• Doug Most

    Associate Vice President, Executive Editor, Editorial Department Twitter Profile

    Doug Most is a lifelong journalist and author whose career has spanned newspapers and magazines up and down the East Coast, with stops in Washington, D.C., South Carolina, New Jersey, and Boston. He was named Journalist of the Year while at The Record in Bergen County, N.J., for his coverage of a tragic story about two teens charged with killing their newborn. After a stint at Boston Magazine, he worked for more than a decade at the Boston Globe in various roles, including magazine editor and deputy managing editor/special projects. His 2014 nonfiction book, The Race Underground, tells the story of the birth of subways in America and was made into a PBS/American Experience documentary. He has a BA in political communication from George Washington University. Profile

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There are 15 comments on Would Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Survive a Court Challenge?

  1. Standing. Who has standing before any court? To a layman, anyone; especially anyone that swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. In reality, this will pass.

  2. Tend to favor this program being thrown out in court (mostly because of potential negative ramifications to our already stressed general economy) so the punchline wasn’t necessarily welcome but did appreciate this analysis. Curious why the legal basis may have not been sufficiently debated before the announcement of the loan forgiveness program but also realize even if the admin figured it would be challenged it still was a (maybe) favorable strategy to put it out there before the midterms.

  3. Parsing the legality is one thing, but what about the morality of it?

    Clearly it is a transfer of wealth from one group to another, and often from the working-class to a more entitled-class. Not to mention encouraging fiscal irresponsibility, and all kinds of other mischief, eg. university’s increasing tuition, accelerating inflation, creation of superfluous university degree-programs to attract government money through student’s taking guaranteed loans etc.

    And what about the obvious appearance of vote-purchasing with this plan as well?

    This whole initiative reeks and the American educated class should have nothing to do with it, yet their silence is deafening.

    1. Wow is “and often” doing a lot of work there.
      I’m sorry but you really can’t have any idea of the current state of higher education as a whole if you think
      A. everyone- or even a majority of people with student debt- have even a lower status bachelors degree. They don’t. A majority of debt holders don’t reach that degree level
      B. student debt holders are “elite” and not represented in the working class
      C. This represents a net transfer from haves to have-nots. That is so wrong I don’t know where to start.

  4. Jed Shugerman makes an excellent point. HEA gives the President full authority to cancel student debt through the Secretary of Education. HEROES Act only applies to people impacted by the emergency, where a pause on federal student loan payments may be legal, but student debt cancellation extends into the future, well past the emergency itself. It seems like the first option has a 10x better legal basis. Either way, both options ignore the extraordinary hardships of students who never got into debt and paid their way thru school by working, sometimes two jobs. They, them, us – are the real heroes.

    1. I…don’t really get it. The professor quickly discards out of hand the idea that people with educational debt were affected by the pandemic, and that’s the basis of a couple paragraphs of “not like that, like this!” kind of analysis. I guess I’ll give him credit and doesn’t say that that idea is wrong, he says that the conservative stacked court is going to reject it. And THAT’s why the “not like that, like this…” comes in.

      It’s a very odd way to proceed. Suffice to say that there is ample authority on multiple grounds for the executive to cancel or modify debt that falls under one of it’s departments. Further, it’s very hard to see who would have standing to sue and get it to the supreme court that is supposedly going to render this odd ruling that somehow a class of people in the US avoided being impacted by covid.

      1. I have been affected by covid and the insane inflation the current administration has thrown this country into by printing and distributing too much money
        Landlords were greatly affected by being expected to pay mortgages while their tenants didn’t pay rent
        I have heard if many taking advantage of this. Even though they were still working, but I digress.
        I am in my 60s and on SS Disability. Just had my 6th surgery in January. I’m a single widow living on a fixed income
        I have a tiny house ….had to move bc I could no longer afford to stay in my home of 29 years.
        I have my own debt…10 grand for central AC unit that had 2 b replaced. 30 grand for the car I had to purchase bc my lease was up and that was the most economical way to to bc the cost of cars has risen dramatically bc of Biden’s inflation.
        Now my roof is leaking and I’m facing another 13 grand in debt bc I don’t have the cash to pay so I must finance
        Why on Earth should I have to pay the debt of others?
        They took it upon themselves freely and without coersion.
        It’s going to run in the trillions, no matter what they are telling us. Biden lies every time he opens his mouth
        Neither he nor the hairbrain dope we call VP can tell us how this will be paid
        Why does someone making 125 grand or a couple making 250 grand need me to pay THEIR debt
        I paid for my own college tuition. Went to a local school bc I didn’t want to incur a lot of debt. That was my choice
        They made their choice. The pandemic is over.
        There is a surplus if jobs out there
        Let them work and pay off THEIR debt. I have my own

