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On Today’s Ruling On Student-Loan ‘Forgiveness’

With rare exceptions, the reporting on this Supreme Court decision has been shockingly bad.

Programming Director, WTOP Radio
Washington, DC

Sir or Madam:

Around 2:05pm today one of your reporters interviewed some people off the street about today’s Supreme Court ruling that Pres. Biden’s student-loan forgiveness is unconstitutional. Every interviewee disapproved of the ruling. Could your reporter not find a single person who agrees with the Court that the emergency powers authorized by the HEROES Act do not include unilateral student-debt forgiveness by the executive branch? After all – and as noted in Chief Justice Roberts’s majority opinion – even Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, said in July 2021 that “People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”

Also, why was your reporter so utterly uncritical about the policy of such loan forgiveness? I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the first interviewee complain that his now having to repay his student loan will delay his plans to buy a house. Why didn’t your reporter ask this person why he believes that taxpayers should subsidize his purchases of real estate? And why didn’t your reporter interview a college graduate who took out no loans to pay for college? Or a graduate who has already repaid his or her loans? Or a worker who never went to college? Are these people’s voices and opinions unworthy simply because they likely are grateful to learn that they now aren’t required to help pay off student loans voluntarily undertaken by strangers disappointed at the news that they are unable to freeload?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030