“Components of the plan are encouraging, but it fails to address the student loan debt crisis that disproportionately affects African Americans,” Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, said in a statement on Biden’s latest announcements. “You cannot begin to address the racial wealth gap without addressing the student loan debt crisis.”
In other words, student loan debt isn’t a peripheral consideration for people of color. It’s essential.
That reality was reflected in Civiqs polling on the topic earlier this year. The survey found that 58% of voters age 18 to 34 support the Biden administration canceling $50,000 in federal student loan debt. But the policy was even more popular among young voters of color, garnering the support of 83% of Black youth voters and 69% of Latino youth voters. There’s good reason for heightened support among young voters of color. As a report last year by the Student Borrower Protection Center found, racial disparities in the effects of student debt perpetuate a “vicious cycle of racial and economic inequality.”
And by the way, young voters turned out in historic numbers last November, with young voters of color in particular providing a critical boost to the Biden-Harris ticket in key battleground states.
This should be so simple: It’s good for the economy, it’s good for the base, and it’s good for racial equity. Failing to cancel at least $50,000 in student debt would be political malpractice, particularly when the rest of Biden’s agenda is in peril.