We Voted For Mediocrity, And That’s What We’re Getting

A year ago, we were all exhausted. We were all tired of the tyrannical autocrat in the White House, his bumbling staff of racists, and his maddening brood of followers. We were tired of watching The Real WhiteHousewives of D.C. We couldn’t take the bickering and nonsensical word burritos being forced on us by a president, who honestly asked with his whole heart, if there was a way we could bring the light and disinfectant “inside” the body to clean our lungs like picnic tables.

We ran to the polls on voting day because the house was on fire, and we just wanted out. Because of the year we had, America got Joe Biden, a flawed candidate. And yes, while I’ve referred to his administration as Weekend at Biden’s, who amongst us hasn’t made a “Biden is kind of barely alive” joke once or thrice. After 2020, we were willing to vote for a homeless broom, a frog, or anyone who didn’t dye their hair and skin the color of sunburn.

And while Biden is nowhere near as rank as the stink left behind, I think we all collectively have to acknowledge that Biden finessed the situation and, in doing so, sold America a fake bill of goods on at least one major issue: student loan forgiveness.

I think it was German philosopher Immanuel Kant that noted, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Forgiveness of one’s debt is essential to homeownership and a robust economy, because student loans stay tripping.”

And you know who knew this? Biden. In March 2020, he tweeted that we needed to forgive $10,000 per person of student loan debt.

What he’s done since is act as if Congress is the reason he’s unable to move. I know this game well. It’s what I do with my 4-year-old son as he struggles with his popsicle addiction. I act as if, if it were up to me, he’d be swimming in popsicles — but unfortunately, my hands are tied because “Mommy, said no.” I usually cave in to my son’s demands.

You know who else has caved in, too? Biden. In August, he extended the student loan pause for six months. But now, well, “Mommy said no.” Come Jan. 31, it’s over. The unforgiving machine that is student loans gets cranked back up. Student loans have been on hold since March 2020, and the Biden administration — you know the supposed good guys — are the ones insisting on starting it back up. The president is literally refusing to even look at what’s going on outside of restarting the endless money dump that is loan repayment.

Currently the coronavirus has gone to get his big sister to beat us up, inflation is doing what inflation does, and the Grinch is hard at work mucking up the docks to spoil Christmas!

And did I mention that no one wants this? But don’t listen to me, let’s hear it from a magazine that actually deals with money issues, Forbes:

In a letter to Biden, the Student Borrower Protection Center, a student loan advocacy non-profit, joined 200 organizations (including the ACLU, NAACP and American Federation of Teachers) to urge Biden to postpone the restart of federal student loan payments.

And while I know these senators are progressive (which is a dirty word in Congressional circles), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have practically begged the president to extend student loan repayment if he’s not going to cut student loan debt. Again, from Forbes:

The senators say that restarting student loan payments will cause significant financial stress in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, they cite a Roosevelt Institute study that shows that failure to postpone student loan payments beyond January 31, 2022 will cost student loan borrowers $85 billion. They argue that 9 million student loan borrowers in default could be subject to wage garnishment and other debt collection methods if student loan payments resume. In addition to seriously damaging the economy, the senators note that Black and Latinx households would face a disproportionate burden from resuming student loan payments.

Black and Latinx people are two times more likely to default on their loans, and that was well before the coronavirus. And that’s not because Black and Latinx folks are irresponsible, it’s because they are college-poor, and college-poor people are more likely to take out loans to pay for school and have a harder time paying them back when they hit the job market.

According to a study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), “More than 90 percent of African American and 72 percent of Latino students take out loans to attend college in comparison to 66 percent of white students.”

We would be here all day if I dove into the systematic racism and how that prevents Black and brown folks from obtaining high-paying jobs even if they are as qualified as their white counterparts. This means that parents make less money and therefore there is less money to save for their children for college, which means that Black and brown students borrow money at a higher rate.

But Biden is on a mission, and apparently that mission is to screw us all. The machine is the machine, and it must get back up and running at all costs, even if that means screwing over everyone he promised not to. Because this is politics, and anything goes in politics. He’s moonwalked back on all of his student loan promises so smooth that the ghost of Michael Jackson is jealous.

Biden could wipe out $10,000 of student loan debt per person with the flick of a wrist, and that’s not hyperbole. He could sign an executive order making it so, but instead, he’s punting because he’s an old-school Democrat who still believes he needs to appeal to Republicans. He’s yet to realize that this is Jets vs. Sharks and “When you’re a Jet; you cut student loan debt” or whatever it is the song says.

Side note: I don’t know who runs the student loan program, but that machine stays busy. Except for Bed Bath & Beyond, no one is in my inbox more than the student loan department reminding me that in February my student loan payment is due. Please forward my information to the student loan department’s email people if I ever go missing because they won’t stop until I’m found.

Biden had the opportunity to set things right by pushing a Democratic agenda down the throats of those same politicians who secretly rooted for the insurrectionists on Jan. 6.

The president talks about kicking everyone’s ass but never does, and now these student loans are about to kick ours.

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