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Maddow Spreads Misinformation on Student Loan Cancellation


April 9, 2024

Last night, progressive television pundit Rachel Maddow took jabs at Republicans concerned with President Biden’s latest effort to cancel student debt. But her jabs were actually sucker punches. She took advantage of the public’s being uninformed on the issue of student debt to spread misinformation, aimed at scoring partisan points and defending Biden’s indefensible vote-buying scheme by disguising it as compassionate policy.

In a bombastic rant against the potential legal challenges to Biden’s plan, Maddow argued that

Republicans are suing to make sure that Americans have to pay more in student loans, to make sure that you have to pay more interest to banks on your student loans. That is what they are offering America in this election year. Isn’t that what America most needs? For banks to make more money off people who took out loans to go to college?

The truth is that nobody is profiting off these loans. The reforms made to the program over the last decade have let borrowers off the hook to such an extent that the portfolio of loans is now a huge loser. And the banks have absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s the taxpayers who finance these loans to students and it’s the taxpayers who are on the hook when lawmakers like President Biden let them off the hook to repay them. 

Blaming banks is a common refrain for Democrats, but it’s completely ignorant to do so in the case of federal student lending. Private banks used to play a role in the student loan program, but they were kicked out of the business with the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. And even when they were involved, it was legislation that set the terms of the loans. Lawmakers have no one to blame but themselves for the mess we have in front of us today.

I suspect that Maddow, and others on the far left, appreciate that recent efforts to win votes with destructive reforms to student lending will ultimately cause the system to collapse. And they need a scapegoat. I guess she’s decided that the nameless and faceless banks, who have nothing at all to do with this, are as good a scapegoat as any. Pundits with a large following should not only know better—they ought to do better, too.