Taxpayers score some wins in debt ceiling deal
It’s all over but the shouting as Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden wrapped up their 11th-hour negotiations to reach a debt ceiling deal Sunday.
There’s a sense of relief that debt default has been avoided, at least if the deal gets enough votes in Congress before June 5, and rancor on the part of progressives who begrudge Republicans any victory in terms of budget cuts, and Republicans opposed to raising the debt ceiling. But there is already one winner to emerge from the fracas: the American taxpayer.
Part of the reasoning behind the GOP’s move to make raising the debt ceiling contingent on budget cuts is the Democratic mindset in full force since Biden took office: taxpayers are ATMs. The administration’s trillion-dollar-plus spending spree helped fuel inflation, with the promise that there would be budget issues down the line as the bills come due to pay for all those programs and policies.
Republicans may not have been able to tap the brakes as hard as they wished, but they did manage to swerve around one big fiscal pothole: student loan payments.
It made sense to hit pause on student loan payments during the pandemic, widespread shutdowns put millions out of work as businesses closed. Borrowers haven’t had to make payments since March 2020. Yet even as the country opened up and mandates were lifted, Biden kept hitting the snooze button, extending the pause nine times, according to The Hill.
The country didn’t just get back to work, we’ve got a labor shortage. Those who did return to their jobs, or taken new ones, have had to make payments on their credit cards, car loans and whatever other financial obligations they have.
Yet still student borrowers have been spared from having to pay back what they borrowed.
That non-payment doesn’t come cheap.
“The pause is gone within 60 days of this being signed. So that is another victory because that brings in $5 billion each month to the American public,” McCarthy told anchor Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday.”
“What the president did, he went unconstitutionally and said he was going to waive certain people part of their debt for student loan(s), but then he paused everybody’s student loan. So everybody who borrowed a student loan within 60 days of the signing is going to have to pay that back,” McCarthy said.
“The Supreme Court is taking up that case. But if the Supreme Court came back and said that was unconstitutional, the president could still say he’s pausing, not waiving it. But now that this is in law, the Supreme Court decision will have to be upheld, that they would have to pay,” he added.
The notion that you pay back what you owe, and work for a living, is anathema to the left.
One part of the deal that’s particularly vexing to progressives: food and healthcare programs would now come with work requirements.
The deal is not ideal, but it does make some inroads in treating taxpayers as more than just walking wallets.