While the American dream was to own a house having a white picket fence, now he's indebted. To a lot of, the humble aspiration of owing zero dollars seems out of reach. Over the path of his long career, Mr Biden has contributed to this crisis by trying to strengthen the hands of creditors, including through a 2005 bankruptcy reform bill that struck down borrower protections. .
Now it's time to create amends. If the Biden administration is seriously interested in “building back better,” it must take bold action. This country cannot afford to let countless struggling households sink when mountains of old bills and unpaid rents suddenly fall due after payment breaks and moratoriums on evictions are gone. The government can and should find methods to eliminate a crushing debt.
Student loans, medical debts, utility bills, criminal fines and costs, and municipal debts all have to be wiped off or canceled outright. I wrote elsewhere about a few of the various legal strategies by which this can be done, and lots of other potential strategies exist.
For starters, Biden is anticipated to honor his campaign pledge for Congress to immediately discount student borrower debt. There isn't any reason to hold back. Erasing every penny of federal student debt would improve nearly 45 million lives, help narrow the racial wealth gap, and many likely win on a good number of Republican voters prior to the mid-terms. The Debt Collective, a membership organization for debtors that I helped found, has already drafted an executive order the president could sign tomorrow to do so – no need to involve Congress or pass legislation.
Then he should tackle the medical debt. Following charge of the proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders, Democrats could eliminate medical debts in collections, including charges incurred because of Covid. (At the minimum, lawmakers should protect borrowers by ensuring that overdue hospital bills aren't flagged on credit ratings and that it is much more difficult for collectors to file a lawsuit patients.)
Finally, elected officials should also relieve tenants of the enormous burden they bear by canceling accumulated rent debt, preferably in a manner that doesn't just bail out, enrich and make landlords more accountable. Passage of the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act introduced by Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar would be a nice beginning.
These ideas are not away from mainstream. More than 415 organizations, including Minority Veterans of the usa, the National Young Farmers Coalition, and the NAACP, have signed a letter calling on the Biden administration to make use of executive capacity to discount student debt. At the start of the pandemic, the Poor People's Campaign, a racial and economic justice group, introduced the Jubilee platform, and recently worked with progressive congressional lawmakers on a “Third Reconstruction Resolution,” which both put forward highlight debt settlement.