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Mon Nov 23, 2020, 12:55 PM

The New Yorker: How the Biden Administration Can Free Americans from Student Debt


By Astra Taylor November 23, 2020

On September 2nd, the anthropologist and activist David Graeber died unexpectedly, while on holiday in Venice. David, who was my friend and collaborator for more than a decade, was best known for his groundbreaking study “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” from 2011. The book opened up a vibrant and ongoing conversation about the evolution of our economic system by challenging conventional accounts of the origins of money and markets; relationships of credit and debt, he showed, preceded the development of coinage and cash. It also influenced a movement for debt cancellation, which appears poised on the brink of a significant victory that could improve untold millions of lives. I only wish my friend could be around to see it.

“Debt” ’s publication was perfectly timed to lend scholarly legitimacy to the frustration that fuelled Occupy Wall Street, an uprising David helped catalyze. He recruited me to the effort, and then invited me to join an offshoot focussed on debt resistance. One meeting led to another, and then another. We worked together on a range of experiments, including a radical financial-literacy guide called “The Debt Resisters’ Operations Manual” and the Rolling Jubilee, an initiative that bought up and erased nearly thirty-two million dollars of medical and tuition debt belonging to thousands of people. That set the stage for the Debt Collective, a union for debtors, which I helped found. In 2015, the Debt Collective organized a student-debt strike of people who had borrowed money to attend for-profit colleges, ultimately helping to eliminate more than a billion dollars of student debt through a range of direct action and legal strategies (and causing the billionaire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos what she described as “extreme displeasure.”)

For the past five years, the Debt Collective has been working to let the world know that any American President, should they desire, can make every penny of federal student debt disappear without consulting Congress (and regardless of Mitch McConnell’s objections). Based on legal research, the Debt Collective co-founder Luke Herrine and Harvard Law School’s Eileen Connor argue that Congress granted legal authority to the head of the Department of Education to extinguish federal student-loan debt, an action called “compromise and settlement,” in 1965. All a President has to do is instruct the Education Secretary to use this authority to cancel all federal student debt. Our public-education campaign has caught on. In September, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer offered a Senate Resolution urging the incoming President to cancel up to fifty thousand dollars in student loans for every borrower using compromise-and-settlement authority. Explaining her rationale, Warren told me, over e-mail, that getting rid of student debt “would give a big, consumer-driven boost to our economy and even help close the Black-white wealth gap.”

FULL story: https://www.newyorker.com/news/essay/how-the-biden-administration-can-free-americans-from-student-debt

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Reply The New Yorker: How the Biden Administration Can Free Americans from Student Debt (Original post)
Omaha Steve Nov 23 OP
NEOBuckeye Nov 23 #1

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 23, 2020, 03:13 PM

1. Mitch McConnell can burn in hell.

That motherfucker has robbed the people of millions. He has no right to claim any moral authority to prevent others from enjoying relief from their own obligations.

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