As a member of Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes a whopping $174,000 annually, meaning that she individually earns more than twice the average U.S. household’s income. Yet the progressive Democrat nonetheless thinks that working-class taxpayers should have to pay off her student loan debt.
That’s one of the main takeaways from Ocasio-Cortez’s latest speech on the House floor. In the congresswoman’s remarks, she issued yet another factually challenged and morally distorted plea for “student debt cancellation,” a progressive euphemism for having taxpayers pay off approximately $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. (The loans aren’t “canceled” magically but paid off by taxpayers. Congress can’t just make debts go away.)
Let’s stop advancing this narrative that student loan debt is for the privileged.— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) December 3, 2021
Do we really think a billionaire’s child is taking out student loans?
First-generation college students are twice as likely to report they are behind in making student loan payments. pic.twitter.com/KyGnrJCjNq
This is nothing new, as student debt “cancellation” has been one of Ocasio-Cortez’s pet issues since the beginning of her political career. Yet an interesting twist in this speech is that Ocasio-Cortez uses herself as an example — and directly calls for taxpayers to pay off her financial obligations.
“I’m 32 years old now,” the congresswoman said. “I have over $17,000 in student loan debt, and I didn’t go to graduate school because I knew that getting another degree would drown me in debt that I would never be able to surpass. This is unacceptable.”
I’m sorry, what part of that is unacceptable, exactly?
Ocasio-Cortez’s $17,000 in student loan debt sounds like a lot, but it probably only involves a monthly student loan payment of $100-$200. It’s hard to know exactly what her payment is without being familiar with the specifics of her loans, but $100-$200/month is a reasonable estimate given that the average graduate owes $28,400 total, which equates to a $297 monthly payment.
And, as previously mentioned, the congresswoman earns almost $175,000 a year! Yet she bizarrely still thinks that working-class taxpayers should have to pay off her bills. What’s even more ironic and tone-deaf is that Ocasio-Cortez goes on in the speech to lament the (supposedly) “false narrative” that “student loan debt is for the privileged.”
She called this “narrative” a “ridiculous assertion” and asked, “Do we really think a billionaire’s child is taking out student loans?”
“Come on!” she exclaimed. “If you are taking on student loan debt, it’s because you are likely a middle or working-class person. Let’s get real, let’s cancel it.”
This part of Ocasio-Cortez’s speech is simply factually false and detached from reality. No, student loan debt isn’t held by the children of billionaires, a straw man claim no one ever made, but it is disproportionately held by a well-educated and thus higher-earning slice of the public.
This fact is not really in dispute among serious analysts.
One study found that “canceling” all student loan debt would give the top 20% of income earners six times more benefit than the bottom 20% of income earners. Even left-leaning think tanks such as the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution have reached similar conclusions.
“Debt forgiveness plans would be regressive — providing the largest monetary benefits to those with the highest incomes,” an Urban Institute analysis concluded .
So, whether Ocasio-Cortez cares to acknowledge it or not, the regressive nature of student debt “cancellation” is simply reality.
Ironically, the congresswoman’s own story exemplifies the emptiness of her rhetoric. Ocasio-Cortez went from working as a bartender to serving in Congress, joining the ranks of America’s high earners and celebrities. Yet her plans for student debt cancellation would force workers across America to pay off Ocasio-Cortez’s relatively modest student debt obligations and the debt of countless millions of affluent, successful people like herself.
This is beyond a conflict of interest. It’s a scam bailout for Democratic legislators’ wealthy, well-educated constituents wrapped up in woke bubble wrap and progressive platitudes. Americans should look beyond AOC’s promises of relief for the needy and see this scam for what it is.