Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! But How?

It’s a trillion-dollar crisis that’s crippling the economy and dooming millions of college graduates. So what’s the fairest way to fix it?

March 10, 2021

The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?

Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.

Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! How Can President Biden Do It? 13
Credit…Photograph by Aaron Hawkins/iStock, via Getty Images Plus

Share your arguments with us

We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

Thoughts? Email us at [email protected]. By leaving us a message, you are agreeing to be governed by our reader submission terms and agreeing that we may use and allow others to use your name, voice and message. Transcripts of each episode are available midday.

“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.