The government has announced a plan to cancel as much as $20,000 in student loan debt per qualifying borrower. This programmed is currently being challenged for its legal standing.
The court is expected to rule on the issue in 2023. Many believe that the Supreme Court will vote down this plan and that student loan forgiveness will not be allowed.
Response to a “once in a-century pandemic
The world has seen its share of outbreaks and pandemics in the past century. They have occurred in the form of flu, coronaviruses, arboviruses jumping from animals to humans, and other zoonotic pathogens.
In some cases, such as with smallpox and the 1918 flu, these outbreaks ended in a relatively short period of time. But other times, a pandemic can last decades or longer.
For instance, the 1918 flu lasted until 1920 and killed more than 30 million people. It preyed on young and middle-aged adults, leaving children orphaned, depriving families of breadwinners, and killing troops during World War I.
During those years, nations adopted measures to curb the spread of the disease, such as quarantines and social distancing. Some countries, such as the United States, implemented more extreme measures, like lockdowns, to protect the public from infection.
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in how we can predict the frequency and scale of future pandemics. At CGD, we’ve been examining this topic with groups working on modeling the risks at Metabiota, on financing for outbreak preparedness and response, and more.
Whether student loan forgiveness is fair,
As student debt has become a significant burden for millions of Americans, the question of whether it is fair to forgive it has become a hot topic. The argument can be split into two main strands: those who argue that forgiveness is unfair and those who support it.
Those who favour forgiveness say it helps lower-income borrowers and is a good idea because higher education is both a public and private good. They point to the fact that higher education allows people to become more independent and reduce their reliance on government assistance, as well as create businesses that create jobs.
But the issue is a more complex one. Some people believe it is unfair because it only benefits current students and graduates, whereas the majority of Americans do not have student loan debt and therefore cannot benefit from the policy.
Others think that it is not fair because it will only help students and graduates in professions that are disproportionately associated with low wages and a lack of social mobility, such as teaching and health care. Moreover, they argue that it is regressive because current students with considerable student loan debt are able to benefit from the program but not past and future students with similar levels of student debt who are not in high-wage and high-skilled professions.
Until recently, the legality of President Biden’s student loan debt relief plan had not been challenged. But the conservative-led Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in two cases on Tuesday that could determine whether the programme will go into effect and how much it will cost.
In the first case, six states, including Missouri, and borrowers Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor have sued the federal government over the plan. They claim that the plan will harm them because it would cut funding to the loan servicers they use, primarily the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.
The justices will have to decide whether the state governments and borrowers have a right to sue, known as standing. But it’s hard to know how much the conservative justices want to shield the programme from challenge, said Adam Minsky, a Boston-based lawyer who represents borrowers.
According to Minsky, Chief Justice John Roberts has a relatively conservative view of standing, and he might be reluctant to allow states to sue because they can’t show concrete harm.
In addition, he might be concerned that the plan would create a new benefit and that the government could use this to confer standing on plaintiffs who were previously barred from the system. It’s hard to tell whether the justices would be persuaded on that point, but it’s worth thinking about.