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YES: We should cancelstudent debt1.2Should the USgovernment cancelstudent debt?You decide!1.1DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:1) The "YES" side claims that cancelling student loan debt couldincrease equity in various ways. Which of these claims do youfind the most persuasive, and why?2) The "NO" side points out different ways that cancellingstudent debt could be unfair. Which of these claims do you findthe most persuasive, and why?3) Should the cancellation of student debt be handled exclusivelyby the President, or through an act of Congress?4) One alternative would be to make college free for allAmericans from this point forward. Do you think this would bebetter or worse than cancelling existing student debt, and why?BACKGROUND:Americans collectively owe over $1.71 trillion in student loan debt, spreadacross 44.7 million borrowers. During his 2020 presidential campaign,President Biden pledged to fix the student-loan system, advocating forcancelling $10,000 in student debt per person. While Biden has yet toimplement any new policies, he extended the pandemic's student-loanpayment pause until January 2022. As this deadline looms, thecontroversy about what to do with student debt grows more urgent.1.4NO: We should notcancel student debt1.3Cancelling studentdebt would beimmensely expensive2.7Cancelling studentdebt altogetherwould likely cost thegovernment at least$1 trillion3.10There are better waysfor the governmentto spend massiveamounts of moneythan on student debt2.8Matt Bruenig,founder of thePeople's PolicyProject, questions, "Ifthe government isgoing to sprinkle $1+trillion of net worthonto householdbalance sheets,should it really do soin a way that leavesout those withoutcollege educations?"3.11Cancelling studentdebt would onlyaddress thesymptoms of thestudent debt crisis,while not dealing withits root causes3.12Cancelling studentdebt couldinequitably helpthose who are alreadybetter off2.9In general, higherincome householdshave higher levels ofstudent debt3.13The BrookingsInstitution found thatSen. ElizabethWarren's $50,000debt cancellationpolicy would result inthe poorest 60% ofhouseholds gainingonly 34% of thebenefits3.14Cancelling studentdebt now unfairlyrewards and punishesindividuals' pastdecisions2.10Cancelling studentdebt now unfairlypunishes those whodecided not to go tocollege because theycouldn't afford it3.15Cancelling studentdebt would be unfairto borrowers whohave already paid offtheir loans3.16Cancelling studentdebt wouldessentially rewardpeople who haveincurred more debt,since they would geta greater financialbenefit3.17Student debtnegatively affectspeople's lives foryears to come2.1Over 8 millionborrowers are aged50 or older, and insome states thefastest-growing agegroup of borrowersare people over 603.1In 2021, the averagestudent loan debt is$37,6933.2Higher education is apublic good (i.e.,something thatbenefits everyone insociety)2.2Education createsmore skilled workerswho improve societythrough their work3.3K-12 education is apublic good3.4The governmentshould financiallysupport public goods2.3Cancelling studentdebt would likelyincrease equity2.4According toeconomist MarshallSteinbaum,"removing studentdebt would make theoverall income andwealth distributionsmore egalitarian."3.5According to theCenter for Law andSocial Policy (CLASP),"women hold overtwo-thirds of alloutstanding debt"3.6Cancelling studentdebt could help closethe racial wealth gap3.7Black Americans aremore likely to take onstudent debt, andmore of it, just tomake the sameamount of money astheir less-educatedwhite peers4.1According to CLASP,"cancelling $50,000 instudent debt wouldalleviate the debtburden for nearlythree in four Blackhouseholds andincrease Black wealthby a third."4.2Most Americanssupport cancellingstudent debt2.5The Center forResponsible Lendingand Americans forFinancial Reformissued a bipartisanpoll in May 2020 thatshowed, "a majorityof Americans acrossall regions of the U.S.support permanentlyreducing student loandebt by $20,000 forall borrowers."3.8Polls show that 56%of registered voterswere in favor ofSenator ElizabethWarren's idea ofcancelling studentdebt, even if theynever had studentloans themselves3.9The governmentshould enact policiesthat most Americanssupport2.6

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