What is the dominant rationale for student loan forgiveness among academics and politicians?
In a word, equity, which is liberal-speak for fairness to address past and current societal ills.
Rep. Pressley (D-MA) introduced H.Res.100 - Calling on the President of the United States to take executive action to broadly cancel Federal student loan debt. The resolution has 56 cosponsors. Sen. Schumer (D-NY) introduced S.Res.46 with identical text and 15 cosponsors.
There are 22 Whereas clauses in the text of H.Res.100; nine of which describe various groups who are regularly singled out by liberals as disadvantaged.
What are the main points of support that experts have for this measure in terms of the economic impacts?
The economic effects can not be evaluated at this time because the extent of relief is not known. The resolutions are requesting up to $50,000 of forgiveness and how that may affect loan repayment terms, for those who owe more than the final amount of forgiveness, is not known.
The resolutions suggest the following benefits.
Whereas broad student loan debt cancellation is the most efficient and effective solution to our student debt crisis, would help millions of families, and would remove a significant drag holding back our economy;
Whereas broad student loan debt cancellation would provide immediate relief to millions of American families who are struggling during this pandemic and recession, and prevent them from having an unsustainable student debt burden waiting for them once this pandemic is over;
Whereas broad student loan debt cancellation would provide a boost to our struggling economy through a consumer-driven economic stimulus, greater home-buying rates and housing stability, expanded access to more affordable financial products including car loans and mortgages, higher college completion rates, and greater small business formation;
Clearly, if the amount of forgiveness is limited to, say, $10,000, the benefits listed in the last item will be muted.
[Not noted in the resolutions is the effect on debt collectors. "Roughly 8 million federal student loan borrowers are currently in default, and the typical defaulter takes out less than $10,000." 1 Wiping out millions of collection accounts would have a negative effect on employment in that business area.]
In addition, what is stopping students from taking out loans knowing that they will be forgiven?
It is not known how much, if any, of a loan will be forgiven; but, it would not include all current debt. Further, any student loan forgiveness will be time limited to include existing loans; but not future loans, it being the case that the current relief effort is related to the repayment problems associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. But, then again, the "immigration problem" recurs despite repeated efforts to resolve it.
Would it require legislation passed by Congress, or could it be legally implemented by executive action?
Whether the loan forgiveness can be done by executive action or legislation is a point of contention. Democrats claim that only executive action is required. A letter from the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School to Sen. Warren supports that view. A memorandum to Secretary DeVos from the Department of Education Office of the General Counsel suggests there is no current statutory authority and, therefore, a law must be passed by Congress.
1 Debate Over Student Loan Forgiveness Hinges On 2 Numbers: $10,000 Vs. $50,000
Student Loan Debt 'Your Own Fault': Conservatives Blast Biden Forgiveness Proposals – Opposition from conservatives.
Forgiving Student Debt Alone Won’t Fix the Crisis – Commentary on the problems with the student loan system.