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Politicians, Pundits Crying About Student Debt News Get Dragged by Their Own PPP Loan Forgiveness Receipts

Marjorie Taylor Greene sits in a courtroom, looking over her shoulder at someone with a small smile

The news about President Biden’s plan for partial student loan relief for graduated and existing students has many people in a tiff. Some are rightfully upset that this is a fraction of what President Biden promised and leaves behind the immediate relief promised to the most vulnerable. That’s understandable. However, what’s not understandable are those mad and calling it unfair to other Americans, especially when in the last two years you’ve had debt forgiven, and we have the records to prove it.

A lot of people hold this view because we’ve been conditioned to think from a very individualist perspective and only support free education for those who maintain our imperialist endeavors abroad (that is, using enrollment in the military as the only means through which some can afford college). The loudest of these upset don’t have much room to talk a variety of reasons, but mostly because they had, on average, three times as much cleared thanks to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness as part of the government’s COVID relief programs. Of the $793 billion approved for PPP, $743 billion was forgiven. The forgiveness included accrued interest.

These screenshots come from the ProPublica Tracking PPP tool. If you want to use this tool go ahead. Just remember that taking PPP loans and also having them forgiven is perfectly fine—in fact, we’d love to see more generous programs like these. The problem is when people and companies use it, and fire employees anyways or (in the case of all of these “pundits”) turn around just to complain that other people’s debt relief isn’t warranted. This is wielded as one more cultural wedge to drive through America, as evidenced by one Tweet which derisively declares that the working class will be paying for “doctorate degree gender studies living in California.” The GOP is trying to paint those who sought an education as privileged and now freeloading, and sitting Congressmen are telling their constituents that they are paying for others’ education in an attempt to get them up in arms. Meanwhile, these are the same people who gleefully voted for and applauded Trump’s $2 trillion in tax cuts to benefit corporations and the ultra-rich.

PPP and the matter of student loans are just two examples of government money actually helping some of its taxpayers directly. There are whole industries that only exist through government subsidies like agriculture because even though everyone doesn’t own corporate farms, we understand that like education, this benefits everyone. The same can’t be said, again, for subsidies via large tax cuts (like the one in 2017) for rich individuals and large corporate organizations.

Hats off to her

Some of these people are the usually suspects and were to be expected, but Ari Drennen at Media Matters made sure even the less well-known (but just as influential) people trying to pull this stunt were called out too. Like some of the previous entries, some of the loans weren’t taken out by them or the business they run. Sometimes this PPP forgiveness takes place in their family’s dynasty, their employer, or a business they’re invested in.

Some of the most hypocritical examples were media businesses like The Daily Caller and The Washington Times, who regularly demonize access to high education, that took out multiple, high-dollar loans and yet were all forgiven.

(image: John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)