by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bernie Sanders, the Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate and is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is ready to show those Wall Street meanies a thing or two: He’s going to write them a check for something north of $100 billion. That’ll settle their hash.
The Democratic presidential aspirants are having a cash-giveaway arms race, coming up with creative ways to shovel public funds into the pockets of likely primary voters, and Senator Sanders’s plan is to forgive all college debt, some $1.6 trillion of it. This story will be familiar to some of you: It’s like Fight Club for people who went to Sarah Lawrence College. Sanders’s plan would write off all of the student-loan debt on the federal government’s books — because what’s $1.6 trillion these days? — but not all of the student debt is government held. Financial institutions hold more than $100 billion of it, and they’d do well under the Sanders program: early repayment of principal plus accrued interest and any outstanding penalties or fees.
U.S. taxpayers won’t do as well.
Like a similar proposal from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Harvard), Sanders’s program is a giveaway for relatively well-off people, i.e., those who went to college, who on average earn tens of thousands of dollars a year more than those who did not attend college.