- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sen. Bernard Sanders will propose Monday that the federal government pay off all student debt — past and present, public and private, undergraduate and advanced degrees.

Mr. Sanders, a Vermont socialist who is among the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, proposes to wipe out the nation’s entire $1.6 trillion student debt with taxes on Wall Street trades in stocks and bonds, The Washington Post reported Sunday night. The Sanders campaign says this tax will raise $2 trillion in 10 years.

According to The Post, Mr. Sanders will unveil the proposal Monday in concert with left-wing Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the latter of whom also is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Ms. Omar will introduce a student-debt abolition bill in the House on Monday, The Post reported, and Ms. Jayapal has long championed making public colleges tuition-free, another key part of Mr. Sanders‘ education policy.

“This is truly a revolutionary proposal,” Mr. Sanders said. “In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education.”

Budget analysts have noted that even apart from the costs — and potentially on top of such progressive-vowed initiatives as the Green New Deal, free child care and leave, “Medicare for All” and expansions of Social Security and infrastructure spending — college-debt forgiveness is regressive.

The Post cited Adam Looney, a Brookings Institution scholar and a former Treasury official under President Barack Obama, as saying that a student-debt cancellation plan by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Sanders rival for the Democratic presidential nod, would provide two-thirds of its benefits to the top 40 percent of earners.

Mr. Sanders‘ proposal would be even more beneficial to the wealthy because he would cancel everybody’s student debt, while Ms. Warren proposed only doing so for people who make less than $100,000.

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