Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

student-debt

Student loan borrowers and the Too Much Talent Band thank President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for extending the student loan pause and now demand that they cancel student debt at a gathering outside The White House on January 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)

Canceling All Student Debt Would Cost About as Much as The Pentagon's F-35 Boondoggle

When it comes to military spending in the United States, money is no object—even for programs like the F-35, which has been criticized for many years as an expensive failure that should be phased out altogether.

The Biden administration has eliminated a major chunk of federal student debt, extending forgiveness up to $10,000 for all individual borrowers who earn under $125,000 annually, and up to $20,000 for Pell grant recipients.

Where there's a will, there's a way.

That's a big deal—tens of millions of people can benefit from this debt relief. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center, 41 million Americans are eligible for up to $10,000 in debt relief, while 25 million are eligible for up to $20,000. And 20 million could have their entire debt canceled, going from negative wealth to positive for the first time in their lives.

The debt cancellation policy could go even further. As The Debt Collective pointed out in response to the news, this relief proves that the White House has the authority to cancel all federal student debt.

Total student loan debt in the United States amounts to $1.75 trillion, including federal and private loans. That may seem like a lot of money, but the federal government already spends comparable amounts on plenty of items with much more questionable value.

The Pentagon is already set to spend $1.7 trillion on its most expensive weapon system, the F-35 jet fighter.

When it comes to military spending in the United States, money is no object—even for programs like the F-35, which has been criticized for many years as an expensive failure that should be phased out altogether

That just shows that where there's a will, there's a way. Organized student debtors and their allies successfully pressured the government into providing this much relief. Now we know it's possible to win instant relief to all the rest of the millions of current and former students who are struggling with debt.


Copyright © 2021 National Priorities Project / Institute for Policy Studies

Ashik Siddique

Ashik Siddique is a research analyst for the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Incredible': Omar and Khanna Staffers Join Levin's Office in Unionizing

"It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Jessica Corbett ·


Destructive Hurricanes Fuel Calls for Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

"Mother Nature is not waiting for the president or Congress to declare a climate emergency. She's showing us in real-time here in the United States—with wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and drought."

Jessica Corbett ·


Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Time to Take to the Streets': Working Class Hold 'Enough Is Enough' Rallies Across UK

"Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?" said one supporter ahead of the #EnoughIsEnough National Day of Action.

Julia Conley ·


Ukraine Responds to Putin Annexations With Fast-Track NATO Application

Lamenting the lack of any progress toward a diplomatic settlement, one anti-war campaigner asked: "Will the world stand idly by as we careen towards nuclear apocalypse?"

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo