“A new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that Biden’s so-called income-driven repayment plan will cost at least $230 billion over 10 years—with an additional $45 billion in costs likely coming if the Supreme Court invalidates the White House’s student loan forgiveness scheme. That means the final tab could be more than twice the $138 billion price tag attached to the proposal by the Department of Education, which is overseeing the program’s rollout.
Under current law, federal student loan payments are capped at 10 percent of an individual’s “discretionary income,” which the Department of Education defines as income that exceeds 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. In practice, that means a single borrower with no children starts making payments on income that exceeds $20,400.
Biden wants to lower that threshold to 5 percent for undergraduate loans and impose a new limit of 10 percent for loans put toward a graduate degree. Biden’s plan would also wipe away outstanding student debt after 10 years of payments for those who borrowed $12,000 or less—and a maximum payment period of 20 years no matter how much was borrowed.
But if you cap monthly payments at a lower level and also shorten the allowable repayment time, there will be a lot of loans that never get paid back in full. That cost ultimately falls on the taxpayers, and that’s what the dueling estimates from the CBO and the Department of Education are all about.”
“Under the terms of the settlement, the Department of Education will forgive roughly $6 billion in loans for 200,000 attendees of dozens of technical schools and for-profit colleges. The settlement also requires the Department of Education to reimburse borrowers who already made payments or even paid off the entirety of their loans. It is not clear how many borrowers covered by the settlement will receive loan forgiveness for outstanding debt and how many will receive full reimbursement for debt they already repaid.”
“Over the past two years, the Biden administration has approved debt forgiveness claims for thousands of former students at for-profit colleges. Earlier this month, the administration announced over $5.8 billion in loan forgiveness to former students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.
However, the Department of Education’s role as the largest issuer of student loans in the country means that it continues to fund colleges and universities that fail to prepare students. Low standards for federal funding incentivize the creation of schools whose sole mission is to collect federal loan money. Even for-profit institutions that do serve the majority of their students still put taxpayers on the hook for attendees who can’t make the most of their education. Debt forgiveness for all borrowers, including nonprofit private colleges and public institutions, would have the same effect.”
“There is clear evidence that “federal student aid fuels the ivory tower’s infamous price inflation, including roughly a doubling, in real terms, of sticker prices between the 1991–92 and 2021–22 school years,” wrote Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. He continues: “It also makes logical sense: If you give loads of people easy money to pay for one thing, the price of that thing will rise as people demand more of it, and with greater bells and whistles.””
“Biden administration officials are now working to undo some of the harmful legal policies put in place by Trump-era attorneys general—less visible than controversial measures like the border wall and family separation, but nonetheless damaging to due process and punitive toward the people who seek asylum on American soil. Last June, Attorney General Merrick Garland scrapped rules that made it difficult for victims of domestic violence or gang violence, as well as family members of threatened individuals, to qualify for asylum.”
“The move reinstates the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which from 2007 to 2016 allowed up to 20,000 Cubans per year to come and stay in the U.S. while applying for permanent legal resident status. It also removes the $1,000-per-quarter restriction on how much money Americans can send to family, friends, and private entities across the Florida Straits.”
“Lifting government prohibitions on the movement and trade of Americans is a good policy in and of itself, regardless of impact on captive peoples abroad. But is the impact of increased travel and remittances on balance good or bad for Cubans?
Menendez argues that “nothing changed” as a result of Barack Obama’s decision to ease restrictions. By the unreasonable standard of regime change or even significant liberalization, the senator is correct. But by the standard of measurable differences in living conditions and relationship with the government, things indeed changed. As I wrote after visiting the island in 2016 for the first time in 18 years:
“A noticeable segment of the population has gained at least some financial and experiential independence from the police state. They are not, in my observation, spending that extra money on flower arrangements for the Revolution. As Sen. Jeff Flake (R–Arizona) told us during our visit, “You have about 25 percent of Cubans who work fully in the private sector….The big change is the number of Cubans being able to not have to rely on government and therefore can hold their government more accountable.”””
“Menendez’s statement nods toward the potential universality of his foreign policy vision: “Today is another reminder that we must ground our policy in that reality, reaffirm our nation’s indiscriminate commitment to fight for democracy from Kyiv to Havana, and make clear we will measure our success in freedom and human rights and not money and commerce.”
That logic, applied evenly, suggests at minimum the dismantling of the World Trade Organization and the imposition of travel restrictions on Americans seeking to visit not just Havana but the more than 60 countries categorized by Freedom House as “not free.” Menendez would never openly advocate such an approach, because that approach would be both politically suicidal and logically insane.
Cuba has long been the crystallization of America’s worst foreign policy instincts. Good on the Biden administration for easing that somewhat.”
“an economy the magnitude of Russia’s, the 11th largest in the world, has never been sanctioned so comprehensively. Going after a central bank of this size, a major economy’s connections to international banking systems, and many of its sectors, is indeed unprecedented. And to target an economy that large unleashes unintended consequences on Russia, the US, and the globe.
Russia is a major energy exporter, and energy prices are rising and sending inflation even higher. Russia also exports significant amounts of grains, cooking oils, and fertilizer. So sanctioning the country — even with carve-outs and waivers for humanitarian purposes — could have a devastating impact on vulnerable people in poor countries. The United Nations says that economic sanctions will impact Russian and Ukrainian food production, which is exacerbated by the war and Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports. One possible outcome, the UN reports, is that “the global number of undernourished people could increase by 8 to 13 million people in 2022/23.””
““We all worry about the overuse of sanctions, but I think that this is clearly not a case of overuse,” an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity told me. “This is a case of responding to a clear and egregious violation of basic tenets of international law and human rights. I think this is a case of indisputable agreement that the world needs to respond and sanctions are an appropriate tool.””