“Don’t tell me what you value.* Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.*” – Joe Biden

*Note: The GOP does not value the same things we do.

The GOP does not value public education and is actively trying to “drown it in a bathtub.” Same for Medicaid, Social Security, affordable health care, consumer, workplace and environmental protections, civil rights, voting access and anything else that inconveniences corporations or helps people they consider unworthy. If we want this, we need to be loud.

  • Action #1: – Call and email your legislators. It’s time that students got some relief.
  • Action #2: – Tell Joe the same damn thing.
  • Action #3: – Stop a future debt nightmare at its source. Pass H.R. 2730/S.1288 – College for All Act of 2021

Action #1: – Call and email your legislators. It’s time that students got some relief.

Hell, the GOP snuck millionaires involved in the same kinds of business as Trump and Jarod Kushner a $1.6 million tax break into the middle of the CARES Act. Why not help regular people who just went to college?

(Click here to see if your senators or representative has called on the White House to cancel student debt. There are (4) page tabs at the bottom, two for senators/reps supporting this issue and similarly, two for the climate emergency action.)

Minimal script for Sen. Padilla and other supporters: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Rep./Sen.[____] for putting out a public statement calling on President Biden to sign an executive action cancelling at least $50 thousand of student loan debt before the end of the repayment pause.

Minimal script for Feinstein, Brownley, Carbajal and others not signed up yet: I’m calling from [zip code] and I’m asking Rep./Sen.[____] to put out a statement calling on President Biden to sign an executive action cancelling at least $50 thousand of student loan debt before the end of the repayment pause. Nearly 45 million individuals and families are unnecessarily burdened by this debt, and Biden has the authority to provide them with this needed economic relief. Please speak out publicly to encourage the President to take this critical action. 

Action #2: – Tell Joe the same thing.

Minimal script (call or email) for Biden: [I’m calling from [zip code] and] I’m asking President Biden to sign an executive action cancelling at least $50 thousand of student loan debt before the end of the repayment pause. Nearly 45 million individuals and families are unnecessarily burdened by this debt, and he has the authority to provide them with this needed economic relief. Not only would it help those with the least and begin to address massive wealth inequality caused by systemic racism, it’s good for the economy. And though many would urge you to target recipients more closely, broad-based cancellation is WAY more successful than creating any means-tested system. 

Action #3: Stop a future debt nightmare at its source. Pass H.R. 2730/S.1288 – College for All Act of 2021

This bill provides funding to eliminate tuition and required fees for

  • all students at community colleges and two-year tribal colleges and universities;
  • working- and middle-class students at four-year public institutions of higher education (IHEs) and tribal colleges and universities;
  • eligible students at private, nonprofit historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions.
  • H.R.2730 cosponsors here. (Brownley and Carbajal need a call)
  • S.1288 cosponsors here. (Padilla’s on board, Feinstein hasn’t signed yet.)

Minimal script for Sen. Padilla and other supporters: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Rep./Sen.[____] for cosponsoring H.R.2730/S.1288 – College for All Act.

Minimal script for Brownley, Carbajal, Feinstein and current non-cosigners : I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep./Sen.[____] to cosponsor H.R.2730/S.1288 – College for All Act. 26 nations provide free college education, because they know that they realize a return in their country’s economic competitiveness and national security. It’s time we did so as well.

CONTACT INFO.

Get your friends and family in RED states to call theirs as well!

  • President Biden: email, Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414, TTY/TTD: 202-456-6213
  • Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinsteinemail, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my rep./ senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Deep dive into the origin of student debt.

Over the past 20 years, the price of higher education has been on an exponential rise, as has the pressure to get a college degree in order to “stay competitive” in the job market. Meanwhile, wages have remained stagnant and an entire generation spent their formative years fighting against two economic recessions, with benefits of the current recovery still not reaching everyone. Now, there are nearly 45 million people holding more than $1.8 trillion in student debt.

Meanwhile, 26 nations provide free college education, because they know that they’ll realize a return in their country’s economic competitiveness and national security, as well as social benefits. For example, Norway advertises that “FREE TUITION ERADICATES POVERTY AND INEQUALITIES: Education in Norway involves the idea that all people should be able to receive a high-quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic status and background. This stems from Norway’s need for people with professional skills. Offering free education to all students provides them with the employees that they need.

America wasn’t always in the bottom of the class in funding college, although the conservatives’ campaign against public education has never lagged far behind. In 1960, CA’s Master Plan for Higher Education made public colleges tuition-free to guarantee “educational access for all.” Ronald Reagan, as governor from 1967-1975, took the GOP’s toxic war against any form of public education to the media, using Berkeley’s riots as a political cudgel to slash school funding in all levels and the master plan for college equity was finally eliminated with Prop. 13 in 1978. In campaigning for president, Reagan proposed eliminating the Department of Education, (Hey, that sounds familiar!) and once elected, he continued his media campaign against public education and halved its funding. (This article on Reagan’s war on education matches the agenda of modern GOP legislators perfectly. See ALEC’s agenda here and how they’re using “CRT” and “school choice to destroy public schools)

All Californians who made it through college before tuition skyrocketed were recipients of a great gift by the progressive vision of the original Master Plan. Now, debt haunts college students across the nationdis­pro­por­tion­al­ly impacting peo­ple of col­or, harming the mental health of most borrowers, and impeding the economy-building building blocks considered normal a few decades ago, including buying homes and starting families.

This is why President Biden must cancel at least $50k of student debt now! Progressive allies in Congress have been clear about the many benefits to cancelling student debt universally:

  1. It would help those with the least and begin to address massive wealth inequality caused by systemic racism. Many studies have demonstrated that universal student debt cancellation would “provide more benefits to those with fewer economic resources and could play a critical role in addressing the racial wealth gap and building the Black middle class.”
  2. It’s good for the economy. The time that there has been a federal pause on student loan repayments and interest rates has been an incredible life line to many struggling economically. The U.S. Dept of Education found “borrowers are saving approximately $5 billion per month from the temporary 0% interest rate.” And research shows cancelling student debt would lead to “higher credit scores, greater home-buying rates and housing stability, greater business formation, increased gross domestic product and create over 1.2 million jobs per year.”
  3. Broad-based cancellation is WAY more successful than “targeted” (means-tested) benefits. We know that unnecessary barriers like means-testing or complicated eligibility requirements only lock out folks who are most vulnerable. Instead, Biden should broadly cancel student debt to make sure more people feel the benefits. 

Student loan payments have been put on pause due to the pandemic, but that is set to expire on May 1. President Biden has the authority to cancel student debt simply with his signature (here’s a memo from some fancy Harvard lawyers proving it). But he needs to hear from us, and from Members of Congress, that we want him to get it done!

Then we need to make college free, like all the “grown-up” countries around the world.

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