  5. As someone who paid off their student debt, it astounds me to watch the debate around this issue… so many things wrong with the idea… Perhaps a decrease in interest rates would be a good start and less objectionable, as others have pointed out… It is difficult not to see this as just another political ploy (throwing money at people) to garner more votes for the upcoming elections… the old “bread and circus” once again…

    1. ‘a decrease in interest rate as a good start and less objectionable’

      The historically ‘higher interest rate’ on these sorts of loans exists for EXACTLY this reason .. the loan is riskier as it’s not able to be secured by any collateral – like a typical ‘asset-backed loan, and with ‘repayment’ now being called into question, I’d only expect the rates on any non- governmentally backed ‘private lending’ to actually RISE vs FALL .. banks aren’t in the business of lending money that won’t be repaid

      The better place to start would be broadly introducing ‘economics’ to HS seniors .. borrowing money should never be taken lightly as repayment is a LEGAL more than a MORAL matter .. there’s a BIG DIFFERENCE between a LOAN and a GRANT .. and this seems lost on the masses

      1. Thank you for that… the idea for lowering of interest rates was meant only for federal loans, but you’re correct in emphasizing the notion that a loan is something that the borrower must repay according to the agreement made… Others have also mentioned the notion of buying votes, but isn’t it peculiar that the age group (i.e. student loans) with the lowest approval rating for Biden is 18-34?

  6. As an independent that paid his student loans off only recently this truly angers me and reeks of vote buying. It directly feeds into the socialism narrative that Republicans will use to attack Democrats in the midterms and again in 2024. I think one of the Biden admins’ biggest miscalculations was that this would be a warmly embraced by the majority of Americans. Do you think Da’Quan, the 28 year old Jamaican national working 2 jobs in the Bronx, will be thrilled to be footing the bill for Lizzy Whitebread’s education at Duke? What about the truck driver who voted for Obama, Trump, and then Biden? Many of the independents I know, and even some Dems, have completely soured on Biden and will hold their nose if forced to pick between him and Trump again. God save us from such a day.

    1. Let’s, for the moment, sidestep Lester B’s offensive racial stereotypes and examine the other misrepresentations he’s peddling. The Biden Loan forgiveness is targeted at low income (Pell Grant – neediest of the needy financial aid applicants) borrowers. Sadly, Pell Grant eligible borrowers tend to be low income even after college. Yes, some borrowers doing better will get some relief, but the lion’s share will go to borrowers who are economically stressed; more who are working two jobs to make ends meet… some in the Bronx. If this is a wealth transfer, it is a transfer from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have never had and still have nots’; the exact opposite of the false narrative Lester B is trying so hard to sell. Yes, the mid-terms are coming. Yes, the timing may be at least in part political. YES, it’s never a bad time to do the right thing.

