Biden’s $50 billion student debt bribe

For all that the president’s promoters have pretended that Joe Biden is on the brink of a comeback, the octogenarian certainly isn’t acting like he’s winning his reelection. As members of the Federal Reserve openly contemplate whether worsening inflation means the central bank will pass any interest rate cuts before Election Day, Biden has attempted once again to defy the Supreme Court and bail out at least $50 billion of student loan debt in a transparent attempt to buy back favor with an electorate roundly rejecting him.

“Some of my Republican friends and elected officials and special interests sued us, and the Supreme Court blocked us,” Biden said during a trip to Wisconsin to brag about the latest round of bailouts. “But that didn’t stop us.”

On top of the nearly $150 billion in student loan debt that Biden has already managed to squeak by the Supreme Court, the new proposal announced on Monday “would fully eliminate accrued interest for 23 million borrowers, would cancel the full amount of student debt for over 4 million borrowers, and provide more than 10 million borrowers with at least $5,000 in debt relief or more,” according to a White House statement. That’s a minimum of $50 billion, bringing the total price tag of Biden’s student debt cancellation, not including the real dollars of debt inflated away during the extended repayment pause, to north of $200 billion. To put that into perspective, that’s 10% of the $2 trillion deficit Biden is trying to rack up for a third year in a row.

If Biden were confident about his reelection lead, he would not be maximizing the long-term risks of not just inflation but would also request that the central bank scrap its plan for three interest rate cuts for 2024. Furthermore, he wouldn’t be going to Wisconsin to brag that he’s defying the law of the land to spend taxpayer cash on art history degrees from Oberlin.

And of course, the data defy the “Biden comeback narrative.”

In 2020, Biden consistently maintained a 2-point lead over Trump in Wisconsin polling with the sole exception of a one-month blip from the end of February to the end of March, when Biden steadily maximized his support to a 6.7-point lead above Trump in the final polling average aggregated by RealClearPolitics. In 2016, the polls never once showed Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, who headed to Election Day with a 6.5-point lead in the RealClearPolitics aggregate.

Biden beat Trump by a fraction of a percentage point in the Badger State, a smaller margin than Trump secured when he beat Clinton four years prior.


Today, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are the only swing states that even come close to giving Biden a chance. Trump has a 0.6-point lead in the RealClearPolitics aggregate in Wisconsin, and in Pennsylvania, Biden’s average has surpassed Trump’s by a tenth of 1%. But Trump has a 4.5-point lead in Arizona, a 3.2-point lead in Nevada, and a 2.8-point lead in Michigan. At this point in the race in 2020, Biden was leading Trump handily in all of these states, and none of this is to mention Trump’s current 4.6-point lead in North Carolina and a 3.8-point lead in Georgia.

So when you see folks like Josh Marshall pretending Biden is on the brink of the breakthrough, consider the following. Would a winning candidate really defy the Supreme Court and reignite an inflationary crisis to issue a regressive bailout to white-collar professionals? Maybe an unethical one would. But would a winning candidate go to Wisconsin to do so knowing it could result in the medium-term consequence of the Federal Reserve actively undermining his reelection ability by canceling interest rate cuts? Nope, only a desperate candidate would.

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