare for the Harvard establishment.

    1. Or, likely more for all the schools that cost as much as Harvard, but don’t have the same profile.

      1. Oberlin for the win!

      2. Exactly – this is Warren trying to cement the relationship between government and the educational industrial complex.

        And Suderman and Krainin are all too happy to play along. They are nothing more than shills in this con game.

        1. They are like the two guys secretly working with Soapy Smith arguing about whether your odds of finding a $5 bill were better than your odds of finding a $10 bill.

  3. Will there be reparations for those now debt free?

  4. Here’s an idea.
    Have Senator Warren pay off the debt out of her own pocket, and that would include all past, present and future student debt.
    That way, students won’t have the burdensome responsibility of paying for something they bought, someone else will since having someone else paying for something is the credo of the left?

    1. Nobody – not Suderman & Krainin, not Warren – gives two shits about the students.

      This is all about who ultimately gets the money.

      This article is pure misdirection.

  5. Why don’t libertarians ever point out that tax hypothecation is complete and utter bullshit since most tax revenues are fungible? Seriously, lottery funds going to schools is the best example, but this wealth tax nonsense is right up there with it.

    1. I mean, at least this might give people the proper sense that, despite Warren’s insistence that the rich will be footing the bill, we’re all on the hook for everything the government spends proportionately to what each of us pays in taxes.

      1. There is also the point that taxing the rich will never generate enough extra revenue to pay for all of this shit. It would require massive tax increases for everyone.

    2. I’m pretty sure they do.

    3. Well, lottery funds are taxes. But otherwise I think we get the point.

      1. Lottery funds are a voluntary tax. Nobody has to pay them.

        1. But, speaking as someone who would otherwise be on the hook for government expenditures, I sure appreciate everyone who does pay them.

          You can’t win if you don’t play!!!

  6. Reason is gonna write wisely cautioning against such stupid and unfair ideas, and then will strangely support it once enacted.

    1. Is there something you have in mind where that happened?

      1. Has Suderman (who I like and like he cares) not taken to defending it in the age of Trump?

        At least that’s how I perceive it.

        So it was a light jab. I could be wrong.

    2. They will criticize the details.

      1. And I think that’s a good thing? Not enough focusing on the nuts and bolts of things.

        1. It’s like discussing whether the bolts are metric or imperial rather than being concerned that the entire apparatus is about to be rammed up your ass.

          Talking about who gets, ‘free college’ but ignoring that the ultimate effect is massive government subsidy for largely worthless institutions is what we have here.

          Might as well be discussing who gets “free” newspaper deliveries..

  7. From the way some of the woke liberal students act, I don’t see them as an investment. There is no way they can compete with kids from other countries.

  8. ‘Ultimately, what Warren wants to do is tax the wealthy to help the merely well off, rather than prioritize programs that help the truly needy. Warren isn’t helping the little guy—she’s helping the folks already on top stay that way.’
    The truly needy already vote Democrat, so no need to help them.
    The wealthy already vote Democrat, out of guilt, so they aren’t going to feel any less guilty.
    Warren is aiming to pick up support from the middle class, many of whom vote Republican whose kids are the majority going to college and who will benefit the most from “free college.” Thus switching party allegiance.

  9. Is there nothing you people won’t fucking bitch about? Seriously, is there anything that anyone does anywhere on the planet that you agree with?

    1. Is there nothing you people won’t fucking bitch about? Seriously, is there anything that anyone does anywhere on the planet that you agree with?


      I like the right to be left alone. How’s that?

    2. This is the hill you choose, kbolan???

  10. Student debt cancellation is a terrible idea, and I’m completely against it. Unfortunately, it’s probably inevitable; there are just too many voters that will “benefit” from this wealth transfer. I hope that when it comes to pass, a few concessions are made as a compromise. First, stop (or at least drastically reduce) government subsidizing student loans. Also, don’t leave only the tax payers on the hook for it. Financial institutions and universities were complicit in perpetuating the problem. Make the loans at least partially dischargeable through bankruptcy so the lenders aren’t reimbursed for the entire defaulted amount. Also, withhold federal grant money from universities proportional to the amount of debt on which former students defaulted.

    1. The federal government is the lender for the vast majority of new student debt (since ~2011), so we (I’m assuming you pay net taxes too, otherwise me) are paying for it.

      What you’re really getting at is tied funding: if a student discharges student loan debt in bankruptcy, that’s charged against the school.

      1. ” if a student discharges student loan debt in bankruptcy, that’s charged against the school.”


        And, rather than taxing the “rich” why aren’t Suderman and Krainin recommending that Warren should be taxing the ginormous endowments so many Universities are just sitting on?

      2. Huh, yep you’re right. My overall point I guess is that I hope we don’t end up with an outright cancellation plan, and that education lending starts factoring risk into the process (preferably without the “help” of the government).

        1. “I hope we don’t end up with an outright cancellation plan, and that education lending starts factoring risk into the process”

          It’s as if Warren (and Suderman and Krainin) looked at the roots of the last financial crisis and have taken it as a how-to guide rather than a warning.

  11. Warren is blowing smoke into the wind. She’s an abandoned teepee, a squaw without a brave. She matters like last year’s buffalo roundup matters. Heapum dull stuff.

  12. Christ, what a cunt.

  13. If you’re ‘well-off’ you probably don’t have student loan debt. I think the plan only applies to people who aren’t earning fat paychecks so it excludes the rich. Y’all tried to get cute. People need this shit. Don’t hate.

    1. Yet another OP shitpost.

  14. More proof that the modern left is completely anti personal responsibility and against the rule of law (in this case, the sanctity of a mutual agreed upon contract). But this or something like it will pass sooner or later. The 2008 collapse has already set the precedent wide open for bailouts. Heavily indebted grievance study majors turned baristas who refuse to accept the consequences of their poor decisions are an increasingly large share of the voting populace. As a college dropout with no debts who makes a nice salary, I find this disgusting on multiple levels.

  15. The government shouldn’t be in the loan business. Why can’t the well endowed colleges make the loans? Or, for state schools, the state (who must balance their budgets, so no loan forgiveness)? Or banks?

    1. Private funding for private enterprise?

      What an insane thought, where do you think you are? A libertarian publication?

  16. This just in;
    At a rally today Elizabeth Warren promised if elected she would give everyone “a unicorn, a pony and a puppy.” Upon realizing not everyone is a dog person she hastily added, “And if you don’t like dogs you can have a cat. I’ll give you one of my own if you want. I got like three dozen of ’em. I think.”

    1. Were that true I’m sure that, if you looked hard enough, you’d find that some of Warren’s relatives and cronies recently incorporated a business under the the name “Unicorns, Ponies, and Puppies R Us, LLC”

  17. As if Ann Rand libertarians care about the truly needy. What I hear from many so-called libertarians is “No one has a right to any social welfare”. If one was to follow policies recommended by many people calling themselves libertarians at their word, the truly needy wouldn’t get any kind of social welfare even if they were children or elderly or disabled. After all, we don’t want to encourage those people to have kids or get old be disabled. Churches and the benevolent wealthy will do everything for the truly needy. They would do it voluntarily out of the goodness of their hearts and the truly needy would be happy as clams, right? What a bunch of concern-trolling crap.

  18. The taxpayers will pick up the debt and all those underpaid professors will get more. Warren should know. She was only paid $350K as a law professor, which is guess to her is chump change.

  19. If you pick your major right then debt shouldn’t be a problem. Be a scientist or an engineer. But if you major in 19th century lesbian poetry —– well, that’s a problem.

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