Joe Biden’s student loan plan is about buying votes, not solving problems
In my global travels over the last year, I’ve heard my share of vote-buying stories.
In Armenia and Colombia, I’ve spoken with people who claim to have personally been offered cash in exchange for their votes. In the nation of Georgia, I learned of an instance where distributions of potatoes and onions were used to buy votes.
But these are things that just happen in Latin America or former Soviet Republics, right?
Well, no. We have our own vote buying in America, it’s just slightly more sophisticated.
President Joe Biden’s magic wand order wiping $10,000 to $20,000 in student loan debt off the books for certain Americans is self-evidently the actions of a failing president desperate to boost his party’s prospects in the upcoming elections.
“That’s 20 million people who can start getting on with their lives,” Biden said.
What he really means is that’s 20 million people who might be slightly more likely to return the favor for the Democrats.
These people, on average, it must be said, mostly don’t deserve a federal bailout. People who go to college earn far more over their lifetimes on average than people who don’t.
All this order does is help a population that doesn’t need help at the expense of everyone else and all the potential iterations of Americans who could’ve benefited from the many billions of dollars this entails.
It also doesn’t get to the root of the problem, which is the absurdly high cost of a college degree. That would require actual leadership, which Biden is incapable of.
But Biden, looking at probably losing the House and maybe (but maybe not because the GOP fields buffoons like Dr. Oz) the Senate, needed to pump his low approval numbers up. Hence, this is what we got.
It reminds me of the vote buying Gov. Gavin Newsom did last year ahead of the recall election. Newsom sent out $600 checks to Californians earning up to $75,000 per year just before the recall election.
He’s doing the same this year in the form of $350 to $1,050 checks set to go out starting October. He’s not doing it for himself, per se. He is going to cruise to re-election, after all, but no doubt he’s aware this sort of thing will help Democratic candidates generally.
Now, I can already hear the liberal screeching. Yes, Republicans buy votes, too. That’s what their tax breaks — which are never followed by cuts to government spending — are for. Yes, of course President Donald Trump wanted to make sure his name was tied to the often frivolous COVID-era checks that went out under his administration.
This all makes sense. Politics is, after all, the game by which people steal from and try to control others through the government. And everyone basically knows that, right?
Sure, some of us who follow politics have genuine principles in mind and grand, intricate narratives about the nature of government and society and blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, politics and government are about gaming the system to focus the thuggery of the state in service of whatever the team in charge wants.
Biden is a fool, but he still has his tricks. According to an aggregate of polling by FiveThirtyEight, just 41.5% of Americans approve of the job he’s doing, which is actually lower than where Trump’s approval rating was at this point in his presidency.
However, he also knows most people aren’t political addicts who follow every single policy fight. By pulling this Hail Mary vote-buying scheme, he might soften the hit Democrats could take in the midterms.
It’s bad policy, it’s a waste of money. But it’s not supposed to be good policy or an optimal use of money. It’s just vote buying. That’s all.
— Sal Rodriguez is the opinion editor for the Southern California News Group.