  7. I am glad the Jed Shugerman is a visiting professor at BU LAW and not a permanent fixture. He is a clear example of a lawyer who has spent too much time in academia and not in a courtroom. I would like him and all the others arguing that the Higher Education Act of 1965 grants the Department of Education and the Secretary of Education the power to waive debts and cancel binding legal contracts to explain how this is possible.
    I would like the professor and those arguing this to explain how a law passed in 1965 grants powers to a cabinet secretary and bureaucracy that did not come into existence until November 30, 1979, and October 17, 1979, respectively.
    Maybe LBJ and the Congress had they ability to peer into the future and see that President Carter would create these entities 14 years later, so they decided to grant them powers before they existed? If that’s the case I can comb the federal U.S.C. codes and claim that any act of Congress applies to Space Force, thus granting them power to do whatever I want them to. Apparently, the Fugitive Slave Act grants them the power to cancel mortgage debt.
    Claiming a law from 1965 gives power to a bureaucracy that would not come into existence is really reaching. They are arguing for upending the rule of law and saying contract law is irrelevant and debt can be cancelled at the drop of a hat by government fiat. If that is the case then contract law is out the window and capital for investment, lending or funding will dry up as no one will want to lend if the debt can be cancelled by vote trolling politicians. Interest rates for lending will have to rise to entice investors as the risks increase.
    The Department of Education operates no schools or colleges, no universities. It was created to disperse federal money to the schools at the bequest of the teacher’s unions. It was part of Carter’s attempt to shore up a voting block for reelection. It should have been disbanded by Reagan along with the equally worthless Department of Energy which does not generate one kilowatt of energy. Instead, both became famous for their endless unfunded mandates.
    Our Constitution does not grant the Federal government any role in public education let alone give it the power to grant the ability to have a questionable cabinet position cancel debt associated with it.
    Jed Shugerman is just the latest in a growing line of third-rate academics populating Comm Ave these days. He joins race hustler Ibram X. Kendi to name a few.
    So, when it comes to student loan debt if you worked hard to pay it off you are apparently a sap. Layabouts Forever!!!!

    1. Well, if the Constitution does not grant the Department of Education the authority to forgive student loans and the Higher Education Act of 1965 doesn’t grant the Department of Education the authority to forgive student loans, then by that same logic neither grant the Department of Education the authority to make student loans. Thus, by Mr. Rollins logic, there is no reason to forgive student loans as they are all unenforceable – null and void. This sort of logic is no logic at all.

  8. DWJ if the Department of Education already has this power granted to it through both the Constitution and the HEA of 65 why did the President have to issue an Executive Order? They could have just cancelled the debt without any fanfare. DWJ can you logically show me where in the Constitution the Federal Government has a role in Education? Also please note that neither the Constitution nor the HEA of 65 grant the power to the Federal government to make direct student loans. The first federal loan program, the National Defense Student Loan, now the Perkins Loan, was created in 1958 it worked in tandem with the private banks. In 1993 The Student Loan Reform Act officially implemented the Direct Lending program. Under this program, the government could now directly lend to student loan borrowers, instead of through a private institution, which had been the only system since 1965. So DWJ the HEA of 65 does not grant this power to a yet to be formed Department of Education. That aside. DWJ please explain the logic of a law passed in 1965 giving power to a Federal Cabinet Officer and Department that would not exist until 1979. You are saying that a grant of power to non-existent entities is legitimate, I am saying no. Our government is one of enumerated powers. Not open-ended grants of power to be reserved at a future date by a bureaucracy yet to be created. DWJ seems to forget that the Department of Education and the Federal government took over the student loan business in 2010. The federal government largely nationalized the student loan industry in 2010 via a piece of legislation related to Obamacare, the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” The US government now holds 92 percent of all student loans and the nation’s total student debt has more than doubled, from $811 billion in April 2010 to $1.748 trillion in April 2022.
    Prior to that Guaranteed Student Loans were handled by private banks and only guaranteed by Federal Government. I believe the flaw is in DWJ’s logic in that he feels the Department of Education has a right to exist and have a virtual monopoly on student loans. I don’t believe the department should exist let alone have the power to make and forgive loans. DWJ statement that my logic makes no sense belies a misunderstanding that when you sign a contract to borrow and pay back, that is a binding legal agreement. My belief that the department should not exist nor have these powers will not change the fact that these loans are a reality and a liability of the U.S. taxpayer. DWJ needs to clarify his statement “there is no reason to forgive student loans as they are all unenforceable – null and void.” What exactly is unenforceable? Making the loans or forgiving them? The loans exist- the money has gone out, there is no stopping that. If the government forgives the loans, then it is government forgiving loans charging it off the books and handing the taxpayers the bill. The only way to stop the Department’s monopoly is to strip it of this power. This monopoly has caused student loan debt to skyrocket and has created another political football for politicians looking to pander. My preference is for the courts to rule on this matter. I would like to hear arguments behind the justification of a President having the power to upend contract law by fiat command. Going forward who would want to purchase this debt going forward knowing this was a possibility.

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