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Gonzalez Introduces the Student Loan Relief Act


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Characters Referenced: Joe Biden Litzy Gonzalez

From the Office of Democratic Representative Litzy Gonzalez

 

Today I have introduced into the House Hopper the Student Loan Relief Act. With this legislation, the Department of Education would be directed to forgive up to $50,000 of federal student loan debt for all borrowers. This would eliminate roughly 80% of American student loan debt completely. Recent polling has shown that over 66% of Americans favor some form of student loan forgiveness.

The repercussions of the student loan albatross that hangs over the neck of millions of Americans has immense repercussions. According to a SoFi survey 61% of millennials said they've delayed buying a house because of student loan debt. That's an entire generation boxed out of achieving the American dream because for decades the US government has refused to take serious action on the matter.

Many conservatives will no doubt make the misguided and disingenuous argument that student loan cancellation shouldn't be supported because it's regressive, but this is a misleading claim. First off research from the Jain Family Institute found that in 2009 that the lowest income zip codes across the country saw their student debt burdens go to 56% of their incomes; by 2018 it had risen to 94%. People that are low-income would benefit the most , all one would have to do is compare before and after debt-to-income ratios. The impact for households as a portion of their income that would be freed up is dramatically greater for lower income households.

Furthermore, student loan forgiveness would go a low way towards narrowing the racial wealth gap in the country. Black students shoulder a heavier burden of student loan debt than their white peers: about 87% of black students attending four-year colleges compared to about 60% of white students. They as well owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers after graduation.

In all honesty student loan debt forgiveness wouldn't benefit just individuals, but the country as a whole. A study from the Levy Economic Institute of Bard College found that a one-time cancellation of the $1.4 trillion in student loan debt would translate to a $86-$106 billion a year, on average, to the GDP. The economic stimulation of student loan forgiveness would mean more Americans would be able to buy a house, start a business, and spend extra money in the local economy. It is thus by the US government's inaction on student loan debt that our economic potential is being significantly suppressed.

The ridiculous attack on student loan debt forgiveness as regress is in and of itself an opinion more indicative of privilege than anything else. Again looking at the recent polling, while majorities at all income levels support student loan forgiveness, opposition to it is concentrated among wealthy Americans. Only 12% of those making less than $25,000 or under a year oppose student loan forgiveness as opposed to 44% among those making more than $100,000 a year. As much as conservatives want to pretend their opposition is grounded in wanting greater equality the numbers in polling bear out a much different story, one of some wanting to keep others down while feigning concern.

President Biden ran on student loan forgiveness, but so far there's been zero tangible results to those promises. It's high time we act on these promises that Americans resoundingly support and the Student Loan Relief Act would bring about the change this country needs and deserves.

 

 


View full press release

Democratic Representative Litzy Gonzalez

Texas Congressional District 35

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