Billionaires made enough during the pandemic to pay off everyone's student loans
- Since March 10, 2020,
billionaires' collective wealth has grown by $1.7 trillion.
- That's according to a new report from the left-leaning Americans for Tax Fairness.
The members of America's three-comma club could do what President Joe Biden has yet to do: wipe out America's
Since March 10, 2020, billionaires saw their ranks grow by 15% to 704 people, according to a new analysis from the left-leaning Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF). Using Forbes data, ATF found that billionaires added $1.7 trillion to their collective wealth during that time — a 57% increase.
$1.7 trillion dollars also happens to be the size of the US
Democrats have mulled plans to tax that wealth to offset social spending on things like paid leave and monthly child tax credit checks, but progress on that legislation has remained stalled. In late 2021, Senator Ron Wyden, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, put forward a plan to tax the value of billionaires' assets. Called the
Senator Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken advocate for student loan cancellation, proposed using a
"For decades, we've allowed the wealthy to pay less while burying tens of millions of working Americans in education debt," Warren wrote in a 2019 Medium post. "It's time to make different choices."
Billionaires' gains could pay off everyone's student loans
As Democrats still hash out their spending priorities, many Americans are bracing themselves for a different economic blow: Student loan payments resuming.
The $1.7 trillion student debt crisis continues to grow, falling on the shoulders of 45 million Americans. Not only has Biden extended the pause on payments three times, but he has also canceled about $15 billion in student debt for targeted groups of borrowers, like those defrauded by for-profit schools. Still, while loan payments have been on pause for the duration of the pandemic, borrowers still worry about their abilities to afford another monthly bill when payments are set to resume on May 1.
That's why calls continue to amplify for Biden to not only extend the pause on student-loan payments a fourth time, but to cancel some, or all, of the nation's student-debt load. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain recently told Pod Save America that borrowers will likely see relief in some form before the May payment resumption date.
"The President is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he'll extend the pause," Klain said, adding that "the question whether or not there's some executive action on student debt forgiveness when payments resume is a decision we're going to take before payments resume."
More recently, the Education Department dropped a fresh hint that another payment pause extension could be in the cards. Politico reported that the department asked student-loan companies to halt sending notices to borrowers about payments resuming, per sources familiar — something a loan company would typically do leading up to a payment restart date.
Biden himself has been largely silent on the broad student-loan relief issue, but many Democratic lawmakers believe he has the executive authority to act on the issue, and he should use it.
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