AOC strikes back at voters who oppose cancelling student debt with tax dollars

Some have argued that student loan forgiveness is unfair to those who paid off their loans or chose to attend a community college as a way to take on less debt.

Updated: June 19, 2022 - 11:43pm

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New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has hit back at voters who oppose student-debt cancellation with taxpayer dollars, specifically those who have already paid off their own loans. 

President Biden is reportedly considering a plan to allow graduates who meet certain requirements to receive $10,000 in student debt forgiveness. Some have objected to this idea, arguing that it is unfair to people who recently paid off their loans or chose to attend a community college as a way to take on less debt.

"Forgiving student loans is unfair to students who have paid off their loans; unfair to students who have chosen less expensive community college options; unfair to taxpayers whose dollars are paying off the loans and who have no college education; and it will not rescue students from large amounts of debt," said Diana Furchtgott-Roth, adjunct professor of economics at George Washington University and former chief economist for the Department of Labor, according to Newsweek.

While it decides how to handle student loan debt, the Biden administration has extended the deferral of student-loan interest through August 31, a decision that was met with criticism amid record levels of inflation. 

Jason Furman, a Harvard economist and top economic adviser in the Obama administration, said that the "perpetual deferral of interest" for student loans is "just about the worst policy." He called it a plan that is "costly, unjustified, and has added to inflation."

Ocasio-Cortez was asked to respond to those who oppose student debt forgiveness as unfair to those who have paid off their loans.

"I would say, if that's the case, did they support the Paycheck Protection Program?" she said on Capitol Hill, referring to the coronavirus pandemic forgivable loan program for small businesses.

"Did they support the forgiveness of small business loans during COVID? Is this just a matter of certain classes of people having their debt forgiveness being okay, but other classes of people not? I think that's kind of a central issue here that we should address," she added.

Ocasio-Cortez, who has called for cancellation of all student debt, was also asked what she hopes to see from Biden's forthcoming proposal on the issue.

"I haven't heard any of the latest updates. You know, we saw some of those developments a couple weeks ago, but I have to read on the updated situation," she said.

A recent national poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School Government found that the vast majority of voters oppose total student-debt cancellation. 

According to an April poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico, 64% of respondents supported some form of student-loan cancellation. 

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